During the 2022 Jhpiego’s Laughter Is the Best Medicine gala, the global health nonprofit event not only delivered many laughs but also celebrated its 50th Anniversary at the Beverly Wilshire on Dec. 5 by highlighting the philanthropic and humanitarian contributions of its honorees.
‘Deadpool 3’ Director Shawn Levy and his wife, Serena, received the Jhpiego’s Elyse Bila Ouedraogo Award, named after a Burkina Faso nurse who screened hundreds of women for cervical cancer, a disease that actually ended up taking the nurse’s own life. Comedian and actor Hasan Minhaj, best known for his work on ‘The Daily Show,’ and his wife, Dr. Beena Patel Minhaj, took home The Visionary Award, which recognizes activism for women’s empowerment, education and access to health care.
The Levys spoke to Variety on the red carpet about the honor they were about to receive mentioning how one could still contribute and help out even after the lights and attention go down from the Gala as Shawn let his wife talk more about it all by saying, “Serena was in India a few weeks ago and saw what happens on the tomorrow and the 364 tomorrows that happen between these fancy fundraisers. That is where the real work gets done.”
Serena was quick to add, “These people who are working every day to bring people who are so much less fortunate than we are what they need, not what they want and need, just what they need. So hopefully after tonight, we spread a little bit more awareness. And those people in India and Africa and Thailand and Indonesia will get a little bit more, slowly but surely until there is enough support system for women and children in the world.”
Dr. Minhaj said of the foundation, “It is the policy-level work that is going to change lives, for generations to come. It is not just about the people working directly right now, it is literally their children and their children’s children that are going to be affected by the work that they do.”
Through all of the work that Jhpiego instills for the benefit of women, especially when it comes to preventing women’s mortality due to childbirth by giving women access to medical facilities, and staff along with proper care, the night also had its fair share of laughter and levity.
Comedian Nick Kroll had the room laughing with both his take on topical humor regarding the latest with Kanye West, to his thoughts on how microwaves work. And being an event about women and the desire to benefit the health of women, he also spliced through his set his unique and hilarious take on his own mother and mothers in general and how various they can all be in the annoying department.
Jennifer Garner presented Shawn and Serena with their award. Also in attendance were Damon Lindelof, Evangeline Lilly and Rachel Zoe.