Friends, family and former co-stars of Bob Saget came out for a cause close to the actor’s heart Wednesday night in Beverly Hills. Jimmy Kimmel, John Mayer and Jeff Ross joined to host “Cool Comedy Hot Cuisine,” a Scleroderma Research Foundation fundraising event spearheaded by the organization. Full House star for 30 years. Saget’s sister Gay died of scleroderma, a rare and often fatal disease, in 1994.
“These bookings have improved a lot since Bob died,” Kimmel said on stage as he kicked off the night.
Famous guests in attendance included Regina Hall, Rosie O’Donnell, Kathy Griffin, Norman Lear, Lori Loughlin, John Stamos, Jodie Sweetin, Joel McHale, Kevin Nealon, Seth Green and Howie Mandel. The event, chaired by Saget’s wife Kelly Rizzo, was a tribute to the comedian. Rizzo and Saget’s daughters were together at the event.
“The fun thing about tonight, the only fun thing about it, is that we’re going to show Bob that we wanted to do this,” Kimmel continued, adding: “Everybody should have a friend because Bob Saget. Tonight is a tribute but tonight is a tribute. A celebration … You didn’t really know Bob until you saw the Scleroderma Research dinner he hosted. That was the real Bob Saget.”
After dinner and a live auction, the night featured stand-up sets by Nealon, Mandel and surprise guest Dave Chappelle. Saget and Chappelle have been friends for years, since the former’s iconic cameo in the 1998s. Half-baked. The scene was memorable in the stoner comedy performed by Saget less as the father of television, and more the raunchy jokester known to those close to him.
Chappelle took the stage after making sure everyone’s phones were locked. He began going through most of his current material, recounting when he was attacked four months ago at the Hollywood Bowl. The humor called out the New York Post to interview the man who knocked him to the ground. (Isaiah Lee told the paper he was “motivated” by the comedian’s jokes about the LGBTQ community and homelessness because he’s bisexual.) Chappelle drew laughs from the celebrity crowd by recalling how Chris Rock came out after the great times and made fun of the attacker Will Smith. .
But it was the end of Chappelle’s set that was disappointing. The comedian played a “semi-final” message Saget sent him months before the actor’s death. In the video, Saget congratulates Chappelle for doing “the impossible” with his achievements and calls him one of the “sweetest” and “most honest” people he’s ever met.
Chappelle said he got the message at a time when he needed to hear those things, calling Saget “a great person.” The comedian said it was clear that Saget “is in this room tonight.”
“This night is important to him and I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Chappelle declared.
The evening ended with a performance from Mayer, who was emotional throughout the event. He played some of Bob’s best songs, starting with “Who Says” – with a very special guitar.
Mayer told the audience that he was playing the guitar Saget used during his last show in Florida. Rizzo tracked it down, bought it and presented it to Mayer. The singer said it was one of his most prized possessions.
Saget was found dead in his Florida hotel room on January 9. The actor was in the middle of a comedy tour and had performed a gig an hour earlier. Saget’s cause of death was the result of blunt force trauma to the head when he likely fell backwards in his hotel room. He was 65.
In one of his final interviews, Saget spoke proudly of his work with the Scleroderma Research Foundation. “I’ve done over 30 years of benefits and we’ve raised over $50 million,” he shared. “It’s one of my life’s work.”
Scleroderma is a group of rare diseases associated with hardening and tightening of the skin. It can also cause problems in the blood vessels, internal organs and the digestive tract, according to the Mayo Clinic. There is no cure, but the Scleroderma Research Foundation hopes to change that. Wednesday’s event raised over $1 million, something Saget would obviously be proud of.
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