The best medicine

Los Angeles Times - - P8 - By Ellen Olivier im­age@la­times.com

The event: Any­one look­ing for a laugh on June 5 merely had to head for the Bev­erly Wil­shire Ho­tel for “Cool Com­edy, Hot Cui­sine,” a ben­e­fit for the Sclero­derma Re­search Foun­da­tion. With Bob Saget as host, co­me­di­ans not only per­formed but they also ap­peared in abun­dance in the star-stud­ded au­di­ence.

The pro­gram: Jeff Gar­lin and Jim Gaf­fi­gan pro­vided the “cool com­edy” from on­stage, as Don Rick­les added a few wise­cracks from his ta­ble.

Later, John Mayer sang for the crowd.

As for the “hot cui­sine,” celebrity chefs Su­san Feniger and Mary Sue Mil­liken pro­vided din­ner, which be­gan with falafel pop­pers, chicken saltim­bocca and shrimp cock­tails and con­tin­ued with beet salad, heir­loom toma­toes, bour­bon and mus­tard glazed salmon and a del­i­cate lemon rose­mary cake.

Jimmy Kim­mel joined Saget for the live ac­tion, and Queen Lat­i­fah as­sisted as well, en­cour­ag­ing bid­ders as she walked through the ball­room.

The crowd: Familiar faces abounded, in­clud­ing Saget’s “Fuller House” costars John Sta­mos, An­drea Bar­ber and Jodie Sweetin; plus Jack Black, Harry Len­nix, Seth Green, Kevin Con­nolly, Kate Flan­nery, Alan Thicke, Ed As­ner, Jill Whe­lan, Clare Grant, Ben Feld­man, Brad Wil­liams, Alex Me­ne­ses, Richard Benjamin, Paula Pren­tiss, Sabina Gadecki, cham­pion swim­mer Diana Nyad, Para­mount Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Brad Grey, pro­ducer Mark Can­ton, “En­tourage” cre­ator Doug Ellin; board Chair Luke Evnin; and Acte­lion Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals Vice Pres­i­dent Bob Smith.

The num­bers: Tick­ets for the 520 guests be­gan at $250, with ta­bles up to $25,000. Pro­ceeds of more than $600,000 from ticket sales, ad­di­tional con­tri­bu­tions and auc­tion sales are ear­marked for re­search into find­ing the cause and cure for the au­toim­mune dis­ease, which claimed the life of Saget’s sis­ter.

Quote of note: In a cock­tail hour con­ver­sa­tion, Jonathan Mangum of “Let’s Make a Deal” spoke of the value of com­edy, not just for fundrais­ers, but also in life. “I of­ten get emails or let­ters from peo­ple who have watched the show from hos­pi­tals,” he said. “They say, ‘We were hav­ing a hard time, but when we were able to watch the shows and laugh,’ it helped pull them through. It re­ally is true that laugh­ter is a great medicine, and it makes per­fect sense to use that to raise aware­ness and raise fund­ing for this foun­da­tion.”

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