Dec 04, 2020
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Comic Relief special for Katrina victims

NEW YORK (AP) _ Robin Williams is singing the blues for Katrina victims. Literally. Spurred by his comedic muse, he’s channelling an aged Mississippi Delta troubadour, soulfully riffing on the plight of New Orleans.

"The president of the USA came down to Jackson Square. They laid down Astroturf everywhere!

"They put up big ol’ electrical lights, then took ’em back out that night.

"Didn’t leave the generator to power my home. Instead they wandered on, left me with a comb!"

Taking it all in, Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg burst into laughter. But Williams isn’t finished: "They come and put a big red circle on my door," he testifies, still in character, "and then they tore my house down. I was still in it!"

Whereupon he begins chanting, "I been waiting all the day, waitin’ for my FEMA trailer. In Arkansas, my trailer’s rottin’ on the farm."

"And what about your insurance?" Goldberg goads him on.

"My insurance," he huffs, "did not cover the wet parts!"

More laughter from Williams’ pals. Why not? Someone gets that close to the painful truth, what else are you going to do but laugh?

Laughter is part of the plan for "Comic Relief 2006," which, hosted by Crystal, Goldberg and Williams, is an all-star TV benefit to raise funds for Katrina-related charities.

Originating from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, the three-hour special will welcome scheduled guests including Roseanne Barr, Lewis Black, Louis C.K., D.L. Hughley, Jimmy Kimmel, George Lopez, Bill Maher, Ray Romano, Sarah Silverman, cast members from "Desperate Housewives" and "Entourage," and many other personalities.

It will air Saturday from 9 p.m. to midnight (live ET, tape-delayed PT), being simulcast on TBS and HBO _ the latter network’s ninth "Comic Relief" since 1986 with Crystal, Goldberg and Williams presiding. Gathered in New York not long ago to talk about the upcoming shindig, they marvel to find themselves back at it again. By now, they’re the undisputed Rat Pack of humorous humanitarians _ a notion that triggers chortles all around.

"I want to be Sammy! No, Dean!" declares Crystal, and Goldberg chimes in, "Can I be Marilyn?"

"Comic Relief was always supposed to be the comedians’ cause, not just ours," says Crystal, getting serious for a moment. "We figured we would pass it on and let others run with it. But then we just felt we couldn’t turn it loose. We do great work and it’s so much fun."

"And 100 percent of what we raise goes to what we’re raising it for," Goldberg adds.

Founded by comedian Bob Zmuda, who continues as the organization’s president, Comic Relief was born as a benefit aired live by the British Broadcasting Co. on Christmas Day 1985 from a refugee camp in Sudan, in response to the African famine.

That was some 80 telecasts ago, including the eight major events staged by HBO through 1998, which collectively raised more than US$50 million for programs aiding the homeless in the United States.

Comic Relief mounted its first HBO benefit for hurricane victims just three weeks after Andrew struck South Florida in August 1992.

Saturday’s program will take place 15 months after Katrina but the timing may be right, the comics agree. It can serve as a reminder that, even now, much work remains to be done.

"They fixed the Super Dome and played a Monday Night Football game there," says Crystal, "but the (Lower) Ninth Ward is still a wreck."

"Among other areas," adds Goldberg.

Though the special will originate from glitzy Las Vegas, the Gulf Coast will seldom be out of mind. Or sight. Local post-Katrina portraits by New Orleans filmmaker Kenny Morrison will be interspersed through the broadcast.

And even the stage will be dressed with stark evidence of Katrina’s wrath. Artifacts from her devastation salvaged from the city have been crafted into the stage setting, says Zmuda.

Even so, the story of "Comic Relief 2006" isn’t just the damage, but also the steps toward recovery.

"It’s very important for us to send a message across the country that New Orleans is open for business," Zmuda says. "This is the rebirth stage." To drive home that point, the broadcast will include a live remote from Harrah’s Fulton Street in New Orleans.

"There but for the grace of God go all of us," says Goldberg, voicing yet another reason to respond to Saturday’s "Comic Relief" call. "Whatever we think we have, may or may not be so. This can happen anywhere, at any time."

It’s a serious matter, she and her comic comrades would agree. But maybe, in the hands of pros like these, laughter once again will spark some serious help.

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Headline, Industry News

Comic Relief special for Katrina victims

NEW YORK (AP) _ Robin Williams is singing the blues for Katrina victims. Literally. Spurred by his comedic muse, he’s channelling an aged Mississippi Delta troubadour, soulfully riffing on the plight of New Orleans.

"The president of the USA came down to Jackson Square. They laid down Astroturf everywhere!

"They put up big ol’ electrical lights, then took ’em back out that night.

"Didn’t leave the generator to power my home. Instead they wandered on, left me with a comb!"

Taking it all in, Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg burst into laughter. But Williams isn’t finished: "They come and put a big red circle on my door," he testifies, still in character, "and then they tore my house down. I was still in it!"

Whereupon he begins chanting, "I been waiting all the day, waitin’ for my FEMA trailer. In Arkansas, my trailer’s rottin’ on the farm."

"And what about your insurance?" Goldberg goads him on.

"My insurance," he huffs, "did not cover the wet parts!"

More laughter from Williams’ pals. Why not? Someone gets that close to the painful truth, what else are you going to do but laugh?

Laughter is part of the plan for "Comic Relief 2006," which, hosted by Crystal, Goldberg and Williams, is an all-star TV benefit to raise funds for Katrina-related charities.

Originating from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, the three-hour special will welcome scheduled guests including Roseanne Barr, Lewis Black, Louis C.K., D.L. Hughley, Jimmy Kimmel, George Lopez, Bill Maher, Ray Romano, Sarah Silverman, cast members from "Desperate Housewives" and "Entourage," and many other personalities.

It will air Saturday from 9 p.m. to midnight (live ET, tape-delayed PT), being simulcast on TBS and HBO _ the latter network’s ninth "Comic Relief" since 1986 with Crystal, Goldberg and Williams presiding. Gathered in New York not long ago to talk about the upcoming shindig, they marvel to find themselves back at it again. By now, they’re the undisputed Rat Pack of humorous humanitarians _ a notion that triggers chortles all around.

"I want to be Sammy! No, Dean!" declares Crystal, and Goldberg chimes in, "Can I be Marilyn?"

"Comic Relief was always supposed to be the comedians’ cause, not just ours," says Crystal, getting serious for a moment. "We figured we would pass it on and let others run with it. But then we just felt we couldn’t turn it loose. We do great work and it’s so much fun."

"And 100 percent of what we raise goes to what we’re raising it for," Goldberg adds.

Founded by comedian Bob Zmuda, who continues as the organization’s president, Comic Relief was born as a benefit aired live by the British Broadcasting Co. on Christmas Day 1985 from a refugee camp in Sudan, in response to the African famine.

That was some 80 telecasts ago, including the eight major events staged by HBO through 1998, which collectively raised more than US$50 million for programs aiding the homeless in the United States.

Comic Relief mounted its first HBO benefit for hurricane victims just three weeks after Andrew struck South Florida in August 1992.

Saturday’s program will take place 15 months after Katrina but the timing may be right, the comics agree. It can serve as a reminder that, even now, much work remains to be done.

"They fixed the Super Dome and played a Monday Night Football game there," says Crystal, "but the (Lower) Ninth Ward is still a wreck."

"Among other areas," adds Goldberg.

Though the special will originate from glitzy Las Vegas, the Gulf Coast will seldom be out of mind. Or sight. Local post-Katrina portraits by New Orleans filmmaker Kenny Morrison will be interspersed through the broadcast.

And even the stage will be dressed with stark evidence of Katrina’s wrath. Artifacts from her devastation salvaged from the city have been crafted into the stage setting, says Zmuda.

Even so, the story of "Comic Relief 2006" isn’t just the damage, but also the steps toward recovery.

"It’s very important for us to send a message across the country that New Orleans is open for business," Zmuda says. "This is the rebirth stage." To drive home that point, the broadcast will include a live remote from Harrah’s Fulton Street in New Orleans.

"There but for the grace of God go all of us," says Goldberg, voicing yet another reason to respond to Saturday’s "Comic Relief" call. "Whatever we think we have, may or may not be so. This can happen anywhere, at any time."

It’s a serious matter, she and her comic comrades would agree. But maybe, in the hands of pros like these, laughter once again will spark some serious help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Headline, Industry News

Comic Relief special for Katrina victims

NEW YORK (AP) _ Robin Williams is singing the blues for Katrina victims. Literally. Spurred by his comedic muse, he’s channelling an aged Mississippi Delta troubadour, soulfully riffing on the plight of New Orleans.

"The president of the USA came down to Jackson Square. They laid down Astroturf everywhere!

"They put up big ol’ electrical lights, then took ’em back out that night.

"Didn’t leave the generator to power my home. Instead they wandered on, left me with a comb!"

Taking it all in, Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg burst into laughter. But Williams isn’t finished: "They come and put a big red circle on my door," he testifies, still in character, "and then they tore my house down. I was still in it!"

Whereupon he begins chanting, "I been waiting all the day, waitin’ for my FEMA trailer. In Arkansas, my trailer’s rottin’ on the farm."

"And what about your insurance?" Goldberg goads him on.

"My insurance," he huffs, "did not cover the wet parts!"

More laughter from Williams’ pals. Why not? Someone gets that close to the painful truth, what else are you going to do but laugh?

Laughter is part of the plan for "Comic Relief 2006," which, hosted by Crystal, Goldberg and Williams, is an all-star TV benefit to raise funds for Katrina-related charities.

Originating from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, the three-hour special will welcome scheduled guests including Roseanne Barr, Lewis Black, Louis C.K., D.L. Hughley, Jimmy Kimmel, George Lopez, Bill Maher, Ray Romano, Sarah Silverman, cast members from "Desperate Housewives" and "Entourage," and many other personalities.

It will air Saturday from 9 p.m. to midnight (live ET, tape-delayed PT), being simulcast on TBS and HBO _ the latter network’s ninth "Comic Relief" since 1986 with Crystal, Goldberg and Williams presiding. Gathered in New York not long ago to talk about the upcoming shindig, they marvel to find themselves back at it again. By now, they’re the undisputed Rat Pack of humorous humanitarians _ a notion that triggers chortles all around.

"I want to be Sammy! No, Dean!" declares Crystal, and Goldberg chimes in, "Can I be Marilyn?"

"Comic Relief was always supposed to be the comedians’ cause, not just ours," says Crystal, getting serious for a moment. "We figured we would pass it on and let others run with it. But then we just felt we couldn’t turn it loose. We do great work and it’s so much fun."

"And 100 percent of what we raise goes to what we’re raising it for," Goldberg adds.

Founded by comedian Bob Zmuda, who continues as the organization’s president, Comic Relief was born as a benefit aired live by the British Broadcasting Co. on Christmas Day 1985 from a refugee camp in Sudan, in response to the African famine.

That was some 80 telecasts ago, including the eight major events staged by HBO through 1998, which collectively raised more than US$50 million for programs aiding the homeless in the United States.

Comic Relief mounted its first HBO benefit for hurricane victims just three weeks after Andrew struck South Florida in August 1992.

Saturday’s program will take place 15 months after Katrina but the timing may be right, the comics agree. It can serve as a reminder that, even now, much work remains to be done.

"They fixed the Super Dome and played a Monday Night Football game there," says Crystal, "but the (Lower) Ninth Ward is still a wreck."

"Among other areas," adds Goldberg.

Though the special will originate from glitzy Las Vegas, the Gulf Coast will seldom be out of mind. Or sight. Local post-Katrina portraits by New Orleans filmmaker Kenny Morrison will be interspersed through the broadcast.

And even the stage will be dressed with stark evidence of Katrina’s wrath. Artifacts from her devastation salvaged from the city have been crafted into the stage setting, says Zmuda.

Even so, the story of "Comic Relief 2006" isn’t just the damage, but also the steps toward recovery.

"It’s very important for us to send a message across the country that New Orleans is open for business," Zmuda says. "This is the rebirth stage." To drive home that point, the broadcast will include a live remote from Harrah’s Fulton Street in New Orleans.

"There but for the grace of God go all of us," says Goldberg, voicing yet another reason to respond to Saturday’s "Comic Relief" call. "Whatever we think we have, may or may not be so. This can happen anywhere, at any time."

It’s a serious matter, she and her comic comrades would agree. But maybe, in the hands of pros like these, laughter once again will spark some serious help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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