Meredith Vieira Draws Big Laughs, Tyson Beckford Strips in Honor of Gay Journalists at NY Benefit (Photos)

From mocking the young age of Andy Cohen’s dates to CNN president Jeff Zucker aka “Mother Zucker” — the gala’s host uses her brand of comedy to shine light on LGBT community’s strides

Last Updated: April 18, 2015 @ 1:19 PM

Meredith Vieira drew huge laughs as host of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association’s “Headlines & Headliners 20th Annual New York Benefit.”

Vieira, who previously hosted the event in 2007, joked in her opening remarks about this year marking the 25th anniversary of the event. “Wow. 25. You know what that means: too young to run for President and too old to date Andy Cohen.”

“I almost didn’t make it here tonight,” Vieira said Thursday Night at NLGJA’s gala. “I went in the wrong door and ended up at the Museum of Sex. Turns out that’s where the after-party is. If you don’t know, the password is Jeff Zucker or as most people refer to him, ‘Mother Zucker.’”

“Now, more than ever, our business boasts a field of prominent out and proud gays in key positions,” Vieira continued. “Robin Roberts, Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, Thomas Roberts, Rachel Maddow, Sam Champion and of course America’s closeted sweethearts, Kathie Lee and Hoda.”

Vieira was not all levity, however, and took on a more serious tone when discussing the strides made by the gay and transgender communities in the media.

“The transgender community continues to make strides to gain greater acceptance with more portrayals in the mainstream media. This past year we saw Laverne Cox make history as the first transgender person to grace the cover of Time magazine, the series ‘Transparent’ on Amazon won two Golden Globes and next week Bruce Jenner breaks his silence in an interview with Diane Sawyer about what many expect to be an open conversation about his transitioning,” she said.

“It is because of organizations like NLGJA that push for fair and accurate coverage of the LGBT community that we are where we are today, continuing to educate decision makers in newsrooms to sensitively cover the issues confronting each and every one of us.”

The NLGJA raises money and awards scholarships to aspiring LGBT journalists. A silent auction and other donations raised tens of thousands of dollars for the organization’s programs.

Among the special “Headlines & Headliners”guest list was:

Brooke Baldwin, CNN;  Josh Barro, The New York Times & MSNBC;  Jason Bellini, The Wall Street Journal; Gio Benitez, ABC News; John Berman,  CNN; Kate Bolduan, CNN; Malan Breton, Fashion Designer; Contessa Brewer, WNBC; Frank Bruni, The New York Times; Jason Carroll, CNN; Carol Costello, CNN; Jamie Colby, FOX News; Frank DiLella, NY1; Ronan Farrow, MSNBC; Melissa Francis; FOX Business, Willie Geist NBC News; Kendis Gibson, ABC News; Stephanie Gosk, NBC News; LZ Granderson, ESPN & CNN; Kimberly Guilfoyle, FOX News, Sara Haines,  ABC News, Patrick Healy,  The New York Times, Simon Hobbs,  CNBC, Joseph Kapsch, TheWrap; Randi Kaye, CNN; Tom Llamas, ABC News; Miguel Marquez, CNN; Erin Moriarty, CBS News; Bryan Norcross, The Weather Channel; Soledad O’Brien, Al Jazeera America; Richard Quest, CNN; Trish Regan, FOX Business; Rick Reichmuth, FOX News; Amy Robach, ABC News; Thomas Roberts, MSNBC; Troy Roberts, CBS News; Christine Romans, CNN; Gus Rosendale, WNBC; Mara Schiavocampo, ABC News; Brian Stelter, CNN; Kris Van Cleave, CBS News; Cecilia Vega, ABC News; Gerri Willis, FOX Business and Jenna Wolfe, NBC News

TheWrap exclusively reported that Vieira would host the annual event.

See photos from the event below:

Meredith Vieira, Tyson Beckford

(Anthony Morrison Photography)

Meredith Vieira makes opening remarks

Tyson Beckford, Javi Morgado

Anthony Morrison Photography

Tyson Beckford with CNN’s Javi Morgado, chair of  the NGLJA’s benefit for the last 10 years

Javi Morgado, Tyson Beckford

Anthony Morrison Photography

Tyson Beckford with CNN’s Javi Morgado, who organized NGLJA’s benefit

Brian Stelter

(Anthony Morrison Photography)

CNN’s Brian Stelter and guest

CNN's Jeff Zucker and NGLJA President Jen Christensen (Anthony Morrison Photography)

Anthony Morrison Photography

CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker and NGLJA president Jen Christensen

Willie Geist, Brooke Baldwin, Javi Morgado, Meredith Vieira, Thomas Roberts

(Anthony Morrison Photography)

Today Show’s Willie Geist, CNN’s Brooke Baldwin, Javi Morgado, Meredith Vieira and MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts

Willie Geist

Anthony Morrison Photography

Willie Geist of “Today”

Andrew Shue, Amy Roback

Anthony Morrison Photography

“GMA” host Amy Roback and husband Andrew Shue of “Melrose Place” fame

Meredith Vieira

Anthony Morrison Photography

Meredith Vieira