“Don’t be the loser who misses out on prom,” the invites taunted.
Even those who came but left the third annual “Hilarity for Charity” at the Hollywood Palladium before 11:00 p.m. on Friday night ended up the losers.
Hosts Seth Rogen and wife Lauren Miller Rogen joined Bell Biv Devoe on stage for an “if you can dance like it’s 1990, you can come on stage” finale to a night that raised over $900,000 for Alzheimer’s research in a 1980’s themed variety show prom.
“Do Me”, “Poison”, and “When Will I See You Smile Again?” finally got people out of their seats as Bell Biv Devoe progressively stripped down from vintage suit and vest fashions to “Boston Strong / 617” branded BBD t-shirts.
Unlike most proms, this one had Sarah Silverman (in a school girl outfit) talking about (Warning: rated R material imminent) divine ejaculation, Joe Gordon-Levitt covering No Doubt’s “I’m Just a Girl”, and Craig Robinson as an impressively fun bandleader. Watchout, Roots crew.
This prom was 21+ only and had an open bar, despite Rogen’s promo videos of recent weeks that showed his female date spiking the punch bowl from a flask (in addition to shotgunning a joint in an 80’s limo and subpar bedroom relations.)
Tickets ranging from $1,000 down to $150 “get-in” seats sold out, quantitatively proving that Rogen and Miller have found the groove on this event after a “House Party” themed outing at the Avalon last year (with the Backstreet Boys) and the inaugural edition on the tightly packed Golden Globes weekend in 2012.
They raised $850,000 before the doors of the Palladium even opened on Friday night. “That’s a big f— you to Alzheimer’s!” Miller said.
Judd Apatow heaved “G’s” on to that “F” by auctioning off a $50 bill for $1,000. He also sold off a series of Rogen personal appearances. One of the top snags was a dinner party cooked by “Top Chef” Michael Voltaggio and Rogen in your own home, which some well-heeled prom-goer took down for $38,000.
“I’ve known Seth since he was 16 years old,” Apatow said. “I thought by now he’d be back in Canada selling beers at hockey games.”
Unlike a lot of one-and-done fundraiser shows, Rogen and Miller have made “Hilarity for Charity” in to an ongoing campaign. The creative couple seeded the Hilarity for Charity concept to college campuses, traveling all the way to the University of Vermont in May to screen “Neighbors” for the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity that had raised the most money for the cause.
(Before you click out of this story for google maps, Burlington, Vermont is 45 minutes from Canada and it’s expected to be 45 degrees there this weekend, so it’s not all about “smacking it, flipping it, and rubbing it down.” Oh no.)
Back in Hollywood on Friday, it was pastel table cloths, streamers hanging from the rafters, balloon arches, a chrome and neon pink “Vice City”-esque logo, and a surprising number of people who actually dressed up in 1980’s prom costumes two weeks to the day before Halloween. Rogen is cool enough to get Hollywood to drop their guard.
Spotted in the crowd (not in costume), Rob Lowe, the duo of Taylor Lautner and Patrick Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver, Marcia Gay Harden, and enough industry insiders to draw both event top shooters, Jeff Vespa and Alex Berliner.
Miller’s personal connection to Alzheimer’s provided the sobering overtone on the night. They have an appropriate sponsor for the cause, Genworth, which provides long term health care insurance, a financial dynamic that impacts patients and families who will benefit from a night like “Hilarity for Charity”.
Jose Cuervo, Hangar 1 Vodka and Dos Equis also kept the party on a non-high school level as sponsors.
Kumail Nanjiani, Weird Al Yankovic, and comic magicians David and Leeman performed, but were trumped by the biggest non-musical crowd pleaser of the night, Bill Burr.