Mayer, Ross and Kimmel hosted the Scleroderma Research Foundation’s annual “Cool Comedy, Hot Cuisine” fundraising event in Beverly Hills, which also served as a tribute to Saget, who died in January at age 65 after an accidental blow to the head .
That Full house the actor had passionately championed the Scleroderma Research Foundation since losing his sister Gay to the disease—a rare and often life-threatening autoimmune condition that can cause fibrosis of the skin and other vital organs—in 1994. Case became a member of the Scleroderma Research Foundation’s board of directors. in 2003, but he began his involvement in 1991 through “Cool Comedy, Hot Cuisine” – as a participant, a performer and finally as a key figure in organizing and producing the event.
This year, in his place, Kimmel kicked off the night with sentimentality and dark humor, teasing that “these bookings have really improved tremendously since Bob died,” with Bill Burr, Rosie O’Donnell and Kathy Griffin among the stand-ups on hand. Kimmel brought out Ross and Mayer to accompany him; Mayer noted how “this is the first time I’ve come to a scleroderma benefit where Bob hasn’t, as Jimmy said, asked me to do this event, but so apologized while asking me to do this event .”
He continued, “What’s so fun about tonight, the only fun thing about it, is we get to show Bob that we wanted to do this, we’ve always wanted to do this.” Added Ross: “I’m going to try to keep this as festive as possible. Everyone should have a friend like Bob Saget; tonight is a tribute, but it’s also a celebration of the fact that we all got to know that guy, that he had this impact on our lives. You didn’t really know Bob until you saw him host a dinner for scleroderma research – that was the real Bob Saget. He was emotional, he was the most genuine I’ve ever seen him on stage, except when he was performing on Broadway or something.”
Sage’s wife Kelly Rizzo also co-chaired the evening with her children and extended family in the crowd, along with SRF board members Regina Hall and chef Susan Feniger, Norman Lear, Joel McHale, Kevin Nealon, Seth Green and Howie Mandel. The case Full house co-players John StamosLori Loughlin and Jodie Sweetin were also in attendance.
Feniger emceed the “Hot Cuisine” portion of the evening, which transitioned into an auction that raised over $1 million for the foundation (and included two of Mayer’s personal guitars). Stamos took the stage to introduce a video tribute to Saget, after a series of jokes, telling the audience: “I’ve talked about him so much, written about him so much, and I just love him so much that I would give anything to have him back.”
A common theme throughout the event was also Saget’s dirty sense of humor, with McHale declaring “Bob was the most empathetic and dirtiest person on the planet …. There was no successful dirty person more loved,” sharing some of the R-rated texts that Saget had sent him over the years.
For the comedy portion of the night, Nealon and Mandel performed short sets before a special guest appearance by Chappelle, another longtime friend of Saget’s. Chappelle – who took the stage after all the audience’s phones had been locked away – admitted: “Tonight I got drunk because I love Bob so much. Bob, I can feel you in this room tonight.”
After reviewing his current stand-up material — which included documenting his attack on stage at the Hollywood Bowl in May — Chappelle convinced Burr to join him on stage as the two riffed on each other’s jokes. Chappelle had a drink onstage in Saget’s honor and played a video message for the audience that he had sent to Chappelle just months before his death, in which Saget expressed his love and appreciation for his friend.
“What an amazing person,” Chappelle said, also noting how Saget had mentioned the Sclerodermi benefit to him over the years, and when Chappelle finally reached one year, Saget cried. The comedian said he would now continue to serve the Cause forever, and although he had joked throughout his set about how he felt he bombed, noted that it was an honor to be there.
Mayer closed the night with an emotional and story-filled performance, commenting how, nine months after Saget’s death, it is still impossible for him to understand that the star is actually gone, as his memories of him are so clear. Mayer revealed that he was playing the guitar Saget had played during his last show in Florida – Rizzo had tracked it down and bought it, then gave it to Mayer, who said it was one of his most prized possessions. He then played what he said were “Bob’s favorite songs.”
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.