“Night of Too Many Stars” on Comedy Central is an biennial live telethon featuring famous comics, shorts skits, and various ways to donate or bid for certain auction items. Jon Stewart was the host for this particular year, and the event featured comedians like Louis C.K., Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Adam Sandler, Amy Schumer, and many, many others. Jokes were made, songs were sung, and items were bid on.
All of the proceeds from the event went to New York Collaborates for Autism, a nonprofit organization that creates educational programs and opportunities for those on the spectrum so that they can live empowering and meaningful lives. Rather than focusing on research, “Night of Too Many Stars” works with New York Collaborates for Autism to raise funds for programs and services. Since its inception in 2006, “Night of Too Many Stars” has raised over $18 million dollars for children and adults with autism.
A highlight of this show was a performance by Weird Al and Jodi DiPiazza, a teenager on the spectrum whose gorgeous voice may sound familiar. In 2012’s “Night of Too Many Stars,” then-11-year-old Jodi performed “Firework” with Katy Perry (watch it here) and it was amazing. This year, she staged a triumphant return when she and Weird Al sang “Yoda,” a parody of “Lola” by The Kinks. Actionplay Chorus, a group of children with autism, joined them at the end.
Another highlight was when Gilbert Gottfried (who voiced the part of the parrot Iago in “Aladdin”) performed a scene with Owen Suskind. Owen is a young man who was diagnosed with regressive autism at a young age and lost his ability to verbally communicate for years. It wasn’t until his father Ron picked up a puppet of Iago and began speaking to him in Iago’s voice that Owen spoke! In this clip, you’ll hear Owen’s father talk about what it was like for Owen growing up, and also see Gottfried and Owen perform a scene together! (You won’t be able to stop yourself from smiling at Owen’s reaction to Iago’s voice!)
“Night of Too Many Stars” began when Robert Smigel and his wife Michelle began struggling to find educational opportunities for their son Daniel, who is on the spectrum. Robert is a writer, actor, and producer perhaps best known for his work on “Saturday Night Live” and “Late Night With Conan O’Brien.” The Smigels collaborated with other parents to create a school in New York and, since the school needed fundraising (as did other national support programs they wanted to help), they hatched the idea for “Night of Too Many Stars.”
What were your favorite performances? Share in the comments below!
The Autism Site is a place where people can come together to support people who are affected by autism spectrum disorder. In addition to sharing inspiring stories, shopping for the cause, and signing petitions, visitors can take just a moment each day to click on the red button to provide therapy for children and families living with autism spectrum disorders. Visit The Autism Site and click today - it's free!