Edie Falco, Hilary Swank, Isaac Mizrahi Celebrate ASPCA's Efforts — and Those Commercials

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
Hilary Swank and Edie Falco

"It's the best commercial in the world because anyone who doesn't send money after watching that is not alive, does not have a pulse and is officially dead!"

When Sarah McLachlan and a slew of puppies appear onscreen, it's the notorious moment of truth: Sit through the notoriously emotional ASPCA commercial or change the channel?

"I change the channel — I can't watch them! I am upset for the rest of the night," Edie Falco told The Hollywood Reporter Thursday at the organization's annual Bergh Ball, held at The Plaza Hotel in New York City.

Isaac Mizrahi, serving as the night's co-host, does the same. "I absolutely cannot watch it — yes, I have to change it. That's a testament to how effective it is. It's the best commercial in the world because anyone who doesn't send money after watching that is not alive, does not have a pulse and is officially dead!"

Meanwhile, Good Morning America's Sara Haines and Ginger Zee both sit through them and cry. "My husband cries first, because he cries more about animals than I ever could, but it inspires us," Zee said. Fellow event co-host Lake Bell (whose mother, Robin Bell, designed the ballroom with ornate, oversized florals) echoed what many guests said of the ads. "After the commercials, I'm inundated with a new surge of activism. They do well that way."

Upon arrival to the gala benefiting efforts to directly impact the lives of homeless, abused and neglected animals across the country, guests — including Christian Siriano, Star Jones, Amy Acker, Jay Manuel, Deborah Cox and Vincent Piazza — posed on the red carpet with a pit bull, pug or Chihuahua, all five of which were available for adoption. Playing cards with rescue animals (plus Nathan Lane and Andy Cohen with their pets as the deck's jokers) adorned each table alongside paddles of dog and cat faces for the live auction.

Falco was honored with the ASPCA Voice for Animals Award. "It seems as if they were put here on the earth with us at the same time to bring joy — that's certainly been my experience — or to teach us about love and loyalty," she said at the podium. "The idea that people bring harm to animals is beyond my comprehension, but you know, they're sick too. But that's another charity!"

Swank, receiving the Compassion Award, discussed her time volunteering in various shelters and stressed the importance of giving forgotten animals hope that they'll find a "forever home" — a goal that her own charity, The Hilaroo Foundation, focuses on by pairing off and rehabilitating abandoned animals with youths that have also been neglected. "No soul should be discarded by society," she told the ballroom of attendees. "Every soul needs someone who cares."

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