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It was an afternoon full of laughter and tears as A-listers gathered to support rape and abuse victims at the annual Rape Foundation brunch Sunday at Ron Burkle’ s Beverly Hills estate. Hosted by Emily Deschanel and Josh Radnor with David Schwimmer serving as master of ceremonies, the event recognized Judd Apatow, Albert Brooks and Eric McCormack for their involvement with the foundation.
Deschanel told The Hollywood Reporter she was glad to see the impact her PSA and a date rape episode she filmed for Bones had on getting people the help they need.
“There was a huge increase in calls and contacts after that episode,” said Deschanel. “People were mentioning that they’d seen the PSA and seen the episode and how it affected them.”
Schwimmer lightened the mood, opening with jokes that continued throughout the afternoon.
“Apparently there was a problem with my jokes being so funny it made the program go over 20 minutes, so I plan to keep the jokes at a minimum.”
Apatow commented that regardless of what people were saying, his casual attire — khakis and a buttoned shirt — was appropriate for the afternoon. He thanked everyone for still making it out at a time when they could have been preparing for the Breaking Bad finale.
“I know a lot of you could be at home making snacks for your Breaking Bad parties right now,” said Apatow.
He also admitted confusion regarding Rape Foundation President Gail Abarbanel‘s decision to have comics on the program.
“I’m not sure why Gail asked so many comedians to speak,” Apatow said. “This is a difficult event to be funny in, and I feel like maybe Gail is playing some sort of elaborate practical joke on all of us that only she understands.”
Abarbanel later said that her choice to include comedians centered on the fact that they used laughter to open others up to important issues and take a deeper look within.
Brooks followed Apatow, making a crack about his outfit, saying that Apatow was going to paint the house later. He expressed the importance of Stuart House, which provides a “safe haven” for rape victims, and wished that scientists studying the brain could do away with the gene that causes such behavior to take place. While recognizing his brother, Cliff Einstein, for his work with the foundation, Brooks also explained why he doesn’t have the same last name as his brother.
“I was born with the name Albert Einstein,” said Brooks. “I asked my parents did you have any idea he would figure out the universe? Was Jesus Christ taken?”
McCormack spoke of the family talks he and his wife have had while raising their son, teaching him to stand up against abusive behavior.
The laughs dissolved into an emotional atmosphere upon hearing victims share their heartbreaking experiences that were healed by the efforts of Stuart House.
Producer Norman Lear ended the afternoon by encouraging guests to donate to the campaign to build a new home for rape and abuse victims. He challenged guests to reach into their pockets to beat the record set by Steven Spielberg, who has a floor named after him.
Apatow donated $50,000 for a janitor’s closet, but Lear told him there was no closet available and he’d have to settle for a janitor’s toilet instead.
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