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Comedians told dirty jokes for the sake of clean water.
Larry David, Sarah Silverman, Ray Romano, Cheryl Hines and more entertained guests at Avalon Hollywood on Thursday night for the fourth annual Keep It Clean comedy benefit. Hosted by SNL alum Taran Killam, the event raised about $300,000 for Waterkeeper Alliance, which works to keep rivers and coastlines pollution free.
Other entertainment included Bill Burr, Rachael Harris, Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Kevin Nealon, Shepard Fairey, John C. Reilly, Harper Simon and Waterkeeper Alliance president Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Stars took to a blue carpet alongside the Hollywood Walk of Fame in frigid 50-degree weather. Inside the historic venue, attendees ordered the Keep It Clean Mule, the Patron Perfect Paloma or the Patron Anejo Old Fashioned. Waiters, carrying trays of vegetarian spring rolls and mini veggie burgers, wedged their way among guests and a sparkling ocean blue Toyota Mirai — a hydrogen fuel cell car — displayed in the lobby.
Then came time for the stand-up comedy. Killam tried to stick to a set script that introduced the presenters, cause and sponsors, but went off page after he was heckled by a guest asking him to give a shoutout to the “LA Waterkeeper.” It ruined a bit, as we’d later find out, that planted Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele) in the crowd to pretend to be the LA Waterkeeper.
Kroll and Mulaney read from a stack of white paper to test-run the monologue they were scheduled to present as hosts for Saturday’s Film Independent Spirit Awards. “We need to run it, so you guys are going to hear some of these jokes.”
“We want to check in with IFC — and this is for a joke later, we don’t want to ruin it — but on IFC, are you allowed to say ‘cum peach’? OK, if not, does anyone know are we allowed to say if a certain stone fruit is filled to the brim with ejaculate?” Kroll said, referencing a scene in Call Me by Your Name. Later Mulaney joked, “I love your name, Timothee Chalamet. I want to hear RuPaul say, ‘Chalamet, you stay; DuVernay, shashay away.’” As for Chalamet’s co-star: “Armie Hammer is so handsome, he makes Jon Hamm look like his name should be Tony Bologna,” Kroll said.
The pair shouted out non-attendees of the comedy show like Kumail Nanjiani, Frances McDormand and Jordan Peele, even giving advice to future Spirit Award winners about their speeches: “Make sure to thank your significant other right away. Just slot it in where you would normally thank everyone at the Weinstein Company.”
Silverman, tossing on her glasses to check her notes, delivered a bit about abortion clinic protesters, made all the more funny when she repeated the routine after a guest near the first row walked in during the middle of her set. Romano told a story about getting offered a $2 blow job on the streets of New York.
But it was perhaps Burr who had the least politically correct sketch of the night, going after women, the Second Amendment and ISIS members.
“That Me Too shit’s finally dying down, huh? Jesus Christ, they were running out of people to pick on,” he joked. Burr explained how comedian Aziz Ansari was “framed” for being accused of sexual misconduct. “He was trying to get laid, that’s not illegal. … Am I really supposed to believe that someone can’t fight off Aziz Ansari? The guy is literally the size of a seventh-grader.”
Reilly and Simon broke up the jokes with folk music, singing and playing acoustic guitar for “Dark as a Dungeon” — which actually had the crowd giggling — and “Shenandoah.”
The final speaker, Kennedy, was introduced by quite the ensemble. His wife, Hines, came on stage, dragging along surprise guest Hamm (Mad Men) who “didn’t know he was coming on stage and he’s not prepared to say anything, but he could, but he doesn’t have to,” drawing cheers from the crowd. Hines introduced her Curb Your Enthusiasm co-star David — who originally introduced Hines to now-husband Kennedy.
Kennedy shared family stories from kayaking on the Hudson River with his father to watching 400,000 Polish people welcome the Kennedys with American flags. “America knew the difference between leadership and bullying,” Kennedy told the audience, calling Donald Trump “the worst president we’ve ever had.”
At the end of his speech, Kennedy received the only standing ovation of the night. “We’ve got an incredible roster of the greatest comedians in the country and they come here and do it for free, and all of them are committed to clean water,” he told THR at the event. “For me, it’s like a family affair.”
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