Kevin Hart is helping to relaunch the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s annual telethon, previously hosted by Jerry Lewis.
The MDA is relaunching the once-annual Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, which broadcast its final edition with host Nancy O’Dell in 2014, as the Kevin Hart Kids Telethon in 2020. Hart will host the Oct. 24 event, which will raise funds for the MDA and Hart’s Help From the Hart charity to benefit children with “disabilities and disadvantages,” according to the organizations. The event will take place at 8 p.m. ET.
On Oct. 8 the event announced that John David Washington, Gabrielle Union, DJ Khaled, Bryan Cranston, Aldis Hodge and Edwin Hodge, Leslie Mann, Daniel Levy and others will appear during the special. The event will stream on platforms associated with Hart’s LOL Network like YouTube and Pluto, with other partners to be announced.
Eva Longoria, Michael B. Jordan, Jack Black, Josh Gad, Usain Bolt and Jillian Mercado are all set to appear at the event, which will include comedy and musical performances. More names will be revealed closer to the event date.
“This is an incredible opportunity to bring the work of Jerry Lewis and the Muscular Dystrophy Association forward. I’m honored to collaborate with MDA and my organization, to educate and entertain the public about the need to support people with disabilities and disadvantages, because we are all in this together,” Hart said in a statement. “I can’t wait to have an incredible night for two critically important causes that are in urgent need of funding and hope.”
“For decades Jerry Lewis brought the world together through the historic Labor Day telethon, establishing an incredible foundation of help and hope for MDA and the families we serve,” MDA president and CEO Lynn O’Connor Vos said in her own statement. “The telethon was instrumental in raising awareness and donations that today have been directly linked to the development of life-changing therapies for muscular dystrophy, ALS and related neuromuscular diseases. Kevin Hart and the Help From the Hart foundation are the perfect match for MDA to bring the magic and power of the telethon into a new era of giving, and to bring the remarkable stories of strength of MDA families into the hearts and homes of people across the country.”
Hart, whose past anti-gay remarks and comments using homophobic language resurfaced in 2018, preceded him leaving a high-profile gig hosting the Oscars in 2019. In his 2019 Netflix docuseries Kevin Hart: Don’t F–k This Up, Hart said of his reaction to the controversy (which led to further criticism), “I missed an opportunity to say simply that I don’t condone any type of violence in any way, shape or form to anyone for being who they are. I f—ed up…. Instead I said, ‘I addressed it.’ I said, ‘I apologized.’ I said, ‘I talked about this already.’ I was just immature.”
Oct. 8, 9:21 a.m. Updated with new participants and streaming partners.