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The telethon kicked off with a pre-taped segment starring Poehler, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Sterling K. Brown and more A-listers who listed the past accomplishments of the ACLU and causes it is taking on now, encouraging viewers to give money.
“America’s sweetheart” Tom Hanks introduced the evening in honor of the ACLU. “We are here tonight to do kooky bits on the internet and to raise money for the ACLU,” said the actor. “That’s right, American civil liberties — you remember those.”
Hanks also presented the evening’s “celebrity talent,” which included Tracy Morgan, Nia Vardalos, Cecily Strong, Greta Lee, Ike Barinholtz and Zosia Mamet manning the incoming donations.
The event’s hosts mentioned President Donald Trump and his policies several times throughout the telethon, with Hanks touting the ACLU’s continued fight against Trump’s travel ban before visiting with the celebrities manning the web donations, who were each a bit surprised by the trolls leaving rude comments instead of donations. “I just think that George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” Morgan joked, calling Hanks “Captain Phillips.”
Tina Fey later took the stage to make Ghostbusters jokes and promote the fight for women’s rights, along with some Trump jokes. “In what is surely an April Fool’s joke,” she said, the president on Friday declared April Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. “So now we know what he gave up for lent, that’s good.”
Also taking the stage to share stories of the ACLU and its current cases were Michael Moore, Chelsea Clinton, Colin Jost, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Padma Lakshmi and Alec Baldwin, who joked, “I’m not Donald Trump, but I did impersonate him once to get a Fast Pass at the Kremlin.”
Seth Meyers even appeared via a pre-taped version of his “Closer Look” segment. Sitting at his Late Night desk, Meyers stressed that “the work that the ACLU does is more important than ever.” The talk show host noted that not only does the organization have to fight to protect voting rights, but it has to “protect us from cameras Obama put in our microwaves.”
Stand for Rights: A Benefit for the ACLU, which streamed via Facebook Live beginning at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT Friday, raised money for the nonprofit organization and featured performances by Usher (accompanied by The Roots), Ryan Adams, Norah Jones and more.
Stand for Rights was executive produced by Friend of a Friend Productions in collaboration with The Huffington Post, Funny or Die and Maggie Vision.
Watch the Facebook video below.
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