Hollywood Celebrates the Death of 2017 With Humorous Eulogies
"Is it wrong to be happy about something that died?," asked Emmy-nominated writer Bess Kalb at the event for charitable organization We the Women.
On Friday night, mourners flocked to the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel for the We the Women’s Wake spearheaded by Nathalie Love and Samantha Ressler to celebrate the end of 2017. The pair, who co-starred and produced the web series That’s What She Said, collaborated to create an occasion to empower women in the arts and directly support LAUSD.
The event, held in the Blossom Ballroom, oozed with Hollywood history as guests poured into the site of the first Academy Awards. In response to invitations that read:,“Please come pay your disrespects to a year we all dearly hope to forget,” attendees wore black in full funeral-inspired fashion.
“2017 can only be described — to use a presidential term — as a shithole,” said Ressler, before the night proceeded with eulogies written by Bess Kalb (Jimmy Kimmel Live!), Bridger Winegar (Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Jess Dweck (The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, SMILF, Big Mouth), Jocelyn Richards (I Love You, America) and Megan Amram (The Good Place, Silicon Valley, Parks and Recreation).
Comedian Sabrina Jalees performed the first tribute, beginning her speech by declaring the death of facts. To emphasize her statement, Jalees requested the audience audibly gasp after she repeated the declaration for a second time.
After humorous tears, Jalees' final words included, “If facts were still here, it would tell us to fight on — and we don’t look good in mom jeans.”
Alongside a methodically planned dinner menu, tall glass candles featuring angels and religious symbols flickered, further resembling a candlelight vigil.
Comedian Emily Heller, who has appeared on Conan and Chelsea Lately, read her eulogy for the United States presidency. She acted stunned by the death saying, “He wasn’t even sick, and as an institution had some brushes with death — War of 1812, Woodward and Bernstein…” — but “by January 20th, he was gone — still there, but nothing behind the eyes.”
Heller concluded by saying, “In lieu of flowers, move back to the swing states you came from and vote.”
Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce's Kosha Patel spoke in memory of tolerance, which the group declared died in 2017, as well.
Patel cheekily said, “Now that tolerance is gone, all I can say is 'Fuck tolerance,' because it was a snowflake and would want you to cry your liberal tears — what a loser.”
Carson Meyer (daughter of NBCUniversal's Ron Meyer) continued the night of eulogies, noting that President Donald Trump refusing to sign the Paris agreement was “Mother Earth’s death warrant.”
Emmy-nominated writer Kalb performed a eulogy for the death of dicks and the “ability for men to whip out penises without consequence,” specifically mentioning Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer and Kevin Spacey.
Between courses, Rainey Qualley covered Cutting Crew's hit song “(I Just) Died In Your Arms,” alongside her bandmate Nick Dungo, who played the guitar.
The audience spurred the performers for an encore, which prompted the pair to perform an additional two songs.
Other notable guests included Modern Family creator Steve Levitan, Home Again writer-director Hallie Meyers-Shyer, Flower writer-director Max Winkler and Scout Willis.
Love and Ressler hope to continue the dinner series and previously organized events for We the Women, including a two-night production of Women of Manhattan, a comedy by John Patrick Shanley, from which they donated 100 percent of the proceeds to Planned Parenthood.
During the dinner, Love reminded guests to remember, "All the faults of 2017 exposed the truths."