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'Comic Relief 2006'


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Comic Relief 2006 to Raise Money for Katrina

by Ryan Nakashima


Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal

host 'Comic Relief 8' held in New York in 1998.

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- "Comic Relief 2006," the celebrity-studded fundraising telethon for the homeless, is back, after an 8-year hiatus. Robin Williams, Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg will take the stage on Saturday, November 18 at 9 p.m. to raise funds for Hurricane Katrina victims, capping a weeklong Comedy Festival that began Tuesday in Las Vegas.

"Comic Relief" founder and President Bob Zmuda said the decision to revive the telethon came after he narrowly escaped the wrath of the 2004 Asian tsunami while vacationing in Thailand. "I got severe survivor's guilt," he said. He returned to Thailand to volunteer in a morgue with thousands of bodies. "It was the worst experience in my life and yet it became the best."

Then Katrina smashed into the Gulf Coast last year, leaving thousands homeless _ and giving "Comic Relief" a new cause. "We decided we had this great brand name and comedians were still willing to do it," Zmuda said. The show marks the ninth major telecast of "Comic Relief," a 20-year-old institution that held its last major event in 1998.


New Orleans Host Wayne Brady

Participating this year are Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, George Lopez and Sarah Silverman. Wayne Brady will host the show's satellite location in New Orleans. It will be broadcast live from Caesars Palace on HBO and, with an 8-second delay for content, on TBS.

Much of the proceeds will go toward building traditional "shotgun" houses in New Orleans' Holy Cross area in the devastated lower Ninth Ward. The narrow, rectangular houses can be built for about $145,000 each and sold to low-income families for about $110,000 by a local nonprofit group, Zmuda said.

"People have kind of forgotten. They say New Orleans is OK now. And it's not. It's ground zero," Zmuda said. While the benefit has a serious cause, the rest of the Comedy Festival week is all about yucks.


'Comic Relief 2006' Hosts Whoopi Goldberg, Robin

Williams and Billy Crystal share a laugh onstage

On Wednesday, Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog was to bring it with "Poopapalooza II" and a Jim Henson-inspired puppet group was to play out an adult content show, "Puppet Up." Dane Cook was to perform his "Tourgasm Tour" on Friday.

Dave Chappelle, who famously walked away from a $50 million deal to continue his hit "Chappelle's Show" on Comedy Central in 2005, canceled a scheduled Thursday performance. No reason was immediately given.

To donate, call 1-800-528-1000
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  • 1 month later...

Horribly boring. When Billy Crystal played the squinty eyed black new orleans jazz player with a raspy voice for what seemed to be 30 minutes, i could have died of boredom. Good thing i changed the channel

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Sadly, I have to totally agree. Unfortunately, I kept watching the whole thing hoping it would improve. It didn't. At least, it went to a good cause but they really need to step up for the next one or rethink the format. I know it's for charity but there should be some entertainment value in it if it's going to be broadcast.


Perhaps if they can't keep the comedy to broadcast standards, they should go back to airing only on pay channels. Only Whoopi Goldberg had the backs of the regular viewers because she mentioned it several times during the evening.

She often remarked feeling sorry for the network viewers and the amount of beeps caused by blue humor. I enjoy blue humor but if you know the audience won't get to hear the entire joke because of your language usage, then you are going to lose half your audience.

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