Stars shine for autism benefit show

By Garth Brody

Courtesy MCT
Comedy Central will be airing its third biennial “Night of Too Many Stars” autism benefit show tonight at 9 p.m.

The event is a joint effort by Comedy Central and “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart’s Busboy Productions, aimed at raising money for autism education and research programs. Comedy Central’s press release boasts “a celebrity phone bank, allowing viewers to call in during the airing to donate while speaking with additional comedic heavyweights.”

The night’s programming will be divided between a live telecast from Los Angeles (where the celebrity phone bank will be seated visibly behind the performers, if previous iterations of the event are any indication) and a pre-taped New York show from the evening of Oct. 2, which was hosted by none other than Stewart. The Massachusetts Daily Collegian attended the latter, ambushing celebrities outside the Beacon Theater on the red – it was more of a blue, actually – carpet.

The first star gullible enough to talk to our humble publication was “Daily Show” correspondent John Oliver. He spoke to recent comments about Jon Stewart made by CNN pundit Rick Sanchez (over which Sanchez was fired).

“In no way is Jon a bigot; deep down I think Rick Sanchez knows that,” Oliver said.

On a lighter note, he quipped on his aspirations for the night to follow.

“I’d like to try to upstage the rubber dog – and fail,” he added. “It will be difficult.”

Next down the line, comedian and “Daily Show” colleague Lewis Black touted the importance of the night’s cause, asserting that people in positions of power should do “whatever it takes” to advance autism research.

“It’s not a new phenomenon, it’s just that most of the community just found out – just like they just found out our school system is crumbling,” said Black.

In typical Lewis Black style, he took the opportunity to blast a right-wing mouthpiece, lamenting, “but then Sharron Angle goes and opens her mouth and says something that boggles the mind.”

Black also stated that he has finished writing his latest book, and that it will be hitting shelves soon.
Olivia Munn, another “Daily Show” correspondent, also had some sharp words for Rick Sanchez, suggesting that maybe, “Rick just missed his nap, and I think that if you’ve ever been in a position where you miss naptime – I get cranky too – he just needed a little bit of a privacy blanket and then some nursing time. That’s it.”

Leonard Maltin, the guy behind those 1,000-page movie guides that have been made completely obsolete by, expressed his excitement for the “Too Many Stars” lineup. “I like all of them.” In particular, though, he admitted that he would “like to meet Tina Fey – I love her show.”

Temple Grandin, a massive figurehead for the autism community (famous for her development of humane cattle slaughter techniques), was enthusiastic about the high profile of the event; she called it “really wonderful” and claimed that “it’s gonna get awareness out there.”

Perhaps the most memorable moment of the night was a final timeless message meant for all of us students, delivered by the now-legendary Tay Zonday (of “Chocolate Rain” fame): “Stay in school.” Well, maybe Tay’s presence was not more poignant than Temple Grandin’s; He is probably more obsolete than Leonard Maltin at least.

The show airs on Comedy Central tonight at 9 p.m., and donations will be accepted throughout.

Garth Brody can be reached at [email protected]