Longtime pals John Mayer, Jeff Ross, Jimmy Kimmel, and Dave Chappelle gathered on Wednesday to tribute to the late comic and support a cause he had kept for 30 years. The annual “Cool Comedy, Hot Cuisine” fundraiser for the Scleroderma Research Foundation, was hosted by Mayer, Ross, and Kimmel in Beverly Hills and served as a night of remembrance for Saget, who passed away in January at age 65 after an unintentional strike to the head.
The actor from Full House had been a fervent supporter of the Scleroderma Research Foundation ever since he lost his sister Gay to the illness in 1994. Scleroderma is a rare and frequently fatal autoimmune ailment that can result in fibrosis in the skin and other essential organs.
Saget joined the board of directors of the Scleroderma Research Foundation in 2003. Still, he got involved with the organization in 1991 as a performer at “Cool Comedy, Hot Cuisine” and later as a significant player in its planning and production.
This year, in his absence, Jimmy Kimmel introduced the night of pathos and dark comedy, making fun of the fact that Bill Burr, Rosie O’Donnell, and Kathy Griffin were among the stand-ups there and mocking that “these bookings have improved substantially since Bob died away.”
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Ross and Mayer were brought out to follow Kimmel; Mayer remarked that this was the first Scleroderma benefit when Bob hadn’t asked her to do the event but apologized profusely, as Jimmy said.
The only thing that makes fun tonight, he said, “is that we get to show Bob that this is something we’ve always wanted to do.” Ross continued, “I’m going to make an effort to keep this as joyful as possible. It would be ideal for everyone to have a buddy like Bob Saget, and tonight’s celebration of his life and legacy also serves as a memorial.
The real Bob Saget wasn’t revealed to the public until he was seen hosting a dinner for the Scleroderma Research Foundation. Other than when he was playing on Broadway or something, he was the most sincere I’ve ever seen him on stage, and he was also quite emotional.
Along with SRF board members Regina Hall and chef Susan Feniger, Norman Lear, Joel McHale, Kevin Nealon, Seth Green, and Howie Mandel in attendance, Saget’s wife Kelly Rizzo also acted as co-chair for the event. John Stamos, Lori Loughlin, and Jodie Sweetin were all members of Saget’s Full House cast members.
Feniger handled the “Hot Cuisine” portion of the event, and it then moved into an auction that brought in over $1 million for the organization (and featured two of Mayer’s guitars). After cracking a few jokes, Stamos entered the stage to unveil a tribute film for Saget, telling the audience, “I’ve spoken and written so much about him, and I just love him so much, I would give anything to have him back.”
Saget’s filthy sense of humor was another recurring theme throughout the event. McHale shared some of the R-rated texts Saget had sent him over the years and said, “Bob was the most empathetic and dirty person on the planet… There was no successful dirty person who was more beloved.”
Nealon and Mandel opened the comic section of the show before Saget’s longtime friend Chappelle made a special guest appearance. Chappelle said, “Tonight I got drunk because I love Bob so much,” when he took the stage after he had put the audience’s phones away. Bob, I feel your presence in this space right now.
Chappelle persuaded Burr to join him on stage as the two riffed on each other’s jokes after going through his current stand-up routine, which included recording his on-stage attack at the Hollywood Bowl in May. Saget sent Chappelle a video message just months before his passing in which he conveyed his love and gratitude for his friend. Chappelle had a drink on stage in Saget’s honor and played the message for the audience.
Saget had repeatedly emphasized the Scleroderma benefit to Chappelle over the years, and Saget had even shed a tear when Chappelle finally arrived one year. “What a beautiful human being,” Chappelle remarked. Although he had joked throughout his show about how he felt he was bombing, the comic said he would now continue to give Saget favors forever and acknowledged it was an honor to be there.
Mayer brought the evening to a close with an emotional and narrative-heavy performance. He said that even nine months after Saget’s passing, it’s still difficult for him to believe the star is no longer alive because his memories of him are so vivid.
Mayer disclosed that he was using the guitar Saget had used at his final Florida performance; Rizzo had located it, purchased it, and given it to Mayer as a gift; Mayer claimed it to be one of his most valued belongings. Then, he began to play “Bob’s favorite songs.”