Monday, October 16, 2006

Star light, star bright

Last night I tuned in to an autism benefit show on Comedy Central called Night of Too Many Stars: An Overbooked Benefit for Autism Education. I was tentative because I wasn't sure what to expect from a benefit show with a cast that drew heavily from the ranks of Saturday Night Live. I've also become skeptical of autism benefits in general, and I feared that I'd see a lot of bathroom humor mixed in with "public service announcements" that featured distraught and hopeless parents sending desperate messages about the crisis of this devastating epidemic that is stealing our children. I expected to hear about the race for a cure, and to see solemn-faced comedians telling me that every minute that passed without a cure was another minute lost for my son.

But I was very pleasantly surprised.

Okay, I admit, there was a bit of bathroom humor. But there was also Jerry Seinfeld. And Stephen Colbert. And - of course - the host who should be President, Jon Stewart. There was even a performance by one of my musical heroes, Elvis Costello. But better than all of that, there were clips of children and adults with autism. There were interviews with parents and teachers. The children smiled. The parents smiled. The teachers smiled. Parents talked about their children with pride. They reflected on how far their kids have come and talked eagerly about their hopes for a very bright future.

The focus wasn't on fear, or devastation, or desperation, or even cure. The focus of the benefit was on the transformative power of education in the lives of people with autism.

It was a good two hours. There was a lot of money raised. There were some pretty good laughs.

And there were some really great smiles.


Kristina Chew said...

Laughter enlivens, lightens and brightens. Laugh on!

gretchen said...

We watched a bit also. It must have been a challenge to these comedians to talk about autism and try to make some jokes but not offend anyone!

I miss Seinfeld. He still seemed funny as ever.

Susan Senator said...

I didn't watch it for the very same fears. I'm glad to hear that it was not at all the way we suspected it would be. Those guys are my heroes. I, too, miss Seinfeld! My husband and I quote from that show all the time.

Wendy said...

I was going to post about this today but you beat me to it. I watched for two hours last night (I think it actually lasted a lot longer?) and thought Seinfeld was the highlight of the show. I love Jon Stewart though too. I was only turned off by one thing - the British "comedian" who joked about taking his autistic neighbor to the casino and when he didn't perform as planned, took him back home. Very poor taste!

Kristen said...

Oh no....I missed it! Anyone know if they will replay it????

Aiden's Mommy said...

You're right about the bathroom humour and I have to admit, when they were being serious, I was waiting for a joke. Asking all those people to stand up if they were willing to donate X amount of money. They got to a $1000 and I thought Donald Trump might stand up. I would have LMAO!