Hollywood came out in support of AIDS organization amfAR at L.A.'s Milk Studios Thursday night.
And host Chelsea Handler made sure there was plenty of laughter sprinkled in between the heartfelt speeches delivered by the night's honorees, Hugo Boss, Aileen Getty and Goldie Hawn.
"We've got a lot of work to do, and clearly, nobody likes getting a little work done more than this crowd," two-time host Handler joked to begin the night. "Too soon?" she asked when the joke didn't render uproarious laughter.
The late-night talk show host, 38, said she was shocked to be invited back to the highbrow event, which raised $3.5 million for AIDS research in just a few hours. $100,000 of that donated by Handler herself. "I hate going to these things," she griped of the donation. "You get a little buzz going and then whoopsy!"
And no topic was off limits for the comedian. There were jokes about sexuality, plastic surgery, race, age, disease, money, and religion.
[Photos: Celebs Give Back]
Handler dropped jaws with her riff on awards show darling "Dallas Buyer Club," saying, "Now a lot of people think that this is a fight that has been fought and already won, or that AIDS is only a problem in other countries, or that Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto cured AIDS down in Texas … but they didn't," before again adding, "Too soon?"
She ribbed honorary chair Kenneth Cole for only gifting her one pair of shoes during a visit to her E! talk show earlier in the day, calling him "Jewy." And before presenter Cheyenne Jackson took the stage, she described him as "the one Michael Douglas was behind in 'Behind the Candelabra' until he decided he'd rather be behind Matt Damon."
Introducing honorary chair — and auctioneer — Sharon Stone, she joked, "I don't want to comment on Sharon because we both accidentally showed our vaginas and became famous," adding, "Hers was in a movie, mine wasn't."
But the night wasn't all about jokes. Stone, 55, helped amfAR org auction off high-end goods to raise funds for AIDS research including luxury trips on the Orient-Express from London to Venice (airfare from L.A. to London included, natch), a five-night stay at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge in the Serengeti in Tanzania, Africa, an Indian safari and artwork from Steven Meisel, Catherine Opie and an "On The Road" illustration from Ed Ruscha.
[Photos: Stars Support amfAR]
The actress committed in a big way to getting benefactors to empty their pockets. More than once she offered to kiss a bidder — and followed through — in order to raise the financial stakes. And the money raising was definitely a success, with items going for $40,000, $55,000, and $60,000. Honoree Eileen Getty (herself an AIDS survivor) also donated $1 million dollars after the auction, a sum her sister matched.
Before Grace Jones, 65, took the stage to end the night with an energetic performance that focused as much on her legendary legs as her songs, honoree Hawn delivered a heartfelt speech.
"One of the greatest things in my life has been finding happiness in giving back," the 68-year-old Oscar winner confessed to the crowd that included longtime partner Kurt Russell, son Oliver Hudson, Zoe Saldana and hubby Marco Perego, Kelly Osborne and fiancé Matthew Mosshart, Lily Tomlin, Laura Prepon, Paula Abdul, Nigel Lithgoe, and Giles Marini.
"As you grow up, as you grow out, and as you grow older, you will realize that the one thing [that matters] in your life is passion and inspiration," she concluded.
The generous crowd seemed to agree!
- Aileen Getty