Jimmy Kimmel to Host Star-Studded Virtual Autism Benefit

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ASPartOfMe
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17 Apr 2021, 8:01 am

Hollywood Reporter

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Jimmy Kimmel is mounting what's being dubbed a livestream-a-thon for autism.

The three-hour event, which the late-night comic will co-host with former NASA engineer and current YouTuber Mark Rober, will raise money for NEXT for Autism. The virtual benefit is set for April 30th, and will unspool exclusively on Rober’s popular YouTube channel.

Kimmel, being Kimmel, has already lured a list of heavy-hitters to appear, including other past and present late night hosts Jon Stewart, Conan O’Brien and Stephen Colbert. Among the others set to turn up over the course of the evening: Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Jack Black, Andy Samberg, Paul Rudd, Mark Hamill and Sarah Silverman, among others.

The event is expected to feature a mix of musical performances, skits and science stunts, all designed to benefit autism programs across the country. In an attempt to innovate within the virtual format, viewers will be able to engage in real-time with the show’s hosts and guests as well.

The star-studded event will be produced by Kimmel’s team along with Robert and Michelle Smigel, who were also behind the Stewart-fronted Night of Too Many Stars benefit.

As usual I do not see any Autistic people involved in the creation of the project but the is a neurodivergent performer (Chris Rock NLVD). Night of Too Many Stars did have Autistic guests and performances, I hope this one will have Autistics also.

That viewers will be able to engage with the performers and hosts means that we have an golden opportunity to be heard, to point out in real time if something problematic comes up. This opportunity could be useful or harmful depending on how we use it.

I would advise come to the program with an open mind, if you expect it to be an ableistic s**tshow that is what it will be to you regardless of the actual if any ableism involved. This is comedy with really funny people, so it should be a fun night, but as with most comedy there will be jokes that fall flat and cringe worthy moments.

We will see.


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“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


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17 Apr 2021, 1:53 pm

I really liked how Mark introduced the event on his YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybPgmjTRvMo

I think he did a fairly good job of explaining how autism is: that a person doesn’t necessarily have some savant like talent but their life still has meaning. He also included quotes from autistic people and did a good short sensory overload demo. I’ve been a big fan of his for awhile and I think what he’s doing is pretty awesome. And I like that the event is supporting transition services which are really lacking.


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01 May 2021, 9:25 am

Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien, Charlize Theron and More Help Raise $3M for Next for Autism

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Jimmy Kimmel co-hosted a virtual benefit for autism on Friday along with former NASA engineer and current YouTuber Mark Rober that raised over $3 million for NEXT for Autism.

Color the Spectrum's three-hour benefit included a mix of Kimmel's late-night cohorts — Jon Stewart, Conan O’Brien and Stephen Colbert — as well a list of famous pals and previous Jimmy Kimmel Live! guests including Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Paul Rudd, Charlize Theron, and Sarah Silverman, among others.

Jack Black appeared to offer some ASMR services, mostly by eating food and whispering softly into a mic. Kenan Thompson popped up in a pre-recorded video doing a bit where he was given a sketch meant for O'Brien, angrily reading out lines meant for a "six-foot-five red-headed talk show host" who sunburns easily at the beach. O'Brien's appearance revolved around his infamous Clueless Gamer segment, playing Street Fighter V against gamer MatPat (Matthew Patrick) for the benefit. Charlize Theron also virtually appeared for the fundraiser, showing off her 2004 Oscar award for her role in Monster to Kimmel and Rober.

The event featured a mix of musical performances, skits and science stunts, all designed to benefit autism programs across the country. American Rubik's Cube speedsolver Max Park, who is featured in the Netflix documentary Speed Cubers, competed against Kimmel and Robert at several speed tests, such as Park doing a one-handed cube solve while the hosts tried to quickly drink sodas. America's Got Talent season 14 winner Kodi Lee also took the stage to perform "Tennessee Whiskey."

As with fundraisers and benefits for causes in general the entertainers have to try to both entertain and be serious for the cause and do it with constraining time limits in order to make way for the next celeb giving a forced feel to the proceedings and last night was no exception. The pandemic forced separation did not help.

As with fundraisers in general how entertaining the program is secondary to the cause and how much money is raised and in this regard and for me this was a success. Rober early on gave a speech about how charities need to have autistics involved in the decision making and noted that Autistics will be involved in deciding which companies will receive Next for Autism funding. Rober explained why they used Autistic person instead of person with autism before saying “have autism”. Ooops, nobody is perfect :D . Considering the constraints of the format the program showcased a diverse group of autistics from the aforementioned Kodi Lee, to current students and one successfully employed alumni of Exeptional Minds, to an older adult, to vlogger YoSammySam. And there was not a puzzle piece shown.

Apparently Mark Rober is this major celebrity but until this project I had never heard of the man. From what I have seen he is a very good ally. Unlike ahem Sia the man has thoroughly researched the topic and our community and it showed. The opposite of autism is like me or my child.


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Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity.

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman