Blog: My Night Watching Three Famous, Funny, Generous Gentlemen

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — I’m not normally star struck. I’ve been in television news a long time and every day I see local news journalists whom you might consider “celebrities”. In my job I also regularly have the pleasure of seeing national celebrities who come in for interviews and visits.

I’ve never been part of the stampede to get my picture taken with our celebrity visitors. In fact, I think Norm Stewart is the only “celebrity” I’ve ever asked to take a picture with me.  As a Tiger fan, I was giddy!

But for reasons I’m about to explain to you, I got really excited a few months ago when Paul Rudd’s mother, Gloria, began promoting the Big Slick Celebrity Weekend.

(Click here for many, many pictures from the weekend.)

The whole thing moves me. These three men-  Paul Rudd, Jason Sudeikis and Rob Riggle- come home to Kansas City to spend time with family and see old friends.  I like the thought of them comfortable at home, happy at home.  Sure, California has been great to them and is home too.  But I like to imagine that Kansas is where they would come if life got scary or sad or overwhelming….. like it has for the kids they came in town to help.

There are plenty of causes that Paul, Jason and Rob can embrace in California.  I love it that they come home for Children’s Mercy Hospital Cancer Center.  This year they raised $450,000 through the poker tournament at Harrah’s, the wiffle ball game and the celebrity auction at The Midland!  In the two previous years they’ve done this, they raised a total of about $300,000. That’s phenomenal growth!

Paul, Jason and Rob called on their California friends to help them raise money for the hospital… and many stepped up. Eric Stonestreet was there. George Wendt. David Koechner. Josh Charles. Jake Johnson. Kevin Pollak.

There were lots of “whoop whoops” for the lovely Olivia Wilde.

When the three Jayhawk fans introduced Mizzou alum Jon Hamm of Mad Men, the crowd applauded enthusiastically.

“If you cheer for him it only makes him stronger,” the Jayhawk Three joked.

After introducing the lineup of stars behind him, Paul Rudd said it was obvious that “we really need to meet some girls.”

There were many “girls” there at the Midland who would happily raise their bid card for that!

A couple of the hot items up for auction:

Item #15- Behind the Scenes of Anchorman: The Legend Continues. The winner of the auction gets to visit Paul on the set of the Anchorman sequel! This item sold twice- one bidder got it for $19,000 the other for $21,000!

Item #14 was the Rock Chalk Jayhawk Experience. The winner gets to take three friends to a KU basketball game and watch it with Rob Riggle. KU Basketball Coach Bill Self came out on stage for that one and of course, jabbed at my Missouri Tigers. (Video at end of blog.) This item also sold twice at $16,000 each!

While most of our lives don’t allow us to drop $21,000 or even $500 at a charity auction (mine included) I didn’t feel like I was surrounded by an elite group that was just there for the fun. The well-dressed strangers I talked to Saturday night all seemed pleased about the cause that brought them there. Obviously, those in higher income brackets aren’t exempt from the health crises that bring families to Children’s Mercy.  Sure, they were there to have fun, and they were generous because they could afford to be, raising their bid cards and impressing those on stage who usually do the impressing.  Hopefully next year even more of you who are able to spare this kind of cash will attend!  Philanthropy, indeed!

For those with smaller budgets, Big Slick KC doesn’t only accept large donations. You can make a $5 donation by texting SLICK to 50555.

“835 will give $500. 393 will give $500…. 622, 765, 659….” These were just a few of the many bidders willing and able to give $500.

“No child is turned away at Children’s Mercy,” Riggle explained. He said this is the reason donations are so important.  Then he told the audience that a couple of years ago he watched a team of surgeons perform open heart surgery on a baby.  I thought then of the pictures FOX 4 took of him and Sudeikis on Friday playing games with sick children at Children’s Mercy. Spending time playing games like Connect Four with children who are so visibly fighting for their lives would make many of us uncomfortable.  To do this tough, emotional thing, their affection for the children and Children’s Mercy has to be genuine.

Thanks, Guys, for coming home to do this.

I love how they ended the night at The Midland….

They brought it all back around to “coming home” by singing- with the audience- the theme from Cheers.

Making your way in the world today takes everything you got-Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot.-Wouldn’t you like to get away?

Sometimes you wanna go-Where everybody knows your name-And they’re always glad you came. You wanna be where you can see. Our troubles are all the same. You wanna be where everybody knows your name.

See you next year, Paul, Jason and Rob… because…  you know…. we’ll always know your name here at home.

For more information on Big Slick, click here for their website.

(Special thanks to Shane Maxwell at Cates Auction & Realty)

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