Star-studded variety show uses hilarity, solidarity to raise emergency funds for entertainment community during recent strikes

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Actors and comedians came out to support colleagues they consider to be “stars” behind-the-scenes on Wednesday. It’s one way they can help people who’ve been struggling financially from both the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike and WGA strike that recently ended.

Marta Kauffman, the co-creator and executive producer of “Friends,” is one of the people responsible for “The Give Back-ular Spectacular.”

“We wanted to say not only ‘thank you’ but ‘we hear you and we understand that you are struggling.’ And we wanted to say it loud enough that they feel the love,” said Kauffman.

Stars, including Ray Romano, Jack Black, Penn & Teller, and Janelle James from “Abbott Elementary,” joined in on the variety show, which aimed to raise relief funds for those in show biz who make their living behind-the-scenes.

Tickets and streaming were free, but with the hope to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. The support here means a lot to people who’ve been unable to work because of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.

“Some people are going deep, deep into their savings, like I am. Other people are losing their houses, so it’s an emotional time,” said location manager Gregory Alpert. “So for people in our industry who are in front of the camera to give of their time tonight, that’s pretty great.”

“It’s been extremely tough and a lot of my friends are losing their places because they can’t find their rent,” said Therese Clinton.

“Our insurance is up in January, so hopefully we’ll be back. Our health insurance is up in January. We’ll be back to work to fill up that bank again,” said make-up artist Dara Jaramillo.

This fundraiser will help continue to support those who need it, like James Costello did not long ago.

“The day before my kids started school this year, they repossessed my wife’s car because we hadn’t paid for it. And two days later, The Actors’ Fund sent us a check, where we were able to get the car back,” said Costello.

On stage, comedian Paul Scheer described this as a night of hilarity and solidarity.

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