To share how comedy is doing good, Kevin Pollak (“The Usual Suspects”), Betsy Koch (“Funny or Die”) Joel Goldman (Malaria No More), Chris Brereton (PictureHealing) and Liz H Kelly (Goody Awards aka my social good company) discussed how Comedy Gives Back at Digital Hollywood in Marina del Rey, CA, last week. From “Funny or Die’s” “Rock the Vote” campaign and Actor/Comedian Nick Kroll (“I Love You Man”) video to help cure malaria, the group discussed how celebrities are mixing comedy with cause support.
Transforming the World Through Comedy’s Co-Founder and Comedy Executive Zoe Friedman moderated this fun discussion. TWT Comedy kicked off the panel by announcing their 24 Hours of Comedy Event will be held on March 27, 2012, benefiting Malaria No More. And all of the panelists are rallying to support this event in some way so stay tuned for future press releases!
To kick off the panel, Malaria No More’s Joel Goldman showed a “Funny or Die” video featuring Comedian Bobby Bottleservice (Nick Kroll) visiting Senegal, Africa, to raise awareness of malaria. While this scenario might seem a little strange, Joel explained how using humor is helping them draw more attention to malaria. He expanded, “I love working for Malaria No More because our mission is so clear and tangible to get to near zero deaths in Africa by the end of 2015. Since our founding six years ago, support has risen from 20% of the US public thinking malaria is an achievable global health win to 51% (and climbing). Nick Kroll as Bobby Bottleservice and support from more than 75 other comedic celebrities has played a big role in moving the awareness needle.”
As a timely election example, Betsy Koch, “Funny or Die”, then shared their “Rock the Vote” video starring celebrities Miley Cyrus, Jane Lynch, Neil Patrick Harris, Tony Hawk, Josh Duhamel, Joel McHale, Darren Criss, Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Busy Phillips, Miranda Cosgrove, Jenna Ushkowitz, Connor Paolo, Chad Lowe and Twitch urge people to vote in 2012. With a comedy spin, celebrities confessed: Miley Cyrus, “I’m voting because it makes my hands stronger for tweeting.” And then Josh Duhamel declares, “I vote because I love you America.”
And then with a drum roll, Actor/Comedian Kevin Pollak announced his soon to be released ebook, “How I Slept My Way to the Middle”, that got some great laughs. Look for this new release on Amazon on Nov 6th.
As a social media star (“Kevin Pollaks Chat Show”), Kevin added, “I’ve recently become part of this company, it’s a play for free poker site that’s launching in the next week or so through Facebook called Hollywood Poker.” It’s a play for free site that doesn’t involve gambling like Farmville or any other virtual dollars site, but 7 million people play a day on Facebook. To find a way to give back through this wildly popular poker game, Kevin expanded, “When they approached me about being ambassador / pimp, I was interested in what sort of pull in a magnetic strength could we offer to celebrities and people wanting to participate for something that benefits them versus just another social media hub. And now our biggest goal is to be the # 1 distribution source of charity funds on Facebook.”
After Kevin’s “Talkin Walkin” (Christopher Walken impression), Chris Brereton, PictureHealing Founder, bravely went next. He explained, “PictureHealing is super excited to announce our re-launch with an all new DIY custom app solution for the nonprofit community! Now nonprofits of any size or budget can build their own app for both the iPhone and Android devices in about 5 minutes for about $100!” (And they’re having a Halloween party in LA to celebrate Oct 26, 2012.)
When asked about how the Goody Awards for social good adds comedy to their cause marketing campaigns, Liz H Kelly (aka me) shared how humor was a big success factor in their Autism Awareness Month Campaign. She explained, “We got really lucky because the Autistic Teen Animator (Dani Bowman) who received our top award had a great sense of humor and posted every day on Facebook with an engaged fan base.” Not only did she regularly make jokes on Facebook, but she spontaneously broke into a Temple Grandin impression at her awards ceremony. Since receiving the Golden Goody Award for illustrating 2 anti-bully books, a Rethinking Autism PSA and teaching 150 autistic children to do animation, Dani won the Temple Grandin Award. She also won the SparkAction California Youth Award presented by Jon Bon Jovi at The White House Youth Summit.
To bring levity to their World Oceans Campaign, the Goody Awards also filmed a 4-yr-old actress (Rosanna) giving advice on how to save the ocean, along with a shout out to Academy Award Winner Louie Psihoyos, Director of “The Cove”, who received a Golden Goody Award (like an Oscar for social good.) After using this video as her demo reel, Rosanna just got cast in her first national TV commercial that is a Halloween spoof / cause marketing campaign by Chipotle being released this week. To illustrate how brands and comedy can work together for causes, this video was shown as an example of “unmarketing” advertising. Liz added, “We don’t just give awards. We do integrated marketing campaigns (like we did at MySpace for brands) around awards to raise awareness of causes via press releases, social media, video, contest, social media awards online, awards ceremonies and humor.”
Towards the end, Betsy Koch, “Funny or Die”, added, “We feel fortunate to be able to create content that makes people laugh and if we are able to work with a great cause to raise awareness and drive support for them, then we want to do everything we can to help and give back.” And really everyone on the panel enjoys making content with comedy for a cause. Look for these panelists supporting the TWT Comedy’s 24 Hours of Comedy event next spring, and visit http://www.twtcomedy.com/
© Liz H Kelly @LizHKelly, National Digital Entertainment Columnist and Goody Awards http://goodyawards.com