On Saturday, November 3, the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF), the first and largest myeloma-specific foundation in the world, presented its 12th Annual Comedy Celebration benefiting the Peter Boyle Research Fund and supporting the Black Swan Research Initiative (BSRI) at The Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, CA.
Actor and comedian Kevin Nealon (Man with a Plan, Hiking With Kevin) hosted an unforgettable evening of laughs featuring some of the biggest names in comedy to raise money for research to find a cure for multiple myeloma, cancer of the bone marrow plasma cells, and one of the fastest growing blood cancers in the world. Nealon took over the hosting duties from Ray Romano, and shared it was an important cause for him to support as his mother has multiple myeloma. At the event he said, “it’s a serious thing and people need to start paying attention.”
Joining Nealon on-stage was an all-star lineup of comics including Cristela Alonzo (Cristela, Lower Classy), Gabriel Iglesias (Mr. Iglesias), Jim Jefferies (The Jim Jefferies Show, Jim Jefferies: This is Me Now), Natasha Leggero (The Honeymoon Stand Up Special, Another Period), Chaunté Wayans (Fifty Shades of Black) and Sasheer Zamata (I Feel Pretty, Saturday Night Live).
Additional attendees included Alex Meneses (Jane the Virgin, Unorganized Crime), Dale Godboldo (Colony, Palomino & Swissy), Dylan Silver (HGTV’s You Wish You Lived Here), Forrest Shaw (Comedian), Howard Hesseman (Dirty Politics, Fresh Off the Boat), Jake Smollett (Food Network’s Smollett Eats), Grace Gibson (All Eyez on Me), plus IMF executives Dr. Brian Durie (IMF Chairman of the Board), Loraine Alterman Boyle (Event Chair & IMF Board Member), Susie Novis Durie (IMF Founder & President) and more.
The evening also honored Dr. Robert A. Kyle, Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic, for his contributions to the myeloma community as a doctor, researcher, and professor of medicine. Sometimes referred to as the “grandfather” of myeloma, Dr. Kyle has had a career spanning 50 years. He has published over 1,000 studies in medical journals, mentored generations of doctors who are now among the top researchers in the world, and at 90 continues to be a major influence in the myeloma researching community.
For the second year, the IMF presented an exclusive live stream of the red carpet arrivals on the International Myeloma Foundation’s Facebook page. Co-hosted by TV personality Alie Ward and former pageant queen Daphne Lee (Miss Black USA 2017), the live stream featured red carpet interviews with attending celebrities and myeloma experts, as well as an exclusive look into the into the silent auction display. The silent auction featuring iconic memorabilia and other one-of-a-kind items and experiences. A replay of the entire live stream can be viewed on Facebook.com/myeloma.
Proceeds from event benefit the Peter Boyle Research Fund, named for the beloved actor who died in 2006 after a four-year battle with myeloma. Since the first event in 2007, the annual IMF Comedy Celebration has featured over 50 celebrity comedians and musical performers, and raised more than $7 million.
For the sixth year, the event also supports the International Myeloma Foundation’s signature Black Swan Research Initiative® (BSRI), a groundbreaking and collaborative global project aimed at developing the first definitive cure for myeloma led by a multinational consortium of leading myeloma experts. Through the Black Swan Research Initiative, the IMF is conducting over 40 concurrent studies to find the cure, including the recently launched “CURE” clinical trial in the United States, and the world’s largest prevention study in Iceland.
The International Myeloma Foundation 12th Annual Comedy Celebration is presented by Celgene and Takeda.