Pointed jokes and open wallets help Chrysalis Butterfly Ball raise $1.8 million to help the homeless

17th Annual Chrysalis Butterfly Ball
Honorees at the 17th annual Chrysalis Butterfly Ball fundraiser on June 2: Jim Gianopulos, from left, Curtis Stone, Myron Tobin and Stacey Sher.
(Vivien Killilea / Getty Images for Chrysalis Butterfly Ball)

From onstage at the Chrysalis Butterfly Ball, master of ceremonies Jeff Ross praised the charity for providing help to the homeless — before weighing in on today’s controversies with a few pointed jokes.

Spotting Sara Gilbert of “Roseanne” in the crowd, he said, “You deserve a ... drink,” and then offered the actress and executive producer of the reboot a toast. Often called the “roastmaster general,” the comedian said he had roasted President Trump twice as well as actress Roseanne Barr “years before she started calling people ‘Planet of the Apes.’”

As for former first lady and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Ross said he’d been invited to her “victory party” following the 2016 election. “Have you ever gone to a wedding and the bride dies walking down the aisle?” he asked, before adding, “I have.”

He then turned to the subject of immigration, saying, “We can’t forget the forgotten people. It’s really important, whether you’re homeless, whether you’re an immigrant … immigrants come to America, and they do the jobs that Americans don’t want to do,” before joking, “like marry the president.”

The event

Paul Feig and Gina Rodriguez
Paul Feig, left, and Gina Rodriguez speak onstage at the 17th Chrysalis Butterfly Ball on June 2. Photo by Vivien Killilea / Getty Images for Chrysalis Butterfly Ball

Featuring Gina Rodriguez of “Jane the Virgin,” “Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig, Academy Award-winner Jamie Foxx and Chrysalis clients Darrell Stevenson and Byron Taylor to present awards, the 17th annual June 2 gala, which raised an impressive $1.8 million, honored Jim Gianopulos, chairman and chief executive officer of Paramount Pictures; Stacey Sher, producer and co-president of Activision Blizzard Studios; Curtis Stone, chef and owner of the noted restaurants, Maude and Gwen; and Chrysalis client Myron Tobin. R.Lum.R performed at evening’s end.

The scene

17th Annual Chrysalis Butterfly Ball
Attendees at the fundraiser included LL Cool J, from left, event founder and gala co-chair Rebecca Gayheart-Dane and WME's Richard Weitz. Vivien Killilea / Getty Images for Chrysalis Butterfly Ball

“I know we all would have 750 of our nearest and dearest friends at our homes if only they could fit,” said Chrysalis board chair Jill Baldauf, gazing out at the sea of people seated under the stars at Susan Harris and Hayward Kaiser’s Mandeville Canyon estate. Following a cocktail party on the front lawn, presentations and dinner took place at tables set up behind the house. Purple lights and a butterfly projection lighted the home’s exterior.

The crowd

Hollywood VIPs, stars and philanthropists populated the audience, including — aside from the above-noted presenters and honorees — actor-rapper LL Cool J; Gilbert and wife, singer-songwriter Linda Perry; Soleil Moon Frye; Tiffani Thiessen; Carter Jenkins; Lindsay Price and Diane Farr; Perrey Reeves; Robin Weigert; Claire Forlani ; and Vanna White.

Event founder Rebecca Gayheart-Dane served as co-chair, along with Universal Pictures Chairwoman Donna Langley, Evolution Media’s Rick Hess, Creative Artists Agency’s Josh Lieberman and WME’s Richard Weitz.

The quotes

Jeff Ross
Comedian Jeff Ross was master of ceremonies at the June 2 gala. Rachel Murray / Getty Images for Chrysalis Butterfly Ball

Ross said he’d visited the Chrysalis Center in downtown Los Angeles, where he toured skid row, calling the experience “eye-opening.” Said Ross, “If somebody can survive getting out of skid row, they deserve a second chance in the workplace.”

Both Gianopulos and Sher spoke of the difficulties faced by those living in poverty. “As hard as any of us in this room think we’ve ever had it, no one has worked as hard as the people who come to Chrysalis like [fellow honoree] Myron,” Sher said. “They all have to work harder because so much is stacked against them.”

The numbers

Tickets for the nearly 750 guests began at $1,250, with tables ranging up to $50,000. Including sponsorship by Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors Foundation, support from Netflix and additional contributions, the $1.8 million raised will fund the charity’s mission to help homeless and low-income individuals by providing them with skills, clothes and other resources needed to secure jobs and become self-sufficient.

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Ellen Olivier is the founder of Society News LA.

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