From the podium at the Unite4:Humanity gala, Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller, honorees for their work with Hilarity for Charity, thanked Variety magazine for fulfilling their request to be the night’s most physically attractive award recipients.
To fellow recipients Olivia Wilde, Matthew McConaughey and Gina Rodriguez, Rogen deadpanned, “Sorry, Olivia, Matthew, Gina.”
The gala evening, presented by Karma and staged at the Montage in Beverly Hills by Unite4:Good and Variety, had more to offer than a glamorous lineup of stars. In case you missed it, here are five of the event’s highlights. (Spoiler alert: Joe Jonas will pop up by the end of this story.)
1. A salute to a Hollywood icon
The audience of 250 gave Morgan Freeman a standing ovation as he stepped on stage to receive a trophy for his work with the Tallahatchie River Foundation.
Because the Academy Award winner has portrayed the president of the United States, Nelson Mandela and God, among other notables, we couldn’t help asking Freeman if God had been his favorite role.
After noting that he played God, not once but twice, Freeman quickly denied that God topped his list. “Everything is my favorite,” he said modestly. “Acting is my favorite.”
2. Plenty of laughs courtesy of Rogen
Actor and comedian Adam Pally of “Happy Endings” and “The Mindy Project” was the host of the affair during which the married Rogen and Miller also spoke of the trials of writing a speech together.
“Do you act like you’re winging it? … Do you have two pieces of paper? Or do you share one?” Rogen asked, before admitting that in the 45 minutes of writing the first half of the speech, the couple got into two arguments.
3. Celebrating with tears
Actor Wilmer Valderrama offered a heartfelt introduction of “Jane the Virgin” star Rodriguez, calling her an example for young women and especially Latinas. He also talked about his own experience, learning English from TV’s “I Love Lucy,” seeing Desi Arnaz and thinking, “You know what? I can dream as big as that.”
With tears in her eyes, Rodriguez, honored for creating the We Will Foundation, first acknowledged her parents’ role in teaching her the virtues of philanthropy and “that being good was a standard that doesn’t need praise or recognition.”
4. Plenty of inspiration and causes
McConaughey praised the young people in his Just Keep Livin Foundation who get up at 4 a.m. on a Saturday to clean a beach or pack and ship meals to families in need. “I don’t know that I’d have done that in high school,” he said.
Other honorees were Ann Gloag, Liz Hausle, David Meltzer and Dorian Murray. Anthony Melikhov, who founded Unite4:Good, which promotes acts of kindness and social good, said, “At some point in my life, I figured out that what makes me happy is giving back.”
5. Mali Music, Joe Jonas and DNCE take the stage
Grammy-nominated recording artist Mali Music performed “Beautiful” early in the evening, and Joe Jonas, JinJoo Lee, Cole Whittle and Jack Lawless of DNCE ended the gala on a lively note by delivering two upbeat numbers, “Cake by the Ocean” and “Toothbrush,” from DNCE’s album, “Swaay.”
1:34 p.m. This story was updated for copyediting.