15 Comedians Who Use Their Powers For More Than Laughs

Giving laughs is nice, but these fortunate comedians have given so much more.
15 Comedians Who Use Their Powers For More Than Laughs

From their humble beginnings, funny people have just wanted to spread joy through the chuckles. And when they find success, it’s nice that the joy-spreading doesn’t stop at the laughs.

Let’s be honest… There’s been some naive charities that were just off the mark, but these 15 comedians use their funny (and their influence) for good.

Seth Rogen - Hilarity for Charity.

Seth Rogen

Columbia Pictures & Relativity Media

A funny show that helps the cause. It just makes sense.

Led by Rogen and his wife Lauren, HFC inspires change and raises awareness of Alzheimer’s disease among millennials.

The Hilarity for Charity Variety Show is an annual event filled with music and comedy, and has raised over $17 million to support research grants focused on early-onset and detection of Alzheimer’s.

Amy Poehler - Smart Girls at the Party.

Amy Poehler

Deedle-Dee Productions & Fremulon

Bro… There’s smart girls at the party. Nice, bro.

Poehler is a huge advocate for young women, and is the co-founder of Smart Girls at the Party - a platform to encourage girls to be their authentic selves.

The website highlights the life and accomplishments of young women, and is home to Girls of the World, a YouTube channel where ladies hailing from all parts of the globe give viewers a taste of their local culture.

Tyler Perry - The Perry Foundation.

Tyler Perry

Tyler Perry Studios

It’s your one stop shop for all things charitable.

Since 2006, Perry has performed numerous good deeds through The Perry Foundation. During the pandemic, he notably aided restaurant workers, and paid for groceries for thousands of struggling seniors and at-risk people.

The foundation has also aided the homeless, local communities and backed public health initiatives, aiming to "transform tragedy into triumph by seeding individual potential, supporting communities, and harvesting sustainable change."     

Stephan Colbert - Donors Choose.

DonorsChoose.org is a platform where people can help fund local classrooms in America. Public school teachers from across the country can post classroom project requests on the site, and donors can give any amount to the project that most inspires them.

Colbert has given to the cause, and regularly asks his followers and fans to help contribute. He hosted an event where Bill & Melinda Gates donated $4.1 million to the cause.

Will Ferrell - Cancer for College.

Will Ferrell

Columbia Pictures & Relativity Media

This way this guy gives… It’s old school.

Always game to swim, golf or play baseball for a cause, but most notably Will Ferrell has been a longtime supporter of Cancer for College, which gives scholarships to young cancer survivors whose medical bills have left little for college.

It was founded by his former fraternity brother, Craig Pollard, and Ferrell is a spokesperson and fundraiser for the cause, and sits on the charity’s board.

He’s  participated in the organization's events for years and even auctioned off a cameo in "Step Brothers" to help the fund.

Lisa Lampanelli - Morphing hate into donations.

Bring as many protesters with those hateful signs as you can!

Lisa Lampanelli donated $1,000 to Gay Men’s Health Crisis for every member of Fred Phelp’s Westboro Baptist Church who picketed her show in Topeka, Kansas. This ended up being a $50,000 donation for AIDS prevention.

GMHC is the nation's oldest HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care services provider, and they said, "We are grateful for Lisa Lampanelli's kindness and courage to fight homophobia. She is holding up a mirror to bigotry and hatred, and reflecting back love and generosity.”

Robert Smigel - Night of Too Many Stars.

Ongoing show, Night of Too Many Stars, is a fundraising telethon for autism which helps give children and adults with autism the opportunities they deserve to learn, contribute and live the fullest lives possible.

Usually held every two or three years, it has raised over $23 million since 2006. The event was founded by Robert Smigel after learning that his son was diagnosed with autism.

Eddie Murphy - All kinds of charities.

Eddie Murphy

Paramount Pictures

So that’s what he’s been up to.

Eddie Murphy has used his talent to support many social causes, including performing at the "Feeding America Comedy Festival," which raised money for the hunger-relief organization and its food banks.

He was honored back in 2012 for his talent and humanitarian work, which helps the homeless, and supports education through the Yeah! Foundation. Murphy has also supported the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, the AIDS Foundation, cancer charities and the Screen Actors Guild.

Betty White - The American Humane Society.

Betty White

Alan Light/Wikimedia Commons

It’s strange that we can say someone who almost turned 100 was gone too soon.

After Betty White’s passing, fans flooded shelters, rescues, and other animal charities with donations in honor of Betty White - who was a noted animal lover.

White was on the board of American Humane, a nonprofit committed to "ensuring the safety, welfare and well-being of animals."  according to The Wall Street Journal, the #BettyWhiteChallenge saw thousands of dollars pour into that organization and animal groups around the nation.

Bob Saget - The Scleroderma Research Foundation.

Bob Saget

Miller-Boyett & Lorimar Telepictures

Okay, so he had some nasty jokes. Big deal.

Saget has served as a board member of the Scleroderma Research Foundation, after his sister died from the disease in 1994. 

Under his leadership, with Co-Chair Susan Feniger, an event raised $25M for scleroderma research. Bob was a dedicated champion for the community, who tirelessly drove the mission of the SRF forward for almost 30 years.

Denis Leary - The Leary Firefighters Foundation.

His claim to fame was the “I’m an A**hole” song, but he’s anything but to firefighter.

Now mostly known for his role as a firefighter on Rescue Me, his cause, The Leary Firefighters Foundation steps in to help these heroes build state-of-the-art training facilities, buy cutting-edge vehicles, and supply modern technology and tools to firehouses and departments across the country.

Firefighters never go on strike, so they are often an easy target for government budget cuts.

Tina Fey - Rise Up New York and many more.

Tina Fey

Universal & Broadway Video

I want to go to there… And help!

In 2020, benefit host Fey teared up while announcing the total raised in the Robin Hood Foundation's "Rise Up New York" coronavirus fundraiser - $115 million.

She has worked for many causes, including the Worldwide Orphans Fund (which Amy Poehler also supports), the Children's Health Fund, Autism Speaks, and Love Our Children. In addition, she has raised funds for Stand Up To Cancer and has long advocated for gender equality.

Sacha Baron Cohen - Efforts in fighting bigotry and prejudice.

My wife… Doesn’t like prejudice and neither to I.

His efforts to fight bigotry and prejudice and the need for social-media guidelines to combat these issues were focal points when accepting the Anti-Defamation League's 2019 International Leadership Award.

The honor is given to "exceptional individuals who combine professional success with a profound personal commitment to community involvement and to crossing borders and barriers with a message of diversity and equal opportunity.”

"Through his alter egos, he shines a piercing light on people's ignorance and biases.”

Ken Jeong - Representation and donation.

Ken Jeong

Legendary Pictures & Benderspink

Born in Detroit to South Korean immigrants, and long supporter of the Asian community, Jeong was honored in 2017 with a Visionary Award from the East West Players - the oldest Asian Pacific American theater company in the USA.

The award recognizes the achievements of those "who have raised the visibility of the Asian Pacific American (APA) community through their craft.”

He also donated $50,000 to the families of victims killed in the Atlanta-area spa shootings.

Tiffany Haddish - The “She Ready” Foundation.

Tiffany Haddish

Will Packer Productions

Using her signature catchphrase for good.

After a challenging childhood that included time in foster care, she now donates suitcases to children in the foster-care system, so they “wouldn't have to stuff their belongings into trash bags when they had to move”.

It's a gesture that represents her broader mission, as she founded the She Ready Foundation to "empower, support and encourage children living in the foster care system."    

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Top Image: Deedle-Dee Productions & Fremulon

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