"My father, who was the funniest man I ever knew, told me early in my career to always leave my audience with something warm and meaningful at the end of the show," said comedic legend Jerry Lewis, fronting the "Gift of Hope" annual gala Saturday night at the Island Hotel, in Newport Beach.
He continued, "So permit me to leave you with this thought. A friend in need…is a pest."
The audience roared. It was the conclusion of a half hour of impromptu, non-stop laughter, courtesy of a man who, for more than half a century, has done at least two amazing things in life: kept the world laughing hysterically at his antics and, more significantly, as the voice of hope for the Muscular Dystrophy Assn., led the charge by raising $2.45 billion in search of a cure.
This year's event honored the association's Man of the Year, Art Kazarian, the "Godfather of Green." Kazarian has built a career in the waste recycling business, which has earned him a national reputation. Married to his wife, Kathleen, in 1958, he is the father of three sons, Gary, Kory and Kris.