From Bob Hope's first USO tour in the 1940s to Jerry Lewis's 40+ years of telethons for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, comedians have a long history of doing good things for others. Today's comedians are no different, with many going far beyond a yearly charitable donation to donate their time and talents to those who need it most.
Just this week, College Humor came up with a new way to help children inflicted with Malaria with Malarious, a portion of their site offering enticing videos requiring a dollar donation or more. Earlier this year, Louis C.K. donated more than a quarter of his $1 million online special earnings to five different charities, and Lisa Lampanelli turned a Westboro Baptist Church protest into a $50,000 donation for AIDS prevention.
But 2012 isn't even a significant year for comedians doing good. Over the years, many funny people, including the 25 below, have raised money for charity, entertained our troops or otherwise used their fame and talent to make the world a better place. Take a look at some inspiring examples below and tell us who impressed you the most in the comments.
Lisa Lampanelli vs. Westboro Baptist Churc
Lisa Lampanelli vowed to donate $1,000 dollars to the <a href="http://gmhc.org/" target="_hplink">Gay Men's Health Crisis</a> organization for every member of the Westboro Baptist Church who came out to protest her show in Topeka, Kansas. She ended up donating <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/23/lisa-lampanelli-vs-westboro-baptist-church_n_865291.html" target="_hplink">$50,000</a>.
The Night of Too Many Stars: An Overbooked Concert For Autism Education
Jon Stewart hosts this biannual charity comedy show that ended up raising $3.1 million dollars in grants in 2010. The night features comedians performing unexpected tasks such as Chris Rock <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhdzzAmKqI8" target="_hplink">cursing out a women's ex-boyfriend</a> to raise money. The next one is set for this year on <a href="http://www.comedycentral.com/shows/night-of-too-many-stars" target="_hplink">Oct. 31</a>.
After Louis C.K. earned $1 million for his Beacon Theater comedy special, <a href="https://buy.louisck.net/news" target="_hplink">he took to his website</a> to explain that he would be donating $280,000 of it to five charities. The charities were: <a href="http://www.fistulafoundation.org/" target="_hplink">The Fistula Foundation</a>, <a href="http://pablove.org/" target="_hplink">The Pablove Foundation</a>, <a href="http://www.charitywater.org/" target="_hplink">charity: water</a>, <a href="http://www.kiva.org/" target="_hplink">Kiva</a>, and <a href="http://www.greenchimneys.org/" target="_hplink">Green Chimneys</a>.
Since 1986, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal and Robin Williams have been the face of the charity <a href="http://comicrelief.org/" target="_hplink">Comic Relief</a>, which aims to raise money to fight poverty.
He may have made a career of being an "<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrgpZ0fUixs" target="_hplink">a**hole</a>," but Leary really has a heart of gold. After a fire claimed the life of his cousin and chlidhood friend, Leary established the <a href="http://www.learyfirefighters.org/about-us/overview/" target="_hplink">Leary Firefighters Foundation</a>. The foundation helps with funding for fire departments to have necessary equipment and resources.
College Humor's "Malarious"
This month, College Humor launched a special section of its site <a href="http://www.collegehumor.com/malarious" target="_hplink">in support of Malaria No More</a> featuring 24 funny videos that you can watch for just a $1 donation or more. Each video shows a comedian performing a funny task, like Ellie Kemper criticizing a puppy, Penn & Teller snorting a bean, Ed Helms swallowing a sword and more. Each contribution helps a child with Malaria.
I'm With Coco Benefit For Haiti
Anthony Jeselink, Wyatt Cynac, Dave Attell and Janeane Garofalo were some of the comics who performed at New York's Comix comedy nightclub for this event to raise money for relief in Haiti. The event earned a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-palmer/comedians-bring-in-big-mo_b_441751.html" target="_hplink">little over $10,000</a>.
Griffin does whatever she can to show support for our men and women overseas. In season two of her reality show she went to Iraq <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XBr-tn5vE8" target="_hplink">to entertain the troops</a> and in 2008, she visited Walter Reed Army Hospital to perform for the patients there. In 2010 she hosted the "VH1 Divas Salute The Troops" show.
In case you didn't get that Robin Williams loves helping charities based on his St. Jude commercials (or his USO tours, or his help with "Comic Relief"), here's something else to warm your heart: In 2010, Williams donated all of the profits from his "Weapons of Self Destruction" Canterbury show to aid those affected by the Canterbury Earthquake.
Bob Hope started doing USO shows in 1941. In 1997 he was the first person to be designated as an <a href="http://www.uso.org/Entertainment/Profiles/Bob-Hope.aspx" target="_hplink">"honorary veteran of the U.S. armed forces."</a> If you want a good cry watch <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-HeETwJSUc" target="_hplink">this tribute</a> to Bob Hope Christmas-ing with the troops.
<a href="http://www.margaretcho.com/2010/08/05/vip-tour-packages-to-benefit-gukf-coast-animals/" target="_hplink">After visiting the Mississippi coast </a>, Margaret Cho decided to donate VIP ticket sales to the <a href="http://www.imms.org/" target="_hplink">Institute for Marine Mammal Studies</a>.
Known to most as an insult comic, Ross' "<a href="http://www.hulu.com/watch/151730" target="_hplink">Patriot Act</a>" chronicles his experience USO touring Iraq with six other comedians including Drew Carey. "You always feel like you're making an impact," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/29/comedian-jeffrey-ross-on_n_621160.html" target="_hplink">he has said of his experiences performing on USO tours.</a>
When she won "The Celebrity Apprentice", Rivers <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/11/joan-rivers-wins-apprenti_n_201430.html" target="_hplink">earned $250,000</a> for her charity of choice, <a href="https://www.glwd.org/" target="_hplink">God's Love We Deliver</a>. In her 2010 documentary "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work," Rivers revealed that she does more than just give money: she also goes on annual trips delivering meals herself.
Even after the king of late night TV had passed, Johnny Carson donated <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/09/johnny-carsons-156-millio_n_676162.html" target="_hplink">$156 million to various charities</a>.
Jerry Lewis Telethons
Comedy legend Jerry Lewis was more than just dedicated to fighting Multiple Dystrophy. He hosted the annual Labor Day telethon <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MDA_Labor_Day_Telethon" target="_hplink">from 1966 until 2010</a>, giving over 40 years of support and funds to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
In 2009, Colbert "declared victory" and performed four shows in Baghdad. You remember, the time that Barack Obama ordered General Ray Odierno <a href="http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/229768/june-08-2009/obama-orders-stephen-s-haircut---ray-odierno" target="_hplink">to shave Colbert's head</a>? In his attempt to get the Iraq war back <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/09/colberts-first-iraq-show_n_212982.html" target="_hplink">in the news</a>, Colbert did his part, delighting troops along the way. He also donated iTunes proceeds from the shows to the USO.
To give an example of Dengeres' generosity, "The Ellen Degeneres Show" raised <a href="http://ellen.warnerbros.com/about/bio.php" target="_hplink">over $10 million</a> for New Orleans residents after Hurricane Katrina devastated Ellen's hometown.
On top of supporting a number of charities, Rosie established <a href="http://www.rosiestheaterkids.org/about/mission.aspx" target="_hplink">Rosie's Theater Kids</a> in 2003, a program that gives many low-income children experience in theater and helps them learn about the arts.
Known animal lover Betty White has been working with the <a href="http://www.morrisanimalfoundation.org/assets/sp/why-we-love-betty-white.html" target="_hplink">Morris Animal Foundation</a> for some time. White donated her royalties from her cheeky 2011 calendar to the organization.
Tina Fey donated money to help <a href="http://www.booksforkids.org/newsponsors/" target="_hplink">Books For Kids</a> open four new libraries in Harlem, but she also went above and beyond by donating her time to read stories to children at the <a href="http://www.tinafeyfan.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pid=21686" target="_hplink">Harlem Day Care Center</a>.
One of Carey's most interesting charitable contributions came when he challenged real life soccer players like Landon Donovan and Hope Solo to play him at FIFA '07 for the Glen "Mooch" Myernick Memorial Fund. Even though he won some matches in the end he still donated <a href="http://www.chicagolandsoccernews.com/teams/usa2.php?article_id=2570" target="_hplink">$160,000</a>.
The <a href="https://scholarselect.com/scholarships/2316-the-seinfeld-scholarship-program-2012" target="_hplink">Seinfeld Scholarship Program</a> was established in 2000 and offers up to $10,000 in annual scholarships to New York Public School students.
It Gets Better Project/ The Trevor Project
Many celebrities made videos for "It Gets Better Project" and "The Trevor Project" <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu2JeZn1Uw0" target="_hplink">Kathy Griffin</a>, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKL8uV8N5Kg" target="_hplink">Dane Cook</a>, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOiVTfH-REU" target="_hplink">Margaret Cho</a>, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46cJRh8Hj_o&playnext=1&list=PLB9011C031ADBA312&feature=results_video" target="_hplink">Guy Branum</a> and Stephen Colbert are just a few of the comedians who participated.
Komedy For Kenza
In 2009, high school student <a href="http://www.helpkenza.com/" target="_hplink">Kenza Kadmiry</a> became paralyzed after she was hit by a truck at a pedestrian crosswalk. To help raise money for Kadmiry's future treatment the school held a benefit with emcee Rainn Wilson as well as Thomas Lennon and Wendy Lieberman.
In 2007, Sandler donated $1 million to the Boys and Girls Club in his hometown of <a href="http://www.mbgcnh.org/main_sublinks.asp?id=19&sid=51" target="_hplink">Manchester, New Hampshire</a>.
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