Kristen Johnston is known for her work on 3rd Rock From The Sun and now The Exes on TV Land, but she was recently re-introduced to us as an advocate for sober high schools. On February 15th, at the Triad Theatre, Johnston hosted a special performance of Celebrity Autobiography to benefit her organization, SLAM. SLAM stands for sobriety, learning and motivation, and their current mission is to bring the first sober high school to New York. While there are currently over 30 sober high schools in the United States -- four alone in Boston -- none exist in New York where they are arguably needed most. Johnston is on a mission to change all that; a mission that hits close to home. She speaks candidly of her struggles with sobriety in her forthcoming memoir Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster, out March 13th.
The list of celebrity causes is endless, but as the night progressed it was clear just how important SLAM is to Johnston. She hosted the event with her usual flair and flawless comedic timing, but when it came down to advocating for SLAM she was all business. She thanked everyone profusely for being a part of the evening and teared up more than once when talking of the people who helped her in her recovery.
But the evening was anything but somber. Johnston left us in stitches with her reading from Cindy Crawford's set diary from her movie Fair Game, and as the night progressed and her shoes came off it truly felt like we were just hanging out in her living room. A giant living room full of stars. Bravo's Andy Cohen read from the Countess LuAnn de Lesseps' Class With the Countess: How to Live with Elegance and Flair and we are all the better for it (Rule 1: What to do with those pesky toothpicks at a cocktail party. Hint: Not in the planter!); Bobby Carnavale (The Station Agent) channeled a wicked David Hasselhoff reading from Don't Hassle the Hoff; America Ferrara (Ugly Betty) made us cringe through Melissa Gilbert's description of sex with Rob Lowe on her mother's couch; and Heather Matarazzo, (Welcome to the Dollhouse) and Julie Klausner (author of I Don't Care About Your Band) brought down the house with the subtle poetry of Suzanne Somers. You heard right -- Suzanne Somers, poet.
As the evening drew to a close Johnston introduced Dillon Eaton, a 2009 graduate of the North Shore Recovery high school, who said, "If I hadn't gone to a recovery high school, I'd be dead." Hearing from a SLAM success story was the perfect way to end an evening full of laughter and heart, hosted by a woman who has both in spades.