Last night’s star-packed, Dane Cook-presented benefit table read of Fast Times at Ridgemont High drew more than 4 million online viewers and raised more than $135,000 for charities responding to COVID-19.
While the Thursday night stream was live and unrehearsed, it can now be seen as an hour-long collection of scenes free and on demand HERE. (Watch it for Morgan Freeman’s spicy-yet-mellifluous sonorous narration if nothing else.)
Organizers said donations are going to CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) for relief in response to COVID-19. Founded by Sean Penn in 2010, CORE helps mobilize a range of responses to disaster relief globally. Proceeds also benefit the REFORM Alliance, which focuses on passing laws to reform the criminal justice system and protect the incarcerated population from the spread of COVID-19.
Readers included Penn as well as Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Matthew McConaughey, John Legend, Shia LaBeouf, Jimmy Kimmel, Henry Golding and Ray Liotta. After the reading, Fast Times writer and director Cameron Crowe and Amy Heckerling stopped by to reminisce. (In one of the event’s many amusing wrinkles, Penn, who immortalized Jeff Spicoli in the original film, while LaBeouf went the method route to take on the role for the reading.)
The 4 million viewers figure is a cumulative mark across Facebook, TikTok and LiveXLive, a music and streaming platform.
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti gave a taped introduction, calling the occasion “beyond cool.” Cook, who emceed the event, prefaced the reading by issuing a “disclaimer with a capital ‘D’” about the original film, which was released in 1982 and whose script could raise hackles in 2020. “A whole lot of bleeps and language have changed since this came out,” Cook said. “Don’t @ us unless it’s to donate.”