A slew of stars came out for a good cause last night: New York’s Stand Up for Heroes Benefit.
Jon Stewart, Ricky Gervais, and Robin Williams cracked jokes to honor military veterans. Bruce Springsteen and John Mayer provided a musical interlude between the laughs. The event, which benefited the Bob Woodruff Foundation, raised money to support veterans and their families.
Stewart wasted no time skewering the presidential election during his time on stage, saying, “Poor Mitt Romney, how do you mess that up?”
He continued, “You have a president who is $16 trillion in debt with 80-percent unemployment,” and took a jab at the similarity between President Obama and Osama Bin Ladens’ names.
Williams also got political, giving a shout out to the state of Colorado for legalizing recreational marijuana Tuesday.
“They legalized weed, way to go,” he said. “They have to regulate it because this is not the same weed we grew up with. This is kick a** cartoon weed.”
Springsteen performed five songs and auctioned off his guitar, harmonica and concert tickets for $110,000. Mayer, who’s currently on vocal rest, strummed an acoustic song for the crowd.
But the real stars of the night were the veterans. The night was kicked off by former Marine Aaron Mankin who was badly burned by an IED attack in Iraq in 2005.
“Where that day has taken me and the blessings I can count in my life now are sometimes difficult to explain,” Mankin said. “Not every day is easy, not every day is hard. I get to live my life the way that I choose.”
Roger Waters, one of the original members of Pink Floyd, played with a band of 14 wounded veterans. During the last song, Waters gave the microphone over to a veteran whose legs are amputated from the knee down.
Waters walked the red carpet with Staff Sgt. Bobby Henline, an army veteran who was deployed to Iraq three times after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Henline’s vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in 2007 and 38 percent of Henline’s body was burned, including his head, which was burned to the skull. He was the only survivor of the attack.
Henline has had more than 40 surgeries to date, but he said they don’t hold him back. He works as a motivational speaker and stand-up comedian, though he didn’t perform Thursday.
“Maybe next year they’ll invite me,” Henline told ABCNews.com. “I heard Robin Williams was scared; he couldn’t follow me.”