Bawdy Comedy for a Cause

Funny Internet fundraisers to fight cancer and malaria give us much to be thankful for – besides the laughs.

By Jere Hester
|  Tuesday, Nov 23, 2010  |  Updated 8:30 PM CDT
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Rob Riggle is becoming the profanity-spewing posterboy for malaria eradication.

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In case you missed it, Nov. 18 was "Have Sex With a Guy With a Mustache Day," part of a Web video campaign by Asylum, a site that caters to, well, guys.

Something else you may have missed: clean-shaven comedian Rob Riggle of "The Daily Show" fame cursing up a storm in a recent Internet video, appropriately titled, "Profanity Ninja."

The two shorts, which make for NSFW viewing, sound like just some of the latest bawdy online silliness. But both videos employ comedy for a cause.

The Asylum mustache piece is a part of the Movember push to raise money for prostate and testicular cancer research. Riggle's profane video is the latest installment in Comedy Fights Malaria, an effort to purchase mosquito nets that was launched last month.

One thing we love about both is the humor the campaigns wring out of seemingly endless celebrity-filled fundraisers, trying to stave off compassion fatigue with some pre-emptive laughs.

"Hi, I'm an actor – you should listen to me!" Elizabeth Banks, currently of "30 Rock," declares with faux haughtiness in the kick-off malaria video.

"I know what you're thinking, they're gonna ask me for money soon. Just keep watching," adds B.J. Novak of "The Office."

They do ask for cash: $10 dollars to buy a mosquito net to help prevent some 2,000 deaths from malaria a day, primarily in Africa.

The "Mustache," video, which features comedians Ilana Glazer, Brooke Van Poppelen and Arden Myrin, among others, is somewhat less family friendly in its language, but not in its sentiment. "You're not a whore if it's for charity," is the most memorable – and perhaps the cleanest – line.

In "Profanity Ninja," Riggle tells a story from his schooldays about how he unleashed a slew of curses and classmates followed after the lights went out during an assembly. Everybody got away with it.

"Childhood is about not getting in trouble," Riggle says in the video, which notes a child dies from malaria every 45 seconds in Africa.

Check out some of the comedy charity videos below – and perhaps think about what you’re most thankful for amid the laughs.
 

Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Follow him on Twitter.

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