NEW YORK – How much for a guitar played by Bruce Springsteen, an hour lesson on how to play it, a lasagna dinner at his house and a ride in the sidecar of his motorcycle? $300,000.
Springsteen auctioned off two such packages Wednesday night at Stand Up For Heroes, a mash-up of comedy and music involving this week’s New York Comedy Festival and the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which helps military service members and their families after they return home. The foundation is named for the ABC news anchor injured while working in Iraq in 2006.
Springsteen played a five-song solo acoustic set that included “Growin' Up,” “Dancing in the Dark” and “Born in the U.S.A.” to a crowd of fans, military leaders, servicemen and women and corporate executives at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Springsteen’s opening acts were big names themselves: comedians John Oliver, Jon Stewart, Louis C.K. and Jim Gaffigan.
“I should not be alive right now,” Woodruff said in opening the show, noting the military personnel who helped save his life in a war zone. Woodruff also led a moment of silence for Robin Williams, the comic who died over the summer and had previously participated in the fundraiser, now in its eighth year.
The night raised more than $1 million, with Springsteen’s packages making up more than half of the contributions.
Overall, Stand Up For Heroes has raised $6 million this year. The night also included a surprise performance by Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who sang “New York, New York.”
Stewart, host of “The Daily Show,” touched on Tuesday’s elections and the GOP wins: “What happened to Obama?”
Meanwhile, Oliver, host of “Last Week Tonight,” spoke to veterans of his fear when Superstorm Sandy was bearing down on New York.
“I’m not sure many people in this room will identify with that level of cowardice,” he quipped.