Watch the Big Slick celebrities ham it up on the red carpet
Paul Rudd took a few seconds to smile at the camera with Ashley Stumpf, but for long after that, she couldn’t stop smiling.
That’s partly because 20 seconds earlier Eric Stonestreet had also posed for a picture with her — and also because Rudd, aka Ant-Man, was her favorite celebrity of the morning.
“Oh my goodness!” mother Nancy Kunickis said while Stumpf, of Overland Park, posed with Stonestreet, who stars on "Modern Family."
But the smiles didn’t stop.
Not only did Stumpf get a picture with Rudd but also with almost every other star who strutted down the Big Slick Celebrity Weekend red carpet Saturday morning — Charlie Day, Adam Devine of "Pitch Perfect," David Koechner, plus hugs from Jason Sudeikis and Angela Kinsey ("The Office").
Among all the Big Slick festivities, the red carpet is the closest mere mortals can get to the celebrities — hometown hosts Rudd, Sudeikis, Stonestreet, Koechner and Rob Riggle and their dozens of famous guests.
They walked the red carpet in Overland Park's Prairiefire shopping center before heading in to the charity bowling tournament at Pinstripes, one of several events to raise money for Children's Mercy hospital.
The celebrities were happy to give shout-outs to KC:
Who knew? CNN journalist Jake Tapper said he got married in Kansas City, tweeting later that the wedding was at the old Clubhouse on Baltimore, and his wife (Jennifer Marie Brown) is from St. Joseph.
"Thanks for having me," said Charlie Day, who stars in FXX's "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and starred with Sudeikis in the "Horrible Bosses" movies. "And it's always sunny in Kansas City," he added as the rain clouds started to part.
And David Dastmalchian, who co-stars with Rudd in the "Ant-Man" movies, made sure to yell the name of his alma mater, Shawnee Mission South.
Sudeikis had to miss the Friday events because of a commitment on a movie shoot. Saturday morning he was happy to chat up the crowd while strolling the red carpet. But he politely declined a request to reprise the moves he did as a backup dancer in a "Saturday Night Live" skit with Rudd — a dance so wonderfully bad it became a gif.
"I gotta have the wig and the jumpsuit," Sudeikis demurred. "It's the jumpsuit that really does it. And the gold chain." (In the YouTube video, look for him around the 2-minute mark.)
Chiefs great Tony Gonzalez walked the red carpet, as expected. But he was joined by current players, all in uniform and giving autographs: Mitchell Schwartz, Jordan Devey, Bryan Witzmann and Mitch Morse.
The crowd started lining up well before the celebrities arrived, mingling with a few other "celebrities" there for the morning's free block party, including Darth Vader, Princess Leia and Chewbacca of "Star Wars" as well as Black Panther.
First, around 9:30 a.m., some young patients at Children’s Mercy, with a few shy but bright smiles, made their way down the red carpet, each one to a round of applause.
"A lot of people look at (Kansas) as a flyover state, not realizing the impact that people have from here and how that extends out," said Janette George, whose kids had been treated at the hospital. She and friends Sybil Reeves, Diana Webster and Janet Tubut were at the red carpet celebrating a birthday.
"I love the fact that they brought it here," George said, as Darth Vader crept up behind them. "It means a lot to have people from here giving back."
Big Slick "opens people's eyes to the area," said Allison Budke, who was there with her sister Rachel and now lives at Prairiefire. "Over the last couple years it's really built up clientele. I think this is really something that’s made it happen."
The Big Slick hosts kicked off the weekend Friday with a press conference at Children's Mercy, followed by a meet-and-greet-and-play with some of the young patients there.
That afternoon, they and their celebrity guests braved the heat and the silliness in a softball game at Kauffman Stadium, before the Royals played the A's that night.
They were set to cap off the event with an auction at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland Saturday night.
Tickets are sold out, but, through Saturday, anyone can bid at bigslickkc.org on some auction items, including a Weird Al concert VIP package, the opportunity to hang out with Rich Eisen at NFL Network and tickets to see late-night hosts Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and James Corden.
Since it started in 2010, Big Slick has raised more than $6 million for Children’s Mercy. After the softball game, Stonestreet said he was hoping for $2 million more this year.