The Children’s Mercy Hospital medical staff got a big thank-you from Big Slick on Thursday: a bit of standup comedy and a comedic Q&A with celebrity hosts David Koechner, Paul Rudd and Rob Riggle.
“We have doctors and nurses here,” Koechner said during his opening remarks. “So just awful people. Just a mean, bad, bad group.” The Big Slick Celebrity Weekend, on Friday and Saturday, raises money for Children’s Mercy’s Cancer Center.
The laughs came early and often as Koechner joked with the staff (dogs, drinking buddy vs. actual buddy, the trials of parenting) during an event Big Slick dreamed up a month or two ago to thank the often thankless workers who make Children’s Mercy one of the top pediatric medical centers in the country.
“The guys really wanted to show appreciation to you for the amazing care you provide to the kids and their families,” Tara Smyth, the hospital’s Big Slick liaison, told the crowd of about 200 doctors, nurses, clinicians and therapists who won a lottery to attend one of two shows with the hosts.
“There’s nothing better than comedy at 3:30 in the afternoon,” Koechner said.
The performance was billed as a Koechner stand-up show, but the audience soon found out there were a few tricks in store. About 10 minutes into his monologue, Koechner told the crowd that he’d need a few volunteers. And out came Rudd and Riggle, to the roaring delight of the mostly female audience.
“I don’t want to embarrass you,” Koechner joked, “but that was a lot bigger reception than what I got.”
For the next 45 minutes, the trio riffed off one another and took questions from the crowd, answering anything thrown their way, from favorite barbecue and what they miss most about Kansas City to their favorite interactions with Children’s Mercy patients.
To fit as many people as possible into the 235-capacity auditorium, the front row was placed, as Rudd noted, “uncomfortably close … like lap-dance close” to the celebs. Then, the highlight for many came when Riggle and Rudd gave an impromptu lap dance to the front-row spectators. Not to be outdone, Koechner gave another audience member her own private dance.
“It was good to laugh on a Thursday,” said Leah Kennett, a Children’s Mercy occupational therapist. “It’s really nice to be able to be celebrated a little bit, because our jobs can be hard and challenging emotionally.”
Two other Big Slick hosts couldn’t make the performance. Organizers say Eric Stonestreet’s flight was due in later in the day. And Jason Sudeikis stayed at home in New York for fiancee Olivia Wilde’s opening night in “1984” on Broadway.
Big Slick Celebrity Weekend
Five hometown hosts and 26 celebrity guests will converge for three big events June 23-24 to raise money for the Cancer Center at Children’s Mercy:
▪ The celebrity softball game starts at 5 p.m. Friday at Kauffman Stadium. Anyone with a ticket to that night’s Royals game can attend.
▪ A free block party starts at 8:30 a.m. Saturday outside Pinstripes in Overland Park’s Prairiefire, featuring a red carpet event at 9:45 a.m. Celebs and ticketholders will compete in a charity bowling tournament at 10:30.
▪ That night is a sold-out silent auction and party at the Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland.
Learn more and get tickets at bigslickkc.org.