Last year, Big Slick Celebrity Weekend raised a record $1.3 million to benefit the Cancer Center at Children’s Mercy.
This year brought in an even bigger haul: $1.75 million, said organizers at the extravaganza’s star-studded final event Saturday night at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland.
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Hometown hosts Paul Rudd, Jason Sudeikis, Rob Riggle, Eric Stonestreet and David Koechner and their celebrity guests lounged on leather couches scattered around the Midland stage, maniacally danced between bidding sessions, tried to one-up one another on whether Jayhawks, Wildcats or Tigers are the best and, especially, took to the microphones to egg the crowd on to fork over more money.
Several monster bids pushed the total over the top:
▪ Two $60,000 bids — for a total of $120,000 — for a “Marvelous opportunity” to join Rudd on a tour of the Atlanta set of his next movie, “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” attend the premiere next summer, meet Rudd’s fellow Avengers (as in Chris Hemsworth and Robert Downey Jr.) and possibly appear in a crowd scene, as long as the producer approves.
“Imagine what we would have gotten if you were actual size,” said Sudeikis, joking about the shortest member of the Big Slick hosting crew.
Bonus: Big Slick guest and fellow Kansas Citian David Dastmalchian will return in the sequel as Russian hacker Kurt.
▪ $45,000 to join Big Slick guest Martin Starr on a visit to the set of his TV show, “Silicon Valley” — an amount that was immediately matched for a total of $90,000.
▪ $34,000 for a visit to Stonestreet’s “Modern Family” set. “We are going to make out!” Stonestreet exclaimed to the winning bidder. He soon changed his mind and promised cocktails instead, along with tickets to “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
▪ $30,000 to join Riggle (whose voice grew more and more hoarse as the evening progressed) for a meal in Lawrence, a KU basketball game and a visit with coach Bill Self.
▪ $25,000 to attend next year’s premiere of the movie “Action Point” starring Johnny Knoxville, who also promised massages, manicures and pedicures, and drinks together — bidder’s choice of tequila or whiskey. Last year, Knoxville auctioned off a visit to that movie’s set in South Africa.
▪ $25,000 to “party like it’s 1984,” as Sudeikis put it: a trip for two to see his fiancee, Olivia Wilde, starring in her Broadway debut, “1984.”
▪ $22,500 for tickets to “Saturday Night Live,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.”
▪ $20,000 for an old-school arcade game custom-designed with the faces of the Big Slick hosts. In addition, Stonestreet said he would come to the winner’s home around Christmas and play those games. “I will eat your chips and drink your soda,” he promised.
▪ $20,000 for a visit to the set of Will Forte’s show, “The Last Man on Earth.” Forte threw in an evening of dinner and karaoke, and soon fellow Big Slick guests James van der Beek, Samm Levine, Kevin Rahm as well as Koechner said they’d join in, too.
▪ $15,000 for a visit to the season premiere of HBO’s “Westworld.” Star James Marsden was scheduled to return as a Big Slick guest but had to cancel because of the show’s filming schedule. He appeared instead on the giant video screen to talk up the bidding.
In addition to some raunchy comedy bits (we are looking at you, Seth “Flashdance” Herzog, and averting our eyes) and magic tricks from Blake Vogt, the audience was treated to music by noted Kansas Citians.
David Cook of Blue Springs sang a bluesy, acoustic rendition of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer,” his audition song for “American Idol,” which he went on to win.
Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear reminded everyone what the weekend was about by dedicating their performance of “Silent Movies” to Savannah, “a young girl we met in a hospital bed” on a visit to Children’s Mercy that morning.
And Lucas Novick, who survived cancer thanks to Children’s Mercy, moved the crowd with Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” spurring a flurry of donations.
The auction closed a busy few days for the Big Slick crew.
On Thursday, Koechner, Rudd and Riggle stopped in at the hospital to entertain some of the staff with stand-up comedy and a lively Q&A session, where they revealed some of their favorite spots around Kansas City.
Saturday morning, before heading in to their bowling tournament at Pinstripes in Overland Park, they greeted fans along a red carpet. One of Rudd’s biggest fans there was 12-year-old Reese Davis, a former Children’s Mercy patient whose wheelchair was decked out as an Ant-Man costume.
Further boosting its numbers this year, Big Slick held its first nationwide raffle to participate in the big events. The winner was Megan Henley of California, whose father grew up in Kansas City.
The event’s final number: $1,753,179, bringing total donations to more than $6 million since the fundraiser began in 2010. Donations are still being accepted at bigslickkc.org.