With support from entertainment industry, USO radiothon a success

LOS ANGELES – More than 20 comedians as well as celebrities from shows such as “NCIS” and “CSI” and even “Operation Repo” performed live to support the men, women and families of U.S. Armed Forces during the highly successful first annual “USO Radiothon, Online Auction and Comedy Festival for America’s Troops” benefiting the Bob Hope USO. The event was held July 3 at the world-famous Laugh Factory Hollywood, before a packed house, including dozens of active duty troops in uniform.

Some of the comedians who performed included Dane Cook, Paul Rodriguez, Tom Arnold, Richard Lewis, Steve Hofstetter, Bob Zany, Erik Griffin, Fritz Coleman and Mary Lynn Rajskub (who also stars in “24”), as well as “Last Comic Standing” winners Felipe Esparza and Alonzo Bodden.

There were so many celebrities and comics that we couldn’t even get everyone on the air,” event co-chair Gary Bryan of KEARTH 101 radio said. “Kudos to the amazing comedy impresario Jamie Masada (the event co-chair) for getting so many wonderful performers to the Laugh Factory so early in the morning for this very special event,” Gary said.

The event was carried live on K-EARTH, the number one rated radio station in the greater Los Angeles in virtually every morning demographic, with Gary Bryan and Lisa Stanley hosting.  The Radiothon was also streamed live on laughfactory.com for four hours on July 3. K-EARTH carried five hours of additional Radiothon coverage the next day from the 4th of July parade in Huntington Beach.

The Radiothon received extensive broadcast news coverage, including nine minutes live on FOX-11 with Steve Edwards and Julie Chang.  Frank Mottek of KNX did live reports from the Radiothon and also featured the event on his highly rated KNX Business Hour show.

“We are so thankful to all our friends at K-EARTH and CBS Radio, the Laugh Factory and Julien’s Auctions who worked with us for many months to plan this incredible event on behalf of our men and women in uniform,” said Bob Hope USO Executive Director Bob Kurkjian.  “We knew it would be good, but this event has exceeded our wildest expectations,” he said.

In addition to getting up extremely early to perform at the event that was held from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., many of the comedians also had made some Bob Hope USO-related tweets during the event.  Tom Arnold tweeted “You guys are wonderful.  Wish you ran the whole country.”

Steve Hofstetter tweeted “It was an honor.  Would be glad to do it again.”  His second tweet said, “So many amazing comics this morning at the Laugh Factory for Bob Hope USO that Twitter is considering extending their character limit.”

“I support Bob Hope USO.  Do you?” asked Erik Griffin in his tweet.

Alonzo Bodden tweeted,  “When it comes to donating to Bob Hope USO, don’t think about it, do it.”

K-EARTH even got into the act, thanking Dane Cook for donating his last original copies of his “Harmful if Swallowed” CD to be auctioned off.

A key element of the event is a world-wide online auction of entertainment and sports-related items conducted by Julien’s Auctions of Beverly Hills. The auction, which is underway now at julienslive.com, runs through Monday, July 14.

Some of the online auction items include:

•Being a star for a night at Laugh Factory Hollywood with your name & likeness on the marquee and up to 30 friends in attendance to enjoy your standup routine on the world-famous Laugh Factory stage

•A special hot dog created in your name and placed on the menu by Pink’s Hot Dogs

•Two tickets to the October 3 Eagles concert at Honda Center plus a meet & greet with Joe Walsh

•The Ultimate Grammys experience: walking the red carpet, VIP seats and attending the official after-party

•A Day at the Dodgers with KCBS Sports Legend Jim Hill with access to the stadium field and press box

•Operation Repo Experience with series star Lou Pizarro and daughter Lyndah filming your own “webisode”

•Debbie Matenopoulos cooking a Greek feast for up to 10 guests and autographing copies of her new book for all

•A Day with the Simpson’s, which includes a basket of Simpson’s collectibles and a sit-in with the cast while they do a “table read” of a new Simpson’s script.  Hosted by Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson

•A Day at CBS Studio City for 4 guests with behind-the-scenes guided tour of the historic 40-acre site home to TV productions, live rehearsal of current show, CBS Commissary lunch and 1 CBS Victory Jacket

•Ultimate Catalina Family Package, which includes trip for 4 to Catalina Island via Island Express helicopter,    2 nights at Pavilion Hotel, Zipline EcoTour or Dolphin Quest, Undersea Adventure and more.

Bob Hope USO supporters and Radiothon listeners can make secure credit card donations online any time at bobhopeuso.org or by sending checks made out to Bob Hope USO to 203 World Way, Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90045.  Donations can also be made by texting “USO” to 56512.

Event proceeds benefit the Bob Hope USO, covering the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino and Riverside.

“This event will make a huge difference for many of the more than 130,000 troops we help each year at Bob Hope USO centers at Los Angeles, Ontario and Palm Springs International Airports, and soon, at John Wayne International Airport in Orange County,” said USO Chairman of the Board Steve Briggs.  “The Bob Hope USO provides a home away from home for our troops and keeps them connected to the families they left behind.

“We also support families of the fallen and help our service members to transition back into civilian life,” he said. “Our troops and their families need us now more than ever, so please help our troops by supporting the Bob Hope USO.”

Bob Hope USO, a non-profit organization, is totally dependent on private, tax-deductible contributions from individuals, organizations and corporations to support its activities. To learn more about Bob Hope USO, go to bobhopeuso.org.

To donate an iconic auction item or learn how you can help the Bob Hope USO through donations, sponsorships or other activities, contact USO Executive Director Bob Kurkjian at (310) 645-3710.

Because of the extraordinary success of this event, Gary and Jamie announced that the second annual “USO Radiothon, Online Auction and Comedy Festival for America’s Troops” has already been scheduled for Thursday, July 2, 2015 at the Laugh Factory.

“It will again be a very patriotic and fun way to honor the men and women who put their lives on the line for us each and every day,” Jamie said.  “We hope everyone joins us in celebrating the many sacrifices they make for the country we all love.”



Published: July 10, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 13