cultural capital

The Approval Matrix Meets Comedy Central’s Autism Benefit


Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, and a big check at Sunday’s benefit.Photo: Getty Images

We were at the Comedy Central autism benefit the other night — pardon us, the “Night of Too Many Stars: An Overbooked Benefit for Autism Research,” which raised more than $2 million — minding our own reportorial business on the red carpet, when Will “Gob Bluth” Arnett, came bounding over to talk to us. Why? Because it seems he’s an Approval Matrix fan. “I’m just trying to stay on the highbrow-brilliant side of things,” he told us. “Although maybe asking to get on the Matrix is considered lowbrow-despicable. I’ll let the people decide. I don’t mind being despicable. All I care is that I’m highbrow, either way.”

We’d actually say asking to be on the Matrix is more lowbrow than despicable, but, still, Arnett will always be highbrow to us. With his inspiration, a quasi-Matrixy look at the event.


• Host Jon Stewart falling to the floor laughing during a satellite interview with Will Ferrell as Robert Goulet and still managing to compose himself by the time the camera returned to him,

• Steve Carell’s appeal to a neglected group of donors: cats who have been left large fortunes by eccentric old ladies, delivered in meows and hisses with subtitles like, “It’s as easy as licking your own groin.” Even better: when they translated it into cat Spanish and cat sign language.

• Ben Stiller’s impression of David Blaine trying to eat pizza and do card tricks while living in a tiny Lucite cube for charity.


• Amy Sedaris was announced; TV director showed Amy Poehler.

• The music was so loud none of the celebrities sitting onstage and manning the telephone banks could have possibly actually been answering phones.

• Jerry Seinfeld’s circa-1998 stand-up. “E-mail is the lowest form of communication. E-mail is ‘I don’t want to hear your voice. I don’t want to see your face.’”


• Jack Black’s opening song, which advised other charities to take the night off. “Lance Armstrong, put away your yellow bracelet and tuck in your one ball.”

• Energetic Jimmy Fallon leading the crowd in the wave during the lulls. “Top mezzanine, go!”

• Triumph the Insult Comic Dog’s song with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, which featured the line, “Where have you gone, Marion Barry? You smoked crack in plain view, but after six years of Bush, I might still prefer you.”


• Triumph the Insult Comic Dog’s song with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, filled with rather mean gay jokes about Moby, who’d just spent the entire night leading the terrific house band.

• Adam Sandler’s lame running joke about playing catch with a miniature pony

• An interminable bit in which David Cross pretended not to know Bob Odenkirk until he figured out they’d been in the same gang-bang porn shoot.

• Leo Allen, a Comedy Central writer, who blew us off mid-sentence at the after-party at the Mandarin Oriental. “Oh, look! There’s Will Forte!” Will Forte?

• Will Forte takes off shirt and makes out with Fred Armisen for charity. Good effort, but more than we needed to see.

— Jada Yuan

The Approval Matrix Meets Comedy Central’s Autism Benefit