Billy Crystal's comic relief for Long Beach

Billy Crystal arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar

Billy Crystal arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar party in West Hollywood, Calif. (Feb. 26, 2012) (Credit: AP)

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To help cheer up his hometown of Long Beach, still reeling after superstorm Sandy, comedian Billy Crystal will host a private screening of his upcoming comedy "Parental Guidance" on Monday. The Emmy and Tony Award winner plans to bus residents to the UA Lynbrook 6.

When Crystal, who lives in California, saw the first images of the storm, "It was just heartbreaking and you felt helpless, looking at it on TV, and then suddenly there's somebody from CNN on what used to be the boardwalk, where I had many a smile," he said Tuesday in a Manhattan hotel room. "You can mend buildings, but rebuilding people's confidence and their mood, and putting a smile on their face is what I do. Hopefully I can lift their spirits."

The "City Slickers" and "When Harry Met Sally . . ." star said that when he broached the idea with the film's distributor, 20th Century Fox, "They said, 'We're with you' -- they just jumped in. And there's free drinks and popcorn to make it like a premiere."

The film will play at staggered times at all six screens at the Lynbrook theater, which has a total of about 1,400 seats, he said. "And I'm going to greet everybody at each individual theater and do whatever we can do to spend a little time at each place."

Some of his own family were among the hard-hit, he said. His eldest brother, Joel, 70 -- a former City Council president and Long Beach High School art teacher -- and his sister-in-law Barbara "had a lot of damage to their house. My nephew Jess just got back into part of his house."

"Parental Guidance," starring Crystal and Bette Midler as grandparents asked to watch their young grandkids for a few hectic, culture-clashing days, officially opens Christmas Day.

In addition to this screening, Crystal, 64, will be among the performers at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 12 for the benefit "12-12-12: Concert for Sandy Relief."

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