'Stand Up for Heroes" is basically all about the laughs.
Yes, it's a fundraiser for the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which very seriously aids injured service members and their families. And yes, the biggest draw is musician Bruce Springsteen, who has anchored the benefit every year since it started in 2007.
But it's still all about the comedy.
"I'm sure Bruce is working on his jokes right now," said Caroline Hirsch, founder of the New York Comedy Festival and Carolines on Broadway, who also came up with the idea for the benefit. "You gotta give Bruce credit. You won't be seeing Louis C.K. picking up the guitar."
This year, the benefit at the Theater at Madison Square Garden -- which, as usual, will be part of the New York Comedy Festival -- will feature Springsteen, Louis C.K., Jon Stewart, Jim Gaffigan and John Oliver, as well as surprise guests, which will likely include Woodruff's longtime friend NBC Nightly News anchor and managing editor Brian Williams. Yes, BriWi will probably tell jokes, too.
For Woodruff, the ABC News correspondent who was injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq as he reported on security forces there in 2006, the importance of the benefit and the funds it raises to help injured service members could not be more serious. But he feels that the comedy has helped raise awareness of the troubles facing members of the military when they return home from the war.
"I never thought it would be as well-established and as supported as it is," said Woodruff. "I think it really does play a fairly big role in helping people remember the veterans. ... This helps people who want to do something find a way to do it."
Woodruff is certainly grateful to the military for the medical treatment he received after his injury in Iraq. ("It was assumed that I would not live," he said. "Miraculously, they were able to stabilize me.") However, both Woodruff and Hirsch said they also feel that the benefit reminds Americans that they owe the military a debt of gratitude for their service.
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"Everybody feels for this cause," said Hirsch, who was inspired to launch the benefit after she saw Woodruff's documentary about service members returning from Iraq. "They know that these people all did something for us. We should do something for them."
WHAT Stand Up for Heroes, featuring Bruce Springsteen, Louis C.K., Jon Stewart and more
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Wednesday, Theater at Madison Square Garden, Manhattan
INFO $105-$5,005; 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com