11th Annual Stand Up for Heroes Kicks off NY Comedy Festival, Raises $5.3M for Bob Woodruff Foundation

Honoring our nation’s military veterans through laughter and music, the 11th Annual Stand Up for Heroes raised more than $5.3 million for the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF), in front of a sold-out crowd at the Theater at Madison Square Garden last night.

Presented by the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the New York Comedy Festival (NYCF), the star-studded event included performances by Hasan Minhaj, John Mulaney, Trevor Noah, Conan O’Brien, John Oliver, Jon Stewart and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. “Hamilton’s” Leslie Odom Jr. sang the National Anthem. Notable attendees included Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin; Michael Kelly, Kate Bosworth and fellow cast from National Geographic Channel’s “The Long Road Home”; actor Ansel Elgort; CNN New Day’s Chris Cuomo; ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz; and ABC News Chief Legal Analyst Dan Abrams.

Also taking the stage were veterans who inspired the crowd, and the nearly 100 fellow veterans and their loved ones seated in the front rows. Among the powerful stories of recovery shared during the evening was that of retired Marine Cpl. Kionte Storey, a below the knee amputee who recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, to raise awareness for BWF while inspiring fellow amputees. Former Air Force Capt. Jen Oh, introduced a video showing veterans as a force for good amid tragedy. Oh, a volunteer with Team Rubicon responded twice to Texas following Hurricane Harvey, and to northern California for wildfire relief. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will be donated to veteran serving organizations affected by recent disasters.

“Stand Up for Heroes is an opportunity to put aside our differences, to come together and honor those who have sacrificed so much for all of us,” said Bob Woodruff, co-founder and ABC news correspondent. “Lee and I are completely overwhelmed by the continued outpouring of support for our mission—from those who purchased tickets to the talent on stage—we can’t thank them enough for taking a stand with us.”

Since its inception in 2007, the benefit for BWF has now raised more than $45 million to create long-lasting positive outcomes for our nation’s wounded, ill, and injured veterans, service members and their families.

In 2006, Bob and Lee Woodruff found themselves facing similar challenges to injured service members during Bob’s recovery from injuries sustained by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq for ABC News. Inspired by their experiences, they resolved to ensure that our nation’s heroes have access to the same level of support and resources.

Stand Up for Heroes became the brainchild of the Woodruffs and New York Comedy Festival founders Caroline Hirsch and Andrew Fox as a tribute to these heroes.

“We continue to be in awe of the support each year for Stand Up for Heroes. The generosity from the performers, audience, and supporters exceeded our expectations,” said Caroline Hirsch, founder of the New York Comedy Festival and Carolines on Broadway and a Bob Woodruff Foundation board member. “We are thrilled to have the ability to honor the bravery of our nation’s heroes each year at Stand Up for Heroes.”

Stand Up for Heroes kicked off the 14th annual New York Comedy Festival, which will run through Sunday, November 12th, at venues throughout New York City. During the six day festival more than 200 comedians will perform – including 2 Dope Queens, Samantha Bee, Cedric the Entertainer, Vir Das, Chris Hardwick, “How Did This Get Made?” podcast, truTV’s “The Impractical Jokers Starring The Tenderloins,” Jon Lovett’s “Lovett or Leave It” podcast, Jo Koy, Bill Maher, Tracy Morgan, Jim Norton, Conan O’Brien, Nick Offerman, Brian Regan, Tom Segura, Iliza Shlesinger, Kevin Smith and Ron White – in over 60 shows at New York City venues such as the Beacon Theatre, Carnegie Hall, Carolines on Broadway, BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Madison Square Garden, The Theater at MSG, NYU Skirball Center and Town Hall.

This year’s NYCF is showcasing the first-ever TBS Comedy Hub, the official New York Comedy Festival headquarters. Fans can register for FREE events and get access to exclusive TBS programming, all-star talent and fan experiences from Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, CONAN, The Detour with Jason Jones, Search Party, Olan Rogers’ Final Space, Refinery29, Above Average, Second City and more. In addition, NBC Talk Stoop’s Cat Greeleaf will moderate a conversation with SNL’s Kenan Thompson. Open daily through Sunday, November 12th from 3p-11p at PUBLIC Hotel, located at 215 Chrystie Street, in NYC.

Stand Up for Heroes was presented by the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the New York Comedy Festival, and was brought to you by Veterans on Wall Street, supported by founding sponsor GFI Group Inc., the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation and the Craig Newmark Foundation. Additional sponsors included: Barclays, BASF Corporation, Brixmor Property Group, Citi, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Jack Daniel’s, JetBlue, L3 Technologies, National Geographic, Oliver Wyman, Prudential, Thomson Reuters, Toyota Motor North America, UBS Americas and Wells Fargo.


Stand Up for Heroes launched in 2007 as the brainchild of Bob and Lee Woodruff and New York Comedy Festival founders Caroline Hirsch and Andrew Fox and is one of New York’s most anticipated nights of hope, healing and laughter, honoring our nation’s injured veterans and their families. Since its inception in 2007, SUFH has raised more than $45 million to create long-lasting, positive outcomes for our nation’s injured veterans, service members and their families. Stand Up for Heroes continues to expand and grow due to its remarkable success. Beginning at Town Hall, the event moved to the Beacon Theater in 2010, and to the Theater at Madison Square Garden in 2013. Over the past ten years, comedians and performers including Chris Botti, Louis C.K., Stephen Colbert, Jim Gaffigan, Ricky Gervais, John Mayer, Seth Meyers, Conan O’Brien, Phillip Phillips, Jerry Seinfeld, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Stewart, Brian Regan, Ray Romano and Robin Williams have taken the stage to advocate for extraordinary service members. Stand Up for Heroes is presented by the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) and the New York Comedy Festival (NYCF).


The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) was founded in 2006 after reporter Bob Woodruff was hit by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq. Since then, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has led an enduring call to action for people to stand up for heroes and meet the emerging and long term-needs of today’s veterans. To date, BWF has invested more than $45 million to find, fund and shape programs that have empowered impacted veterans, service members and their families, across the nation. For more information, please visit bobwoodrufffoundation.org or follow us on Twitter at @Stand4Heroes.


Now in its fourteenth year, the New York Comedy Festival is produced by Carolines on Broadway in association with TBS. The festival has featured the country’s top comedians, including Aziz Ansari, Judd Apatow, Hannibal Buress, Bill Burr, Louis C.K., Margaret Cho, Billy Crystal, Larry David, Ricky Gervais, Kathy Griffin, Kevin Hart, John Leguizamo, Norm Macdonald, Bill Maher, Tig Notaro, Nick Offerman, Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, and Wanda Sykes, to name a few. In 2007, the festival launched the “Stand Up for Heroes” event to benefit The Bob Woodruff Foundation, which has featured performances by Louis C.K., Ricky Gervais, John Mayer, Seth Meyers, John Oliver, Conan O’Brien, Ray Romano, Jerry Seinfeld, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Stewart, and Robin Williams, among others. To date, the “Stand Up for Heroes” events have raised over $40 million. For more information please visit the NYCF website, like the NYCF Facebook page, and follow the NYCF on Twitter, @NYComedyFest.