Stand Up for Heroes (SUFH), New York’s most anticipated night of hope, healing and laughter, returned for its 14th annual celebration as a virtual event to honor our nation’s impacted veterans and their families, yesterday, Wednesday, November 18th.
The event was streamed on ABC News Live, Facebook, HLN, TikTok, Twitch, and the Armed Forces Network, which broadcast the special virtual celebration in 168 countries for service men and women deployed and living abroad. Stand Up for Heroes was presented by the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) and the New York Comedy Festival (NYCF) and was brought to you by Craig Newmark Philanthropies and Veterans on Wall Street, led by Citi, HSBC Bank, and Wells Fargo, and supported by Vehicles for Veterans.
Viewers across the U.S. and around the world tuned into the special event hosted by Jon Stewart, featuring a star-studded line up of performances from Nate Bargatze, Ronny Chieng, Sheryl Crow, Mickey Guyton, Tiffany Haddish, Brad Paisley, Patti Scialfa, Iliza Shlesinger, and Bruce Springsteen, with special guests including Jeannie Gaffigan, Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, Brian Regan, Ray Romano, and more. Throughout the night, inspiring stories from our nation’s military were shared, alongside memorable performances from the biggest names in comedy and music. The event raised millions of dollars to support veterans and their families through the Bob Woodruff Foundation, and as the event continues to stream online, viewers are encouraged to still donate and support our service men and women during these trying times, through standup.bobwoodrufffoundation.org.
The evening opened with Bruce Springsteen and Jon Stewart riding together on a motorcycle and joking about their love of New Jersey, followed by a look back at 13 years of increasingly impressive Stand Up for Heroes shows. Nate Bargatze shared a few jokes while being playfully heckled by Brad Paisley, who later took to the stage at the Grand Ole Opry to sing “This is Country Music.” More laughs and musical moments followed, including a poignant performance by Mickey Guyton and a kid-friendly segment with Tiffany Haddish who read a passage from her new book to a group video chat of young children. Bruce Springsteen closed out the night, performing alongside his wife Patti Scialfa.
The event was ultimately about supporting and honoring veterans and their families. Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, offered his remarks and experiences as a former service member, noting, “My experience in the military made me who I am today – and it also connected me with some of the strongest, funniest, and most memorable people I’ve ever met.” He added, “As far as I see it, service is what happens in the quiet and in the chaos. It’s what happens when people aren’t looking and it’s about how we take care of each other every single day.”
Video stories from veterans across the country provided viewers with a meaningful reminder of the real men and women impacted by the Bob Woodruff Foundation. For Navy veteran Jesus “Fernando” Ruiz, a motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed meant his future was anything but certain. Fernando and his wife, Jessica, saw their hopes of having a baby disappear when they discovered the high cost of fertility treatments. Through the Bob Woodruff Foundation’s Veterans In-Vitro IntitiAtive (VIVA), a program that supports wounded veterans seeking to grow their families, the couple was able to achieve their dream of becoming parents to a beautiful baby boy. Describing their experience, Fernando said, “VIVA is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to us.”
Marine veteran Brad Lang’s desire to give back to the country inspired him into service, but his life changed forever when an IED exploded and left him as a double amputee. Post-surgery, he was invited to give skiing a try with nonprofit organization Move United, and he found joy and purpose in adaptive sports. During the show, Brad shared his excitement about being part of the brand-new Move United USA Wheelchair Football League, made possible with support from the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the NFL.
Viewers also saw Bob Woodruff on the ground in Queens, NY and Houston, TX, alongside veteran volunteers who were stepping up for their neighbors in the wake of natural disasters and now, the COVID-19 pandemic. Bob’s visit to Houston highlighted the extensive impact of the Bob Woodruff Foundation’s two-year partnership with the State of Qatar through the Qatar Harvey Fund. This innovative partnership has reached and helped over 10,000 veterans through a range of programs, addressing long-term recovery, food insecurity, employment and skills training, and a clinician training program that is revolutionizing the landscape of veteran mental health on the Texas Gulf Coast.
“Although the Stand Up for Heroes event looked a bit different this year, we couldn’t be prouder to bring a night of inspiration, entertainment, and hope to our nation’s veterans and to our country,” said Bob Woodruff, ABC News correspondent and co-founder of the Bob Woodruff Foundation. “Our veterans need our support now more than ever after an exceptionally challenging year, and we’ll continue to show up for them for as long as they need it.”
In 2007, New York Comedy Festival founders Caroline Hirsch and Andrew Fox partnered with Bob and Lee Woodruff to create this special event as a tribute to wounded, ill, and injured veterans and their loved ones.
“Each year, it is truly a privilege for the New York Comedy Festival to partner with the Bob Woodruff Foundation to support and honor our country’s veterans and provide the comedic relief and joy that we could all use this year,” said Caroline Hirsch, founder of the New York Comedy Festival and Carolines on Broadway. “With millions of dollars raised last night during such a difficult year, we are honored and grateful for the continued support from our performers to help raise funds for such an important cause.”
SUFH has seen immense talent over the past 14 years, including comedians and performers such as Tony Bennett, Jimmy Carr, Ronnie Chieng, Eric Church, Stephen Colbert, Sheryl Crow, Jim Gaffigan, Ricky Gervais, Whoopi Goldberg, John Mayer, Seth Meyers, Hasan Minhaj, John Mulaney, Trevor Noah, Conan O’Brien, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jerry Seinfeld, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Stewart, Ray Romano and Robin Williams.
This year’s event was produced by Chantel Sausedo along with Jesse Collins Entertainment, known for producing television’s most memorable performances in music entertainment like the BET Awards and specials including John Lewis: Celebrating A Hero, Love & Happiness: An Obama Farewell, Change Together: From The March On Washington To Today and the upcoming 2021 Super Bowl Halftime show.
Executive producers include David Clark, Jesse Collins, Anne Marie Dougherty, Andrew Fox, Dionne Harmon, Caroline Hirsch, Jeannae Rouzan-Clay and Bob Woodruff. The event is made possible by its partners: Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Veterans on Wall Street led by Citi, HSBC Bank, and Wells Fargo, Vehicles for Veterans, Phillip Morris International, The Steven & Alexandria Cohen Foundation, Toyota, Barclays, PayPal, Salesforce, The Embassy of The State of Qatar, Bank of The West, BNP Paribas, BlackRock, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Citadel, Prudential, The Barbara Bradley Baekgaard Family Foundation, UFC, Wells Fargo Foundation, Academy Securities, Amazon, AmeriVet Securities, BASF, Capitolis, Eurex, Evan and Tracy Segal Family Foundation, Intercontinental Exchange, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Macquarie Group, MetLife, PGIM FIXED INCOME, Roberts & Ryan, Santander Bank, Senator, TD Ameritrade, The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), and Tudor Investment Corporation.
The 14th Annual Stand Up for Heroes is now available to stream on the Bob Woodruff Foundation website and ABC News Live. ABC News Live is distributed to streaming services including Hulu, Roku, and YouTube TV. An encore of the event will stream from the Bob Woodruff Foundation’s Facebook page on Thursday November 19th at 9PM EST. For those interested in donating and supporting our servicemen and women through Stand up for Heroes and the Bob Woodruff Foundation, please visit standup.bobwoodrufffoundation.org.
ABOUT STAND UP FOR HEROES
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 $55 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 14 years, comedians and performers including Stephen Colbert, Jim Gaffigan, Ricky Gervais, John Mayer, Seth Meyers, Hasan Minhaj, John Mulaney, Trevor Noah, Conan O’Brien, Jerry Seinfeld, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Stewart, Ray Romano and Robin Williams have taken the stage to advocate for our extraordinary service members. Stand Up for Heroes is presented by the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) and the New York Comedy Festival (NYCF).
ABOUT THE BOB WOODRUFF FOUNDATION
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 $75 million to Find, Fund and Shape™ programs that have empowered impacted veterans, service members and their family members, across the nation. For more information, please visit bobwoodrufffoundation.org or follow us on Twitter at @Stand4Heroes.
ABOUT THE NEW YORK COMEDY FESTIVAL
The New York Comedy Festival (NYCF) is produced by Carolines on Broadway. The festival has featured the country’s top comedians, including Judd Apatow, Hannibal Buress, Bill Burr, 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 Stephen Colbert, Ricky Gervais, John Mayer, Seth Meyers, John Mulaney, Trevor, Noah, John Oliver, Conan O’Brien, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ray Romano, Jerry Seinfeld, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Stewart, and Robin Williams, among others. To date, the “Stand Up for Heroes” events have raised over $55 million.
ABOUT JESSE COLLINS ENTERTAINMENT
Jesse Collins Entertainment (JCE) is a full-service television and film production company and has played an integral role in producing many of television’s most memorable moments in music entertainment. JCE has a multi-year overall agreement with ViacomCBS Cable Networks. On the theatrical film side, the company also has a first look on JCE’s film development projects which could include Viacom’s film entities such as Paramount Players. The award-winning and critically acclaimed television that JCE has produced includes miniseries—The New Edition Story and The Bobby Brown Story; scripted series—American Soul and Real Husbands of Hollywood; children’s series—Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices; award shows—BET Awards, Black Girls Rock!, BET Honors, UNCF’s An Evening of Stars, BET Hip Hop Awards, ABFF Honors and Soul Train Awards; specials—John Lewis: Celebrating A Hero, Love & Happiness: An Obama Farewell, Change Together: From The March On Washington To Today, Dear Mama, Amanda Seales I Be Knowin’, Def Comedy Jam 25 and Leslie Jones: Time Machine; as well as competition/game shows—Sunday Best, Hip Hop Squares, Nashville Squares and Rhythm & Flow. Jesse Collins, founder & CEO of the company, is the executive producer of all programming and is also a producer for the iconic Grammy Awards. He will next executive produce The Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show. Go to jessecollinsent.com for more information on the company.
NICOLE MILAZZO | BWF@5wpr.com
KATHERINE COOK | firstname.lastname@example.org