Entertainment legend Rosie O’Donnell is set to host a comedy night at the Fonda Theater on July 16 benefitting Friendly House L.A., a nonprofit dedicated to providing women recovering from addiction with housing and detox programs—and LAMag had a chance to sit down with the comedy icon to discuss the event and nonprofit.
O’Donnell is no stranger to charity. Over the years she has dedicated time and resources to countless causes. She says that her upcoming collaboration is with Friendly House L.A. because she strongly believes in the power of spaces dedicated to women.
“I’m always happy for people helping women who are trying to get sober because it’s hard for women. It’s a different set of challenges, I think than it is for men,” O’Donnell told LAMag. “And to have a place that’s there for women where women are understood and have a supportive network with each other, I think is vital for their future sobriety and their mental health.”
According to O’Donnell, a night of comedy is going to be perfect for this cause. Even though addiction is a serious topic, she says she believes that it’s important to allow space for joy when discussing the tough stuff. A few years ago, O’Donnell met the founder of Friendly House, Peggy Albrecht, through fellow actor and comedian Russell Brand, and quickly grew to love the work the charity is doing. So when a board member came to O’Donnell proposing a “night of fun” to benefit the cause, she didn’t hesitate.
“I thought, well, let’s try it. This is the first one. If it works and we get a lot of people, that will make a lot of money, and 100% of the profits go right back to Friendly House. So it’s important,” O’Donnell said.
Emmy and Grammy Award winner Kathy Griffin will be headlining the event while acclaimed comedians Gina Yashere, Atsuko Okatsuka, and Beth Lapides will be performing sets at the Fonda Theater. O’Donnell says she is thrilled to host a “wonderful night of female comics and support this female sobriety house.”
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