Cool Comedy • Hot Cuisine, A Tribute to Bob Saget, Raises More Than $1.2M for Scleroderma Research Foundation as Part of the 19th Annual New York Comedy Festival

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 10, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Last night, the Scleroderma Research Foundation (SRF) presented its annual Cool Comedy • Hot Cuisine, a tribute to Bob Saget, raising more than $1.2M for the SRF as part of the 19th Annual New York Comedy Festival. Hosted by Jeff Ross and co-chaired by Susan Feniger, Regina Hall, and Kelly Rizzo, the signature fundraising event featured the biggest names in comedy and music to celebrate Saget’s work as a relentless champion for those affected by scleroderma.

Some of the world’s most talented performers generously donated their time to take to the stage to raise funds for the Scleroderma Research Foundation and to find a cure. Host Jeff Ross kicked off the event, performing a special set before welcoming Ronny Chieng, who took the stage in a surprise performance. Next, Nikki Glaser and Michael Che both took to the stage, each delivering a side-splitting set. To close the evening, musicians Adam Duritz and David Immerglück of the Counting Crows gave an intimate performance, including a rendition of their hit song “A Long December,” which Duritz shared was a favorite of his longtime friend Bob Saget.

A highlight of the evening was SRF founding board member Susan Feniger’s presentation of the inaugural Bob Saget Legacy Award to Caroline Hirsch, founder and owner of Carolines and the New York Comedy Festival. Hirsch was a dear friend of Bob Saget and had a long and generous history of helping him to raise funds and awareness for scleroderma research. Her support over the past 30 years was one of the reasons so many legendary comedians continued to donate their time and talents to perform at CCHC. It was fitting that Hirsch became the first honoree to receive the award which was created to honor individuals who have followed in Saget’s footsteps by going above and beyond to help raise awareness about scleroderma and funds to find a cure.

“Through the Scleroderma Research Foundation, Bob’s legacy lives on and will always live on. Tonight is a testament to that,” said Caroline Hirsch as she accepted the Bob Saget Legacy Award.

“The fact that everyone is still showing up for Bob means so much. We’re all trying to do our best without him here,” says Kelly Rizzo. “Bob having this award in his name—there is no one else he’d rather give this first award to than to Caroline Hirsh. She’s been a champion for the cause for so many years, giving her venue to Cool Comedy • Hot Cuisine for more than 20 years.”

“Every comic loves Caroline. I’m very grateful to her and she does a lot of work for the Scleroderma Research Foundation,” adds Jeff Ross. “I miss Bob. We’re keeping his name alive. If you knew Bob—the real Bob was the guy who hosted this event. You never saw Bob cry unless it was at this event. You would see the inside of Bob, his heart at this event. He had a passion for the scleroderma community. He’d be proud of this tonight, he’d be proud of Kelly, his nephew Adam and his daughters.”

In one of the most heartfelt moments of the night, Bob Saget’s wife Kelly Rizzo presented a special tribute video honoring Bob’s legacy with the SRF. A special dinner prepared by celebrity chef Susan Feniger was enjoyed by all 500+ guests including Dale Badway, Danny Burstein, Seth Herzog, Jon LaPook, MD, Lawrence O’Donnell, Ashley Olsen, Aubrey and Lara Saget, Bob Woodruff, Mike Young, and Caryn Zucker.

“Scleroderma is a disease that is potentially deadly and it’s under publicized; people don’t know what it is,” said Jon LaPook, MD. “One of the things we wanted to do with our piece on CBS This Morning [with Bob] was to share what scleroderma is and what the research is. It needs more dollars; it’s one of those diseases that should get enough funding, so we’ll do anything we can to increase awareness and support for it, because the research is really exciting.” Saget passionately championed the Scleroderma Research Foundation since losing his sister Gay to the disease in 1994.

As a longtime supporter and board member of Scleroderma Research Foundation—the country’s first and leading nonprofit investor in medical research into scleroderma—Bob Saget spearheaded Cool Comedy • Hot Cuisine for 30 years.

Since 1987, the SRF has hosted Cool Comedy • Hot Cuisine, featuring the biggest names in comedy, to raise critical funds for research and awareness. The SRF is the United States’ leading nonprofit investor in scleroderma research. Cool Comedy • Hot Cuisine has been a cornerstone of the SRF’s fundraising efforts, raising over $30 million to fund vital research, so that one day, no one will have to suffer from scleroderma.

Saget joined the Scleroderma Research Foundation Board of Directors in 2003. However, his involvement began in 1991 through the SRF’s annual signature event, Cool Comedy • Hot Cuisine—as an attendee, then the next year as a performer, and ultimately as a key figure in organizing and producing the event. He brought together the best comedians, musicians, and more, raising over $25 million toward funding research. Saget actively contributed to the day-to-day operations of the SRF and played a pivotal role in its success. He met with patients, built lasting relationships through his gift of storytelling and laughter, and shared his own experience of the impact of scleroderma on his own family’s life. He passionately sought to find a cure and connected deeply with those affected by the disease.

Scleroderma, often misdiagnosed, is a rare and often life-threatening autoimmune disease that can cause fibrosis in the skin and other vital organs. In the most severe cases, complications can damage the heart, lungs, and digestive system. The SRF funds and facilitates the most promising, highest-quality research aimed at improved therapies and, ultimately, a cure for scleroderma.

About the Scleroderma Research Foundation (SRF)

The Scleroderma Research Foundation (SRF), a 501(c)(3) organization, was established in 1987 with a mission to fund and facilitate the most promising, highest-quality research aimed at new treatments and, ultimately, a cure for scleroderma. Led by a Scientific Advisory Board composed of some of the most highly regarded scientists in the nation, the SRF’s research program actively seeks out the leading scientific minds from disparate fields including autoimmunity, immunology, genetics, and fibrosis to join the scleroderma research community. In addition to its core research program, the SRF has also led the formation of several large-scale projects aimed at accelerating scleroderma research, including the highly innovative CONQUEST platform clinical trial – a first of its kind in rare autoimmune diseases. The SRF is also dedicated to educating people living with scleroderma and their caregivers to learn about how to best manage the challenges of the disease. Stay engaged with SRF at and via social media: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

About the New York Comedy Festival

Launched in 2004, The New York Comedy Festival (NYCF) is produced by Carolines and created by Caroline Hirsch. NYCF brings together the country’s top comedians including Judd Apatow, Bill Burr, Margaret Cho, Larry David, Kevin Hart, Jo Koy, Nick Kroll, Bill Maher, Trevor Noah, Conan O’Brien, Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, Wanda Sykes, Tracy Morgan, and many others to venues throughout the five boroughs of New York City. In 2007, NYCF launched the “Stand Up for Heroes” event to benefit The Bob Woodruff Foundation, which has featured performances by Stephen Colbert, Jim Gaffigan, Ricky Gervais, John Mayer, Seth Meyers, John Mulaney, John Oliver, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jeff Ross, Ray Romano, Jerry Seinfeld, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Stewart, and many others. To date, Stand Up For Heroes events have raised over $65 million. For more information, visit and follow on social media Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #MakeNYLaugh.


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SOURCE Scleroderma Research Foundation