Laughter Is the Best Medicine
Laughter Is the Best Medicine

Hollywood turns out to support Jhpiego's lifesaving work.

It was a night to laugh and learn, filled with the sound of African drums and pledges to help prevent the needless deaths of women and families.

We recognized our special honorees, thanked our supporters – and even shared a joke or two on how to pronounce our name.


Kent Alterman & Michele Brennan
with the Elyse Bila Ouedraogo Award

Kent Alterman, President of Comedy Central, is responsible for the leadership, strategy and management of the #1 brand in comedy and oversees the development and production of all original content produced by Comedy Central.

Alterman rejoined Comedy Central in 2010 as head of original programming and production after a previous stint at the network as head of east coast development from 1996-2000. He was promoted to president, original programming in 2013 and rose to his current position of president in 2016.

Upon his return in 2010, Alterman and his development team embarked on an ambitious launch of original programming – more than doubling the amount of original series on the air than at any time in the history of the network – incubating new talent and concepts across all screens and creating bona fide franchises for Comedy Central with a broad mix of formats featuring some of the most significant voices in comedy today, including Emmy® Award-winning series “Inside Amy Schumer,” “@midnight with Chris Hardwick” and “Drunk History,” the Emmy®-nominated “Key & Peele,” along with critical and fan favorites “Broad City,” “Workaholics,” “Review,” “Nathan for You,” “Another Period, and, most recenlty, “Not Safe with Nikki Glaser” and “Idiotsitter.” He was also a key voice in selecting Trevor Noah as teh new host of “The Daily Show,” and launching “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.”

Alterman also leads the brand’s Talent and Specials team, identifying and developing the next generation of comedy stars, which provide Comedy Central with the most extensive roster of stand-up series and specials in the industry, as well as special event programming such as the Emmy®-nominated “Comedy Central Roast” and “Night of Too Many Stars” autism benefit franchises.

Prior to his current position with Comedy Central, Alterman had an overall film deal with Fox Film Studios. Before that, he directed and executive produced New Line’s feature film “Semi-Pro,” starring Will Ferrell, Woody Harrelson, and Andre Benjamin. From 2001 to 2006, he served as Executive Vice President at New Line, overseeing a diverse slate of films including the perennial Christmas hit, “Elf,” and multiple Oscar–nominated films “A History of Violence” and “Little Children.”

In Alterman’s first stint at Comedy Central, he served as Head of New York Development from 1996 to 2000. During that time he oversaw development and production on such series as “Strangers with Candy,” “Upright Citizens Brigade,” and “TV Funhouse.” Early in his career, he worked with Michael Moore as a Writer, Director, and Producer on the Emmy Award–winning series “TV Nation.”

Kent believes his professional accomplishments pale in comparison to his connection to family and community. He is proud to be married to Michele for so many reasons, including the fact that she makes him seem like a better person. He takes enormous pride in his kids as they reflect the best elements of joy, curiosity, and engagement with the world. To be fueled by that, and have even a little to do with an organization like Jhpiego, is very humbling to him.

Michele Brennan received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Southern California, where she also received a Bachelor of Science in Gerontology with a minor in Business Administration. While in the doctorate program, she and a group of other students designed an ongoing pro bono program for the school, aimed at increasing physical activity of at-risk populations for diabetes, called Fit Families. The inspiration for this program came from her time spent at the local hospital on the Hopi Reservation in Arizona where a similar program was in place. Her physical therapy career primarily focused on outpatient orthopedics for patients of all ages. Currently, she enjoys spending time with her family, is on the Education Commission for Temple Israel of Hollywood and is looking for the next career path. Jhpiego is a cause that found Michele and Kent through her wonderful OB/GYN, Howard Mandel, M.D., who delivered both of their children. Michele is deeply honored to help an extraordinary organization that combines her love of family, health and community.

Julie Bowen
with the Visionary Award

A two-time Emmy Award winning actress, Julie Bowen is enjoying a successful career on both a hit television series and the big screen.

Bowen currently stars in the critically-acclaimed hit ABC comedy MODERN FAMILY as “Claire Dunphy.” Bowen and the series have been nominated for Emmy Awards each year since the show premiered in 2009. Bowen has earned two Emmy wins for her performance, while MODERN FAMILY has won five consecutive Emmys since its premiere. The show also won a Golden Globe in 2012 for Best Television Series Comedy or Musical, as well as the award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series at the 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 SAG Awards.

For four seasons, Bowen played “Carol Vessey,” the dream girl of former classmate-turned-lawyer Ed Stevens on the charming NBC series ED. Bowen then joined James Spader and William Shatner for two seasons on ABC's hit series BOSTON LEGAL. Other television credits include a recurring role as Matthew Fox's wife on the hit ABC series LOST and a guest star arc as a cheese shop owner who seduces a younger man on the darkly-comedic Showtime series WEEDS.

On the big screen, Bowen was recently seen in the hit comedy HORRIBLE BOSSES opposite Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day, as well as starring opposite Rob Lowe in the indie feature KNIFE FIGHT. She appeared in Sony's JUMPING THE BROOM opposite Angela Bassett and Paula Patton and was the voice of the rambunctious “Lil’ Dipper” in the animated feature PLANES: FIRE AND RESCUE. Her previous film credits include MULTIPLICITY with Michael Keaton, CRAZY ON THE OUTSIDE with Tim Allen and the modern comedy classic HAPPY GILMORE opposite Adam Sandler.

Raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Bowen caught the acting bug as a child while putting on plays with her two sisters in their backyard. She attended Brown University, where she starred in GUYS AND DOLLS, STAGE DOOR and LEMON SKY. While earning her degree in Italian Renaissance studies, she also spent a year in Florence, Italy and became fluent in Italian.

In the advertising world, Bowen is the face of Neutrogena and has been the voice of Olive Garden. Bowen currently serves on the board of directors for Baby2Baby, a charity which supplies families in need with essential baby gear and clothing for their children. She has also lent her time and support to the charitable efforts of Stand Up 2 Cancer, Maxwell House and March of Dimes, as well as Step Up Women's Network and P.S. Arts.

Special Guest

Will Ferrell

Will Ferrell has come a long way since his days on Saturday Night Live, crossing over from television icon to motion picture star, producer and internet pioneer.

Most recently Ferrell wrapped production on the comedy, The House, where he and fellow SNL alum Amy Poehler star as a couple who lose their daughter’s college fund and open an underground casino in the suburbs. The House is directed by Andrew Cohen and is being produced by Gary Sanchez Productions and Good Universe.

In February of 2016, Ferrell reprised his role of “Mugatu” in Zoolander 2, the sequel to the 2001 film Zoolander. He stars alongside Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson as well as Penelope Cruz and Kristen Wiig.

Ferrell’s latest release, Daddy’s Home directed by Sean Anders and John Morris as well as produced by Gary Sanchez, premiered December 25th of 2015. Daddy’s Home centers on a modest suburban businessman looking to be the best stepdad possible to his new wife’s children just as their reckless and heroic birth father, played by Mark Wahlberg comes back into their lives. It had an opening weekend gross of more than 38 million and has since made over $180 million.

In the spring of 2015 Ferrell starred in and produced Get Hard where he portrayed a rich hedge fund manager who hires his parking attendant, played by Kevin Hart, to prepare him for prison. Since it’s release, Get Hard has grossed more than 100 million globally.

Just a few months later Will starred in the Lifetime original drama A Deadly Adoption alongside Kristen Wiig.

The year prior, Ferrell lent his voice to the character of “Lord Business” in the Warner Bros. animated film, The Lego Movie, which has gone on to earn over $441 million in the worldwide box office.

In 2013 Ferrell reprised his role as Ron Burgundy, the character he made famous in Paramount Pictures’ 2004 comedy,Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. In Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Ron and the Channel 4 news team headed to New York City to help start the world’s first 24 hour news station. Ferrell co-wrote both films with director Adam McKay under their Gary Sanchez production shingle and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues has earned over $172 million worldwide to date.

Prior to Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and The Lego Movie, Ferrell starred opposite Zach Galifianakis in Warner Brother’s The Campaign, and the ambitious Casa de mi Padre, a comedy spoof in the Latin American telenovela style, filmed entirely in Spanish. Ferrell’s many previous film credits also include Elf, Old School, and the screen adaptation of The Producers, which earned him his first Golden Globe nomination in 2006 for Best Supporting Actor. In 2007, Ferrell earned his second Golden Globe nomination (Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical) for his portrayal of IRS agent Harold Crick in Stranger Than Fiction.

In 2006 Ferrell starred in the hit comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby with co-stars John C. Reilly and Sacha Baron Cohen.  Earning nearly $150 million at the U.S. box office, the film became the season’s #1 comedy (non-animated) and continues to set records on DVD.

Ferrell earned a 2009 Tony Award nomination for his Broadway debut, headlining the sold-out, Tony Award-nominated one-man comedy show Will Ferrell: You're Welcome America. A Final Night with George W Bush, directed by Adam McKay, in which he perfected his infamous Saturday Night Live characterization of President Bush.  At the end of its Broadway run, Ferrell performed the show, live, in its entirety on HBO, earning a pair of Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Comedy Special and Outstanding Writing.

In 2007, Ferrell and McKay founded the overwhelmingly popular and award-winning video website With hundreds of exclusive celebrity videos and a steady stream of huge viral hits, Funny Or Die has become the “place to be seen” for comedic celebrities, and the obvious destination for a daily comedy fix.  The site's first video, “The Landlord,” has received over 81 million views and features Ferrell confronted by a swearing, beer-drinking two-year-old landlord. The site averages over 20 million unique visitors per month and over 60 million page views per month.

Soon thereafter, Ferrell and McKay joined forces to open their own production company, Gary Sanchez Productions. Thus far, Gary Sanchez supported the 2006 Sundance hit The Foot Fist Way starring Danny McBride (Tropic Thunder), who also co-wrote with director Hill, The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard starring Jeremy Piven, and Step Brothers which earned over $100 million domestically. Gary Sanchez also produced the HBO series Eastbound & Down starring McBride.

Ferrell starred for seven seasons on NBC’s seminal late-night hit Saturday Night Live, after taking the nation by storm during the show’s Indecision 2000, with his portrayal of President George W. Bush.  Some of his most memorable “SNL” characters include Craig the Spartan Spirit Cheerleader, musical middle school teacher Marty Culp, and Bush. Among his many impressions were Janet Reno, Alex Trebek, Neil Diamond and the late, great Chicago Cubs sportscaster Harry Caray.  His work on SNL earned two Emmy nominations in 2001 (Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program, and Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program).

A testament to his impact on the American comedic landscape, Ferrell was named the recipient of the 2011 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The award recognizes people who have had an impact on American society in the same vein as social commentator, satirist, and creator of memorable characters, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain). Previous recipients of the prize include comedy greats such as the late Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Lorne Michaels, Steve Martin, and Tina Fey.

Raised in Irvine, California, Ferrell graduated USC with a degree in sports information.  He worked as a sportscaster on a local weekly cable show before enrolling in acting classes and stand-up comedy workshops and was eventually asked to join the esteemed comedy/improv group The Groundlings after just one year of training.  It was at The Groundlings that Ferrell was discovered for “Saturday Night Live.”

Tom Papa

With more than 20 years as a stand-up comedian, Tom Papa is one of the top comedic voices in the country finding success in film, television and radio as well as on the live stage.

In 2016, Tom will shoot his third hour-long stand-up special. Tom’s two, critically-acclaimed specials were directed by Rob Zombie: Tom Papa: Freaked Out (2013) is streaming on Amazon and Hulu and is available as a download; and Tom Papa Live in New York City (2011) is streaming on Netflix and is available as a download.

Tom is host of the hit podcast and SiriusXM show, Come to Papa, a weekly, hour-long show featuring Tom exploring the funny side of life, occasionally with guests like Mel Brooks, Ray Romano, Carl Reiner and Jerry Seinfeld.

On the small screen Tom was seen alongside Clive Owen in two episodes of The Knick; he co-starred with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon in the HBO film, Behind the Candelabra, which won 11 Emmys; and he guest starred on The Jim Gaffigan Show, and Inside Amy Schumer.

Tom was seen in Chris Rock’s film, Top Five, he starred opposite Matt Damon in the Steven Soderbergh film, The Informant, and he appeared in Analyze That opposite Robert DeNiro.

For more on Tom visit his website and follow Tom on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Jhpiego’s Mission

Where a woman lives should not determine if she lives. That’s at the heart of Jhpiego’s mission. For more than 40 years and in over 155 countries, Jhpiego, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University, has worked to bring quality health services to women. From our origins as technical experts in reproductive, maternal and child health, Jhpiego has grown to embrace new challenges, including HIV/AIDS, malaria, cervical cancer prevention and urban health—reflecting the increasing interconnectedness of global health. We take the latest knowledge in science and technology, apply it to develop practical, low-cost health care solutions and make them available from home to hospital, village to city.

For more information about Jhpiego, visit

Thank you to our Sponsors and Organizers

Presenting Sponsor

Viacom Music and Entertainment Group

Continental Circle

3 Arts Entertainment
Brillstein Entertainment Partners
Funny Or Die
Ellen and Tom Hoberman
Drs. Howie and Susie Mandel
Michael Skloff

Country Circle

Bento Box Entertainment
Creative Artists Agency
Kim Hammond and Falls Road Animal Hospital
Gilliane Isabelle, AIG
Dr. Murray Lappe
Molly Luetkemeyer
Mosaic Media Group
Principato Young Entertainment
Privatin Consulting Corp.
The Rosenthal Foundation: Nancy Stephens and Rick Rosenthal, Jamie and David Wolf
Schreck Rose Dapello & Adams, LLP

Village Circle

Abso Lutely Productions
American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
Cindy and Bob Broder
Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, and Kaller, LLP
Hollywood Center Studios
Jax Media
Kaye and Jeremy Kramer
Pam Schutz
United Talent Agency
Ziffren Brittenham, LLP


Event Chairs

Stephanie and Jonathan Carson
Ellen and Tom Hoberman
Mary and Roger Kumble
Drs. Howie and Susie Mandel
Anne and Craig Turk

Host Committee

Dave Becky
Marina Cohn
Erik and Susanna Feig
Danny and Lauren Fishman
Mark Flanagan
Christy Callahan and Jon Glickman
Doug Herzog
Greg Hodes
Dave Kneebone
Blair and David Kohan
Christina Kounelias
Kaye and Jeremy Kramer
Martin Lesak
David Martin
Jimmy Miller
Alex Murray
Naomi Odenkirk
Peter Principato
Trisha Cardoso and Jim Rishwain
Liz and Mitchell Schwartz
Ellen Rapoport and Michael Seitzman
Amanda and Greg Silverman
Christie Smith
Jackie and Dennis Smith
Steve Smooke

Jhpiego Board of Advisors

Chairman: Dr. Howie Mandel
Sabrina Calley
Stephanie Carson
Louise Firestone
Kim Hammond
Michael Hankin
Ellen Hoberman
Gilliane Isabelle
Charles Kie
Deborah Kielty
Alexander Koff
Dr. Murray Lappe
Francois Locoh-Donou
Molly Luetkemeyer
Sheela Murthy
Whitney Ransome
Dara Schapiro Schnee
Pam Schutz
Shale Stiller

Special Thanks to:

Aengus James, co-founder and head of content at This is Just a Test
Georgetown Cupcakes
KM Floral Design and Events
Lionel Pasamonte and Associates
PCA, an RR Donnelley Company
Z-best Limousine
Our gracious volunteers

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