Laughter is the Best Medicine: Seinfeld and Arnett Help Raise Three Million for the Toronto East General Hospital

13 Apr, 2012, 09:00 ET from Toronto East General Hospital

Surprise Announcement of One Million Donation From the Jain Family buoyed fundraising at the Comedy Gala that drew over 1500 guests

TORONTO, April 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - The bar for charity galas was raised on Thursday, April 12 as Toronto East General Hospital (TEGH)—one of North America's leading community teaching hospitals—tapped Toronto's funny bone for its first annual "Laughter is the Best Medicine" Comedy Gala, raising three million dollars. Emmy and Golden Globe award winner Jerry Seinfeld headlined the event, with Celebrity Will Arnett (Up All Night and Arrested Development) as Master of Ceremonies (MC), offering over 1500 guests a heavy dose of laughter at the Allstream Centre.

Arnett opened the evening with his sardonic wit. It was then the Just-For-Laughs-circuit regular, Derek Edwards, who had the crowd in stitches. Jerry Seinfeld closed out the evening, delivering his hallmark humour to rock the house with laughter for a full hour.

"I always love coming Toronto, where there's no shortage of humour. It was a true pleasure to be able to come north this time to support such a worthy charity as the Toronto East General Hospital. They do fantastic work," commented Jerry Seinfeld.

"What better way to return home to Toronto than to support a hospital that has meant so much to my family. It was a real thrill to be part of the inaugural 'Laughter Is The Best Medicine' for the Toronto East General," said Will Arnett. By the end of the Gala, Arnett was bestowed with the title of Toronto East General's first-ever "Honourary Doctor."

"This was a first-of-its-kind event for the hospital, and our star guests certainly proved that laughter is indeed the best medicine. It was a memorable evening for all,"noted Gala Chair Michael Geddes.

Among the veritable who's-who of guests at the black-tie event was Amy Poehler, Will Arnett's wife, there as the Arnett family was honoured for their long-term support of the hospital.

A surprise announcement of a one-million-dollar donation from the Jain Family was a big highlight of the event, contributing to the impressive funds total to boost TEGH's capital redevelopment campaign. "We want to thank Dr. Simone and his team for the timely delivery of exemplary emergent surgical care at a community hospital that is normally expected at major university centres. My parents wanted to show their appreciation by giving a small gift to the hospital and hope that it will go a long way in raising awareness of the talent that we have within our community," stated Ajay Jain.

"We exceeded our greatest expectations with this gala, raising three million dollars, thanks to the support of over 1500 guests," said TEGH Board Chair, Michael Burns. "It was an unforgettable night, with a very positive surge to our capital campaign."

The TEGH's $211 million-dollar redevelopment project will see the establishment of a new Ken and Marilyn Thomson Patient Care Centre-a landmark health care facility, so named thanks to a five million dollar commitment from Peter and Diana Thomson-that will significantly enhance access to critical inpatient and outpatient services for more than half a million people in the GTA.

Dignitaries and numerous notable guests were out in full force at the Gala to support TEGH, including: the Honourable Julian Fantino, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, Councillor Doug Ford, Peter and Diana Thomson, James and Alexandra Arnett, the Kimsa family, the Jackman family, singer Matt Dusk, sports celebrites Brad Boyes, Adam Lind and Eric Lindros

The live auction items created quite a stir at the fundraiser, with the trip to London for the 2012 Games elevating the buzz in the room to Olympic levels. At one point, with the "Comedy Experience Trip for four to New York" up for auction, Arnett did his signature "Gob" chicken dance to much applause, raising the final bid. One lucky dinner guest won a BMW 328i Sedan, generously donated by BMW Canada for an end-of-night draw. Ticket sales for the draw helped drive the total funds raised for the Hospital even higher.

Event sponsors included: Presenting sponsor, BMO Financial Group; and Gold sponsors, TD Bank, Telus and BMW.

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About Toronto East General Hospital:

Toronto East General Hospital (TEGH) has been proudly serving the community of East Toronto since 1929, when it opened its doors as a 110-bed general hospital.  Over the years TEGH has continually renewed its commitment to the community it serves.  Today TEGH is a large, urban, full-service community teaching hospital, providing comprehensive care to a diverse population of 400,000, representing over 45 cultural and linguistic groups.  TEGH boasts Centres of Excellence in Thoracic Surgery, Family Medicine Residency Program, and Progressive Ventilation Weaning among its leadership programs.

About the TEGH Capital Redevelopment Campaign:

In recent months, TEGH received final approval for the redevelopment from the Government of Ontario and the City of Toronto.  TEGH is currently in the midst of a $60 million private sector campaign to raise funds for the Hospital's $211-million redevelopment project.  More than $45 million has been raised to-date, through the generosity of donors, including 100 per cent participation in the campaign by TEGH doctors.  Construction of a new eight-storey Patient Care Centre will replace some of the oldest and most dysfunctional clinical spaces and patient rooms.  Some of the highlights of the expansion include: improved infection control, an increase in privacy for patients and families, addressing accessibility requirements, and enabling TEGH to retain and attract the best doctors.  

SOURCE Toronto East General Hospital

Video with caption: "Video: Seinfeld and Arnett help raise three million for the Toronto East General Hospital ". Video available at:

Image with caption: "Jerry Seinfeld and Will Arnett helped raise three million dollars for the Toronto East General Hospital at the "Laughter Is The Best Medicine" Comedy Gala on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at the Allstream Centre in Toronto. Pictured left to right: Will Arnett, Jerry Seinfeld, Amy Poehler (Arnett's wife). (CNW Group/Toronto East General Hospital)". Image available at: