Laughter is the Best Medicine III raises $7.3 million for Michael Garron Hospital Foundation

Comedy trifecta Jim Gaffigan, Will Arnett and Kevin Nealon deliver big laughs at gala

- Media Note: High resolution photography available by request -

TORONTO, May 15, 2017 /CNW/ - Comedic superstar Jim Gaffigan brought down the house with a performance at Saturday's comedy gala, Laughter is the Best Medicine III, presented by BMO Financial Group, held May 13th at the Beanfield Centre, Exhibition Place.  The affair raised $7.3 million, incorporating the announcement of two leadership gifts, with thanks to Eric Tripp & Maria Smith, and BMO Financial Group – and including a match from Berna and Myron Garron.  More than 1,000 guests were in "stitches" during the gala that also featured SNL alumnus Kevin Nealon and Toronto-native turned Hollywood star Will Arnett, who was thrice as funny in his third year as the Master of Ceremonies, having hosted the first two galas with Jerry Seinfeld (2012) and Chris Rock (2014).

The event was one of Gaffigan's first performances since taking time to be with his family and wife, who is recovering from brain surgery.  The audience welcomed Jim's news of her recovery with warm applause: "The brain tumor is gone - along with my ability to ever win another argument. It's not like I won a lot of arguments with my wife, but now I'm pretty much retired from spousal disagreements."

Among the evening's guests were Toronto's leading philanthropists, as well as leaders in healthcare, business, sports, politics, fashion and entertainment, including: Michael Burns, Gala Co-Chair & CEO, Invictus Games Toronto 2017, Michael Geddes, Gala Co-Chair & President, Lone Eagle Entertainment, Marg Franklin, Gala Co-Chair & President, BNY Mellon Wealth Management, Mayor John Tory and Barbara Hackett, Berna & Myron Garron, Honorary Patrons, Peter & Diana Thomson, Honorary Chairs, Sylvia and Robert Mantella, Holly and Paul Miklas, Trinity Jackman and Marcus DoyleBrendan ShanahanConnie and Bill Stavro, Eric Tripp and Maria Smith, Kirstine Stewart and Zaib Shaikh, and Ben and Jessica Mulroney.

Guests dined on a three-course meal designed by celebrity chef and restaurant mogul, Susur Lee, featuring a togarashi seared tuna salad, an Asian-style braised boneless beef short rib, and dark chocolate crème brûlée. Arnett's charm during the live auction had guests opening up their hearts (and wallets) to drive up the bidding for an exclusive opportunity to join him for dinner, and a week's stay at a luxury villa in Aix-en-Provence, France paired with two Air Canada Business Class tickets to any destination they fly.

"Will, Jim and Kevin were comedy gold!  They had the entire room roaring with laughter and we couldn't be more thrilled with the success of the evening, taking the Foundation one step closer in our $100 million Campaign," said Michael Geddes, Gala Co-Chair. "The generosity displayed tonight is heartwarming, and it's a testament to the incredible work of the caregivers at Michael Garron Hospital and its integral role in fostering the health and vitality of one of Toronto's most economically diverse neighbourhoods."

Proceeds from Laughter is the Best Medicine will support the hospital's monumental renewal and expansion and ensure the highest quality patient care.  The newly named Michael Garron Hospital, formerly Toronto East General Hospital, received an historic gift of $50 million from Berna and Myron Garron, made in honour of their late son, Michael, who was born at Toronto East General.

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About Michael Garron Hospital
In December 2015, the Garron family bestowed an unprecedented $50 million gift to the Foundation, to help transform healthcare in East Toronto. Toronto East General Hospital is now known as Michael Garron Hospital, part of the Toronto East Health Network. Serving a diverse, multi-cultural community for more than 88 years, MGH continues its tradition of providing high quality, patient-centred care.

SOURCE Michael Garron Hospital Foundation

For further information: Media Contact: Tran Nguyen, Holmes PR, 416-628-5607,

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