Given how spoiled we’ve been with numerous invites to soirées and galas of late, the novelty of a charity event set in a bowling lane—a bowling lane!—seemed just delightful, a real opportunity to let our hair down. And there was still a generous helping of celebrities in the crowd who had come to support Our Time, a charity aimed at helping young stutterers. Fronting the event was genial film star Paul Rudd, who took time out of his acclaimed Broadway play Grace to lend a famous face to the event.
Bowling may not be considered the pinnacle of athleticism, but that didn’t quell the competitive streak of several guests.“I can see you getting into a challenge with a kid tonight,” speculated the charity’s founder Taro Alexander to Mr. Rudd, who made no attempts to deny the accusations. “If it happens, I welcome it,” he laughed, before insisting, “I’ve brought my own wrist guard, balls, shoes and a bottle of Purell.” We can only hope he was joking.As is often the case with these charity shindigs, the children honored outshine the celebrities by a mile, and last night stayed true to form. One of the real success stories in attendance was 10 year old Saadiq Wicks, who had overcome school bullies and started up his own charitable foundation after being inspired by the work of Our Time and Mr. Alexander. His mom Kimberley gushed: “I’m super proud, he’s really courageous. He did a presentation at school for National Stuttering Awareness Day to his fifth grade class, and his poise amazes me.”
Someone who made less of an impact on the kiddy winks was yesteryear’s English X Factor runner up Olly Murs, who was all smiles in spite of admitting that “nobody here has a clue who I am.” Well, it was nice of you to show up.
After the ubiquitous foyer schmooze fest (“do you know Danny? Danny’s so great, isn’t he? Danny loves you!”), a kind of bongo circle time ensued, with everyone gathering round to play a game of Hype. Cheering away on the sidelines was RENT actor Anthony Rapp, another committed Our Time supporter whose bowling prowess was rather hit and miss. “I either hit strikes or gutterballs, but I never know when I get up there how it’s going to turn out.” How prophetic. His former co-star Jesse L. Martin was down to attend but failed to show, scuppering our fantasies of an impromptu scene from RENT being acted out between the lanes. Some people are just so selfish. But everyone seemed to be having good wholesome fun— much to the dismay of several youngsters lingering near the bar— and we were tucked up in bed nice and early, ready for school the next morning.