SLAM Brings the House Down With NY Recovery Benefit

By Duff McDonald 02/16/12

The organization dedicated to bringing a sober high school to NYC hosts a hilarious night of celebrity bio readings.

Kristen Johnston hosted. Photo via

There are over 30 public sober high schools spread across the US, but not a single one in New York City. Last night, SLAM, a non-profit organization focused on righting that wrong, held its first annual benefit at The Triad on New York’s Upper West Side. SLAM—which stands for sobriety, learning and motivation—drew stars of the stage, screen and Internet in a special performance of Celebrity Autobiography to drum up support (and cash). The night included numerous raucous readings of celebrity writing at its most absurd. Hosted by SLAM founder and event organizer Kristen Johnston (Third Rock From the Sun)—whose recovery memoir, GUTS: The Tiny Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster, hits bookshelves March 13—the audience was in stitches from the very first reading, in which Bobby Cannavale (Third Watch, The Station Agent) brought the ridiculous ramblings of David Hasselhoff in Don’t Hassel The Hoff to life.

The hilarity never flagged, as Bravo’s Andy Cohen read New York Housewife Countess LuAnn de LessepsClass With the Countess: How to Live with Elegance and Flair. (The first tip? What to do with a toothpick at a party) America Ferrara (Ugly Betty) read Melissa Gilbert narrating sex with Rob Lowe on her mother’s couch; Santino Fontana bravely straight-faced it through Kenny LogginsThe Unimaginable Life: Lessons Learned on the Way to Love; Kristen Johnston read Cindy Crawford’s diaries from the set of her movie Fair Game; Dayle Reyfel channeled Debbie Reynolds; and Heather Matarazzo (Welcome to the Dollhouse) brought down the house with the poetry of Suzanne Somers.

A fun evening sobered up at the end, when Dillon Eaton, a 2009 graduate of the North Shore Recovery High School outside Boston, told the audience they were there in support of a truly meaningful cause. “If I hadn’t gone to recovery high school, I’d be dead,” he said. The Fix's co-founder Joe Schrank received SLAM’s first annual “Friend of SLAM” award for his work with addicts of all ages, including Eaton—a new resident of Schrank’s Brooklyn-based transitional living facility, Loft 107.

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Duff McDonald is a contributing editor at Fortune magazine. His work has also appeared in Vanity Fair, New York, WIRED, GQ and Newsweek. He's the author of Last Man Standing - a biography of JPMorgan Chase chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, and The Firm: The Story of McKinsey and Its Secret Influence on American Business. Follow him onTwitter.

Update: An earlier version of this story erroneously referred to Howard Samuels as the founder of Promises Malibu. It is Richard Rogg.