Def Comedy Jam organizes live COVID-19 relief special in ‘under a week’

The three-hour event was hosted by Cedric the Entertainer.

Cedric the Entertainer hosted the event.
Cedric the Entertainer hosted the event.

Campaign: Def Comedy Jam: Healing Through Laughter
Company: Def Comedy Jam
Agency partners: Capitol Public Relations, Catalyst Group, Mercury Affairs, Gushcloud International,
Duration: April 5, 2020

Def Comedy Jam released a live, three-hour comedy fundraiser hosted by Cedric the Entertainer to raise funds for COVID-19 essential workers and individuals in underserved communities.

The idea for the live streamed special originated with Erica Ford, CEO of the nonprofit Life Camp, which is based in Queens, one of the hardest hit boroughs by the pandemic. Ford then reached out to Def Comedy Jam producer Russell Simmons, who discussed the concept with O’Neal McKnight, business director at global talent agency Gushcloud. McKnight proposed that comedian Cedric the Entertainer host.

“All of this took place in under a week,” said Jared Kong, GM and head of talent for Gushcloud U.S.

The goal was to raise funds to provide basic protective equipment for essential workers and individuals in underserved communities, including hand sanitizer, protective suits and masks. 

Life Camp, Gushcloud and Def Comedy Jam came together to plan and promote the special. Gushcloud had already been working with Cedric and his team on developing his YouTube platform, and was therefore familiar with his personality and reach on social media. 

“He has a sizable Facebook following,” Kong said, which Gushcloud used, along with his other social channels, to promote the special. also reached out to Twitch to create an account for Def Comedy Jam; the platform “helped us facilitate the promotion of the broadcast,” Kong added.

Cedric’s celebrity friends, including Kid Capri, The Real Earthquake, Bill Bellamy, and Usher, who appeared on the broadcast, also promoted the special on their own social media accounts. 

The special aired on April 5.

More than 618,000 people watched on Facebook and 411,000 people watched on Twitch, for a collective 1 million views. On Facebook, the three-hour special generated more than 105,000 engagements. 

A GoFundMe link was set up prior to the broadcast; on Facebook, users were able to make donations directly. At the end of the special, more than $88,000 had been raised - a figure that grew to more than $92,000 in the days following the event.

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