As President Donald Trump chastised Puerto Rican debt levels and flippantly tossed rolls of paper towels to survivors of Hurricane Maria, The Late Show host Stephen Colbert, comedian Nick Kroll, and many other celebrities spent the week raising $1 million in donations for the hurricane victims. While contributing to disaster relief funds, Colbert and Kroll continued to raise awareness for survivors in desperate need of medical supplies and attention as they encouraged their fellow celebrities to post embarrassing puberty photos with the hashtags: #PuberMe and #PuertoRicoRelief.
Last week, Kroll appeared on Colbert’s show to promote his new Netflix animated series Big Mouth, which pokes fun at a group of young friends encountering puberty. As Kroll encouraged celebrities to post awkward puberty photos under the hashtag #PuberMe, Colbert suddenly agreed to donate $1,000 for every celebrity photo accompanied by the hashtag: #PuertoRicoRelief.
With the proceeds from his Ben & Jerry’s AmeriCone Dream Fund, Colbert decided to contribute the money to One America Appeal, a hurricane relief effort led by former U.S. presidents that provides support for survivors in Florida, Puerto Rico, and Texas. The following night, Colbert shared an embarrassing puberty photo of himself along with photos from Sarah Silverman, SNL’s Aidy Bryant, and Alison Brie.
After receiving hundreds of silly photos from celebrities, including Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Conan O’Brien, and Bill Clinton, Colbert announced on Thursday that the AmeriCone Dream Fund had raised $233,000 for disaster relief in Puerto Rico, while Kroll called in from Argentina and donated an additional $100,000 with the help of his coworkers on Big Mouth. Colbert then revealed that CBS chairman Les Moonves would match their donations dollar for dollar, bringing the total to $666,000 in hurricane relief.
Due to the fact that so many non-celebrities had also shared embarrassing puberty photos of themselves on Twitter, Colbert donated an additional $266,000 from The AmeriCone Dream Fund, while Kroll added another $67,000, bringing the total to $999,000 when “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda appeared with an adorable video from his youth in order to reach a grand total of $1 million in disaster relief. Miranda also promoted a new song called “Almost Like Praying” in which all the proceeds go towards the Spanish Federation’s Unidos Disaster Relief Fund to help the people of Puerto Rico.
Although Trump and FEMA swiftly managed to assist and rebuild many parts of Texas and Florida, the same cannot be said for Puerto Rico. Constrained by bureaucratic red tape and a lack of preparation, hurricane survivors in Puerto Rico could face months without electricity, clean water, and proper medical treatment.
Confronted with a glaring lack of true leadership, Colbert and his fellow celebrities took charge by using their fame to help those in need. With a little self-deprecation, Colbert managed to continue raising awareness for the hurricane survivors in Puerto Rico while raising $1 million in less than a week.