OLD TOWN — The Second City announced Tuesday that last weekend's "I Can't Believe They Wendt There" fundraising roast of George Wendt brought in more than $200,000 for the troupe's alumni fund and Gilda's Club Chicago.
Jason Sudeikis, formerly of "Saturday Night Live," played host to the roast of Wendt, the former Second City Chicago mainstager who went on to play Norm in the classic sitcom "Cheers."
Bob Odenkirk, Julia Sweeney, David Koechner, Jeff Tweedy, Tim Kazurinsky, Joel Murray, Keegan-Michael Key, Betty Thomas and Robert Smigel appeared at the roast, which according to Second City also included a not-safe-for-work video tribute including Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Rob Riggle, Olivia Wilde, Ed O’Neill and J.K. Simmons.
"Cheers" star Ted Danson also sent a video message, and retired Cub pitcher Ryan Dempster held court as Harry Caray.
After four hours, Smigel took the podium as Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, only to be joined by surprise guest Chris Rock, who donated $10,000 to the cause. Auctioneers Koechner and Pat Finn also did a riff on Smigel's "Saturday Night Live" sketch on Da Super Fans of the Bears.
"People will talk about how special this evening was for years to come," said Second City Chief Executive Officer Andrew Alexander. "It was a wonderful, hilarious, once-in-a-lifetime event that benefited two outstanding organizations in ways far beyond the monies raised, and cheers to George for being a great sport and a great friend to this community."
Gilda's Club Chicago, the local branch of the cancer charity created in the name of original "Saturday Night Live" trouper Gilda Radner, cheered the fundraiser.
"We are overwhelmed with gratitude to the Second City and all the celebrities who came out to roast our friend, George Wendt," said LauraJane Hyde, chief executive officer of the Chicago branch. "The event was a fantastic way to support those impacted by cancer and honor Gilda Radner’s legacy of humor."
The final figure will rise, as online auctions for personal lunches with Key and rockers Tweedy and Steve Albini, as well as tickets to "Saturday Night Live" in New York City, are still open until 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Ticket packages began at $1,000 and peaked at $3,000, and more than 230 people attended Second City's mainstage.