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20 Years After The Terrorist Attacks, Comedy Show Will Benefit 9/11 Charities


Two New York City-based comedians, Jon Stewart and Pete Davidson, plan to mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11 by hosting a special to raise money for charities that benefit victims of the attack and their families.


It's advocacy work Stewart is already familiar with. In 2019, he confronted empty seats in Congress at a hearing to reauthorize the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.


JON STEWART: They responded in five seconds. They did their jobs with courage, grace, (crying) tenacity, humility. Eighteen years later, do yours.

KING: And Pete Davidson's Dad was a firefighter who died while responding to the attack on the World Trade Center. Davidson was 7 years old. And the experience of losing his father is a recurring theme in his work.


BEL POWLEY: (As Kelsey) I like your tattoos. What are those numbers on your arm?

PETE DAVIDSON: (As Scott Carlin) Oh, that's the date my dad died. He was a fireman - died in a fire 17 years ago.

POWLEY: (As Kelsey) Oh, my God. I'm so sorry.

DAVIDSON: (As Scott Carlin) Don't be. It's fine.

RICKY VELEZ: (As Oscar) Knock knock.

DAVIDSON: (Scott Carlin) Who's there?

VELEZ: (As Oscar) Not your dad.

KING: Davidson's movie "King Of Staten Island," which came out in 2020, is a comedy drama based on his life. In an interview on Fresh Air, he said comedy has helped him process the tragedy.


DAVIDSON: When you're able to make somebody laugh or make a joke out of the darkest thing, it really - it's healing. And it makes you feel a lot better. So my goal was always to just bring light to the darkness.

ELLIOTT: The Madison Square Garden event's lineup includes Amy Schumer, Bill Burr and Colin Jost.

KING: In a joint statement, Stewart and Davidson said the special is meant to, quote, "honor this city's great resilience."

(SOUNDBITE OF INWARD OCEANS' "SIGHT TO THE BLIND") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.