Comedy Central's "Night of Too Many Stars" benefit for autism programs featured Jodi DiPiazza, 11, who was diagnosed with autism at age 2, and superstar Katy Perry. The two performed a duet of Perry's "Firework" that received a standing ovation.
The event was taped last Saturday at the Beacon Theater in New York City.
Before the memorable performance started, DiPiazza's parents told a moving story of their daughter's ongoing struggles with autism. Although, she has communication difficulties, she plays the piano flawlessly and music has provided her with the only means for self-expression.
Mashable reports that DiPiazza's mother said she would play on the piano anything she hears on TV or on the radio. She said “She loves music, and I think through music, and through song, she’s making herself known.”
Her father said: “We were afraid she would never speak. Never dreaming she would sing, or even be able to understand. I've taken off the idea that there is some limit on her, as she continually proves that that’s not true.”
Comedy Central's Jon Stewart introduced DiPiazza to the audience, saying: “People with Autism shouldn't be written off. They deserve, like everyone, the chance to reach their potential. Let’s take a look at what happens when someone actually gets that chance.”
Katy Perry joined DiPiazza, who was seated at a grand piano on the stage for a duet of Perry's hit song "Firework."
And what followed was the most memorable performance of the night. As Mashable puts it, the two brought the house down.
According to The Huffington Post, Jon Stewart was so deeply moved by the performance that it took him seconds to recover. The Examiner reports that Comedian Robert Smigel, producer of the show, who also has an autistic child, was brought to tears. He said,"It's the most beautiful thing I've ever been associated with. I've made a career of all this nonsense — and I'm very proud of it — but it all pales in comparison to what happened Saturday."
The video shows the spellbinding, heartwarming performance. Jodi plays the piano while Katy sings. After the song, DiPiazza in excitement holds Perry in a bear hug and simply wouldn't let go.
The Huffington Post reports that Perry tweeted later: "I will never forget last night. It was the most important moment thus far of what I do."
Hollywood Life reports Katy sang her hit single with DiPiazza to raise money for autism programs.
The event airs on Comedy Central on Sunday, October 21 at 8:00 p.m. (EST).
The Examiner advises viewers to have their tissues handy when DiaPiazza's parents tell her story.
The event featured several other celebrities, including comedians like Stephen Colbert, Seth Rogen, Tina Fey, and music by Sting and Carlie Rae Jepson. According to Hollywood Life, in 2010, the event raised more than $3.1 million in grants to 41 programs in 13 states.
The Examiner reports that anyone may donate to the benefit for autism programs on the Web site set up for the "Night of Too Many Stars." Otherwise "text STARS to 50555 which donates $10."