With its special Tuesday episode, Jimmy Kimmel Live! helped launch (RED) Shopathon, which is raising money for the battle against AIDS by offering celebrity experiences to winning donors through the Omaze platform. U2 frontman/(RED) co-founder Bono appeared live via satellite to kick off the campaign, teasing his own self-referential offer: a bike ride through New York City’s Central Park.
“People seem to think that’s very funny as they don’t take my bike riding very seriously,” said the singer-humanitarian, joking about his serious bike injury last year. “Mark Twain said, ‘Ride a bike, and if you live, get another one,’ or something like that. I very nearly didn’t live. I got myself banged up pretty good, but I’m back. I’ve been rebuilt, and I’m ready to share a ride in Central Park and talk about anything people want to talk about. It will be my great pleasure to do that.”
To earn a shot at winning that bike ride, donors must pledge at least $10 through Omaze. Other unique experiences include visiting the Game of Thrones set for a seat on the Iron Throne, being showered with compliments by George Clooney, appearing in a “Dubsmash” video with the Backstreet Boys, meeting Meryl Streep on the red carpet and partaking in “legal relaxation” with Snoop Dogg on 4/20 at Colorado’s “Merry Jane Wellness Retreat.
Kimmel is also offering a valuable service: giving someone’s child the awkward sex talk. “You know how excruciating it is to give your kids the talk? You sit them down and tell them the horrible things you did to their mother that brought them into this world,” Kimmel said. “My Omaze experience will be to the winner, I will explain sex to their children. I will give their children the talk. It’s so uncomfortable, I think it’s a real service. I have done sex literally dozens of times, so I think I know what I’m talking about.”
But Shopathon – a co-production between (RED) and VICE Media – is more than just an excuse for laughs, as the donations have a real impact. “This is the greatest good news story that nobody knows,” Bono said. “And particularly for the United States of America, nobody knows that of the 15 million lives that have been saved over the last 10 years, the majority of those lives have been saved by American taxpayers … This is a heroic, extraordinary thing that America has done, and Americans should know. I salute them.
“This is so important to the lives of people who haven’t had that medication,” he continued later. “I remember being in those hospitals 10 years ago when being given this diagnosis was a death sentence. I remember the looks in people’s eyes; I remember the light going out of people’s eyes. I’ve just been back to Rwanda, and I’ve seen now beds where there was three to a bed and nurses who looked like patients [now] looking like every hospital you’d have here. You should be very proud, America, of what you’ve done.”