Ben Stiller Hosting Towering Disaster Live Read with Wiig, Cera & More

Stiller will host a live table read of “The Towering Disaster” script on July 25 to raise money for racial justice and COVID relief efforts.

Before Ben Stiller made his feature directing debut with the iconic ’90s cult classic “Reality Bites,” he’d been circling a comedy script written by David Cross and Robert Cohen. It was called “The Towering Disaster,” and Stiller developed the story with Cross and Cohen after collaborating on the short-lived MTV sketch comedy series “The Ben Stiller Show,” co-created by Stiller and Judd Apatow. While “The Towering Disaster” has remained in the vault ever since, Stiller will be dusting it off next weekend, on July 25, for a star-studded live table read benefiting racial justice initiatives and COVID relief efforts. Live read cast member Bob Odenkirk announced the news on Twitter this week. See below.

“July 25 EXTRAVAGANZA…Holy S, this is the BIG ONE,” Odenirk wrote. “David Cross and Rob Cohen wrote this ridiculously hilarious script sometime right after ‘The Ben Stiller Show’ cracked up…I loved it then, can’t wait to read it now with SUPERSTARS all around!”

Ben Stiller, David Cross, and Bob Odenkirk will be joined by Michael Cera, Don Cheadle, John Ennis, Will Forte, Regina Hall, David Koechner, Jack McBrayer, Michael McKean, Sarah Silverman, Kristin Wiig, and Henry Winkler. Broadcasting live on Saturday, July 25 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on, the event goes for $12.50 a ticket, and proceeds will go to the Equal Justice Initiative and Direct Relief.

The movie is a riff on the 1970s wave of blockbuster disaster movies like “The Poseidon Adventure,” “The Towering Inferno,” and “Earthquake.” Stiller’s last film as a writer/director was 2016’s “Zoolander 2.” Recently, he said he wouldn’t cut a Donald Trump cameo from the original 2001 “Zoolander,” which he also directed, despite fan backlash calling for the short scene to be snipped.

Stiller discussed the controversy on a recent episode of The Daily Beast’s podcast “The New Abnormal,” saying, “I’ve had people reach out to me and say, you should edit Donald Trump out of ‘Zoolander.’” The controversy refers to a scene set at the VH1 Fashion Awards that includes Donald and Melania Trump as red-carpet interviewees discussing the greatness of self-obsessed male model Derek Zoolander. “But at the end of the day, that was a time when that exist[ed] and that happened.”

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