Billy Crystal was in Lynbrook Monday night and brought comic relief to Superstorm Sandy victims from his hometown of Long Beach.
The star met with nearly 2,000 Long Beach residents and first responders at the United Artists Lynbrook Theatre 6, and then treated them to private screenings of his soon-to-be released family comedy, "Parental Guidance."
The film's studio, 20th Century Fox, bused many of the residents from the cinema in Long Beach, which is still closed, to the Lynbrook theatre on Merrick Road, and provided them with complimentary popcorn and refreshments too. The seven screenings were staggered 15 minutes apart so that Crystal could greet audiences at each one.
"What I wanted to do tonight was to just give you a smile, make you feel good during this holiday season and I'm telling you that there are a lot of other things I'm going to be doing for Long Beach as the year unfolds. This is just the beginning," Crystal told the audience, who responded with cheers and applause.
He then joked, "How many of you went to prom with me?"
"He gave a great little speech," Lynbrook Village Trustee Hilary Becker told Patch. "He said Long Beach is his backyard, and his heart still remains in Long Beach ... He's really reaching out to try to help these people affected by the storm."
Lynbrook's Deputy Mayor Alan Beach and Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman were also in attendance.
Crystal, who still has family members who live in Long Beach, was met with cheers and standing ovations from the crowds. They said the screenings provived a much-needed break from their post-Sandy recovery efforts.
"Thanks to Billy Crystal and company," Long Beach resident Carol Cerabino Kenney wrote on Long Beach Patch's Facebook page. "I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and appreciated the gesture."
Crystal told Long Beach residents that he plans to do more events and fundraisers to assist Sandy victims in the near future. He will also be hosting Wednesday's 12-12-12 Sandy benefit concert at Madison Square Garden.
"Parental Guidance," which also stars Bette Midler and Marisa Tomei, officially opens Dec. 25.