Unless you've been off the grid for several weeks, you've seen videos of celebrities, your friends, your family and your boss, pouring buckets of ice water over their heads. No, this trend isn't the new "planking", it’s the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. To be fully candid, I’m biased because my father was the chairman of the board of the ALS Association for many years.
So, what is ALS and how did this viral video campaign get started? ALS or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, affects the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. When a person has ALS, they eventually lose control of every bodily function, such as breathing, moving, swallowing, etc, while the mind remains completely intact. Approximately 30,000 people suffer from ALS, including Stephen Hawking.
The Ice Bucket Challenge asks nominees to make a video of themselves dumping ice water over their heads, and them to nominate three other people to do the same. If a nominee isn't up to the challenge, that person is asked to donate $100 to ALS. While the challenge originally had nothing to do with the ALS Association, it became viral when Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball player, who was diagnosed in 2012 at the young age of 27, made a video asking people to take the challenge and donate to ALS because be couldn't at the time (he since has).
The Ice Bucket Challenge has raised immeasurable awareness and so far, over $15.6 million in donations. Many celebrities have gotten in on the action, spreading awareness through their videos and their wealth through contributions. Here are fourteen of the best ones:
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14 Chris Pratt
Challenged by Disney CEO Bob Iger and actor Vincent D'Onofrio, Chris Pratt gladly took the Ice Bucket Challenge. Chris Pratt’s video is on the long side, at approximately two minutes, but it’s definitely one of the funniest. Pratt seems a little confused about the “ice” concept of this video, choosing to drink a small bottle of Blue Ice Vodka and chasing it with a bottle of Smirnoff Ice. His wife, Anna Faris makes a cameo, delightfully dumping water on Pratt’s head from a balcony above. He challenges his Parks and Recreation co-star Nick Offerman, Everwod co-star, Gregory Smith and WWE superstar, Dave Batista who is also a star in the new film, Guardians of the Galaxy.
13 Dave Grohl And The Foo Fighters
Although a little longer than the rest of the videos on this list, this one is a definite must see. Dave Grohl, famous for being the lead singer of The Foo Fighters, accepted the ALS Ice Bucket challenge from band member, Zach Brown and decided to have a little bit of fun with this video, by parodying one of the scenes from the famous film, Carrie. Dave challenges Jack Black, John Travolta and Stephen King.
12 Mark Zuckerberg
The Ice Bucket Challenge wouldn't exist without Facebook, so of course, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg had no choice but to accept after being nominated by New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie. All things considered, Zuckerberg’s video is pretty simple, it's just him dumping a bucket of ice water over his head in a backyard. He challenges his Facebook partner, Sheryl Sandberg, Netflix founder, Reed Hastings and Bill Gates, who took to the challenge very seriously…
11 Bill Gates
Like all of his charitable endeavors, Bill Gates poured his heart into this video. It starts with Gates watching Zuckerberg’s video, and then cuts to him designing and then constructing a three-dimensional water dumping apparatus. In perhaps the most scenic of the videos, Gates stands on a beautiful wooden dock off a lake, and challenges Tesla’s Elon Musk, entertainer, Ryan Seacrest and Chris Anderson of TED, to do the same. Then he pulls a string and dumps water on himself, in ever so slight slow motion, with enhanced water sound effects. And yes, if you were wondering, Gates keeps his iconic glasses on the whole time.
Oprah, who is known for being one of the most charitable celebs and encouraging others to do the same, accepted the challenge from three people; Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Tyler Perry and Nancy O'Dell. This video is hilarious because after getting wet, Oprah screams loudly multiple times. She challenges Steven Spielberg (who accepted the challenge), Dame Helen Mirren and actor, Manish Dayal.
9 Ben Affleck
Holy ALS Batman! Nominated by Tyler Perry to take the Ice Bucket Challenge, Ben Affleck takes an additional plunge into his pool, but not without dragging his fully clothed wife, Jennifer Garner down with him. But before his big splash, Affleck nominates Neil Patrick Harris, Jimmy Kimmel and of course, his old buddy Matt Damon. This video is enhanced with the adorable laugh of one of their daughters, which can be heard in the background.
8 Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
It’s an international effort! If there are people who can take well to the cold, it's gotta be Canadians. Toronto Mayor, Rob Ford is known for liking a different type of ice, but is more than happy to have accepted the ice bucket challenge from Toronto Maple Leaf player, Tie Domi for this worthwhile cause. Ford’s brother, Doug and Domi himself, pick up a giant bucket full of ice water and poured it over Ford, who shakes it off like a champ. He then nominates late night host, Jimmy Kimmel, Ontario Premier, Kathleen Wayne and Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper.
7 Ben Stiller & Christine Taylor
Ben Stiller and his wife, Christine Taylor took the challenge with the help of their adorable children. However, a deadpan Stiller seems a little confused about how dumping a bucket of ice water on your head can cure a disease. Perhaps, his smarter wife can explain it to him. Or this is his clever way of getting people to donate money themselves... The Stillers nominate Judd Apatow, Ricky Gervais and tennis star, Raphael Vidal.
6 Amy Schumer
Amy Schumer, while she had very good intentions, must have been a little confused, perhaps even more so than Ben Stiller. She takes a can of something that looks like New England clam chowder soup, or perhaps cream of potato, out of an ice bucket and dumps it on her head. I hope it’s not hot. She then challenges men of a way older generation, Mel Brooks, Bob Newhart and Don Rickles…
5 LeBron James
LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers was on vacation in Greece when he was nominated by Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Kevin Hart, former high school teammate, Brandon Weems and the Cavaliers' DJ Steph Floss to take part. He accepted and put his masculinity on the line, by screaming like a little girl. Who did LeBron put on the spot? His two sons, LeBron Jr and Bryce Maximus. He also challenged President Obama, as did several other celebrities. Mr. President, the ball is in your court...
4 P.K. Subban
One of the funniest ALS Ice Bucket Challenges has to go to NHL Superstar, P.K. Subban. The young Montreal Canadians player was challenged by a few people, including his brother and his General Manager, Marc Bergevin. P.K. accepted the challenge and ultimately decided this was worth a show. With a crowd of people watching, the young defenseman made a large dump-truck spill its container, loaded with over 60 bag of ice, all over him. We’d say he was a trooper, because the ice water didn't stop after only 2-3 seconds; it went on for a good 15 seconds. As one of his nominees, P.K. challenged rapper, Drake.
3 Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods
Golfing superstars, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy decided to take the challenge as a team. They both spilled the buckets of ice on each other, one after the other. Although Mcllroy is the only one who is talking in this video, Tiger definitely seems to be enjoying himself while dumping his bucket on Rory.
2 George W. Bush
Although it is uncertain if Barack Obama will accept the challenge from the many celebrities who have named him, former president, George W. Bush had no trouble accepting and filming a funny video for it. Although he jokingly stated that he was not going to take on the challenge, and simply write up a check for a donation, his wife had something else planned.
1 Shakira and Gerard Pique
Columbia native singer, Shakira and Soccer Superstar, Gerard Pique, decided to film the challenge together. Shakira was nominated by model, Gisele Bundchen and in turn, nominated Chris Martin and Pope Francis. While Pique had a fairly easy time dropping the ice bucket on his “shorter” wife, Shakira had a seemingly difficult time reciprocating. She even tried to get on the couch behind them, and still didn't manage to drop the entirety of the ice. We do agree it was a very cute attempt, though.
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