Rooster Teeth Wants to Give a Million to Charity
24-hour streaming show to raise money for Dell Children's Hospital
By Richard Whittaker,
7:00AM, Sat. Nov. 11, 2017
Games. Paintballs. Tasers. Extra-hot peppers. This weekend, in one 24-hour marathon streaming show, Austin's online studio Rooster Teeth plans to raise $1 million for sick kids. Event organizer Jack Pattillo said, "The shenanigans that happen on set get a little bit crazy, but it's all for a good cause."
That cause is gaming charity Extra Life, which raises money for the Salt Lake City-based Children's Miracle Network. Since the original RT Extra Life stream in 2010 (which was literally just Pattillo and his Achievement Hunter co-star Geoff Ramsey playing games in their office for 24 hours), the show raised over $2 million for their chosen beneficiary, Dell Children's Hospital.
The RT team is already on the way to their target of an extra $1 million this year. Last weekend, members of their online community from around the world held their own streams, raising money for their own local charities: Rooster Teeth picked 25 of those fan events, and gave them a signal boost by streaming an hour from each on their official Twitch and YouTube channels (it was 25 hours, Pattillo said, "because of daylight savings time"). The end result was $101,000 in the kitty, and that's before the big show this weekend.
While that was going on, Pattillo has been lining up a full 24 hours of lunacy and kindness, with a cast of 200 maniacs including all the RT regulars and maybe some special guests. Plus, the fans will have their impact, starting with the chip challenge.
Pattillo said, "It's basically a chip covered in the hottest peppers you can find on the planet – second-hottest, people have been correcting me – in an individually sealed bag that you open and eat the chip. The last video I saw of someone doing it, it was a load of network TV anchors, and one of the women who ate it threw up." He paused. "We have 16 of those that fans have sent us."
Austin Chronicle: What was the craziest stunt you ever pulled off in an Extra Life?
Jack Pattillo: We had a proper taser, the kind where the prongs shoot out. When we tased Michael (Jones, Achievement Hunter, Lazer Team), it was funny because we went, 'OK, we're gonna tase him,' and he had volunteered, 'OK, I'll do it.' So we're talking to the medic, and the medic was like, 'By the way, I don't know if you know this, but you can actually pull the trigger again, after the initial one, and it'll send a second charge. These things, you can hit them three times if you want.' So I was like, 'OK, let me talk to Michael.'
I go, 'OK, Michael, so the medic has let us know that, the way these things work, they hit the initial stun, but then if we want we can pull it again, and you'll get another stun. Would you be willing to do that?' He goes, 'Do you think we can raise more money?' and I go, 'How about this? We have an arbitrary goal of $1,337, which is LEET spelled out in money. If we have a LEET donation in the next five minutes, we'll hit you again.' He goes, 'OK.'
So I go back out on set, and go, 'Hey guys, we're getting ready for the thing, but we wanted you to know that there is a way we can hit him more than once. But if we want to do that, someone in the next five minutes has to donate $1,337.' Two minutes later, two people had.
Michael told me later, but when he was standing there he was looking off in the distance. But we have monitors all around the set, where you can see what the frame looks like. He had one right in front of him, so he was watching me literally hold a taser on his back, and doing everything he could not to freak out.
AC: Has there ever been anything where you've gone, no, that's too much?
JP: For me, personally, it's the food stuff. I can't do spicy things or gross stuff. But the tasing thing, that was something where I don't think I'd do that.
AC: Out of everything, what was the moment that was the most fun?
JP: Three years ago, Mister LeVar Burton came on our stream. He's amazing, he's the closest person I've ever met to a saint. I grew up on Reading Rainbow, I grew up on Star Trek: The Next Generation. His daughter is a huge fan, and actually works for us now, but they came on the stream, and donated their time.
One of the stretch goals we had was for him to do storytime with us, and he had just written a book, so he read this book to a crowd of 20- to 30-year-old people, all sat around in front of him like a class of schoolchildren. He's reading this beautiful book, and I'm sitting there, looking at this childhood idol of mine, just shaking internally.
Rooster Teeth Extra Life runs 8am, Sat., Nov. 11, to 8am, Sun., Nov. 12 at www.roosterteeth.com/livestream/extra-life.
Donate now at www.extra-life.org.