Rooster Teeth Goes Big With the Extra Life Fundraiser

Streaming event for children's hospitals goes 24 hours this weekend

The calm before the carnage: On the set at Rooster Teeth Studios the night before their annual streaming fundraiser for children's medical charity Extra Life. Over the last decade, the studio has raised over $7 million from the event and hopes to raise another $500,000 this weekend. (Photo by Richard Whittaker)

What's the worst thing that Jack Pattillo has eaten for charity? The Rooster Teeth mainstay and organizer of the annual RT Extra Life stream-a-thon ponders for a second. “I had a pickled ball last year,” he concludes.

Excuse me?

“It was some salty pickle thing.”

So what's the worst thing anyone's ever eaten during Extra Life? Chelsea Atkinson, RT's director of community and Pattillo's fellow showrunner, has her suggestion. “Your beard sandwich.”

Again, excuse me?

“I had a beard,” Pattillo said, “and it was super-long, and I shaved it off, and made a sandwich with it.”

“And multiple people ate it,” Atkinson added, with a slight shudder.

But, hey, it’s all for a good cause.

“I’m excited to get back to 24 hours. That’s when the chaos happens.” - Jack Pattillo
In the break room at Rooster Teeth's Austin studio, it’s the calm before the storm. In a screen in the corner, the preshow is already running, with the LA-based Funhaus team having already raised over $5,000 for charity in under two hours. Those numbers will keep ticking up until the big show kicks off on Saturday morning at 10am central, with the beginning of the 24-hour Rooster Teeth Extra Life streaming fundraiser.

The team just completed their big production meeting, going through the running order: check-in times, who'll need chairs and mics when, card game rules, whether they'll be using whipped cream or shaving foam, who will be running safety checks on the shock collars, who'll sit on the pommel horse (don't ask), and the correct technique for drinking milk when you've just choked down some dangerously spicy wings.

After all, what is Rooster Teeth Extra Life without a little gastrointestinal distress? Well, first off, it's a 24-hour streaming fundraiser for Extra Life, a charity founded by gamers in 2008 to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. In 2013, Rooster Teeth held its first ever Extra Life event, and since then it has raised over $7 million, through donations and merch sales. As always, LEET donors (those who send $1,337) will trigger a spin of the Wheel of Vengeance, inflicting some indignity on a brave RTer, but this year they will get a special bonus: a Polaroid taken on set the instant their donation goes up on the board. Additionally, the team has also launched group donations, Atkinson said, “So as long as somebody donates a multiple of $11.11, that’s going to go towards a total that will still result in a spin of the wheel, so it’s giving more and more people an opportunity to participate in getting a LEET donation to happen.”

In prior years, the Austin-based streaming leviathan has contributed the money it raised to Dell Children's, but this year the revenue will go to hospitals nationwide, across the network. Pattillo explained, “Our community is worldwide, and it's time for us to give back to the rest of our fans and let people in New York make donations to the hospitals in New York, and people in Florida make donations to the hospitals in Florida.”

“If we can raise $500,000, I would feel incredible.” - Chelsea Atkinson
It's not just that RT Extra Life is covering more of the map. It's also getting longer this year, going for a full 24 hours after three years of reduced 12-hour schedules. COVID was what made the show go fun-size first: With the office closed and the staff already producing vast amounts of online content to keep the RT community entertained and supported, the 2020 Extra Life went down to 12 hours. It's stayed at that length for the last two years: however, Atkinson noted that the discussions about going back to a full day began right after last year's show. “I'm thrilled,” she said, “and slightly concerned.” After three years of reduced runtimes, the team wondered whether fans would still stay up through the night. “We were waffling back and forth, and then three months ago, we went, 'We're all in.'“

“I'm excited to get back to 24 hours,” Pattillo added. “That's when the chaos happens. Twelve hours, it's rough, but you can contain that. Once you cross into 24, that's when things happen that you didn't expect. That's when the magic happens.”

Part of that magic comes from Extra Life being one of the few times every year that the cast and crew from all the shows under the RT banner can come together. “Watching the creativity from Rooster Teeth and all the people who work here,” Pattillo said, “from normal on-camera folks to people who are just here, there's really some incredible, funny things that come out of it.”

And it being a 24-hour extravaganza means there are opportunities for new talents to shine. That includes new team members from the Digital Content Creators group, who have come through the Warner’s Digital Media Access program. Atkinson said, “The goal is bringing up-and-coming content creators, usually from minorities with small streaming groups, who we can walk through the entire process of producing content, what it looks like, giving them support, and Extra Life is like one of their big homework projects.” They may be younger than Rooster Teeth itself, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary, she added, “but now you're here with us.”

But ultimately the day (and night and day) is about one thing: raising money. Atkinson and the team have their target. “If we can raise $500,000,” she said, “I would feel incredible.”

Rooster Teeth Extra Life 2023 runs 10am, Sat., Nov. 11 to 10am, Sun., Nov. 12. More info at

Purchase exclusive RT Extra Life merchandise at 100% of all profits will go to Extra Life.

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Rooster Teeth, Rooster Teeth Extra Life, Jack Pattilo, Chelsea Atkinson

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