He then quipped to laughs at the otherwise serious gathering, “And when you don’t, it usually bites you in the ass later on.”

Thompson poked fun at Rock’s very brief remarks before the comic ducked out, ribbing him by asking, “Forgot your notes?”

Bennett also uttered only a few words, speaking about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in a somber tone, “I still haven’t gotten over Connecticut. I’d like the assault weapons to go to war, not in our own country. And I’d like assault weapons eliminated.”

The Grammy Award-winning singer, 86, later told reporters, “I’m a pacifist. I’m very far out. I’m against violence. I’m against war.”

Thompson, noting he’s a gun owner and a hunter, encouraged his colleagues to act on Obama’s gun plan, which would include background checks for all gun sales and an assault weapons ban: “The fact of the matter is what needs to be done has to be done by Congress.”

Other notables at the event included: NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” actor Adam Scott; “The Whole Nine Yards” actress Amanda Peet; Anna Deavere Smith from “Nurse Jackie” and “The West Wing”; Kerry Kennedy, daughter of former Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.); Martin Luther King III; and Aurora, Colo., shooting survivor Stephen Barton.

Photos: Greg Nash