Shorn of her skulking Scully character, X-Files star Gillian Anderson seems prone to giggles. At a Dec. 2 Hollywood benefit for troubled gay teens, Anderson — who was co-hosting the evening's live auction with Teri Garr — lost it when she announced that bids would be "increasingly mental," as opposed to "incremental."

But the big laughs came when bidding for a walk-on role on HBO's mortuary drama Six Feet Under commenced. "We have a lot of dead people on our show. If anybody ever asks you if you want to be a dead person, don't do it," Anderson cracked. "You have to stop breathing for long periods of time." Seeing the mock disapproval on Garr's face — after all, her job was to sell the auction items — she corrected herself. "It's a really great show. It's just fun to be around dead people."

All the fun was for "A Cracked X-Mas 4," a benefit for The Trevor Project Helpline (800-850-8078), which promotes tolerance and suicide prevention for gay and questioning youth. This is the third year Anderson has served as honorary chairperson; she was initially recruited by former X-Files casting director Randy Stone.

The Emmy winner says that her own rocky youth helps her identify with lonely, frightened gay teens. For those in need of help, she advises: "Find somebody to talk to, whether it's the suicide hotline or a teacher or a parent or a friend. Find somebody who will hear one's concerns and who will listen without judgement. It's just essential not to keep it inside."