Wednesday, February 23, 2005

My night at the WGA Awards 

Okay, this happened last Saturday, but I'm only getting around to it now. Thinking about it, though, I wonder how good a story it makes? Could be kind of blah, so I offer a preemptive apology. "Sorry, I guess..."

First off, I was invited to the Palladium as a guest of the WGA along with a score of others involved in the big reality campaign. So, really, I felt pretty honored and was happy about not having to pay a $115 fee for a seat. It would've been far too much to pay for the niblet of chicken and the four mini-roasted potatoes they served at dinner. Dinner, by the way, was served at 4pm. Awesome. Barely enough time for the first couple of cocktails to kick in.

We're dining and drinking and having a good time. A friend and I saunter around the room with wine glasses, so nouveau riche in our wide-eyed enthusiasm at mingling with celebs. Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy are dining already. To my left I spy Dennis Haysbert, also known as President Bonesaw McGraw from 24. To the right I see Rachel Bilson, also known as the chick on The O.C. who dressed up as Wonder Woman. Mmm... Give me a second here...

Okay. We're back.

As we take our seats, there are copies of The Hollywood Reporter and Written By on our seats. My friend looks at the table immediately next to us and points out a man, about 5'8" with short black hair seated next to Sandra Oh. She asks me, "Who is that?" I pick up my copy of Written By and point my finger at the face on the cover. "That's Alexander Payne." Now that is serendipity, people! Also seated at Payne's table is this 14 year-old boy (which I can only assume must've been his son) with long flowing blonde hair down to his back and an unusually feminine complexion. It took a few of us at my table a little while to realize that it was actually a pubescent boy and not some Hollywood harlet all gussied up for the ball.

Every awards show has a host and, unfortunately, this one is no different. However, the host didn't quite have the star quality you might expect. It was Jay Peterman from Seinfeld. Not the actual Jay Peterman (duh), but the actor who played him -- John O'Hurley. Since no one in the universe recognizes the name "John O'Hurley," we'll stick to calling him "Jay Peterman." After all, that is how he was introduced by the PA announcer (Yes. Really!). Much like Billy Crystal at the Oscars, Jay Peterman insisted on doing a song and dance routine to open up the evening. I don't think I have to tell you how absurd this is, but the difference between imaging such a debacle and actually seeing it is vast. Very very vast... vast. The jingle that followed in which Jay Peterman claims to have invented the phrases "Don't I know you?" and "Fade to black" left half the audience cackling at how dumb this all is and the other half talking loudly (and I mean loudly) amongst themselves.

The rest of the evening carried on in standard awards fashion. Though, it was a speedy 2 1/2 hours. You have no idea how draining those commercials are. At one point I excused myself to head to the restroom. On the way there, I noticed the pubescent 14 year-old harlet boy from Payne's table a few strides in front of me. As we're heading into the bathroom, an elderly man probably in his 100s is heading out. He stops Harlet Boy and says with astonishing conviction, "This is the men's room. You can't go in there." The boy doesn't pay him mind and continues. Again, the old man bellows, "Hey, can't go in there! It's a men's room!" I'm doing all I can to not laugh in both of there faces and double over on the floor. I and another gentleman had to assure the old man that Harlet Boy was, in fact, a boy. The look of incredulity on his geriatric face was unparalleled to anything I've seen in recent years. He walked off in a huff while a couple other guys in the bathroom teased Harlet Boy that maybe it was time to get a haircut. Good times.

The night ended pleasantly. Big winners were Charlie Kaufmann (yes!) and Alexander Payne. It was all over by... oh my, 7:30. Splendid. I then proceed to drink and smoke until five in the morning, forgetting occasionally that I was even at the show at all. Delightful. I have to reiterate just how awful Jay Peterman was: He was awful.

Not satisfied? Okay, try this one. I've had a pair of suspenders and a red bow tie sitting in the back seat of my car for five months. And they're not even mine!


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