LA friend and I had no idea what to expect as we arrived at Morton’s West Hollywood on the night of the 2002 Oscars. Blatantly disregarding the rules about bringing in any recording devices (and after being egged on by me), my friend had stuffed a disposable camera up her sleeve. And as we were going through security to get into the event, the camera fell out of her sleeve, hit the ground and the flash went off. Twice. I'm such a good friend, that when this happened, I completely turned my back to her and chatted up a replacement best friend standing behind me. (Hey. I travelled across the country. I was getting into this party.) Thanks to all the paparazzi, security did not seem to notice a couple of extra flashes, and we made it into the party with the camera (and surprisingly, our friendship) intact. She managed to sneak a few photos throughout the night, including one of Tobey Maguire and Nicole Kidman canoodling, though I’d never be so crass as to post that:
Working the party was a little surreal. And not just because I had no experience serving cocktails (which may be a slightly different story than what I told the person who hired me for this gig.) Every single person at this party was white-hot famous – movie stars, sports figures, artists, media figures, designers, supermodels, television stars, musicians – it was nuts. And you know how everyone always tries to make you feel better by saying that people in Hollywood have great lighting and are airbrushed and styled which is why they look so good? Well everyone is a big, fat liar. This is a group of people that is just genetically blessed, and each person is more beautiful than the next. (With the obvious exception of Larry King.)
And of course I'd never be so gauche as to mention which of the major stars in attendance were totally cool (Tom Hanks, Luke Wilson, Alan Alda, Sandra Bernhard, Helen Hunt, Hillary Swank), who was definitely not (Katie Couric), who made me star struck (Johnny Knoxville, Annie Leibovitz, Gwen Stefani, Diane Sawyer) and who was just freaking hot (Gary Dourdan, Vince Vaughn, Ellen Barkin, Halle Berry, Kirsten Dunst, Jake Gyllenhaal). Because even though these people are celebrities, they deserve their privacy.
It was a ridiculous, fun experience and we had a great time doing it. So, a few years later, I decided that I wanted to do it again and that Canetto must do it, too. I called the guy who did the hiring to make arrangements and found out that another friend who I’d met while working the party would also be there. I figured we should also see if our friend, Cockey, who had recently moved out to LA to be an actor wanted to join the party. But apparently, I had already used up all of my favors in getting people added to the list and he was denied. Were we discouraged? Not at all. We were motivated to come up with a great (nay, brilliant) plan to get Cockey into the party.
This is how it worked: Canetto and I had to get fitted for uniforms the day before the party at a costume designer’s studio in West Hollywood. We figured that if Cockey came with us and acted surprised when his name was not on the list for a fitting, the costume designer may figure there was a miscommunication (because how else would he have known where and when to show up for a fitting?) and go ahead and outfit him. Fortunately, it was a female designer, and fortunately, Cockey is charming, so within minutes, he was getting his inseam measured (not a euphemism) (or is it?).
The second part of the plan was that when Cockey arrived at the party the following night in full uniform, he could again pretend there was a miscommunication, which is why he was not on the security list…because how would he have a tailored uniform and know how to get to the secure staging area if he had not been hired for the event? (See? Genius.) And again, because Cockey is
Okay, we actually may have spent more time helping ourselves to a little champagne and talking to people than doing any serving. At one point, I decided that I did not want to serve at all, and just sort of wandered around the party, stopping to talk to anyone who looked like they might want company. (Which is how I found out that Paul Sorvino had just broken up with his girlfriend and had an art exhibit opening in LA. It is also how I found out that Allison Eastwood got her (gorgeous) dress for only $300 off the rack. It is amazing how much people will open up to you when you are dressed like a poor man's Captain Steubing.) (See photo for humiliating evidence.)
And of course, we managed to get a picture with the biggest star of the night. (And the only one who did not try to convert us to Scientology.)