“I’ve only slept with four men in my life – and married two of them!” – Angelina Jolie’s candid admission to “Cosmopolitan” magazine. Who would have thought that most of my readers had been around more than Angie?
This year’s Emmy Awards will probably go down in history as one of the least memorable award shows of all time. FOX certainly gave it the old college try – and it certainly looked more collegiate than any other network’s attempt. From the high tech, energized set, to the allegedly hip host, to the theater-in-the-round format, the relatively youthful “fourth network” did what it could to stand out from the crowd. No one is saying that the show bombed…but no one’s giving it props, either.
Normally I’d start the day on the red carpet with Joan Rivers, but this year Auntie Joan did coverage from her NYC living room. Yes, you heard me – her living room. There she was, sitting with Missy, clashing with her own sofa, and watching the pre-show on two networks that canned her. Actually, she left E! of her own accord – the parting with TV Guide was slightly less voluntary. Be that as it may, Joan sat in front of a camcorder (courtesy of VH1) and transmitted her barbs via the Internet. Did anyone watch? Hands? I didn’t think so.
At the Shrine Auditorium, the tone of the evening was set by the uncontroversial presence of Lisa Rinna for TV Guide and Kristin Dos Santos and Debbie Matenopoulos for E! There were other people, but I’m only mentioning my friends. It’s not a red carpet without the luminous Nancy O’Dell, who has a knack for being the most stunning woman wherever she is. Post-pregnancy Nance had no trouble slipping into her slinking, plunging blue spangled dress and stealing the show. I asked if she’s been working out, and she laughed: “Honey, I’m breast feeding, so the weight is just dropping off!”
Ryan Seacrest garnered pretty average reviews, but I’m gonna try to defend him. Some critics say he wasn’t funny enough. Honey, he’s not a comedian. I don’t remember anyone ever saying, “That Dick Clark is a laugh riot!” He’s a host, and he hosted. The end. The few jokes he attempted kinda bombed. He referred to Simon Cowell, who wasn’t even in the auditorium because he was in the lobby with me. And a “Weeds” joke about Paula landed flat because Abdul, not surprisingly, wasn’t paying attention.
Then there was the censoring. Rumor had it that the Academy censor had cut Ray Romano’s crack about Patricia Heaton and Kelsey Grammar “screwing,” Sally Field saying “Goddamned,” and Katherine Heigl mouthing “Fuck” when she won. The truth is FOX did the censoring with that picturesque aerial view of a disco ball. The Canadian affiliate had the Academy feed and their telecast ran without any interruption.
I spent much of the show in the lobby schmoozing with friends and fans alike (and the staff – they always have the best dish). Matenopoulos pouted for my camera, Rinna told me Tori Spelling and her hubby will go into “Chicago” on Broadway (which Lisa and hubby Harry Hamlin did this summer), and Terry O’Quinn and I were photographed by a fan – and it’s a rare full-frontal photo of me. I overheard a heated discussion between Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, who finally got to sit together at the Emmys. Maybe that’s what they were fighting about.
But my favorite story came courtesy of Paul from Chicago. He flies out every year to go to the awards, and he always gets more photos with celebrities than anyone I know. He’s relentless in tracking down luminaries – it doesn’t hurt that he’s cute as a button (whatever that means). When I saw him literally run across the lobby, I wanted to see who he had in his sights. I witnessed a man put his hands on Paul’s chest and push him away with such force that the Windy City lad almost toppled over. I had to know what happened. He told me that he saw Elizabeth Perkins and ran over to ask for a photo. Perkins declined and her date pushed him away. I don’t know what shocked me more – that the guy actually pushed Paul, or that anyone would run to get a photo with Elizabeth Perkins!
After the awards, the HBO party is traditionally THE place to be, and this year they outdid themselves. Party organizer Billy Butchkavitz and crew created a magical Thai wonderland. It seemed every star showed up – including Al Gore! I saw him from afar because I was busy chatting with Wanda Sykes and TR Knight, who is quite adorable. My party-hopping companion snagged Queen Latifah and Tony Bennett. I chatted with Sally Field for a second, but didn’t ask for a photo – she looked like she just wanted to get home and take her monthly dose of Boniva.
Many people wondered why Candice Bergen wasn’t with the rest of the “Boston Legal” cast. I can answer that – she was at the Metropolitan Opera House in NYC attending the Beverly Sills Memorial. Candy’s hubby, Marshall Rose, was a close friend of “Bubbles,” and that trumped the Emmys. I wanted to be in NYC, but I’m devoted to my readers.
That didn’t stop me from hearing dish from the memorial. It seems that Barbara Walters is dating Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dr. Robert Butler, who wrote the book “Love and Sex After 60.” Sounds like a good match for the 76-year-old Walters and the 80-year-old Butler. In fact, it’s such a good match that Dr. Butler has asked Babs to marry him. Don’t go shopping for a gift – Walters has declined…twice!
The day after the Emmys, I was thrilled to attend a one-night-only performance of the musical “Chess,” which was a benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. “Chess” was the first show I ever saw in London and, as problematic as this musical is, I couldn’t wait to see it. Plus, the cast of Kevin Earley, Susan Egan, Matthew Morrison, Ty Taylor, and Cindy Robinson was hard to beat. Despite some technical snafus, it was a terrific evening that supported a great cause. Special kudos to the dancers who did an incredible job, especially Aleks Pevec (but my heart belongs to Matty).
Could it be that one of our favorite people is back on Broadway? Jm J. Bullock just returned to the cast of “Hairspray.” Previously he’s played the roles of “Mr. Pinky,” “Harriman Spritzer” and the school principal. Now he’s moved up to the role of “Wilbur,” father to our heroine “Tracy.” Congrats, Jm.
When the only full-frontal photo this week is of me, it’s definitely time to end yet another column. I want to acknowledge two people who passed away. First is Brett Somers. “Match Game” and “The Odd Couple” are indelibly linked to my childhood. Brett’s sardonic wit and distinctive voice never failed to bring a smile to my face. One of my great joys was becoming friends with the funny lady, and she will be missed. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I only met porn star Danny Roddick once – at the GayVNs earlier this year. In person, he was as sweet and adorable as he was hot and sexy on film. I’ll post my Emmy pics on http://www.BillyMasters.com. And, of course, you can always e-mail me at Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before Jm J. graduates to playing the role of “Edna”! So, until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.