Sunday, April 21, 2024

Key and Peele now Key and Obama– Comedian: “We practiced in the West Wing”


President Barack Obama has a job waiting for him when he leaves the White House: comedy partner Keegan-Michael Key. The pair stole the White House Correspondents dinner last night as Key did his Luthor the Anger Translator character, interpreting Obama’s speech to cheers and applause. Key usually plays Luthor with his partner, Jordan Peele. And that was going to be the way they did it.

Key told me last night right after the show: “We were going to do it together. But then Jordan said, it will be better if you do it just with the president. So we practiced twice in the West Wing and got it right.” Where¬† was Peele? “Watching at home,” Key told me in the Washington Hilton lobby as guests piled into cars after the show that also featured “Saturday Night Live” comedian Cecily Strong.

Even with a light rain falling, and the lateness of the hour– well past 11pm– it was well worth the short trip from the Washington Hilton to the French ambassador’s house last night for the Vanity Fair-Bloomberg WHCD after party.

After a few dreary hours in the Hilton, and the long sweep through the night that seemed to feature just B list TV stars, Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter and former mayor Mike Bloomberg hosted the kind of swellish party Carter is known for in Hollywood. Movie star and maybe Tony nominee Bradley Cooper chatted up miscellaneous politicians, while Jane Fonda was overwhelmed with admirers. Katie Couric held court in the living room, with actor Timothy Hutton sitting on an opposite couch and all kinds of familar faces listening in. Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Stern (publisher of the New York Observer) got a good listen.

And in every corner you could see interesting chats going on: Lawrence O’Donnell, from MSNBC, sneaked out of that network’s party and was leaned up against the party talking with “Selma” director Ava Duvernay. Musician John Legend and his beautiful model wife Chrissy Teigen danced and smooched, then took photos with Nancy Pelosi and her husband, Paul. A gaggle of actresses– Connie Britton, Carla Gugino, Constance Zimmer– flocked by to join the Couric party where Lucy Lui was already ensconced. Ashley Judd was nearby.

In the front hall, I chatted with Lorne Michaels about the “Saturday Night Live” 40th anniversary when finally Cecily Strong arrived. She laughed about President Obama calling her “Sicily” asked her boss if she’d done alright. “You were wonderful,” Michaels told her. Ronan Farrow, son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen and not Frank Sinatra, who is now dying his hair Clairol blonde, embraced her jovially before Strong moved on to get some food and drink. Farrow posed for pics with Laverne Cox of “Orange is the New Black.”

Around the rooms: Tesla inventor Elon Musk told us about his announcement about home batteries coming this Thursday; former NY police commish Ray Kelly and wife Veronica represented New York beautifully. (I’ll support him if he wants to run for mayor, and so will you!)

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson told me he really wants to play baseball this season with the Texas Rangers. Well, he’s only 26! “I can’t believe how young he looks,” Ava Duvernay exclaimed.

Strangest sighting: actress Sophia Bush, from television, all dressed up and looking great despite news that her former boyfriend, Google exec Dan Fredinburg, had died in the Nepal earthquake while climbing Mt. Everest. Before the party she’d written on Instagram: “Please remember that our time on this Earth is not guaranteed. Please tell those you love that you do. Right now. This very minute.”


photo c2015 Showbiz411




Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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