Thursday, April 18, 2024

Tributes: Jon Bon Jovi Thinks MOMI Stands for “Sexy Mothers,” Patti LaBelle Toasts a “Kid” She Helped Raise


Tuesday was a day of tributes all over town.

In the evening, a bona fideĀ  rock star with a heart of gold, Jon Bon Jovi, came to the bi-annual dinner for the Museum of the Moving Image– or MOMI as its acronym spells out. He jokingly told the crowd at the St. Regis Hotel he thought MOMI stood for “sexy mothers,” like MILF. Bon Jovi came to honor his East Hampton neighbor Dexter Goei, who turned Cablevision into Altice. (I thought Altice was a cheese, but it’s a mega cable company.) Jon gave Goei a lovely toast, and was himself complimented by a very excited AMC Networks Chief Josh Sapan for his “incredible hair.”

CNN’s Jake Tapper was the other MOMI honoree, toasted by Savannah Guthrie, who said Jake told her years ago, before she was senior anchor of The Today Show, “I should work harder.” (I don’t know how much harder Savannah could work– I’ve known her over a decade and she is indefatigable!) CNN chief Jeff Zucker sat at their table, but didn’t say anything. He was probably thinking about his new contract. After dinner, Tapper signed copies of his book– provided for free– to the guests.

Bon Jovi told me he’s just come off the road, and taking time off. The group’s latest album was a hit. “I’m not in a hurry to do a new record,” Jon said. “I’m finally where I want to be.”

Comic Wyatt Cenac closed the show, hitting just the right topical notes. He got laughs out of that crowd, which isn’t easy to do.

EARLIER IN THE DAY: Troy Carter and Daniel Ek of Spotify were honored at an equally swanky lunch at the Pierre Hotel by UJA Federation. This does mean that Troy, who threatened to leave Spotify last month, is sticking around. The annual UJA lunch for the music business is headed by Daniel Glass of Glassnote Records (he brought you Mumford & Sons among others). Lots of record industry titans show up, including Neil Portnow, Joel Katz,Tom Corson, Danny Bennett, Jody Gerson, Charlie Feldman, Charles Goldstuck, LA Reid, Sylvia Rhone, Rob Stringer, Norm Chesky, Doug Davis, our old pal Kevin Liles and so on.

Carter grew up in Philadelphia where he was “raised” by the one and only Patti Labelle. She came to toast him, as did “Dr J” Julius Erving, who spoke eloquently. Carter, now the creative chief of Spotify, recalled great dinners and parties at Patti’s house, and trying to get DJ Jazzy Jeff– who provided music during lunch — to sign him and a pal as rappers. Persistence finally paid off, “It was the fastest signing and dropping in history,” Troy laughed.

Jeff Robinson, who managed Alicia Keys to her original stardom, came with his new breakout performer, called H.E.R. Her real name is Gabi Wilson (which I think she should go by) and she is going to be a STAR. Just turning 21, Wilson has two EPS out on RCA, and is getting her first album together. RCA’s Peter Edge, who gave Alicia her edge, is guiding her. Wilson performed a couple of songs, so did the great Leon Bridges. What a lunch! Each of these fundraisers yesterday was full, too, like going back before 2008.

Where was Daniel Ek? No one ever got a straight answer. Stockholm syndrome? Sitting by a stream, streaming…thinking of new, cool things? Luckily, Carter more than compensated for the absence.

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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