Sunday, April 14, 2024

Party Poops: amFAR Cannes, Friars Club Roast of Tracey Morgan Attract D List Celebrities


The heady days are over.

Thursday night in Cannes, amFAR threw its annual gala. The party that once attracted Elizabeth Taylor, Elton John, Sharon Stone, and Calvin Klein brought out a crowd of D list celebrities. All the big stars are gone. Stone, ever the wise woman, was the star of the Cannes red carpet all week but blew out of town before amFAR. She made the right decision.

In New York, the troubled Friars Club had a “roast” comedian Tracy Morgan at the former Ziegfeld Theater, now Ballroom. This was a rogue’s gallery of awfulness starting with Rudy Giuliani and Geraldo Rivera, followed by former “SNL” cast member Chris Kattan. No Tina Fey or Jane Krakowski from “30 Rock,” none of the “SNL” heavyweights. From the photos it looks a lot like the “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

Both organizations have been mired in controversy. amFAR is now under the aegis of Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Festival. Contributions and grants are severely diminished yet salaries keep going up. Most of last night’s guests were models paid to be there. And as is now the custom, the group made no announcement today of how much money the evening raised. (They used to make these announcements immediately but that stopped a few years ago.)

The Friars have settled a $1 million sexual harassment lawsuit, fired their CEO after federal agents raided the place and he– Michael Gyure — was found guilty of tax fraud. They can’t re-open their restaurant because they don’t want to pay union fees to workers. Now they’re also suing Gyure (pronounced, ironically, “jury”).

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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