Before any of his guests arrived, Time editor Rick Stengel rotated between the dozens of reporters waiting along the red carpet outside the Time Warner Building’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, the scene of the Time 100 gala Tuesday night.
“Here you have in the same room presidents and poets and philosophers and artists and athletes and architects,” Mr. Stengel said. “I mean, there’s scientists here who have never met these famous folks before, and the famous folks are really meeting scientists.”
Korean figure skater Kim Yu-Na, a gold medalist at the Vancouver games and one of the Time 100, was the first guest to walk the carpet.
None of the reporters asked her for comment, but the photographers were happy to take her picture.
While Ms. Yu-Na was posing, a gossip reporter from People magazine asked her handlers if she had a translator.
She speaks English, they said.
“Does she have a boyfriend?” asked a business reporter from Bloomberg.
The handlers shook their heads.
“Let’s bring her over then,” he said. “She’s smoking hot.”
Ms. Yu-Na disappeared into the party when she was finished with the cameras.
“I feel extremely honored and surprised,” said Ben Stiller, who was included on the list in the Hero category.
“I kind of feel like somewhere in the back of my head somebody screwed up something in the editorial department,” Mr. Stiller said.
Elie Wiesel passed uninterrupted in front of the reporters and entered the party.
“I feel comfortable because I don’t know who anyone is,” said director Judd Apatow, who bounced around next to his wife Leslie Mann. “I could not be more comfortable.”
Ms. Mann was busy answering a question that was repeated all night by People magazine’s man on the carpet, “What is sexy?”
We asked Martha Stewart, a Time 100 alumna, whom she was most excited to meet.
“I don’t know, I have to go see who’s around,” said Ms. Stewart. “Not everyone comes. Like Lady Gaga’s not coming.”
Ms. Stewart told People that gardens were sexy.
The reporter asked a follow-up question: “Why? Because of dirt?”
Seth Meyers walked over ahead of Andy Samberg, the evening’s emcee.
“It’s kind of amazing when you meet somebody you have such high expectations for and they surpass them,” said Seth Meyers. “It’s incredible.”
Mr. Meyers was talking about Betty White. Both were at the party. Neither was on the Time 100.
“I’m not good at small talk at all,” said Neil Patrick Harris, one of Time‘s influencers. “It will probably be me huddled in a corner with my friend Kate who’s here going ‘Ooh look at that guy, Ooh look at that guy.’”
We asked Mr. Harris about his sphere of influence.
“My sphere of influence. I try to angle myself with as many demographics as I can. The stoner kids can appreciate the Harold and Kumar. The mainstream cats can like How I Met Your Mother. I am able to do the Smurfs movie to appease everyone, and, you know, Regis and Kelly to keep the housewives involved.”
Before the party, Mr. Stengel explained his own sphere of influence.
“The thing I love about the Time 100 is being able to take people who are having influence that you don’t know about,” said Mr. Stengel. “A guy who is using text messaging to help African women’s health in southern Africa — putting him in Time and saying he’s one of the 100 most influential people.”
“It increases his influence, and it increases ours at the same time,” Mr. Stengel said.