At the behest of Lorne Michaels, a coterie of comedic royalty descended upon the American Museum of Natural History’s Milstein Hall of Ocean Life for the annual “Museum Gala” last night. The godfather of all nearly all comedic geniuses we know and love today has been a longtime supporter of the Manhattan cultural cornerstone, but this year held special significance as Michaels was also celebrating his Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded to him just two days earlier in Washington, D.C., alongside the likes of Ellen DeGeneres, Tom Hanks and Michael Jordan.
There was, of course, the entire current cast of Saturday Night Live including Peter Davidson, Beck Bennett, and Leslie Jones, but also those who have graduated from these humble beginnings and gone much further in their careers. This included Master of Ceremonies Seth Meyers, his former SNL castmate Kirsten Wiig, with boyfriend Avi Rothman in tow, as well as Tina Fey, who did nothing to hide her unabashed love for Tom Brokaw, sitting just a few seats away from her.
“For years I’ve been asking the museum to add an auction item called Sleepover For One Beneath The Star in which the highest bidder spends one night locked in The Hall of Gems with Tom Brokaw,” she joked on stage before the start of the evening’s auction led by Christie’s auctioneer Sarah Friedlander. “I’ve been repeatedly told no. I’ve been told it’s not feasible. I’ve been told it’s creepy. It’s been suggested we go off site to the Best Western at 96th Street where the governor used to go, but now I’m going to channel my frustration to speak intelligently about education, and remember, if at any time I don’t make sense, just pretend you’re watching the presidential debate.”
To close out the star-packed evening, Steve Martin and Martin Short teamed up for a variety show of sorts in which the two legendary comedians entertained the audience with their usual banter perfected over 30 years of friendship, a good amount of jabs at the Republican party, three original tunes crafted specifically for the performance, and, to top it off, some epic showmanship by Martin who showed that he’s not just a funnyman, but in fact an incredibly talented banjo player. “I have to say, of all the people I have a fake show business relationship with,” Short joked. “I feel the fake closest to you!”