Steve Martin, Tina Fey, De Blasio Dissect Trump at Museum Galaby
Mayor offers ‘a way forward’ at Natural Museum of History fest
Event chair Lorne Michaels ‘very Darwinian,’ Alec Baldwin says
“President-elect Trump, can I get a picture?" one guest asked Alec Baldwin as he walked into the American Museum of Natural History Museum gala on Thursday night.
Hanging in the air: Would the two perform during the dinner in the Hall of Ocean Life? The answer: no, but a real politician, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, did make an 11-minute appearance on stage offering “a way forward" after the election by positioning his city as an example of welcoming immigrants and a diversity of religions.
And while Tina Fey coaxed donations during the auction portion of the evening by telling guests to “think of the amazing tax cuts" coming their way, de Blasio offered the audience (including James Gorman, Morgan Stanley’s chief executive officer, and hedge-fund managers Joe DiMenna, Thomas Kempner and Greg Lippmann) a paean to the rich on a night they raised more than $4 million for the museum.
“It’s a powerful moment in history, and as we reflect, the one thing that is so clear is that there are so many people in this city who have done well and then do well for others," de Blasio said. Their philanthropic generosity is not “a small part of life, but a central part of life, and in good times and bad.”
The city does its part, he said, allotting $70 million to build the museum’s Gilder Center (a $325 million project) because “science education will determine whether we have a community and a workforce ready for the future."
New York “legendarily has opened the door to every kind of striver and entrepreneur and creative person regardless of where they come from and who they are," de Blasio said. “That’s something we’ve been doing naturally, organically.”
He said that history is more pertinent than ever, given “there are some questions being asked of this country that I believe we long ago resolved for ourselves.”
De Blasio didn’t stay for the dinner created by Mario Batali (radicchio salad, short ribs), so he missed Seth Meyers’s funnier take on matters of the day.
Meyers said he felt badly for the Chicago Cubs. “For two weeks they got to be unbelievable, and then they were so believable," Meyers said. “The athletic equivalent of the election we just had is like a dolphin winning the Kentucky Derby."
Meyers joined Baldwin and SNL’s Kenan Thompson to don sombreros in a “Three Amigos" act in honor of the movie that the headline entertainers of the gala, Steve Martin and Martin Short, starred in with Chevy Chase.
Martin with Short as his ventriloquist dummy reviewed some of the personalities of the election. Rudy Giuliani’s image on the screen elicited boos from the crowd. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie “would have been the first oval in the oval office," Short said. A photo of Ohio Governor John Kasich prompted “I have no idea who that is." Baldwin’s photo earned cheers. “Remind me to visit him next year in an internment camp,” Short said. The final photo was of Trump. ‘‘Madame Tussauds is making a wax figure of him, but they’re having trouble making the skin so thin," Short said.
Ellen Futter, the president of the museum, acknowledged event Chairman Lorne Michaels, who next week will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama.
Baldwin talked about Michaels in a brief interview as he headed toward his seat. “Lorne is very Darwinian, survival of the fittest. He takes top people, throws them in the room, let’s them masticate each other, and the cream rises from that. It’s very competitive there, and he manages that competition very well."