The 2000 GQ Men of the Year Awards
There have been a few freak occurrences that have altered the course of human history: a giant meteor wiped out all the dinosaurs, Tom Arnold became famous, and two girls (who just happen to be crazy about pop) got invited to the 2000 GQ Men of the Year Awards. Not knowing what to expect, we were eager to attend because of the promise of free cocktails, which is also the reason we will continue to attend the NYU graduation ceremonies as long as there is life in our bodies. As the big day drew near, we started to realize that the event might be a bit more exciting than a box of wine.
Scheduled performers included current pop sensations Enrique Iglesias, 98 Degrees, and Destiny's Child. Previous winners included A-list famous people like Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, and the Beastie Boys. The only thing dampening our enthusiasm was a line in the letter accompanying our tickets that read "Black tie optional." We started to fret that they might not let two devotees to the House of Old Navy into such a soirée, but for the sake of good Internet journalism, we decided to try.
On October 26th, we made our way up to the Beacon Theater, which was surrounded by huge spotlights, paparazzi, and screaming fans. Everyone was dressed to the nines. Except us -- we only managed to get up to about three. Apparently the rich and famous don't have to find outfits that can go straight from an entry-level desk job to a televised awards show. Trying to blend in with the sparkling crowd, we made our way to our assigned seats.
We fully expected to be in the worst seats in the house. But no, we were in row P, 16 rows from the stage, with an excellent view of all the arriving stars. The first celebrity sighting of the night was when I noticed Ray Liotta sitting a mere two rows in front of us. He was close enough that, even with my poor aim, I could have hit him with the Lincoln key chain in our gift bag.
The show began and so did the parade of stars. Susan Sarandon, Kevin Spacey, Julia Roberts, Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker, Pete Sampras, and Russell Crowe (one of the few stars who makes me feel like at 13-year-old girl at a New Kids on the Block concert), to name a few. We learned that Mathew Perry is Canadian, Oscar de la Hoya is short, and that we were as excited to see Steven "he was on Wings" Weber as Elton John. No matter whose turn it was, everything went exactly the same: First, the presenter strutted across the stage, struck a pose behind the podium, and read a few carefully scripted jokes from the teleprompter. The award winner would then makes his way forward from his seat in the audience (always on the aisle), make a few awkward jokes that referenced something someone else said, and leave the stage with the presenter, whispering about whatever celebrities whisper about. Every once in a while Dennis Miller, the host, would appear to make a joke about a celebrity with a funny name, or the Steadicam operator, or just say a few curse words and snicker.
Interspersed with all the star-strutting were the musical acts. Destiny's Child did not perform, "due to an illness" (somewhere in the world, there is an illness, and Destiny's Child will not perform). The grand finale of the show was a performance by Third "I think I hate them" Eye Blind. I don't know Third Eye Blind from Power Man 5000 from Matchbox Twenty from Creed, and I would have liked to keep it that way. Their bio in the program describes them as "the live band to see in the summer of 1998." Last time I checked, it was the winter of 2000, and Third Eye Blind was Third Eye Bad.
Despite the ear splitting ending, the show was still one of the most fun events I've ever attended. I look forward to the telecast on December 9, and can't wait to point out all the differences to everyone watching with me. Dennis Miller did two sets of jokes about the "president-elect." Back in October, no one had any way of knowing this election wouldn't be that simple. I almost hope they use the Bush ones because those jokes were funnier. I also want to see how much they cut out of Ridley Scott's rambling acceptance speech. And most of all, I want to see if we made it to the final cut. We're the ones right behind Ray Liotta wearing Old Navy. --Meredith Riley