”We’re definitely ready to shake our bon-bons.” So piped Will & Grace‘s Sean Hayes, one of the many stars on hand to see Ricky Martin bring down the house at the Oct. 28 Carousel of Hope ball, L.A.’s semiannual fund-raiser for childhood diabetes. The benefit at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, hosted by philanthropists Marvin and Barbara Davis, raised more than $6 million and drew perhaps the most eclectic group of famous faces this side of the Betty Ford Center. Just check out table 116 for proof: Invited by the Davises to join them at the ”captain’s table” were President Gerald and Betty Ford, Sylvester Stallone, Sir Sidney Poitier, Mark Wahlberg, a solo Dennis Quaid, Jay Leno, Dustin Hoffman, and Dame Elizabeth Taylor with date Michael Jackson (who sported exquisitely penciled Lana Turner eyebrows).
Just as eclectic was the silent auction, which offered 40 collectible plates decorated by celebs like Angelina Jolie, Sir Sean Connery, and Clint Eastwood (opening bid for each: $250). Among the more curious designs was a vase of flowers in soft pastels by Arnold Schwarzenegger and, even curiouser, a profile of a little boy sketched by Jackson (go figure). The after-dinner concert featured spirited performances by Martin, Toni Braxton, and Charlotte Church, but the evening’s most entertaining turn may have been the crowd’s naughty, wink-wink interpretation of President Clinton’s pretaped speech, which was sprinkled with unintentional double entendres. (Emcee Leno began the ribaldry by suggesting that Bubba’s last-minute cancellation may not have been business-related.) Guffaws were especially loud after the no-show Commander in Briefs explained he had to be ”on the job” and plugged for Hillary’s ”pushing all the way” on health care.
The merciless ribbing of the Prez struck some, though, as tasteless: ”I thought it was very disrespectful [to the host],” Jon Lovitz told EW. But Tony Danza didn’t mind the off-color remarks. ”Clinton never intended to come in the first place,” griped Danza. Maybe that was for the best. Otherwise, we would’ve been robbed of Leno’s funniest line (addressed to Mrs. Davis): ”You’re not the first girl to get screwed by Clinton.”