HOLLYWOOD — Sobering statistics were mixed with giddy wisecracks as the Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles saluted Darren Star and HBO at the Century Plaza Hotel on Saturday.
Star was presented with his Humanitarian Award by “Sex and the City” star Kim Cattrall. In a skintight, silver dress, a shimmering Cattrall shimmied to the podium, blowing kisses to the crowd — managing to simultaneously be a sexpot and to spoof that image.
Speaking of “Beverly Hills, 90210,” the camping vamp breathed that this “huge, huge hit led to a spinoff,” somehow making every elongated word sound saucy.
Star said that for someone who works in L.A. and New York, “It’s easy to believe that everyone is gay and Jewish,” and easy to take freedoms for granted. (Earlier, speakers had pointed out that in 38 states, it’s still possible to be fired for being gay, and that in most places gay or lesbian marriages and adoptions are verboten.)
Star deadpanned that a ban on gays adopting children “is not only ignorant, but it’s a big problem for Prada’s new baby line.”
In presenting the Corporate Equality Award to Chris Albrecht, Ellen DeGeneres joked that she assumed the HBO original programming president was going to be coming out of the closet.
“Seriously, everybody talks about it all the time. What straight man puts on ‘Oz’?” She told a string of racy anecdotes involving her and Albrecht (including the two of them waking up at a dude ranch, singing Madonna songs, after an all-night bender). She then admitted she’d fabricated her whole speech, since she didn’t know what else to say: She’d asked Albrecht’s pals for great stories about him, “But they all have gag orders.”
Albrecht summed up the fete by touting his pay cabler’s progresses and saying, “This evening has been moving, enlightening and important.”
Also honored was the Trevor Project, inspired by the 1994 short film “Trevor,” which won the Community Service Award.
The diverse, enthusiastic crowd of more than 1,000 guests help raise in excess of $400,000. Among those attending: Kyle MacLachlan, Max Mutchnick, Kathy Kinney and Bruce Vilanch.
A lineup of political heavy-hitters such as Gov. Gray Davis, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, Sen. Barbara Boxer and HRC exec director Elizabeth Birch rattled off examples of prejudice in the U.S., but the emphasis was always on the upbeat and the goals of equality.
The HRC boasts 400,000 members, touting itself as the world’s largest lesbian and gay political org.