A-listers, winners gather for Emmy bashes

The upside to Prince playing at the “ET”/People mag bash at the Mondrian: It gave fiesta powerhouse HBO a run for the money as hot event of the night. The downside: The party filled early with not-quite-ready-for-the-A list guests who arrived during the show. Normally, the party hoppers would float to other gigs, but on this occasion, they were glued to their precious piece of real estate — and the $2,000-plus swag bags for which the event has become known — until after Prince performed his 1½-hour set on a stage above the Sky Bar’s covered pool.

The artist even changed one of his songs to fit in with the night. During “Kiss,” he crooned: “You don’t have to watch ‘Desperate Housewives’ rather than ‘Dynasty.'” (Ironically, “Dynasty” diva Joan Collins was at the party.)

Entering into this picture was the fire marshal, who doesn’t discriminate according to the celebrity caste system. He just sees bodies. On this night, he saw way too many and shut the doors at 10 p.m.; turned-away guests waved their Emmy statuettes to no avail.

For those inside the party, the WeHo fire marshal’s decision to close the event early made little sense, as large areas of the Sky Bar were unoccupied and seemed able to accommodate at least a couple hundred more people.

Meanwhile, a couple miles away at the PDC, the massive tented space of the HBO party, pay web topper Chris Albrecht said he thought the show “seemed more relaxed. People are still on vacation,” he added. “My biggest disappointment is that Bob Newhart is still alive.”

When Albrecht’s comment on the kudocast’s running gag about Newhart’s possible death-by-asphyxiation was mentioned to Conan O’Brien, the host said: “You can actually do that on cable.”

O’Brien said one frustration of hosting the show is, “My job is to entertain, but I can’t be out there too much and give 27 awards.”

Though there was near-universal praise for O’Brien’s hosting, one guest still said, “The Emmys are about wanting the show over quick.”

It may not be the hippest post-Emmys bash, but the Governors’ Ball — usually the first stop on the party circuit — has been a source of comfort and camaraderie over the years for “Malcolm in the Middle” actress Jane Kaczmarek.

“I always have a great time here. I wish everybody stayed,” said Kaczmarek, comparing the ball to the Unity Dinner that followed the 2001 kudocast, which was twice postponed after 9/11.

“It ended up being at the Shubert; there was only one party and everybody stayed,” said Kaczmarek. “And it was my favorite Emmys. Everyone was in it together.”

Over at Fox’s party at Spago, the Emmys’ delayed West Coast feed gave the evening a golden moment.

Just before 11 p.m., as the final award of the night was being doled out to the network’s “24,” the classy roar of the party crowd fell to a quiet hush when the volume from strategically placed plasma TV screens drowned out the sounds of DJ Michelle Pesce and the series’ drama honors were announced.

By then, dramatic actor winner Kiefer Sutherland had done his bash-hopping duties and made his way to Canon Drive, where he was able to celebrate in the VIP-heavy back with “24” cohorts including Jean Smart, Dennis Haysbert and Kim Raver, plus Fox brass including Peter Liguori, Gary Newman and Dana Walden.

Revelers at TV Guide’s post-Emmy party at Social Hollywood were in the Pink as the crooner performed just before midnight. And in position to have the last laugh of the night, Comedy Central held its party at Falcon.

(Josef Adalian, Justin Chang, Shalini Dore and Chris Gardner contributed to this report.)

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