The swells were out in force for the Museum of the Moving Image’s salute to Alec Baldwin on Monday. The black-tie-and-ballgown crowd filled Cipriani 42nd St. to capacity as collaborators and pals spoke glowingly of the thesp to an aud that included Jeff Zucker, Richard Gere, Amy Ryan and Brian Williams.
As usual when comedians are feted, several speechmakers delivered a few good-natured pokes. Baldwin’s “Beetlejuice” costar Michael Keaton told the crowd, he discovered “there’s really not that much there. But my God, the hair!” Keaton also made the first Charlie Sheen joke of the evening, revealing to delighted listeners that Baldwin’s real name was Chaim Levine. “Charlie really hits it so hard,” Keaton mused. ” ‘Chuck Lorre, whose name is Chaim Levine.’ I’m not sure what he wants me to do with that information. I have an idea, but I’m not sure.”
Past honoree Ben Stiller gave a self-deprecating speech, inviting viewers to enjoy the next clip, set at a urinal. “Alec and I were in the unheralded 2004 classic ‘Along Came Polly,’ which is given in film schools the same careful scrutiny a medical examiner gives a corpse,” said Stiller. “In all honesty, Alec, peeing next to you was the highlight of my career. But that’s my problem.”
The highlight of the evening was Tina Fey, who said of Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy, “not since Archie Bunker has there been a television character that my parents agree with so often.” From the podium, Fey told Baldwin that he made all the difference to “30 Rock.”
“I shudder to think what kind of low-rent ‘Two and a Half Men’ show we would have without you. Actually, I’d probably have more money now,” said Fey.
Baldwin gave as good as he got. Regarding “Beetlejuice,” he remarked, “I think it’s no mystery that we were doing a lot of blow back then. We were screwed out of our minds on cocaine, and that’s where those performances come from.”