“We come here because this is one of the only times you can actually talk to Lorne [Michaels],” said Alec Baldwin on Thursday night at the American Museum of Natural History gala in New York. “This is one of the only nights of the year that Lorne is not working. If you get anything with Lorne when he’s off the clock, it’s breathtaking.”
Michaels, one of the Museum Gala Chairs, was announced a recipient of the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom earlier this week, and was welcomed to a standing ovation at the gala.
The evening’s host Seth Meyers congratulated Michaels in his opening and joked that “this honor couldn’t have come at a better time – Lorne is an immigrant.” The night was full of political humor.
More than 700 guests ate a swanky dinner in the museum’s Milstein Hall of Ocean Life under an extravagant whale to raise money for educational and scientific programming.
This annual black tie affair brings out many of the city’s A-listers but the majority of notable attendees were current “Saturday Night Live” cast members, including Kate McKinnon, Colin Jost, Michael Che, Aidy Bryant, Leslie Jones, Vanessa Bayer, Sasheer Zamata and Pete Davidson.
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Other celebrities included “SNL” alumnae Tina Fey and Kristen Wiig as well as Matthew Morrison, Jane Krakowski and Ellie Kemper. Mayor Bill de Blasio even made an appearance and spoke to the crowd about the importance of inclusivity.
“There is such a commitment here to making sure all kinds of New Yorkers participate and a huge commitment to our public school children,” said de Blasio. “That inclusivity is a pure New York value; that’s one of the things that makes us distinct.”
Fey, a fellow Gala chair, has a special feeling for this museum and said, “It’s a great resource, and it’s at a time when we have to fight for people to believe science. It’s an important institution.”
The evening consisted of an energetic auction and a special performance by Steve Martin and Martin Short with Steep Canyon Rangers and Jeff Babko. Martin and Short showcased an act from their nationwide tour, which fuses comedy and music to follows a story of their friendship that goes back more than 30 years.
One highlight of the night was a nod to Martin and Short’s 1986 film “¡Three Amigos!” where they brought Baldwin, Meyers, and “SNL” vet Kenan Thompson onto the stage for a special recreation of the memorable dance scene wearing sombreros.
Baldwin, who’s become known for his impeccable Donald Trump impression on SNL, says he’ll continue this character “every now and then.”
“What’s interesting is when people said to me, ‘You didn’t do it after the election,'” Baldwin told Variety. “I’m not available every Saturday night of my life, you know what I mean? We had other things to do.”
Baldwin will be at it again this Saturday (Nov. 19) along with Wiig, who will host.