As global nonprofit Shalva honored longtime showbiz exec and producer Michael De Luca for his work in the Jewish community, the running joke for the evening was his disservice of sorts for producing the 2008 Mike Myers comedy “The Love Guru.” Even the evenings emcee, Jeremy Garelick, noted that his roasts on the night’s honoree went a tad overboard.
“Tonight I made three ‘Love Guru’ jokes, which is three more than what made it into ‘The Love Guru,'” he quipped.
De Luca, who accepted top honors at the organization’s first Spirit of Hope Dinner with wife Angelique, opened his acceptance speech on the defense.
“I did get some profit [for ‘The Love Guru’],” De Luca said. “I got a profit for participation check from Paramount, which is rare in this town. It was for $62.”
De Luca’s award was presented by producer and former Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal, who received her own set of unmerited Sony hack jokes throughout the night — which Table 22 agreed to be “more than a little dated.” Nevertheless, Pascal endured the jabs, all the while detailing De Luca’s history of commitment to the organization that benefits the Association for Mentally and Physically Challenged Children in Israel, and provides assistance to local families raising individuals with special needs.
“As a parent, you go through a certain amount of terror that you’ve never felt before because you suddenly care more about this child that you’re having than you ever felt about yourself,” De Luca continued. “I can only imagine what it’s like for parents to feel that terror and not know where to go or turn, and the fact that Shalva supplies an island of comfort, security, and hope — whether you’re a Muslim parent or Jewish parent — they have your back and I was incredibly moved by that.”
Hosted at the home of real estate businessman and philanthropist Stanley Black, other notable attendees included Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences CEO Dawn Hudson, director and producer Brett Ratner, and CAA’s Adam Berkowitz, who spoke a few words about former Israeli president Shimon Peres, who died on Tuesday night at the age of 93.