Normally, one would guess that when Neil Patrick Harris attends a party, it’s the former Doogie Howser and “How I Met Your Mother” star who is crowded by guests looking for a selfie, a handshake, an autograph or a card trick.
But at the God’s Love We Deliver Golden Heart Awards on Monday night at the recently opened Cipriani South Street in New York, it was event co-chairs Mr. Harris and his husband, chef and author David Burtka, who had to patiently maneuver to meet one of the evening’s honorees: Presidential hopeful Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who was given the outstanding leadership and public service honor.
“Neil wants to meet Mayor Pete really bad,” Burtka said around 8 p.m., as guests like Lupita Nyong’o, Marisa Tomei, Blaine Trump, Audra McDonald, Iman, Simon Kinberg and Cleo Wade took their seats at the long table where Buttigieg sat sandwiched between Anna Wintour and Tiffany Haddish. (Burtka and Harris sat at another table, with YouTube’s Derek Blasberg and Jujamcyn’s Jordan Roth.)
First try: no luck.
Buttigieg, introduced by “The Inheritance” playwright Matthew Lopez, accepted his award, explaining that he had “more fashion anxiety than usual” amidst this stylish crowd.
“I know it’s a bleak moment in many ways, but I believe we can be very proud of the moments ahead of us if we come together,” Buttigieg said onstage, adding that when it comes to hunger and homelessness — two of God’s Love We Deliver’s main targets — “the only way to address it is together.”
After Estée Lauder’s John Demsey accepted his Golden Heart for outstanding volunteerism and community leadership, Burtka and Harris made a second attempt, this time figuring their way in was through chatting up Haddish.
No dice. Buttigieg didn’t even turn around.
It wasn’t until after dinner, around 9:30 p.m., before Michael Kors bestowed Iman with the Michael Kors Award for outstanding community service, that contact was finally made. It all just goes to show that stars sometimes have to be patient and hover, just like, well, the rest of us.
After Buttigieg, the evening’s MVP was certainly Haddish, who found ways to crack up the room even when she wasn’t fumbling through her opening remarks. When Canadian fashion model Winnie Harlow mentioned that she was born in 1994 and only 25, Haddish responded, “Stop bragging!”
And when the live auction began for prizes, including a dinner with Harris and Burtka, Haddish started the bidding at $1,000. Eventually a guest purchased the lot for $85,000. “Well, I’ve only got $93 anyway,” Haddish retorted.
Also at the party: theater producers Fran and Barry Weissler, Georgina Bloomberg, Ruben Toledo, John and Joyce Varvatos, and Karen Elson. Many of the female guests were clad in sparkly and sequined Michael Kors, who also donated $100,000 in a pledge drive.