TMZ Account: Confessions of a Golden Globes Gift Bag Guy
1/18/2006 4:54 PM PT
By TMZ.COM CONTRIBUTOR
Over each of the past four years, I have worked as one of the people handing out the gift bags at the Golden Globes. I cannot keep from laughing when I recall some of the stories I have heard from attendees of such a prestigious event when trying to obtain one of the coveted bags. And throughout the course of the evening, as more and more alcohol is consumed, these stories increase in urgency, importance and emotion.
I'm still amazed at how many creative, needy, sad and desperate stories are told in the hopes of being rewarded with a gift bag. It's almost like judging a junior high drama contest. Because, you see ... there are strict rules that no gift bags are to be handed out without a ticket stub from the actual ceremony. End of story.
OK, but my story doesn't end there.
The experiences which emerge from this fly on the wall perspective at the Globes, makes for some great storytelling.
For the most part, the celebrities themselves are completely gracious. It makes me smile when Sarah Jessica Parker, just as bubbly as ever, arrives with Matthew Broderick, and they both are so kind and thankful for receiving the bag. And speaking of bubbly... and beautiful, Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon are so sweet and appreciative. Anthony Hopkins arrives smiling with his Cecil B. DeMille award in one hand and reaches out his other hand to shake mine after I congratulate him.
Also with award still in hand, Philip Seymour Hoffman kindly accepts his award... reward... I mean gift bag. In the past, I've been amazed at the class and kindness exhibited by the likes of Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep, Reba McIntyre, and Peter Jackson. Kevin Costner was nice enough, but he also requested that the rules be bent when asking for an additional bag for his daughter.
Then along comes Joan Rivers. She's hilarious, and requests four gift bags: one for her, one for her daughter, Melissa, and two others for her friends in attendance. I mention that I had recently seen her interviewed regarding her red carpet arrival show on the TV Guide Network. I tell her that she was mean to Ryan (Seacrest) during the interview. She replies, "I was not mean. I was absolutely not mean to Ryan. Who's Ryan?"
But it wasn't long before she was back.
"Adrien Brody took one of my gift bags! I must get another one to replace the one that Adrien Brody took from me!" However, Joan was reminded of the strict, "Only one bag per ticket stub" rule. And she couldn't believe it.
After much milling around, she finally asks, "Well, what's in the bag anyway?" After I describe the bags' contents, she barks, "There's no DVD player? You're kidding! I told Adrien Brody there was a DVD player in the bag. He's going to be so disappointed when he gets home, opens up the bag and discovers there is no DVD player! So never mind, I don't want the bag anymore."
And away Ms. Rivers goes.
Next up is Kathy Hilton. At this point, I made a mistake. The person with Kathy (a manager?... publicist?... friend?... sycophant?) announced that Kathy Hilton was there to pick up her gift bag. However, she didn't have a ticket stub. At this point, I made a decision to avoid causing a scene and make an exception. Wrong call! As it turned out, she was not in attendance at the dinner. Oops! My bad!
It's not uncommon for a person to try to obtain a bag for an important person who's "lost" their ticket. Whether it's an assistant, co-worker, manager, or publicist, the scenario's always the same. For instance, a man requested two bags for NBC Universal Television Group CEO Jeff Zucker and his wife. I firmly stated that there was no way I could possibly give him Zucker's bags. Zucker had to make the request in person or send someone else with his ticket stubs. And away he went. Soon, none other than Jeff Zucker arrives in person to pick up his bags. He acts completely understanding and didn't make a fuss at all.
I've heard all the excuses in the Awards Show begging book. Quite often a wife or an assistant of a producer or an exec way down a studio or production company totem pole (who has had a few too many drinks at the HBO or Miramax party's open bar upstairs) begs, pleads, insists and then demands that she be given a bag even though she cannot provide the required ticket stub.
"I left it on the table and they won't let me back in to get it!" "I lost it!" "I gave it to a friend!" "They took it from me at the party upstairs!" "But I promised my babysitter that I would get her one!" "My husband is the Vice President of Beverly Hills!" "That was Harvey Weinstein's daughter - you better give her a bag!"
The men also chime in with their sob stories.
"My wife is going to kill me if I don't bring a gift bag home to her!" "My mother lives in (Peoria), and it would make her so happy if I was able to send her a gift bag from the Golden Globes!" "I'm friends with (insert name of minor celebrity here), and he wanted me to pick up his gift bag. Awww, man! I am in so much trouble if I don't get back with his gift bag!"
None of these quotes are made up! I have heard everyone of them! Honest!
I enjoy my job as a Golden Globe Gift Bag Guy. It can be frustrating, crazy, tiresome and tedious. But, as an aspiring actor for many years, I'm always excited by the opportunity to rub elbows with my future, potential peers. Each year I learn a little more about how I should/will act when I am in attendance at the Golden Globes...not as a Gift Bag Guy, but as a nominee. Maybe even a presenter!
Then, who knows? Maybe I'll be able to travel to some far away, exotic unknown land, carrying designer luggage, wearing a brand new pair of jeans, the hottest designer scent, and the most talked-about expensive new jewelry...all from the appreciation gift bag that I received.
I mean after all, I would be entitled to it, right?