When even Rich Little has to admit this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner could have used a marquee act with some edge ("It's a little bit of a hard room. Next year, they may go back to someone a little more biting," the cuddly, Carson-era impressionist said shortly after bombing to a packed D.C. Hilton ballroom), it fell, as we predicted, to People magazine's guest of honor Sanjaya Malakar to inject the proceedings with a little watercooler-worthy pizzazz. Looking dashing in a blue pinstriped suit and chunky highlights Valerie Plame would kill for, Malakar greeted his throngs of admirers (including a gushing Governor Eliot Spitzer), as lesser celebrity entities at the People table—Valerie Bertinelli, Zac Efron (ask your teenage daughter or new AOL chat room friend), Eddie Izzard, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and Project Runway's Tim Gunn—simply looked on in astonishment. Gunn describes the scene to his blogging boss Andy Cohen, in a post discomfortingly titled, "Sir Tim Does DC and Sanjaya!":
Sir Tim delivered, immediately railing on Sanjaya. He said that, though his hair was "a little less exuberant than normal ... he looked like he belonged with Spanky on 'Our Gang'!"
"People were lined up in droves just to see him. He was a huge draw. He had three rude security guards around him and I literally had to fight to get to the table."
"He's a kid. He's not been out. He doesn't really know how to conduct himself in public yet. He's 17. I wonder where he's gonna be in a year," Tim said.
Sanjaya's date was his mom, and I'm tickled by the notion of Tim Gunn struggling to make conversation with MamaSanjaya. It sounds to me like it was some struggle. Neither Sanjaya nor his mother had ever seen or heard of a little show called "Project Runway."
Despite being a reality-TV-made celebrity, Gunn has always seemed uncommonly gifted at maintaining his own dignity through it all. Our hearts therefore go out to the man for having to endure not just a series of excruciatingly unfunny Nixon impressions, but the ensuing media frenzy surrounding a sissy celebrity who doesn't even possess the most basic pattern-making skills—forcing him, we imagine, to modify his trademarked catchphrase to an exasperated, "Make it stop."