Friday night socializing events aren't my favorite. I work Saturdays, and my recovery time isn't what it used to be. But Jeff West, my dear friend, is back in town after working a few years in Ojai. And it's his birthday.
The party is in the Penthouse lounge -- coincidentally called The West -- at the Angelino Hotel, the new face of the circular Holiday Inn on Sunset off the 405 where Jeff West rules the roost. He invited many of his old pals from the days when he and the Condon Brothers owned The Pink, a club in Santa Monica. I couldn't wait for the reunion. The Pink had been the best dance spot in L.A. from the mid-'80s to the mid-'90s. I had a drink with Charles Bukowski there, met Iman, and re-met David Bowie there. I danced every night there... no matter how hard I worked doing hair in my salon. Some people are runners... me, I gotta dance.
I walk in and Jeff and I both scream in glee. Jeff looks the same, handsome as a young George Hamilton with a strong Southern accent. He introduces me to his new friends already in attendance. I've brought Jeff a copy of Upper Cut as a birthday present. He is so excited. He'd heard me say "I'm writing a book" since 1989. Jeff can't wait, opens his present, and shows the group all the 60 photos inside. Everyone starts to tell their stories from one photo to the next, their wild tales from restaurants in the '60s or their Hollywood scene in the '70s.
But then I almost dropped the non-alcoholic drink from my hand. I can't believe my eyes. There he is in real life. Now, I am not often starstruck, but are you kidding me? I leap from my ottoman, wave my arms in the air, and holler.
Noooo way! Chuyyyyyyyyyy!
I feel like I was the first fan of Chelsea Lately. I remember her on E! years and years ago with a slew of random comedians and gossip reporters like Anna David, the group of pre-Joan Rivers Fashion Police Show.
I was always repeating Chelsea's zingers, like "she's a hot mess" and "how's my little nugget?" I gave up trying to remember her rapid fire jokes. None of my friends or clients had heard of her. Most said, "Who?"...or..."I don't stay up that late."
But I couldn't wait for Chelsea Lately every night. I was thrilled to discover this tell it like it is-style with her bare minimum stage set that I watched get fancier and fancier as her success grew. Chelsea Handler came with a wild bunch -- a group of comedians, most I didn't know, all hysterical as well, with snappy banter that seemed totally unrehearsed, kicking ass with each other as well as the news worthy celebs. They were saying things I'd thought but would never say. I was spitting out my Ben and Jerry's ice cream night cap every night.
I related to this female breaking into the all-male field of Late Night TV just as I'd broken into the all-male hairdressing field in the '60s. Real or scripted, she's a hoot. I feel like I have been on a mad journey with her and know all her people so well because I pass out with them all the time.
Then while I'm writing one book, she whips out three. Salute, salute, salute.
So here's to the only woman late night host, who happens to be gorgeous, with lips bigger than her boobs, with the best timing and the funniest dead-pan looks into the camera. And to her little Mexican sidekick that has been with her throughout her rise, with whom she has made the most absurd, insane, home video skits.
I told all this to Chuy when I met him, then asked him for a photo. I told him to sit on my lap. But, well, he had other ideas. Oopsie.