NEW YORK – Much fanfare this week for former President Bill Clinton's Global Initiative (search), a bipartisan effort to enlist private companies to address world issues.
Among the week’s many events was Thursday’s late-night reception at midtown Manhattan’s Nobu, an offshoot of the popular downtown Japanese restaurant.
A mix of celebrities were on hand alongside Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (search), including musical couple Elvis Costello and Diana Krall and actors Jeffrey Wright (“Angels in America") and Jeremy Piven (search) (“Entourage”).
Those of us who follow “Entourage” (search) (the “Entourage” entourage?) feel cheated that the show was shut out of the major categories at this Sunday’s Emmy awards — one reason we’re hanging our collective hopes on Piven, whose endearingly detestable portrayal of Hollywood agent Ari Gold has earned him a nomination in the best supporting actor in a comedy category.
If he doesn’t “hug it out” — to use Ari’s favorite term — with Lady Emmy in his hand by Sunday night, it must be because fellow nominee Peter Boyle (search) (“Everybody Loves Raymond”) is siphoning his syndication moolah to Academy members.
In fact, Piven told me that Ray Romano (search) came up to him recently and said, “You know, Peter really wants to win. He really wants to win.”
OK — so the nearly 70-year-old Boyle probably isn’t involved in a payola scandal, but he’s the only main “Raymond” cast member yet to win an Emmy — which means he really wants to win.
And with the show off the air, this is his last chance.
Still, I asked Piven what Romano was implying. If Piven wins, is he supposed to fork over the trophy to Boyle?
Piven said he had no idea — but he clearly spent enough time talking to Ray. His spot-on impersonation of Romano had me laughing more than most episodes of “Raymond.”
Piven, who playfully chastised me for drinking wine (I had only one glass, by the way), was drinking Coke.
He told me that he’s detoxing — cleansing his system for this Sunday’s Emmys. Seriously.
“I want to be present and in the moment at the awards,” he said. “I’m not going to have a drink until after the show. Can you tell how good my skin looks?”
Piven’s pre-Emmy teetotalling indicated one thing to me: He really wants to win. Jeez, this supporting actor race could be really ugly.
Oh, and a couple more things about Piven (who knew one supporting actor could provide so much fodder for a column?) ...
TV fans may remember that Piven was part of the cast of Ellen DeGeneres’ groundbreaking sitcom. Since Ellen’s hosting the Emmys, I asked if the two are still friends.
“Uh, yeah,” he said, “Yeah. Let’s just say I’m very nice to her.”
I’m not sure what that means. Either she has weird photos of him, or … she’s the host of the darn show and he really wants to win.
Lastly, Sen. Clinton approached Piven (I’m almost done talking about him, really) and the two posed for a photo.
I asked him if she was an “Entourage” fan and he said he didn’t know, but that he was told that a 50-something-year-old woman in the senator’s office has a huge crush on him and hung his picture on the wall.
So Piven’s mug adorns the wall of Sen. Clinton’s office. Satisfying, yes — but no match for Emmy.
Finally, I’d be remiss without mentioning that two of FOX News’ finest producers were also at the event: Jonathan Wachtel and Per Carlson.
The two have been at FOX for seven and nine years, respectively, and are known for, among other things, their stellar work on the U.N. Oil-for-Food scandal. Both had their picture taken with President Clinton.
As Clinton made his way through the crowd, he spotted Wachtel and Carlson across the room and trampled on several media types to shake hands with the duo.
At least that’s how Jonathan tells it. Given the accuracy of his reporting, who am I to question?
I’ll be live from the red carpet of the Emmys on Sunday from 8:30 a.m. EDT through 8 p.m. EDT, so feel free to tune in.
Who knows, maybe Piven and Boyle will stage their own version of "Smackdown." We can only hope.