Now this is how a night can become stuff of legend.
Danny DeVito and George Clooney's big night out—the one that led to Danny's drunken appearance on "The View"—has finally been explained to me by none other than Clooney himself.
And here's the big news: no matter how intoxicated George or Danny got, the real loser of the night was publicist Stan Rosenfeld. Rosenfeld, who also represents Robert DeNiro (among others), told me that when he returned to the Lowell Hotel he threw up three times. "Three," he emphasized, holding up fingers.
"Apparently you cannot mix Limoncello and red wine," Stan said, with a laugh. The funny thing is, if you know Stan, you know this is not a regular thing for him.
The dinner, by the way, took place at the famed Italian restaurant Scalinatella on Third Ave. and 61 St. There were five men at dinner, including George, Danny, Stan and John Lambros, the amiable husband of former MTV star and regular on-air personality Karen "Duff" Duffy.
Says Duff: "The funny thing is, John was home and in bed by midnight."
So it was the intensity and quantity of beverages imbibed, not the length of time during which they were consumed that got everybody so completely wasted.
It was all Clooney could do to keep a straight face in retelling the story on Friday night at a dizzyingly swanky private dinner for his new movie, "The Good German," at the Hotel Plaza Athenee.
He joked about it with director Steven Soderbergh, actor pal Sam Rockwell, and the many well wishers who came by to compliment Clooney and co-star Cate Blanchett (who was absent) on the black and white noir film.
And believe me, the Plaza Athenee dining room was jam-packed from one end to another with celebs. Martha Stewart brought her 25-year-old opera singer nephew. Sean Penn showed up with a group of friends and took a far corner table. The luscious Eva Mendes (wearing a suede cap and a smile) and her longtime boyfriend worked the crowd. Directors Nora Ephron, Barry Levinson, Tom McCarthy and Philip Haas were all there, as was Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist William Kennedy with his wife Dana and son Brendan, who showed off pics of his new twin girls.
McCarthy, who's starred with Clooney in two films, shared a laugh with People's Sexiest Man. "You've killed me twice!" Clooney said.
Also spotted: Bob and Lynne Balaban, Patty Clarkson, NBC's Richard Valeriani and wife Kathie Berlin, plus Soderbergh's wife Jules Asner (formerly of the E! Channel and now a budding novelist), CBS's Harry Smith, "60 Minutes'" Lesley Stahl and Morley Safer, movie producer Ed Pressman and wife Annie, and so on and so forth.
Patty Clarkson laughed: "Everyone keeps coming up and congratulating me on the movie. Only I'm not in it." This is because Patty is in most of the good, interesting, ambitious films every year like "The Station Agent" or "Pieces of April." But not this one.
"Are you sure you're not in it?" I asked.
"I'm sure!" she said.
The dining room was churning with stars and the crowd was so dense that at one point hostess Peggy Siegal was ordering people to stop schmoozing and get to their tables like a schoolmarm in a black designer dress with great jewelry.
We even asked Martha Stewart at one point to make the room snap to, and she considered it. "I could say I'm Martha Stewart, and everyone sit down," she said. But she was busy chatting with screenwriters Brian Koppelman and David Levien. Brian's dad Charles is the COO of her company.
For a few scary minutes it was like that night in 2000 when Denise Rich gave a dinner for 1500 people at the Sheraton had no seating plan.
For Siegal, who had a plan, this was just one more night in what was maybe the busiest week of her long career. On Thursday night she hosted the celeb screening of "Blood Diamond" with Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Honsou and sit-down dinner at Le Cirque. On Wednesday night it was the Museum of Modern Art party for several hundred fans of Nancy Meyers' "The Holiday" with Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Cameron Diaz.
"I have eight screenings in seven days," Peggy was overheard shouting to a movie star over the din at MoMa. "You know, there are only seven days in a week! On Saturday, I've got two screenings of 'Babel.'"
Siegal's screenings and dinners at this time of year that even other party planners, like Andrew Saffir, make the scene. Amy Sacco, who owns the hot after hours night club Bungalow 8, surveys the scene and then shepherds the top guests over to W 27 St., so they can continue partying in private.
Meanwhile, the guests—many of whom are Oscar voters—carry on discussions and debates about the movies they've seen, the buzz and the business. None of the women want to see "Apocalypto." Everyone loves "Volver," and "The Queen." The names you hear, like mantras: Sharon Stone. Penelope. Forest Whitaker. "Marty." Jennifer Hudson. Everyone is curious about "Notes on a Scandal."
Names you don't hear at Oscar-themed events: TomKat, Jacko, Brangelina. The latter may be invoked, however, if Brad Pitt accompanies Angelina Jolie to "The Good Shepherd" premiere on Tuesday. Security teams are putting in bids now. Orphans are sprucing up resumes.
But wait: George, how did you all get so tanked?
"Mixing red wine, vodka, and the Limoncello," he said.
Stan did not have the vodka, thank god, although he says if he'd been billed for the hotel bed, he wouldn't have been surprised. Urrgggh.
What does it really sound like? A bunch of guys who don't drink that much, drinking too much, too fast. But that would spoil the legend. What fun would that be? Already we know too much. Is it a new Rat Pack? Probably not, but we can dream, can't we?