I was lucky enough to attend a couple parties last night following the Golden Globes, so here’s the tale of the tape, from start to finish.
I arrived at the parking structure at 2030 Century Park West sometime around 9:15 p.m., with most parties already raging in full force. Right away, I could tell something was askew. None of the parties had any lines at check-in, and yet, the line for the Netflix party was 15 minutes deep.
From there, I made it through security fairly quickly, and the line for the shuttles moved fast. I was joined in line by Jeffrey Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere and his wonderful wife, Tatyana. Fuller House stars Candace Cameron and Lori Laughlin (Aunt Becky!!!) were on our shuttle, so my night was made early on.
Thanks to the UV-sensitive bracelet tugging at the hairs on my wrist, I made it into the HBO party hassle-free and quickly spotted a dapper-looking Sarunas Jackson, which wasn’t hard, since the Insecure star is 6’8″. I know he’s good on the show, but I can also reveal he’s a mean Charades player. And isn’t that the mark of true talent?
Before making the rounds, I decided to fix myself a plate. I rarely eat at these things, but the chicken and pasta at the HBO party looked so good that I had to indulge, and my appetite’s instincts proved correct. I had some kind of chocolate pudding for dessert, blah blah blah, get to the celebrities already, Jeff.
I saw a bunch of stars from Game of Thrones and Insecure and Big Little Lies, including Zoe Kravitz, but the highlight of the event — and the entire night, really — was meeting New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. See, I’m from Needham, Massachusetts, so I had to introduce myself as a Pats fan and thank Kraft for everything he’s done for the city of Boston, including winning five Super Bowls. I also made sure to tell him what I thought of that weak, suspiciously-timed ESPN story last week, and wished him and the team luck in the playoffs.
I was already on cloud nine when I ran into my colleagues Justin Kroll and Borys Kit of Variety and the Hollywood Reporter, respectively. We chit-chatted a bit and followed Verve’s Bryan Besser out of the party, passing Michelle Williams on the way up the stairs en route to other shindigs.
In the lobby, Kroll and I ran into Variety co-Editor in Chief Andrew Wallenstein and his lovely wife before spotting Maggie Gyllenhaal and LA Clippers center DeAndre Jordan. From there, it was off to the Netflix party at the Waldorf Astoria. There was a crowd out front, with the party at capacity and the fire marshall spoken of in boogeyman-like terms, and while Kroll and I were content to wait in line, a Netflix exec took took pity on us and ushered us beyond the velvet rope like a Party Angel. You know who you are… and thank you.
Before taking a short elevator ride to the party, we were offered champagne, and upon arriving, I noticed that female guests were encouraged to change out of their uncomfortable high heels and slip into a pair of Netflix-branded sandals, in various women’s sizes, for extra comfort. It was an incredibly thoughtful gift from the streaming service, as the sandals make for pretty nice souvenirs for the ladies.
Inside the party, I ran into more colleagues, including Vulture’s Kyle Buchanan, The Playlist’s Gregory Ellwood, Grae Drake of Rotten Tomatoes, Variety.com editor Stuart Oldham, and Jacqueline Coley from Black Girl Nerds, but I know you guys want to hear about the actors, so let’s get to it. The room was stocked with Netflix talent, including Millie Bobby Brown and David Harbour from Stranger Things; Golden Globe winner Laura Dern from F Is for Family; Jimmy Tatro and Griffin Gluck from American Vandal; Adam Devine and Blake Anderson from Game Over, Man!; Joel Kinnaman from Altered Carbon; Holt McCallany and Cameron Britton from Mindhunter; Brittany Young (that makes three Movie Trivia Schmoedown competitors!) from GLOW; Nolan Gerard Funke from Dear White People; Lost in Space star Taylor Russell and her manager Brandon Bisig; Mudbound stars Mary J. Blige and Rob Morgan, as well as producers Carl Effenson and Kyle Tekiela; several young cast members from 13 Reasons Why, and Netflix chief Ted Sarandos. HBO talent was also well represented on the dance floor, from Insecure duo Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji to Conner McVicker, who plays Robin Shandrell on Vice Principals.
And then there was Drake. I saw him as soon as I got to the Netflix party and did a double take when I first recognized him. He saw it and we locked eyes across the dance floor, and then he winked at me. Drake winked at me! It was a wink that said, “yup, you just saw Drake.” And then, like that, he was gone. No one believed me at first, including many of my so-called friends. So I said, “look, it’s a small space. If you don’t see him, he’s probably just in the bathroom. So my friend promptly dragged me to the bathroom, and sure enough, the Champagne Papi himself was leaving as we entered. Boom! Confirmation that I hadn’t just imagined The Wink.
It wasn’t long before word started to spread that Drake would be performing at the party. And then, sure enough, he struts behind the DJ booth and relieves the female DJ of her duty. She helped get Drake all set up so he could spin and play a setlist of his own choosing. Now, I don’t know if Netflix paid Drake, but I’m gonna guess they didn’t, because he didn’t say a word on the mic. This was a low-key gig for a high-powered crowd (so to speak), and Drake isn’t exactly hurting for publicity these days. I may not be sure why Drake chose to spend his Golden Globes night DJ’ing the Netflix party, but who am I to question the man’s motives. The bottom line is that Netflix threw an epic party, and Drake did a great job getting everyone out on the dance floor, and creating the kind of environment in which celebs could really cut loose.
Speaking of which, you wouldn’t guess it based on Mindhunter, but Cameron Britton was the best dancer at the Netflix bash. He utterly stole the party, just like he does the show. I have footage, but I don’t want him to kill me. He is Ed Kemper, after all. If Drake was the president of the Netflix party, Ed Kemper was his VP. And yet… the MVP of the Netflix party had to be Drake’s stone-faced bodyguard, who approved most requests to interact with the star. Drake was in a very friendly mood, but anytime things started to get a little crazy, his bodyguard made sure to give him some space. If Drake had felt uncomfortable at any point, he probably would’ve walked, so props to the bodyguard for helping to keep this once-in-a-lifetime afterparty going well past midnight.
Of course, the beauty of the Netflix party was how intimate and exclusive it felt. When I saw that long line in the parking garage, I figured Netflix would have the biggest bash. After all, when you’re making 80 movies a year and countless more TV shows, you have a lot of people to invite. And yet, when I arrived between 10-11pm, there were maybe 150 people there. You didn’t get lost in a maze of people, you were dancing together, as one. And once Drake was in charge, there was a collective feeling that anyone would be foolish to leave the party early. No, we were staying until closing, sore feet and backs be damned.
Let me put it to you this way. I have a tradition of grabbing In-N-Out after awards show parties, and I knew the one by me, on Venice Blvd., would be open until 1am. But as that hour neared, there wasn’t any chance I was cutting out on Drake’s set for a hamburger. After all, it’s a new year, and new traditions must be made, and if that means skipping fast food to party with Drake, so be it.
By the way, on my way out of the party, I asked Drake’s bodyguard if he could break my jaw with one punch, and he confirmed that yes, he probably could. I didn’t stick around to find out, though. And with that, I left the party around 2 a.m. only to find that the shuttles had stopped running. Thank God for Uber… and the 24-hour McDonald’s near my apartment.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief