6:00am PT by Chris Gardner
Here's What it's Like to Spend 1 Hour Inside GQ's Men of the Year Party at Chateau Marmont
People in Los Angeles love a lot of things. You know, like, hiking Runyon Canyon, drinking green juice and talking incessantly about what shows they're binge-watching. But one thing that's definitely not on any j'adore list is … waiting in lines.
It's possible that people in Boise don't love single file shuffles either, but in Hollywood you can literally see smoke shooting from the sides of airbrushed faces when they're forced to queue up outside the door. Any door. And even more so when those doors open to the insides of the ever-exclusive Chateau Marmont. (Wait, is that really smoke, or just watermelon-smelling cloud from a vape pen?)
But for whatever reason — A Donald Trump presidency? The holiday season? The prospect of meeting Usain Bolt, Ryan Reynolds and Ali Wong at the same party? Mood stabilizers?— guests angling to get inside GQ's packed Men of the Year bash on Thursday night were calm, cool and respectful. They had already started lining up before the 8 p.m. start time (The Good Wife actor Matt Czuchry told WWD that he, gasp! arrived at 7:55 p.m.), and by the time I arrived almost 45 minutes later (I started at the Vulture awards season kickoff party at Sunset Tower first) some invitees, even famous ones, were still waiting for their chance to rub elbows by the pool next to the hotel's famed Bungalow 1.
Make no mistake though, the elegance of said well-behaved revelers has nothing to do with President-elect Trump. GQ is known to throw great parties and the #MOTY event is just that, an event. Dudes love it. Ladies love it. You can add it to that list of things people love in L.A. Use a pen. And while you're holding it, might as well make a note about le fashion. Everyone looks good. Actually, make that great, like they put a lot of effort into their ensembles. No casually dressed party people here and I don't once hear this:"I'm not homeless, I'm a producer!" Nice work, L.A.
Here's what else you'll discover when you spend 1-hour inside a hot party …
8:42 p.m. I find my place in the back of the line. "Which one," you ask? Well, the line to the right of the door is for publicists. The line on the left is for non-publicists apparently, non-publicists like Atlanta star Donald Glover who is standing in front of me, holding up the back of the line. He's wearing a double breasted suit, which I only know from looking at photos on Friday because he never turns around. Instead, Donald Glover is staring directly into his cell phone and texting someone. I don't read it because that would be rude, almost as rude as making Donald Glover wait in line. There are about a dozen people in front of us, and I'm impressed that he's not pushing his way to the front.
8:43 p.m. There are more than 20 valet attendants standing over the curb, waiting for cars to pull up. Very few cars are pulling up, because everyone takes Uber. Of the 20 attendants, I count two women. I hope they're all getting paid the same wage, too. The valet captain shouts, "Richard, tuck in the back of your shirt." Yeah, come on Richard, this is a GQ party, not your grandma's farm. Pull it together, man. Promptly, Richard tucks in the back of his shirt. My first fashion lesson of the night: Don't be Richard.
8:44 p.m. "I love Pete Holmes, man," Donald Glover tells his friend after that buddy points to a billboard across Sunset Boulevard that is advertising Pete Holmes: Faces and Sounds. The special aired Dec. 3 but I don't ask him if he's seen it because, well, lines are not for bugging Donald Glover about whether he watched the Pete Holmes special. Lines are for eavesdropping, obviously.
8:45 p.m. Mr. Glover is pulled out of line. Not because he loves Pete Holmes. Because he's on a hit TV show and he didn't throw a fit. That's a man of the year, GQ. He deserves to go inside.
8:51 p.m. "Is this the right queue to get inside? Has it moved at all?" asks a gorgeous and obviously British woman, to no one in particular. I pick up the talking stone and answer, "Yes, for the party, but no, it hasn't moved." It's fine, though. We'll get in. If not, they sell tacos across the street. Lesson #2: If the party sucks and you can't get in, they always sell tacos across the street no matter where you are in L.A.
8:52 p.m. It takes me a minute, but more like five seconds, to realize the gorgeous blonde is walking in with an actor named Josh Hopkins. I haven't seen him in maybe 10 years, and I hate reminding actors of that night we hung out 10 years ago, but he's cool, so fine. I remind him: "Hey, Josh, I'm not sure if you remember me, but I gave you a ride to an afterhours with my friend Taryn at our friend Lorena's apartment about 10 years ago. For some reason, it was just you and me, and Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together" blasting from the speakers. That's sort of memorable, so. ... Ring a bell?" Looking shocked, he laughs and says, of course he remembers because it's such a specific memory. I believe him. It was memorable and he's not gay, so blasting Mimi with the windows down is not something he probably did, ever. Me? No comment. But I don't know what's more embarrassing for me, the fact that it was my car and my Mimi or the fact that I couldn't stop myself from telling that story.
8:53 p.m. Still in line. Me, Josh Hopkins and his gorgeous blonde friend. I ask him about his suit because this is a GQ party, and I'm working, and anything to change the subject. He's wearing Tom Ford, "but it came with a vest and I can't find the vest." I have never lost any Tom Ford vests, but I've never met Frank Ocean either. "I met Frank Ocean at this party a few years ago," he says. "This is one of the events I actually enjoy and try and get to every year. It's classy and fun." Even if there's a long line at this very minute. I remind him that everyone hates lines, especially TV stars like him, right? "I hate lines and everybody hates lines, but it's not because I'm on TV. I'm going to stay in line. There's nothing worse than seeing someone whine. Know your place." Josh Hopkins is still cool, with or without Mariah Carey.
8:56 p.m. I let Josh Hopkins and his friend go in ahead of me, because I'm a gentleman, dammit. I'm rewarded by getting in 30 seconds after them, and after passing the iPad-toting door person, I see that there are two new lines. To the right is the "red carpet" line for famous people and photos in front of a giant GQ logo, while the line to the left isn't really a line. It's just the entrance to the party and nobody is there because everyone is famous and wants their photo taken. I'm not so I go inside.
8:59 p.m. "Is this the VIP area?" a publicist asks a burly security guard, pointing to a raised platform filled with sleek black mini-sofa-things next to the DJ booth. She doesn't really wait for an answer before leading Warren Beatty and Annette Bening over and offering them a seat. Beatty is on the cover of the magazine, pumping his first film in forever, Rules Don't Apply.
9:00 p.m. I see two of the nicest dudes in town, soccer star Robbie Rogers and stylist Warren Baker. They're pals and fashion partners after launching their own jean jacket line, Hampton + Baker. They both look chic — Rogers in an all-wine-colored Zegna ensemble (good enough to earn his place as one of the best-dressed of the night by GQ less than 24 hours later) and Baker in a "mish-mash of fabulous Warren wardrobe." "This is always one of the best men's fashion parties in L.A., where there aren't that many great parties for men," Rogers explains. But as a stylist, is it more of a challenge for Baker to get dressed for one of these? Not really, he says. Duh. "You have to have a certain attire to stand out but not too far out," he cautions. Then, for reasons that are still unclear, I tell them both about how my knee is still hurting because I rushed through five flights of stairs in a parking garage a few nights ago. Rogers is a SOCCER player who has had three knee surgeries, and he still plays PROFESSIONAL SOCCER. Retelling the Mariah Carey story was a bad omen of embarrassing party conversation to come. I should just pack it up and head home, where I should ice my bum knee and never talk again.
9:10 p.m. Just kidding, I'm staying. I part ways with Rogers and Baker who are going to take a lap through the party and we promise to meet up in the middle. I go left and they go right. My direction takes me to the bar area where I spot Justin Bieber's swag coach Ryan Good. (Is he still on the Bieber payroll even after these Grammy nominations? Hello? Anyone?) Good's friend, Management 360 manager Beau Swayze, pops an arancini (fried risotto ball) into his mouth and eats it while his lady friend posts it to Snapchat. That's what you call… swagalicious?
9:11 p.m. I spot Hayden Szeto standing in the corner. He's the breakout star of The Edge of Seventeen, so I break over and say hello. I just read a profile of him but as I tell him that, I forget where I read it. (This is my second party of the night and I haven't eaten dinner yet. Excuses.) "Maybe it was Vanity Fair," he asks me. Yep, that's it. "It doesn't matter which one, I guess, I get asked all the same questions." It's his first feature film role, but he sounds like a Hollywood vet already. But not really. He tells me it's still surreal to be here at this very GQ party where he just shook hands with (one of three GQ cover stars) Ryan Reynolds. "It's a night of surprises; it's overwhelming," he smiles. "This whole journey. I don't know if I deserve this much attention. It means a lot to me."
9:14 p.m. And just like clockwork, Swayze reaches over and introduces himself to Szeto, telling him how much he loves Seventeen. He introduces the actor to Good and their party date, but Good looks bored. (Maybe because Ashley Benson isn't there? I dunno. Not my business.)
9:20 p.m. I let them have their moment and I walk away and immediately bump into Tony Hale, who is pulling double party duty after having been at Vulture's party down the street before posting up at the Chateau.
9:21 p.m. Another Vulture guest who has arrived here is Ashton Sanders, yet another breakout star who is new to the party circuit, his tour courtesy of the stunning Moonlight. He's smoking a cigarette and holding a glass of something.
9:22 p.m. Ryan Reynolds holds court in the corner, telling an animated story. (For fun, let's pretend it's about the director drama on Deadpool.)
9:25 p.m. I spot rising comedy star Ali Wong walking around through the party with a woman who looks like her mom. Because it is. "My mom is a People magazine subscriber and a devoted E! channel watcher so this is her dream to be at a party like this," Wong tells me. Like a pop culture addict, she doesn't wait for her cue, cutting her daughter off and admitting, "I'm a junkie." The first step is admitting you have a problem. Ali Wong's mom is actually a social worker from San Francisco and she's super proud of her daughter. Hell, I'm not her mom and I'm super proud of Ali Wong. She tells me that she just finished up a string of surprise comedy shows with Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle, and they both called her to join them on this string of surprise shows as they prep for respective and much-anticipated tours. But wait there's more: Ali Wong also counted more than 300 people who dressed up like her for Halloween. I'm assuming she found them on Instagram and that's very cool. "I'm a cheap costume," she jokes, and as she finishes the story, a server, toting a tray of those fried risotto balls, tells Ali Wong how much she loves her work. "This is really unprofessional of me and I shouldn't be doing this," she says. "But you're great." Ali Wong's mom is sorta paying attention as she keeps one eye on the party looking for Ryan Reynolds. "I heard John Belushi died here," she announces. It's true even if it's sort of a buzzkill.
9:32 p.m. Not a downer: I hear Rami Malek is here. That's what his Mr. Robot costar Carly Chaikin tells me just now as she breezes past me. (To be honest, I tapped her on the shoulder and introduced myself first.) She looks elegant in a black lace dress, which she tells me is Sandro. She went to a dinner at Sunset Tower a few nights ago to celebrate Sandro at a Derek Blasberg-hosted dinner for Vanity Fair. I ask her if she tried on several options to pick an extra special outfit for a GQ party packed with well-dressed dudes. Not so much. "A chic good outfit is a chic good outfit," she answers. That should be a tagline for something.
9:33 p.m. I spy Nick Jonas, and I didn't need to squint. He's wearing an eye-catching white blazer with black stitching. He hugs Kelly Rowland and they pose for photos. Once the photographer stops snapping, he reaches over and jabs singer Mario to say hey, man. (That's what that means, right?) Over his shoulder Robert Pattinson and girlfriend ( Or fiancé? Is the wedding still on?) FKA Twigs walk by. Over his other shoulder, I see another white blazer, this one worn by model Keith Carlos. Sorry, Keith, Nick wore it better.
9:40 p.m. I spy something else: Mr. Big eating a little burger. I didn't make that up. Chris Noth is noshing on a slider while standing next to pal Jason Patric. (I don't see Berger, aka Ron Livingston, anywhere.) And I'm sure Chris Noth is tired of being called Mr. Big. He's an actor who most recently starred on The Good Wife and Tyrant and even more recently, ate a mini burger at GQ's Men of the Year party.
9:45 p.m. Speaking of burgers, Charlotte McKinney has arrived. She of Carl's Jr. fame, is something that you can say about people in L.A. She poses for photos and over her shoulder, I can see Warren Beatty and Aaron Taylor Johnson chatting with GQ editor-in-chief Jim Nelson, none of whom have eaten burgers in a Carl's Jr. commercial.
9:46 p.m. Nick Jonas walks over to (bro) hug GQ's editor-in-chief Jim Nelson, who wearing a camo blazer. If you haven't read Nelson's editor's letter from the Men of the Year issue, do yourself a favor and read it. It's good and about politics and same-sex marriage and really marriage in general. But finish reading this first.
9:48 p.m. Karrueche Tran is here, and just as she walks by me, the DJ blasts Rihanna's "Needed Me." Remember that mess? I bet Karrueche does, but I'm not going to say anything because I've already taken one too many walks down memory lane tonight. Thanks, Josh Hopkins.
9:50 p.m. I bump into Robbie Rogers and Warren Baker again. They tell me they are leaving, so I decide to walk out with them. I don't mention my bum knee again.
9:51 p.m. Aaron Taylor Johnson is leaving too, but not before being invited into GQ's Instagram photo studio. His publicist Christine Tripicchio says yes, of course, they will go in. (The next day I look for his photo but don't find it. The others, all taken by photographer Adam Wissing are cool. See for yourself here.)
9:51 p.m. "Happy holidays," I hear someone say in front of a group of autograph hounds. It's Chad Michael Murray, and then I realize I never saw the fastest man in the world tonight, Usain Bolt. But I did see Chad Michael Murray signing autographs.
9:52 p.m. I walk towards my car, which is parked in a garage down the street at Sunset Plaza. I take the stairs again, very slowly because of my bum knee which still hurts thank-you-very-much. I get in and head home, back to the beach in Santa Monica. It's a long drive and I'm alone. No Josh Hopkins. No Mariah Carey. I put the windows down and listen to some Childish Gambino because that's what gentlemen do. They wear suits and wait in lines and don't complain about it. And they tuck in the back of their shirts, Richard. Lessons learned. Thanks, GQ.