Tina Fey, Sara Bareilles and More Celebrate the American Museum of Natural History

Tina Fey_American Museum of Natural History Gala - Getty - H 2018
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Fey co-chaired the event and Bareilles performed at the annual gala.

New Yorkers braved the first snowstorm of the season to attend the American Museum of Natural History’s annual gala Thursday night. Chaired by Lorne and Alice Michaels, Tina Fey and Jeff Richmond. and Jodie and John Eastman, the gala is the biggest event of the year in support of the museum.

“I love getting to see all my friends from Saturday Night Live. They’re always here together because Lorne Michaels is such a big supporter of the museum,” Fey told The Hollywood Reporter. “And you get a really cool New York evening and you get to eat dinner under the blue whale, which, how often does that happen? And then you get to raise a lot of money that lets kids from all over the city and state have access to the museum for free.”

Fey’s favorite memories from the museum involve her children. “My daughters came here a lot when they were small, and they took class here once a week,” she said. “One in time in the children’s class, we got to see the bug collection, basically, a giant room full of file cabinets with thousands and thousands and thousands of preserved insects. That was so cool.”

Guests gathered in the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda for cocktails and appetizers, and the entire cast of Saturday Night Live arrived in groups and mingled among the guests. Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant arrived together, embracing each other on the red carpet, while Alex Moffat, Beck Bennett, and Kyle Mooney walked in together as well. Colin Jost brought girlfriend Scarlett Johansson (the pair made their first public appearance as a couple at last year’s event), and Pete Davidson and Keenan Thompson arrived right at the end of cocktail hour.

Cecily Strong, who served as a sort of emcee for the event, said she loves attending every year, even though it usually falls during the workweek. Steve Carrell is hosting the show this weekend. “It’s always a little tough because it’s on a workweek, but I guess that does break it up for us, and never turn down a free good meal and free drinks,” Strong said, adding that her favorite museum memories are also from childhood.

“So many of my museum memories were as a kid in Chicago,” she said. “The most similar one in Chicago is the Field Museum. And the thing I remember most is the smell, I always remember the smell walking in. And we had a big dinosaur as well.”

After cocktails, attendees filed to the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, where a dinner of filet mignon was served under the famous blue whale. Christie’s Robbie Gordy led the auction, and Leslie Jones joined him on stage when he was fielding bids on a night at Saturday Night Live, complete with an afterparty. “What if I threw a kiss in there?” Jones asked as she tried to increase the bids. (The lot ended up going to two bidders for $50,000 each.)

The evening, which raised over $4 million and saw approximately 700 people in attendance, concluded with a musical performance from Sara Bareilles, who performed some of her classics as well as new hits. She opened the set with “Love Song” (“If you’ve been in a Bed Bath & Beyond recently, you know that song,” she said.) Then she played her latest single, which she said she wasn’t going to release but then “Brett Kavanaugh happened.”

“It’s called 'Armor,' and it’s for you, Brett,” she said. Bareilles continued with a moving rendition of Carole King’s “Natural Woman.”

“I didn’t realize I was creating a total feminist set, but this is where we are,” she said.

She continued with “King of Anything,” and guests got up on their feet, held hands and danced to the final song, “Brave.”