Around Town: Richard Gere, Tina Fey, and More Salute Alec Baldwin

Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin

We thought we could finally pack away the tux for a while after Sunday’s Academy Awards capped the long awards season, but nope, the very next day, showbiz types turned out in New York for the Museum of the Moving Image salute to Alec Baldwin.

Richard Gere and Carey Lowell, Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor, Edie Falco, Amy Ryan, Mariska Hargitay, and Jimmy Fallon were among those praising Baldwin—and also cracking jokes about him.

“When they called and said, ‘Would you come and do this thing?’ I thought about it, and first of all, I had to remember who he actually was,” said Michael Keaton, who co-starred with Baldwin in 1988’s Beetlejuice. “I was a little bit unclear, I just couldn’t quite remember, uh, Alex Baldwick.”

Baldwin has famously hosted Saturday Night Live 15 times, and SNL producer Lorne Michaels noted his achievements: “[Alec] is the only Baldwin brother about whom no one has ever asked: Which one is he?”

Michaels also said that despite Baldwin’s reputation for being difficult to work with, he has never seen any evidence of it over the years. “Although I should say I don’t make it to the set very often,” he added. “But whenever I get a chance to see the show, it looks to me like they all get along.”

One of the funniest people in television, Tina Fey, made no jokes at Baldwin’s expense and instead gave a beautiful, heartfelt speech praising her 30 Rock co-star as a writer’s dream and an American treasure.

“He’s very humble, and he’s very skilled, and those are a nice combination,” Fey told us earlier in the evening.

Baldwin got his cracks in too. “We used plenty of drugs back then in the late ’80s, and that’s really what Beetlejuice is about,” he told the crowd, adding, “I got to host Saturday Night Live so many times that Lorne’s kids call me and ask me for tickets.”

Before dinner, Baldwin told us he was honored by the MMI tribute. “I’ve been doing this for a while, you know, and when you get old enough they start giving you these awards,” he said. “I got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; I’m getting old, man, that’s what it’s about.”

Thursday night’s Broadway opening of Good People brought Willem Dafoe, Mario Batali, Mad Men’s John Slattery, Cherry Jones, director Joel Schumacher, and Amy Ryan. The star wattage was high because the play, set in working-class South Boston, is the newest from Pulitzer Prize-winning Rabbit Hole playwright David Lindsay-Abaire. Plus, the cast includes the brilliant Frances McDormand, Tate Donovan, and Estelle Parsons, who was so anxious to do the play that she left a London production of Deathtrap two weeks early to come to New York for rehearsals.

Lindsay-Abaire, who said he was relieved now that the play had finally opened, was philosophical about the fact that Nicole Kidman didn’t take the Best Actress Oscar for Rabbit Hole, for which he wrote the screenplay.

“I was happy that Nicole was nominated,” he said. “I was happy we were represented at all.”

Photo: Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin