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After the New York Friars Club roasted Hugh Hefner at the Hilton, the party bunny-hopped over to Beacon Restaurant & Bar for more good cheer. The 400 V.I.P. guests--including Drew Carey, Rob Schneider and Carson Daly; clients and staffers of Playboy and party host Comedy Central; and Hef and his harem of Playmates--feasted from buffet tables on both the lower and upper levels of the three-level restaurant. Cappuccino cheesecake, honey-lemon custard with strawberries, rib-eye steak, and smoked salmon were just a few of the goodies; waiters also passed around trays of crab cakes and roasted vegetable relish with fresh basil on sourdough squares.
Comedy Central's in-house design team created 25 black velvet pillows with the Comedy Central logo on them, as well as 20 votive candles decorated with the Comedy Central logo and pictures of Hefner's face, for decor--although none were to be found by the evening's end. Playboy provided swizzle sticks with the Playboy bunny head, and copies of its magazine. Although he wasn't hired for the event, guest Peter Piper--who bills himself as “the Balloon Meister"--made hats and animals out of balloons. (It's not a new trick, but the Friars Club isn't exactly cutting edge.)
While New York City may still be subdued following the September 11 attacks, the mood at the Beacon was festive, and according to Comedy Central director of event marketing Tara Donnelly, the event was not toned down because of the tragedy. But that doesn't mean it wasn't top-of-mind: In lieu of flowers, Comedy Central donated roughly $2,000 to Windows of Hope, the charitable fund created to provide relief to the families of employees of Windows on the World and other destroyed restaurants. And the event raised $550,000 for the various charities helping the World Trade Center victims.