Ab Fab Premiere: Absolutely Marketing

October 30, 2001, 12:00 AM EST

Comedy Central's Absolutely Fabulous season premiere screening and party DGA Theater, Brasserie 8 1/2 Tuesday, 10.23.01, 7 PM onward
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At a time when most creative people--event planners, magazine editors and television producers among them--are feeling their way through questions of what's appropriate and what's not in our newly changed culture, the upcoming new season of Absolutely Fabulous is either extraordinarily inappropriate frivolity or perfectly timed comic relief. The BBC show (”Ab Fab” to fans) became a cult hit with American audiences on Comedy Central with its outrageous satirical portrait of two over-the-hill, over-the-top fashion victims running through the shops, fashion shows and parties of mid-90's London. The boozing best friends, PR exec Edina Monsoon and fashion editor Patsy Stone, make the Hilton sisters look demure--so the cable channel's plans to toast the show's new season triggered questions of tone.

The show is the second highest rated show in Comedy Central's history, so planners felt promoting the new season was very important to the network. (Comedy Central has also already taken a stand against boring, sober events--see its September 29 after-party for the Friars Club Hugh Hefner roast.) But instead of a party filled with sex, drugs and rock-and-roll--in other words, a party Patsy and Eddy would actually attend--Comedy Central director of event marketing Tara Donnelly planned a fun, yet tame, party filled with branding and promotion. After screening a new episode (hilarious) at the DGA Theater, eventgoers walked down West 57th Street to Brasserie 8 1/2, where the waitstaff wore T-shirts printed with the show's logo and Avi Adler made decor pieces that spelled out “Ab Fab” in tiny blue flowers with marabou trim. Taz Productions shone a gobo of the logo on the floor at the bottom of the restaurant's grand, dramatic staircase.

As DJ Andy Anderson played accessible music from artists including Destiny's Child, Janet Jackson and Madonna, guests including Gabriel Byrne, Stephanie Seymour and Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey mixed with a young, casually dressed group of advertising and press folks. Edina herself, show creator Jennifer Saunders, spent much of the evening in a banquette with Debbie Harry and Harper's Bazaar's Glenda Bailey (a fellow Brit and real-life fashion magazine editor--a perfectly appropriate guest). But Saunders, who gleefully acts out her character's obsessions with status symbols, showed a very un-Ab Fab demeanor: When she first arrived at the party, she stood behind people at the bar until someone told her she could sit down and have a waiter get her a drink.

--Chad Kaydo

Read about Comedy Central's after-party following the Friars Club Hugh Hefner roast...

Read about Comedy Central's hell-themed Election Night party last year...

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