Lunch At Michael’s: Kitty Kelley Holds Court

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— DIANE CLEHANE

We missed Mel Brooks and the stars of the much anticipated Young Frankenstein by a day, but the cast of characters that put on a show today at 55th and Fifth were as entertaining as ever. The dining room was bustling and filled with a tasty stew of publishing powerhouses, television types and social swans who table-hopped and air kissed like mad. The most intriguing person of the day award goes to Kitty Kelley. The queen of the tell-all unauthorized biography arrived all smiles, sporting a black pinstriped power suit. The diminutive diva purposefully strode over to table one where she sat alone surveying the crowd for a while. When she was joined by her agent Wayne Kaybak, the duo sat in the alcove huddled in quiet conversation except for a brief interlude when well-wisher Michael Gross ventured over to the table to introduce himself. Just a thought: I’m thinking Oprah Winfrey‘s recent troubles might have come up at least once during lunch since they’re sure to make for interesting reading in Ms. Kelley’s upcoming book on the mistress of the universe.

Here’s the rundown on the rest of the crowd:

1. Kitty Kelley & Wayne Kaybak.

2. Peter Brown.

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and Glamour editrix Cindi Leive, fresh off another blockbuster Glamour Magazine Women of the Year Awards (“We’re already planning next year!”). It was the Mayor (who else?) who hosted Tuesday’s “uproarious” lunch with Mel Brooks, director Susan Stroman and Young Frankenstein stars Roger Bart (who we miss seeing on Desperate Housewives) and multiple Emmy winner Megan Mullally, Megan’s husband, actor Nick Offerman, and legendary costume designer William Ivey Long. Staffers were still buzzing about the comedy confab, marveling that they’ve never heard so much laughter in the dining room before. The show opens Thursday night. Here’s hoping we can score some tickets …

4. Former city council president Andrew Stein and a mystery gent named Stanley, so we’re told. We’re hoping next time Andy stops by he brings along his ladylove, Ann Coulter.

5. Parker Ladd with two well-turned out ladies. Arnold Scaasi arrived a bit late …

6. The Today Show‘s Amy Rosenblum with Hoda Kotb, Us Weekly‘s and Today contributor Jill Martin and newlywed Jonathan Tisch.


7. Ed Esqueda (father of Liz, one of our favorite Michael staffers)

8. New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia and two shifts of pals.

9. Joan Gelman and Sandy Perl who were celebrating their recent success of Triple Sensation, which aired to rave reviews in Canada. Congrats!

10. Matthew Hiltzik with Phoebe Eaton.

11. Michael Gross and Bob Friedman.

12. Judy Price with a table full of elegant-looking gals.

14. The lush fall greenery blocked our view …

15. Jeffrey Leeds.

16. Jeff Greenfield, Jerry Della Femina and the gang.

17. Harper Collins’ David Hirshey and editor-turned-Andrew Wylie-über agent Scott Moyers. While waiting for his table to be set, David was nice enough to chat with me at the bar where he speculated (jokingly, I’m sure) that his wait was “punishment for telling the truth” when he posed a question about the menu at Michael’s book party a few weeks back that I reported in this column. All in good fun …

18. Legendary lensman Harry Benson who looked positively dashing …

19. Diane Sokolov.

20. Our good pal Marc Victor with Natalie Morales. The tireless Today senior producer has a really full plate these days — besides being responsible for all of Today‘s bookings, he’s helming the show’s third hour and now doing the booking for MSNBC’s Dayside. Whew! Marc and Natalie chatted with me about Brian Williams‘ comedic star turn as host of last week’s Saturday Night Live. We all agreed the taped piece where Brian lampooned his own ‘anchorman’ image was the highlight, although Marc thought the bit about throwing pennies out the window at Al Roker and Matt Lauer was “just great.” Natalie says she’s known about Brian’s inner comic for some time, having seen him in action at the Nantucket Film Festival. “He had people in hysterics,” she says. “He’s got the best dry sense of humor. My husband was on the floor.” So now you know, too …

21. Kathie Lee Gifford.

22. We couldn’t see …

23. Ed Victor and Susan Mercandetti.

24. Martin Puris.

25. David Corvo.

27. Elliot Kasner & Victor Garvey.

28. John Josephson.

Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro Dot com and lunch at mediabistro DOT com.

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