A Comedian, a Governor and a Network Morning Anchor Walk Into a Bar To Toast a Cable News Host…

By Alex Weprin 

Last night at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City, MSNBC threw a party for “Hardball” host Chris Matthews, whose book Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero was released yesterday. Despite the chill outside, the rooftop terrace at the hotel was filled to the brim, with friends, family and admirers of Matthews.

Among the guests were former CBS News anchor Dan Rather (who led the crowd in a round of “hip hip, hooray!” for Matthews), PBS host and rumored CBS morning candidate Charlie Rose, NBC “Today” anchor Ann Curry, MSNBC anchors Willie Geist and Tamron Hall and former New York Governor George Pataki, whose presence Matthews used to generate a laugh line:

“Governor George Pataki is here, proving the bipartisan nature of all MSNBC activities,”  Matthews quipped. “He is here to lean forward, lean forward like the rest of us, ha!”

Also in attendance was comedian and actor Jerry Stiller, who took control of the microphone from Matthews for a few minutes, and relayed a story of sneaking into a Kennedy event when he was a young man. Update: Video of Stiller telling his story is below.

NBC executives included MSNBC president Phil Griffin (who Matthews lauded by calling him “the heavyweight champion of cable! The man who brought progressive thinking, and truth, to the American people”), NBC News digital chief Vivian Schiller, former “NBC Nightly News EP turned NBC News VP Bob Epstein and David Corvo, who oversees “Dateline” and the new primetime newsmagazine “Rock Center” (which Matthews mistakenly–perhaps jokingly–referred to as “30 Rock,” before quickly correcting himself).

Tonight, Matthews hosts another book party in Washington DC.

Photos from last night’s event:

Chris Matthews and Phil Griffin make their remarks

Jean Goebel and Dan Rather with MSNBC's Tamron Hall and NBC's David Corvo

Matthews, Jerry Stiller and Ann Curry