LOS ANGELES — Sometimes red carpets are all celebrity hugs and air kisses. And then other times, they're about jockeying for a star's attention alongside an outlet whose only goal seems to be to get someone to sheepishly utter "Hello, Japan" into their camera. At the Golden Globes, they're both. You want the (not so) dark underbelly of what it is to cover the Hollywood Foreign Press' dementedly delightful celebapalooza? All right, let's go.
Here's what you didn't see on Sunday night while I was doing the red carpet thing. Please allow me to impart some words of wisdom, too, in case you get the chance to do it yourself. But first: a timeline. Below is a rough look at how the Golden Globes red carpet goes if you're someone like me.
7 a.m. — Wake up in a cold sweat wondering what you will possibly have to say to the cast of "Downton Abbey."
8 a.m.-1 p.m. — Over-prepare for a handful of red-carpet interviews that will really just be instinctual, banal silliness.
1:30 p.m. — Hook up with the MTV News gang on the carpet. Utter a series of truly profane expletives when you see your spot on the carpet is horrible (i.e., near the end of a couple hundred outlets).
1:30-2:30 p.m. — Beg your way into a slightly better spot. Doesn't end up helping.
3:45 p.m. — Your red-carpet interviews kick off with ... wait for it ...Toby Jones. No offense to Toby, a fine actor.
4:25 p.m.-4:50 p.m. — EVERY A-lister starts racing by. Seriously, where were you guys half an hour ago when I was talking to Alyssa Milano?
5 p.m.-8:30 p.m. — Run to your hotel room with the MTV News gang. Watch some of the show. Our red-carpet interviews get cut and foisted onto the World Wide Web for your pleasure.
8:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. — Breeze through a few afterparties. Laugh with Emily Blunt and John Krasinski. Gawk at Bill Murray. Chit-chat with Edgar Ramirez because no else is.
10:32 p.m. — Return to your very pedestrian, un-Clooney-like existence. Look long and hard at the jar of jelly beans in your hotel room.
That was my Golden Globes in a nutshell. Now to those words of wisdom:
Bring the Mom. Better yet, bring the Grandma.
Also known as the Gosling/Chastain Rule. Sure, it can make for a slightly awkward interview — I'm flashing back to a Russell Brand Oscars chat alongside his mum — but at least it mixes it up to bring the fam. Sunday night, I met Jack Black's mom (his long detailed explanation of our relationship must have baffled her: "There was this cream pie ..."), and I got introduced to Hugh Jackman's wife. Lovely, no doubt patient women. Addendum: don't bring your kids into the interview. That can get awkward.
Work on a good sheepish/ hound dog look to entice talent.
Both Jason Bateman and Kerry Washington credited my forlorn/longing (OK, desperate) stare for persuading them to make time to chat. Use what you've got, folks.
Enjoy the small things.
There are two awards season certainties: Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband somehow will be everywhere you are. Lest you thought you were important or granted access in the upper caste of media society, nope, you're just hanging with a really odd and creepy publicity hound. Oh, and these ladies, a Grey Gardens-esque mother-and-daughter pair will walk back and forth on the Globes carpet for hours waiting for someone to talk to them.
Know that there's not much left to say.
If you're doing the awards circuit — and I'm not doing it as much as some, talk to my buddy Marc Malkin at E! — you get to a point of diminished or, at least, altered returns. In other words, I've spoken to Jessica Chastain about four times in the last couple weeks. By the time she got to me in our wilderness red-carpet position with about 20 seconds to spare before being rushed in to the ceremony, well, what do you say in that amount of time? Really.
Take it in.
Last night, as I left the one of the afterparties and headed back to the hotel, I'll confess I was little tired and just done with it all. As I was walking the nearly dismantled red carpet, a handful of workers were laboring quickly to return the Beverly Hilton to its run-of-the-mill, day to day gaudiness. It's a silly business, the celebrity thing. But this was my view. Hit me in the face if I ever complain.