What's that sucking sound? Oh, right — that's the Ghost of Christmas Present siphoning all feeling but holiday cheer out of the city. It's December, people, and you know what that means. Company holiday parties! This is the week the season kicks into high gear, and so we're reintroducing our Office-Party Patrol feature. Last year, we had dedicated partygoer Julia Allison crash company booze fests, but now she is too booby and famous, so we're doing it ourselves. If we can't get into a party, we'll accost the drunkest person we see leaving it and find out everything you're missing. In today's premier installment, we take you to the ever-evolving Sunshine Sachs PR party and the ever-devolving CollegeHumor.com fête — and we rank each one for food, drink, venue, debauchery, and exclusivity. Who won? Don't be silly people — at office holiday parties, nobody wins.
Sunshine Sachs. The first time we went to this party, years ago, it was in the company offices, and Leonardo DiCaprio was lounging around in an office chair in the corner of someone's cubicle. This time around, it was at One Little West 12th Street, which shut down for the event and sported a velvet rope out in front. John Mayer showed up, and the Reverend Al Sharpton. Isiah Thomas and the Insider's Pat O'Brien sat in a corner booth, causing one partier who had worked with O'Brien in the past to snipe, "Look, it's like the misogynist's corner!" We asked a Sunshine Sachs employee why Thomas was there anyway, and found that they do his PR. We spent the rest of the night asking fellow partiers, "Can you believe someone has been doing Isiah Thomas's PR this whole time??" The bar was open, with suggested Ciroc drinks like the "Truffletini" and "The Diddy" which everyone ignored in favor of white wine and vodka-sodas. The passed hors d'oeuvre were quite delicious, with a variety of pizza bites and some surprisingly hot double-baked potatoes. The crowd was largely publicists and gossip reporters ("Since when does a holiday party have a VIP room?" wondered OK! scribe Laura Schreffler. "You should really check out the band Gogol Bordello," advised George Rush.). Briefly, Mediabistro.com founder Laurel Toby danced on a banquette, but by 9:30 everyone was tired and old.
Verdict: Food: 4 (the tuna tartare was better than average, but there wasn't enough to make a meal of, which is what everyone was trying to do. We expect a lot of bad decisions came later in the evening); drink: 5; venue: 3 (a great space, but unoriginal choice); debauchery: 1; exclusivity: 3 (we weren't on the list and they let us right in, but once inside there was a VIP area with celebrities we couldn't get into).
CollegeHumor.com. For the sort of person who thinks the future of new media is doomed, the annual College Humor holiday party can be the confirmation of their most colorful fears. Take some young, handsome online entrepreneurs with a lot of money to spend and let them host a dressy little blowout in their massive Tribeca loft and inevitably a fratty shitshow will emerge. (Last year's iteration involved a few of the hosts and several of their female guests bopping around in an Eighth-Grade Dance Circle. A shirtless Eighth-Grade Dance Circle.) But now the boys are growing up and moving into their own condos and co-ops, making this their last holiday loft party — and, surprisingly, their most mature. No shirt-ripping ecstasy this year, just a full house of (relatively) well-behaved guests, including Gossip Girl and O.C. chief Josh Schwartz, O.C. star Rachel Bilson, Caveman Nick Kroll, and Officemate BJ Novak. The usual media folks were in attendance, with Gawker Nick Denton retaining his long-held title of Oldest Guy at the Party and Julia Allison running around in what some strip clubs might consider a "Mrs. Claus" getup. To make sure things weren't too grown-up, guests were invited to have their picture taken in a makeshift studio with a professional photographer … and a chimp in a Santa suit (Bilson actually cut the line to make sure she got some face time). If you were lucky, you got the smelly "Santa" to sit on your lap before NYPD broke up the party at 3 a.m. In typical college style.
Verdict: Food: 0 (we certainly never saw any); drink: 3.5 (bar ran out of wine on the early side); venue: 5; debauchery: 2; exclusivity: 4