Ugly Betty’s Ana Ortiz walked into last night’s Sixth Annual Celebrity Charades gala benefit for LAByrinth Theater Company as the most seriously prepped of all the newcomers. She’d been training for weeks, she boasted, and there were a series of videos documenting her tutorials by Celebrity Charades vets on FunnyOrDie.com. On day one, she’d gotten the basics from Bob Balaban. “Bob was a real guru!” Ortiz told us. Balaban, though, trashed Ortiz behind her back: “Under pressure she’ll crack. I like her, but not on my team.” On day two, Ortiz got a lesson from Sam Rockwell and Yul Vazquez, who spent the entire lesson talking over each other, then, too, trashed Ortiz when she was gone. Looking back, Ortiz said, “I learned nothing! Sam was very into teaching the rules, and Yul was very into messing with Sam. So it was just a complete fight among egos. I couldn’t get a word in edgewise.” Day three was a lesson from Cynthia Rowley, who, Ortiz said, just “told me to dress really hot to distract Eric Bogosian [the referee] when I fuck up.” Said Rowley once Ortiz left, “She’s going to look great. God, I hope she’s not on my team.”
Oblivious to all this, Ortiz naturally went into the night peppy and confident that her “training” would give her an edge. But after a first-round trouncing by the eventual champion team of Balaban, Rowley, Rachel Dratch, Kristin Wiig, Alan Cumming, and an almost entirely useless Daphne Rubin-Vega, Ortiz was convinced she’d been had. “I’m telling you, we were robbed!” she said at the after-party at Lucky Strike Lanes. “Those teams were stacked! They put all the newbies on a team together.” Plus, she said, looking back at her training, she could see some conspiracy afoot. Balaban, for one, had said it wasn’t worth playing unless Rachel Dratch (a charades whiz if there ever was one) was on your team. Sure enough, he got Dratch, and the trophy. And Rowley’s only advice had been to wear something transparent without a bra, but when Ortiz showed up in a Joan Jett T-shirt, the event organizers made her change into a drab black outfit. “It wasn’t cute," Ortiz moaned. "I think it’s total sabotage!” As she replayed the night’s events in her head, and the pieces of the conspiracy began to fall into place, Ortiz grew more and more frustrated, to the point where she felt that after-party bowling was the only way to redemption. “See what I’m reduced to?” she said. “Bowling. That’s my only recourse! Now I have to kick ass at bowling.” She picked up a ball, her face livid with mock-rage, and promptly rolled it into the gutter.