There’s comedy, there’s high comedy, and then there’s a level of transcendent comedy achieved only by, say, watching a bunch of middle-aged, slightly overweight white guys attempt to respond to the verbal exhortations of a Top-40 rap star while drinking chocolate martinis. And yet that is the very scene that came to pass about halfway through the launch party of Trump Vodka, held last night at, as anyone even vaguely familiar with the branding practices of the man whose name the label bears might guess, Trump Tower.
“Lemme hear ya’ll say Flip Mode Squad!” Busta Rhymes, the rapper in question, spat into the mike. The crowd gathered beneath him on the basement level of the Tower — mostly leggy, underage models and the aforementioned guys in suits — managed a weak response. Those on the ground, second, and third levels of the building didn’t even seem to know a concert was in progress. Well, then: “Lemme hear ya’ll say Donald Trump!” The crowd’s response was even less audible. Mentioning Mr. Trump’s name typically elicits a strong reaction — except not, evidently, when used as a rallying cry to foster hip-hop crowd participation.
Sensing the lull, a black-suited Trump minion (Trump-ette?) quickly approached the stage and handed Busta a bottle of Trump Vodka. He looked at it longingly. “I like how this bottle look,” he said. “It looks … sexy.” The Donald, in his standard navy power suit and royal-blue tie, waved from his perch in the Trump Tower Bar and Grill. He was obviously pleased with the plug. Busta, his promotional responsibilities fulfilled, turned his focus to a more pressing matter: “Lotta ladies here tonight. That’s how Trump do.”
Dustin Terry, 27, is one of the reasons why. A model wrangler, Terry was brought in by the party organizers to perform some guerrilla beautification. “There are a lot of rich guys here, so they needed it,” he said with a chuckle. “Yeah,” cooed one of his accomplices, an absolutely stunning 18-year-old blonde named Michelle. “Lots of hot girls, lots of guys with nice watches,” she elaborated.
Over in the corner — past the cooler of Trump Ice bottled water, past the giant “T” carved from a block of ice, one of those guys with a nice watch, attorney James Ruane, was holding court with a real-estate broker and an ad exec. The three immediately proffered business cards as we introduced ourselves. “I represent DUI clients, so I just go where the liquor is,” Ruane explains. We’ll be taking the subway home.
On our way back downstairs, we bumped into former Daily News gossip Lloyd Grove. He was unamused by the spectacle. “Just having some vodka — Trump Vodka! — before taking off,” he said. “This crowd is very much my idea of what hell is like. Not to mention my shoes keep sticking to the fucking ground.” It was probably the chocolate sauce from the martinis.
— Neel Shah