I haven’t been to an office holiday party in years. At the beginning of my career, WSVN in Miami held theirs at a place on the water in Ft. Lauderdale and it was admittedly a blast, mostly because at some point you were always guaranteed to see Rick Sanchez singing karaoke-style with a lampshade on his head. In the mid-90s, CBS L.A. rented out all of Planet Hollywood — formerly on Wilshire in Beverly Hills, if you can believe that — and at least once we were crashed by Jason Hervey from The Wonder Years, for reasons that remain a mystery to me to this day.
By the time I got to NBC’s outpost in Miami, holiday parties were already becoming extinct, victims of anxious bean-counters and the lack of giving a shit anymore by management. One year, I remember the party was held on a Thursday night at the construction site for a new station we were building — I’ll repeat that: the party was held at a construction site — and because of this weeknight money-saving maneuver none of the staff of the 11pm newscast could attend. That was my staff — my people. We had just won the November book, accounting for a shitload of revenue for the station, and they couldn’t even be bothered to make sure we weren’t excluded from the free booze and chances for cheap holiday hook-ups with co-workers. In response to this slight, I took my entire staff to a dive bar on South Beach the following night after the show and paid for the whole thing with my NBC corporate card. I called it the “Island of Misfit Toys Party.” Overall, I think we had a better time, especially since our party had a transvestite dressed like Santa.
I bring this up because office parties — such as they even exist anymore — are traditionally a minefield that’s difficult to navigate without at least getting a leg blown off. There’s the possibility for a terrific time with friends, sure, but there’s also the possibility that you’ll wind up dancing inappropriately or making out with a heroin addict co-worker whom your boss then demands you help to kick his habit. That’s why Vanity Fair is here to help.
Follow these simple steps and you too can be Graydon Carter someday.
Incidentally, the Banter party will be by Skype this year, seeing as how our staff is spread out across the country. I will still, however, be drunk. As is tradition.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.