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The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

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“I had a party a couple of years ago at my home in Brazil for the release of my Brazilian CD Aquarela Do Brazil, which means the ‘watercolors of Brazil.’ A good deal of the Brazilian musicians and artists I’ve garnered as friends were there. Everybody was doing the samba but me. So it ended up being a lesson for Dionne.”


JEREMY LONDON, actor (Party of Five)

“My brother Jason and I threw a Halloween party at my house in Silverlake [Calif.] a few years back. Word spread about the party and way too many people showed up. This caused our street to turn into a parking lot, which became a huge problem when my pregnant neighbor went into labor and couldn’t get out! The police were called, and they politely asked the uninvited guests to leave so that the woman next door could make her way to the hospital.”


DENNIS MILLER, comedian and football commentator

“One Halloween, for my annual Terrorland Tour for the local kids and my sons [Holden, 10, and Marlon, 6], I dug this shallow hole—the word ‘grave’ sounds too creepy. But I set up a fake cemetery and put cardboard and dirt over it and dressed up like a ghoul, and I popped up and went, ‘AAAARGH!’ It took me hours to get it together, and I’m eating dirt—I mean, I’m going a long way here for this—and every kid just said, ‘Hey Mr. Miller, how ya doin’?’ It wasn’t even a millisecond of terror. Then Holden came up, and he said, ‘Dad, vampires don’t wear watches.’ ”


RICHARD KIND, actor (Spin City)

“When I was about to leave L.A. for New York, Dana [his then-fiancée, now wife] decided to throw me a going-away party. We basically invited everyone I’d ever known in L.A. When 250 people came, we were spilling out of the place. No one catered it—I did the barbecuing. Everyone brought stuff too.”


JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS, actress (Seinfeld), and husband BRAD HALL, TV producer

Julia: “I cooked pasta that wasn’t finished being cooked. Let’s just say that it was beyond al dente. I served it and everyone pretended it wasn’t happening.” Brad: “We had to cut it with an ax.”


KRISTEN JOHNSTON, actress (3rd Rock from the Sun)

“My funniest party involves Mike Myers taking off his pants, and that’s pretty much all I can say. But I’ll tell you we weren’t alone. It was literally the 20 funniest minutes of my entire life.”


BRYAN CRANSTON, actor (Malcolm in the Middle)

“We have a dear friend who was changing careers and moving out of L.A. at the age where she felt like she had no prospects to get married or have a baby. My wife and I decided that it was unfair that single career women don’t get to have showers. So we decided to hold a shower for her. We had a bunch of people come over and bring gifts, and we toasted her.”


CYNTHIA NIXON, actress (Sex and the City)

“I gave a Passover seder for 18 very close friends about four years ago, and that was really fun. It was a big production number and I prepared everything myself. Coincidentally it was the night that I found out I got cast in Sex and the City, so it was a perfect evening.”


BEN STEIN, game show host (Win Ben Stein’s Money)

“We were trying out a new cook and having a dinner party with the scriptwriter and the producer of my show, plus we had these people there from A&E who were shooting for a biography on me. Our dog Bridget, a German shorthaired pointer, jumped up onto the kitchen counter and ate all of the main veal course. All of it. We had a second course of fish, so we put that on top of the refrigerator. She jumped up there and ate the fish. The chef was so mad, we hired him. But we were still full at the end from the Korean beef-rib appetizers, some salad and homemade rolls.”


LISA RINNA, actress, and husband HARRY HAMLIN, actor

Lisa: “This is a true story, I swear to God. We had a dinner party four or five years ago, and we found a tarantula on the floor in the dining room. Harry picks it up and puts it in his hand, and then he proceeds to put it on his shoulder. Everybody is screaming. We have a picture of it in the dining room in honor of the night.” Harry: “Most people don’t know that tarantulas are harmless.”