By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated February 05, 2002 10:00 AM

Costars — and, apparently, offstage pals — Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick took a night off from their Broadway smash, “The Producers,” on Monday to add to the roster of names at the fourth annual American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) Seasons of Hope Gala in Manhattan, reports PEOPLE. Hosting the black-tie affair, which also was a benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Broderick, 39, admitted that he skipped the big event of the previous evening: watching the Super Bowl. “It was Nathan Lane’s birthday,” he told PEOPLE, “so I went to have a party with him. I didn’t get to watch it, and it sounds like I missed a doozy.” The evening’s musical entertainment was provided by Barry Manilow, prompting guest Jimmy Fallon, 27, of “Saturday Night Live,” to say in anticipation, “Who isn’t looking forward to hearing Barry Manilow? Come on, man! . . . I can’t wait. I’m excited. This is the first time I’ve worn a tux since my prom.” Introducing “Sex and the City” author Candace Bushnell to the assembled, Broderick, referring to his wife Sarah Jessica Parker’s HBO show based on Bushnell’s book, quipped: “And now, please welcome a woman who made it possible for my wife to buy a house in the Hamptons.” (HBO, like PEOPLE, is part of AOL Time Warner.) But the biggest laughs came when he and Lane bantered about the recent rumors that the Broderick-Parker marriage was on the rocks. “The burning question, the reason we are all here, the burning question all minds want to know,” Lane, 46, bellowed, “is why didn’t Sarah Jessica thank you at the Golden Globes? Pullleeeze!!! Is your marriage all a show-biz scam put together by your Scientologist managers?” Replied a deadpan Broderick: “It was a very big misunderstanding. If you were to watch the tape very closely, indeed, she did thank me. In Morse Code.”