I’ve come down enough from last night’s event to actually put together a coherent recap, so let’s do it.
Jason Bateman was named the Hasty Pudding Theatricals (Harvard University’s theater group) Man of the Year for 2022. The event was held at Farkas Hall on the Harvard campus. The theater was tiny, I think it held about 250 people based on my calculation. There were Rows A-N, and the seat I’d been assigned was in the center on Row L. There genuinely wasn’t a bad seat in the house.
First, a lay of the land. The event consisted of a roast, the presentation of the pudding pot (the official trophy of the Man of the Year, a little gold pot that I can only assume at some point in history was used for actual pudding), a press conference streamed live on a big screen in the theater, and then a preview of an upcoming production. Harvard itself is absolutely awesome, I wish I’d had time in the daylight to really explore the campus.
Now, let’s talk about the crowd. I should really be recruited by the FBI because I don’t know how I found a ticket to this event. This felt like a group of family and friends of the Harvard theater program and Jason — and me. There were tons of students, obviously. And everyone seemed to know everyone, chatting it up and waving across the theater.
There was a super nice couple seated on one side of me. They live outside of Boston, and his brother was a Harvard theater alum. In fact, when he was at Harvard, he was one of the writers of the show they previewed after that year’s pudding pot presentation. On my other side was a group of theater students living their best Harvard life.
All this to say, these people all had a tie to the university and the program. Or, in the case of Sean Hayes, Will Arnett and Amanda Anka, a tie to Jason. Well, all of them, except me. When the man next to me asked if I knew whether they’d still be doing the preview this year, I responded with, “Oh, I don’t know anything about this event. I’ve never even been to Boston before, I’m just here for Jason.” From there, we chatted about SmartLess, Jason, and Houston.
That leads me to the night’s dress code. Since all of these people knew what was happening and what they were signing up for, they were all dressed to the nines. I feel like if the event is suit/cocktail attire, you should really throw that on the website or ticket. I obviously had no clue, so I showed up in jeans, a NASA T-shirt, cardigan and even snow boots (thinking I was being extra prepared because nothing was getting in between me and Jason, but really only adding to my level of dressed downness). Thank goodness I had a nice coat and scarf on over it all, because I wore it the entire night. Coat check, I don’t know her. I’d rather get a little overheated than stand out like an underdressed idiot at Harvard.
The roast portion of the evening was short but packed a punch. After bringing Jason out, the group’s current president and former vice president commenced the roasting. The next 30 minutes or so included Jason busting a few moves, singing some karaoke and donning a sparkly bra…obviously.
After presenting Jason with his golden pudding pot, he, Will and Sean all headed out to the press conference being held somewhere else in the building. Jason fielded questions from the press, many of whom were from college newspapers and magazines. I’m really disappointed that my days at the Daily Cougar never offered such opportunities. Probably Jason’s most memorable quote from the conference, “How does Harvard give an award to someone without a high school diploma?” Oh Jason, you couldn’t be any more brilliant or talented even if you went to Harvard.
Then, Jason, Will and Sean returned to sit in the theater, and we were all treated to a preview of a future student production. It was a musical called Ship Happens, and I was really impressed. Again, I had no expectations going into the evening, but this musical was funny, the songs were catchy, and the students were all so talented. Y’all know I’ve seen my share of Broadway shows, and this was honestly as entertaining and enjoyable as many of them. I wish I’d be able to see the full show.
After that, we stayed seated while the Man of the Year exited the side door. And just like that, it was over. It was an actual perfect night, combining some of my all-time favorite things — Jason, comedy and musicals. Thank you, Hasty Pudding Theatricals, for a night I’ll never forget…and for finally realizing what I’ve known all along. Jason Bateman is the Man of My Year. Every Year.