Latecomers to Perez Hilton’s talk at Dink Auditorium tonight needn’t have worried about finding an open seat. There were seven hundred of them. The event, hosted by Stanford’s Speakers Bureau and the 2nd part of their 3-part April Speakers Series, maybe drew a crowd of forty at most. And an unfortunate forty we were.
I almost felt bad for Mr. Hilton as I waited in my half-filled second row seat for the talk to begin. I didn’t know much about Perez Hilton prior to the event. I vaguely associated him with the term “celebrity blogger” but I’d never visited his website or seen him on TV. Perhaps the chorus of bitchy girl-pop playing on the auditorium speakers prior to the show should forewarned me of what was to come, but I heedlessly ignored it.
After a twelve-second introduction and the blissful end to the bitchy girl-pop, Perez Hilton came to the stage, sporting a black fedora and a shirt that made my contact lenses want to crawl back into my eyelids. I wasn’t entirely sure what he would be speaking on, and by the end of the show, I still wasn’t sure what he was speaking on. Although he covered a range of topics – his numerous job firings, Britney’s drug use, and that-one-amazing-time-Madonna-gave-me-a-shout-out-at-her-concert, I failed to find any cohesive message. Was I foolish to hope for some words of advice or wisdom gained from his extra years of life? Was I wrong to think I might be privy to his knowledge of how to run a successful blog? Apparently. In a truly miraculous fashion, Mr. Hilton managed to impart almost zero useful information in the span of an hour – unless you consider hearing about Adam Lambert punching a hole in a ceiling to be useful.
Granted though, there were moments of during the talk that Mr. Hilton’s sincerity and authenticity shone through. For example, speaking about making the decision to live a happier existence by reprioritizing his health and family. But then it would be over as quickly as it began with a comment like “I shit rainbows and piss glitter.”
I don’t think every lecture or talk needs be educational or emotionally evocative to earn its keep. Part 1 of the April Lecture Series, a stand-up comedy show hosted by Jake and Amir of College Humor, was by no means educational. But it was certainly entertaining. And as a self-titled “entertainer,” I had hoped Mr. Hilton would be able to provide at least as much. Yet other than the occasional smile-inducing comment and one-too-many jokes at Lindsey Lohan’s expense, I found the whole thing underwhelming.
After an hour of Mr. Hilton’s exposition on his own life, the floor was opened to questions. It seemed that some real intellectual conversation might sneak in as a result of questions like, “Now that your blog has become so successful, how large is your staff and what is your business plan?” But not to worry: intelligence was once again thwarted with the response, “My staff is very large. After all, there were photos leaked to prove it.” While Mr. Hilton did eventually answer that question and others with some semblance of seriousness, the majority of the Q&A devolved into a recount of his BFF-ness with Lady Gaga.
The evening wrapped up with the final question “Who’s the biggest Diva you’ve ever worked with?” To which Mr. Hilton replied “I won’t say, but her initials are “C.A.” And while that may be true, I’d argue Perez Hilton might give Ms. Aguilera a run for her money.