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The cast of “Saturday Night Live” was scattered about the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda at the American Museum of Natural History’s annual gala on Thursday night. Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon mingled in the south end of the room as producer Lindsay Shookus took a brief phone call nearby. New couple Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost — “Weekend Update” star and gala host — caused a brief photo frenzy during the cocktail hour, as did David Letterman, whose ever-growing retirement beard continues to surprise.

Cynthia Rowley shared that she visits the museum often. “All the dioramas I actually really love,” she said. “I imagine myself in there. I like to go and just feel like, you really can feel like you’re in that space and time and moment.”

The designer added that she spent Thanksgiving in Egypt this year in what might have been the briefest of Turkey Day visits. I just was in Egypt for Thanksgiving for 72 hours,” she said. “That was crazy. Got there Thursday night, left Monday morning. That’s how we roll. And then I’m going surfing in Kauai for the holidays.”

After cocktails, guests descended into the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, where an extravagant dinner under the whale — suspended and twinkling in purple lighting — was served. During his bit, host Jost cracked a joke about a bombshell New York Times piece regarding sexual harassment and the whale. Though nothing more than a jest, the remark called to mind the previous day’s news of the firing of “Today Show” host Matt Lauer by NBC, parent company of “SNL.”

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson proudly stood during the live auction to show off his Van Gogh-inspired vest. He had offered himself for not one, but two dinners with the highest bidders. After all was said and done — and all bids were placed — the evening ended with a performance by Bono and The Edge of U2.

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