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Laughs are hard to come by in this economic climate, but there were plenty of them at the American Museum of Natural History Museum’s gala on Thursday night. That was thanks in part to board member Lorne Michaels, who annually wrangles his crew of “SNL” jokesters — including Fred Armisen, Seth Meyers, Keenan Thompson and Amy Poehler (who delivered son Archie three weeks ago)—and their NBC brethren like Brian Williams, Tina Fey and Conan O’Brien to the event.

Jon Bon Jovi, who served as the evening’s entertainment, also provided a lot of material. “Is that Richie Sambora on the bagpipes?” asked Jimmy Fallon, as a kilted musician herded partygoers into the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life for dinner.

This story first appeared in the November 24, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Even Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who delivered a speech on the museum’s value to the city, got in on the action. “You have a choice,” His Honor told the crowd. “Bon Jovi could give the opening remarks and you could have me sing.”

Still, the music couldn’t totally distract from the situation on Wall Street, especially during the evening’s live auction. “My 401(k) plan has turned into a 201(k) plan,” Jamie Niven said before he opened bidding on year-long naming rights to the museum’s new ice skating rink. (The ticket sold to two separate guests, at $50,000 each.)

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