Jeremy Piven took a long pull on a fat cigar, tilted his head back and blew a slow celebratory cloud of smoke into the air.
Standing in the VIP area after the Las Vegas premiere of "The Goods: Live Hard. Sell Hard.," Piven was assessing what his role as a hilarious hard-living, strip club-loving car salesman meant to him.
"It's really a pivotal, fork-in-the-road for me," said Piven, best known for his Emmy-winning portrayal of super-slick Hollywood Ari Gold on HBO's "Entourage."
Kid Rock, a close friend and neighbor, showed up to support Piven. So did comedian Dane Cook and most of the cast, including Will Ferrell, who had a cameo as a doomed parachutist. Ferrell also co-produced the comedy.
Some of the red carpet highlights:
Unbeknownst to the red carpet crowd, security at Planet Hollywood Resort was on high alert for a sort-of streaker.
I'm told actor Ken Cheong had requested a G-string prior to the red carpet.
Cheong, who recently played a sadistic Asian gang leader in "The Hangover," had the words "The Goods" painted on his chest, with an arrow pointing down.
The plan, apparently, was to take a stripped-down stroll down on the red carpet.
But he kept his clothes on.
Cook got red carpet questions about the advice he gave Vanessa Hudgens during the Teen Choice Awards on Sunday.
Referring to Hudgens' latest nude scandal, Cook told the young star of "High School Musical" to "keep your clothes on."
Cook said it was nothing more than "just a dumb joke."
"I think it's funny that a lot was made of a comment that was made on a night when all these R-rated films were being honored, and then Miley (Cyrus) was on a pole," he said.
Hudgens, said Cook, is "a darling girl."
THE SCENE AND HEARD
It was announced that Season 6 of "Top Chef: Las Vegas" premieres Aug. 19 at 9 p.m. ET/PT with The M Resort serving as official production location for the show...
More nightclub closure rumblings: I'm hearing investors in a medium-sized nightspot, among the wave of newer ones that hit the Strip a couple years ago, may be pulling the plug soon.
MAY I RECOMMEND
Ahoy! The Palms' yearly, Playboy-spinoff costume ball, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," features a pirate theme this time around. It's held Saturday in the pool and bungalow area. Tickets are $200-$250, and the dress code requires at least a mask. For more information, check out Doug Elfman's column in today's Neon section.
Hal Weller, founding conductor of the Las Vegas Philharmonic, in the audience at "The Lion King" (Mandalay Bay) Thursday night...Former NASCAR driver Dale Jarrett, with friends at Studio 54 (MGM Grand) on Wednesday night...Boston Celtics stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, dining at N9NE Steakhouse on Wednesday "Peepshow" star Holly Madison, a sensation in her long-train gown on the red carpet before "The Goods" premiere, in the crowd at X Burlesque (Flamingo) on Wednesday.
THE PUNCH LINE
"Thomas Jefferson was the first president to have a barbecue at the White House. Jefferson served Virginia ham to James Madison, Aaron Burr and Larry King." -- Craig Ferguson