BEVERLY HILLS — After years of pandemic postponements, Irving and Shelli Azoff were feted by the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills on Wednesday night, with a local who’s-who gala of their family, friends and supporters.
Only, Shelli wasn’t there.
Mrs. Azoff, Irving’s wife of more than four decades and business partner on a variety of projects, was home sick with COVID-19. And while it was surely disappointing, somehow, it was hardly surprising. In true power couple fashion, the Azoffs brought in about as high-profile substitute as you can get: Kris Jenner, the Kardashian-Jenner family matriarch who has been a longtime friend of the family. (“I’d say she was the best manager if the world if I was at any other event,” said James Corden, who emceed the presentation.) And, as Jenner told the audience, this was a somehow fitting turn of events.
“Let’s be honest, this is the most Shelli Azoff move of all time,” said Jenner, who acted as a stand-in to receive the night’s honor with Irving. “She insisted that each and every one of you … come here tonight. She tortures us about everything, we’re scared if we don’t come because we’re going to get so much in trouble, but Shelli’s not here, she’s devastated to not be here tonight.”
Even without Shelli’s physical presence, the event was an overwhelming success for the Azoffs and The Wallis, as the performance center is commonly referred to. Together, they raised $2.6 million to support education, access, participation, equity and inclusion across a variety of programs there, with 340 guests in attendance contributing anywhere from $1,000 per ticket to $100,000 for the Platinum Patron package (which featured 10 tickets). Irving’s clients Meghan Trainor, Gwen Stefani and John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival all performed to close the evening, which also included a buffet dinner. Ellen DeGeneres and After years of pandemic postponements, Irving and Shelli Azoff were feted by the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills on Wednesday night, with a who’s-who gala of their family, friends and supporters. were there, as well as CAA managing partner Rob Light, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos, Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber, Giant Music chief Shawn Holiday, Full Stop Management co-CEO Brandon Creed and, naturally, his partner and Irving’s son, Jeffrey. (That same night, Jeffrey’s client Harry Styles, wrapped a 15-show run at New York’s Madison Square Garden, becoming just the third musician ever to have a banner raised to rafters in his honor.)
Additionally, a video presentation honoring the power couple also included John Mayer, Adam Levine, Judd Apatow, Jon Bon Jovi, Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge, Kim Kardashian and Kendall and Kylie Jenner.
Even if Shelli wasn’t in attendance, that did not excuse her from some mild roasting. While Corden noted the superstar manager’s prowess, he also razzed his wife’s savvy business acumen. “Irving has worked with everyone: The Eagles, Nicki Minaj, Maroon 5,” he said. “He’s touched every single corner of the music business. Let’s put it this way: If you snorted cocaine off a CD case in the ’90s, Irving Azoff produced that CD. And if the cocaine was good, you got it from Shelli.”
Corden continued: “As I stand onstage, hosting this event, and I think about Shelli, it reminds me of something my father told me when I was young. He said, ‘Son, there is no such thing as a favor from Shelli Azoff that won’t at one point be called in.’”
But most of all, the theme of the evening was incredibly heartfelt, honoring Irving’s success and Shelli as the woman behind Irving’s success — while she has plenty of her own, as well. (“But I love Shelli, I love Irving, I love Shelli more than I love Irving — and I think that’s true of all of us tonight,” said Corden.) While Irving and Shelli got incredible praise from their friends, family and Irving’s star clients, it was Mayer who made a promise he may wind up regretting: “You know what? 30%,” he said, referencing the cut his manager would take. “30% to the both of you.”