Hasty Pudding Theatricals Woman and Man of the Year

Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman received the 72nd annual honors.

Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner

Jason Bateman and Jennifer GarnerPhotographs by Niko Yaitanes/Harvard Magazine

The Hasty Pudding Theatricals (HPT) presented its 2022 Woman and Man of the Year awards to Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman on February 3 and February 5: the former a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) award-winning film and television actress, philanthropist, and entrepreneur; the latter a Golden Globe, SAG, and Emmy award-winning actor, producer, director, and podcast co-host.

Bateman arrived to a foggy, rainy Harvard Square on Thursday, February 3. His SmartLess podcast co-hosts Sean Hayes and Will Arnett attended the event as they are all on tour together.

During the Pudding’s traditional roast of the honored guest, members touched upon Bateman’s start as a child actor in Little House on the Prairie, and made a jab about how he didn’t finish high school because of Teen Wolf 2—a film that received only an 8 out of 100 rating on Rotten Tomatoes. An HPT member acted as Ron Howard narrating Bateman’s quest to the Pudding Pot. The hosts made Bateman dance, sing “Eternal Flame” from the 2002 romantic comedy The Sweetest Thing, read a scene, and “launder” money (cleaning dollar bills with a toothbrush). HPT finally gave Jason his award while gracing him with a bejeweled, pointy bra.

In the news conference that followed, Bateman said he felt “flattered, grateful, mortified, and oddly comfortable.” Asked about his experience directing and acting in the same episodes of Ozark, he said, “As a director I have to watch everything, while as an actor I just have to watch myself and the person I’m acting with. And being the masochist that I am, I like directing a little bit more because it’s painfully difficult and complicated and challenging for me. But it’s good pain, so I love it and feel very fortunate to have been able to do it on this show.”

Jennifer Garner at the Hasty Pudding parade
Photograph by Niko Yaitanes/ Harvard Magazine

The sun came out for Garner in Harvard Square on Saturday, February 5. Massachusetts Ave. and Holyoke St. filled with spectators eager to see her drive by and wave hello. Garner was all smiles and laughs throughout the parade route, pointing out her nephew standing with her sister Melissa Garner Wylie and Wylie’s husband and reminding students to stay safe, “Hi Honey! Don’t drink too much!”

After receiving a tour of the Hasty Pudding Club and holding an exclusive Q&A with HPT members, Garner attended her celebratory roast—a rather tame affair, with HPT members saying they “couldn’t find anything to roast her about.” They ended up playing a game of “Yes Day” on stage, a nod to one of Garner’s recent films. When asked about her first kiss, Garner said that she was 18, “He tried to go further than I wanted and I swatted him away. He broke up with me the next day and called me a prude.”

An HPT member then brought out an alto saxophone for Garner to “play,” paying homage to her many years of playing the instrument, which she affectionately named “Sally the Sexy Saxophone.” In a nod to 13 Going on 30, an HPT member playing middle school bully Tom-Tom turned Garner back into a 13-year-old. In order to become an adult again, Garner had to do the Thriller dance, which she performed with glee.

At the news conference following the roast, Garner said she had the “most fun day ever.” Asked about her most influential mentor, and what her favorite Ina Garten recipe is (Garner is a big fan of Garten, the so-called Barefoot Contessa), she said,  “I’m really into the Banana Crunch Muffin right now, and I make her roast chicken most often, and Mrs. Beatty’s Chocolate Cake.” Surprisingly, the people Garner most looks up to are not actors, “Other than Ina as a role model because she is very dear to me. Probably Mark Shriver who ran the Save the Children U.S. programs for years. It pains me to say it, and I would never say this if he were in the room, he is who I look up to.”

Read more articles by: Kristina DeMichele

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