By Aaron Ye
BU News Service
CAMBRIDGE – Two-time Emmy Award nominee Milo Ventimiglia received the Hasty Pudding Theatricals Man of the Year award on Feb. 8, at Harvard University.
Ventimiglia launched his career in film and TV in 1997, and has played critical roles in several shows, such as Jess Mariano in “Gilmore Girls,” the Ogre in “Gotham,” and most recently Jack Pearson in “This is Us,” which garnered him acclaim and two Screen Actors Guild Awards in Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in 2018 and 2019.
Before receiving his Pudding pot, Ventimiglia had to go through the country’s oldest theatre tradition: the roast. While sitting on a chair, emcees Elizabeth Mann and Mariana Sanchez Medina made fun of Ventimiglia acknowledging his role as a TV sex symbol.
“Milo was named world’s sexiest vegetarian by PETA,” said Medina. “Even though everyone sees you as a piece of meat.”
Ventimiglia completed multiple challenges, which included singing “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Fergie to comfort a college student in toddler costume, giving a cast member a lap dance and wearing a bra on stage with two drag queens.
The award wasn’t the only factor that made Ventimiglia’s night – his mother also showed up to support him.
“My mom, who declined being my date two years in a row for the Emmys, she made sure to be here tonight, ” Ventimiglia said. “I’m grateful and honored to be given this by the future of entertainment.”
Ventimiglia made sure his mother knew that he was going to perform a lap dance in front of the audience, herself included.
“When you’re on the stage. You have to forget about everything, including your own pride.” Ventimiglia said. “My mom was more than excited.”
“It’s different when you’re on the other side of it, not just an audience watching it definitely was a little nervous but I kind of relaxed once the first joke about me came up,” said Ventimiglia as he reflected on his experience on the roast during a press conference.
2019 is also the first year that The Hasty Pudding Theatrical had a performance that featured both male and female actors.
“The heart of an artist isn’t only in one person, one type of person, one way of being. It’s really all of us,” Ventimiglia said. “We’re doing this regardless of particular history. I am very proud.”