After fifteen decreasingly entertaining seasons of Entourage, there is hardly a premium cable subscriber in America unaware that the character of Ari Gold, memorably portrayed by Emmy-winning Matsuhisa pariah Jeremy Piven, was inspired by Endeavor superagent Ari Emanuel.
(Fun fact: Gold's "Hug it out, bitch" catchphrase was adapted from Emanuel's far less succinct, "I will fuck your skull until your head explodes, toss your body in a dumpster behind the CPK, then maybe send a nice muffin basket to your widow to show there's no hard feelings.")
In today's Gatecrasher column, the NY Daily News' Ben Widdicombe induces an anonymous former Endeavor employee to explain how watching his fictional doppleganger's amusing antics has affected the behavior of the genuine Ari article:
Before the show, says the snitch, it was understood among junior staffers at the agency that making eye contact or even sharing an elevator with the great man was to be avoided.
But Emanuel was thrilled with being a character on the show and behaved accordingly. "Every time he was on the phone with ['Entourage' executive producer] Doug Ellin, he did something outrageous to make it into a future script - throwing things, screaming at anyone nearby and generally throwing a tantrum," says the snitch.