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Humor in a highball: Dewar's discussion on the modern man turns into a laugh riot

March 24, 2011 |  1:53 pm

The Dewar's Scotch whiskey brand has been putting a lot of marketing effort into the men's style arena lately -- in addition to hosting a dinner at the new Band of Outsiders digs in Hollywood, the spirit label made a spirited showing at New York Fashion Week where it had a presence at Band's first full-fledged runway show and the Carlos Campos menswear presentation.

And, on Wednesday night, Dewar's hosted what it called "an evening of casual debate and witty banter" that focused on the topic of "defining the modern man." It turned out to be part free-flowing debate, part question-and-answer, part live liquor ad -- and thoroughly entertaining.

The set up consisted of actor Joel McHale moderating a panel that included actress Alison Brie (McHale's "Community" co-star who also appears on "Mad Men"), actor Jesse Williams ("Grey's Anatomy"), K.P. Anderson (executive producer and head writer of E! Entertainment's "The Soup") and writer/professional drinker Dan "The Imbiber" Dunn.

Although predictably sprinkled with liberal references to Dewar's -- McHale kicked things off in his best TV announcer voice: "I do know the modern man drinks Dewar's blended Scotch whiskey" -- the evening included such observations as: "The modern man is moving backward in time to 1987 -- toward Jon Bon Jovi," (from Anderson), that the modern man "shouldn't order a drink the color of a Saturday morning cartoon," (from Dunn), that when it comes to manscaping it's OK to "trim the hedges and clean things up a bit -- but bare is weird," (Brie) and that when it comes to enjoying a sport, nothing is off limits to the modern man (even polo) "as long as you learn about it -- and can talk about it [knowledgeably]," (Williams).

Although not strictly style-centric, the conversation did touch on topics like yellow sweater vests (roundly mocked by McHale), skinny jeans for guys (a no-no for Brie's boyfriend) and facial hair as camouflage ("hats don't hide chins," observed Anderson).

McHale's acerbic wit, and the lineup of funny men -- anchored by Brie's lone female point of view (the fashionably dressed actress in a blue Burberry dress looked like a hothouse flower surrounded by crabgrass but had the audience -- and her fellow panelists -- eating out of her hand each time she spoke)  not only offered up an interesting cross-section of opinion on what the 21st-century man should (or shouldn't) be, but was so witty in the process, Dewar's would probably be smart to sponsor the same quintet and start booking similar salons across the country.

And that's not the whiskey talking, either.

--Adam Tschorn

Photos: At left, panelists (Left to right) Jesse Williams, Alison Brie, Dan Dunn and K.P. Anderson discuss the definition of the modern man at Dewar's March 23 event at the Redbury in Hollywood. At right, moderator Joel McHale addresses the crowd. Credit: Charley Gallay / Getty Images.