An ear infection kept hosts Penn and Teller from showing for last night’s Cable Positive must-attend gala in NY, although given the reception last-minute sub Colin Quinn received, perhaps the Vegas tricksters were fortunate to have skipped. It’s been said before: You can’t plop cable’s elites in front of a free meal and expect them to make nice for the talent. Quinn may have bombed, but at least the throng of 1K diners clammed up for Steve Villano’s moving and perspicacious speech. The fortunes of certain cable net standups aside, Villano brought the house to its feet when he referenced another comic with a jeremiad against the world’s real 7 Dirty Words, the topmost being AIDS. Whatever yuks Quinn couldn’t supply were provided in abundance by the night’s honoree, Showtime head Matt Blank. A tribute reel featuring Britney ("When I kissed Madonna, I was really thinking about Matt") and starring David Paymer doing a spot-on impression of the man himself was giddy fun, but Blank’s Top 10 reasons why he was selected as 2004’s Joel Berger Memorial Award winner absolutely rocked. (Referring to the Rigas trial, #2 was: "I never took Peta Wilson or a Christmas tree on a Viacom plane.") But the biggest smiles (besides those brought on by Jennifer Beals’ surprise appearance) came after this number was announced: $1.2mln, the amount raised for the fight on AIDS last night.