Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Betty White Is Roasted but Everyone Is Skewered By COREY KILGANNON
stole this from the Times -- times city blog
Betty White’s age — she is 90 and still going strong — was the topic of much discussion Wednesday at the Sheraton New York in Midtown Manhattan, where Ms. White was the target of a Friars Club roast.
The comedian Jeff Ross called Ms. White the “ghost of honor” and said the event was organized as a lunch “because we didn’t think she’d make it till dinner.”
“She’s so old, the color white is named after her,” he said.
Harsh? This is the gentle stuff. Friars Club Roasts, which date back decades (as do some of the jokes) are not for the easily offended, and if things go right, no one in the room is spared. Hundreds of guests packed into a large ballroom where the jokers on the dais included Joy Behar, Regis Philbin, Valerie Bertinelli, Valerie Harper and Liza Minnelli.
A video tribute by Don Rickles included some kind words for Ms. White, but at the end, Mr. Rickles muttered, “I never liked that woman.”
Then Ms. Minnelli took the lectern in a loud orange blouse, and sang a ribald rewrite of Cole Porter’s “You’re The Top,” which began with the lines, “You’re the top, you’re a high colonic,” and got bawdier.
Mr. Ross went up and tore into many of his colleagues on the dais, a lineup he said could pass for “Barbara Walters’s least fascinating people.”
Ms. Walters was the M.C. Mr. Ross cracked that she was covering news “since before they called it news — they just called it hearsay back then.”
He looked over the dais from Larry King to Mr. Philbin, and said, “This is the first-ever roast that’s covered in The New York Times’s obituary section.”
He called the Friars “the only place Ms. White could meet older men” and announced that her parents were miraculously in attendance.
“Give it up for Adam and Eve back there,” he joked.
The crowd groaned loudest after Mr. Ross turned to Ms. White and said, “I’m looking forward to your next appearance — in that vase above your mantel.”
Following that was David Letterman — by video — reciting a Top 10 list dedicated to Ms. White, with No. 1 being that Ms. White “has no idea where she is right now.”
It should be noted that this was hardly the case. Ms. White was sharp, and howling at every joke made at her expense, as well as when Ms. Walters introduced Mr. King, remarking, “He has so many accomplishments — my favorite was when he retired.”
Mr. King told the crowd that at Ms. White’s age, “there’s a fine line between a roast and a cremation.”
Mr. King, who is 78, said of Ms. White: “She’s so old, she thinks I’m jailbait.”
After that, Ms. Walters introduced the comedian Lisa Lampanelli, remarking that Ms. Lampanelli was “following on the well-worn bedsprings of Betty White.”
Ms. Lampanelli tore into nearly every celebrity on the panel, with jokes that were nearly all unprintable. She called Mr. King a “triple threat,” because at any time he might have a stroke, a heart attack or experience an incontinent moment. She said Ms. White’s name “was once Betty Black but that she’s got so old, she faded.”
Finally, Ms. White stepped up to the lectern. She is known for her capacity to get as down and dirty as anyone. But she said very little, claiming Ms. Lampanelli had stolen her best material. She chided the roasters for keeping their attacks tame and called the lunch to a close.