New York Friars Club Book of Roasts

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The Friars Club was not started by comedians, nor by entertainers of any sort. It was actually started, back in 1904, by eleven New York press agents who were trying to figure out how to stop people from scoring free tickets to Broadway shows. But they enjoyed their Friday night after-theater get-togethers so much that by 1907 they had adopted a formal constitution and by-laws -- and changed their name from the Press Agents Association to the Friars Club. Almost immediately they began their tradition of throwing ...
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New Ships From Canada. New in new dust jacket. Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 274 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. Book Description: Ths ... is a hilarious compilation of tales, anecdotes, and historical information about the Friars Club, featuring funny and moving moments from hundreds of stars. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. Read more Show Less

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2000 Hard cover Illustrated. New in new dust jacket. Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 274 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. Book ... Description: Ths is a hilarious compilation of tales, anecdotes, and historical information about the Friars Club, featuring funny and moving moments from hundreds of stars. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. Read more Show Less

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Overview

The Friars Club was not started by comedians, nor by entertainers of any sort. It was actually started, back in 1904, by eleven New York press agents who were trying to figure out how to stop people from scoring free tickets to Broadway shows. But they enjoyed their Friday night after-theater get-togethers so much that by 1907 they had adopted a formal constitution and by-laws -- and changed their name from the Press Agents Association to the Friars Club. Almost immediately they began their tradition of throwing Testimonial Dinners for "outstanding theatrical personalities." There was always a lot of pomposity-piercing repartee, but things didn't get really raunchy until the first Roast in 1949. Today, much of the R-rated language you hear at a Roast can also be heard at the average comedy club. In fact, Roasts are now broadcast on cable television. But between the 1940s and 1960s, comedy was clean. In night clubs, on Broadway, wherever, no one -- among the public that is -- ever heard Jack Benny or Milton Berle or George Burns or any of the greats say a dirty word. But the Friars did. In the privacy of their stag Roasts, they let their hair down (even if they didn't have any) and said what they couldn't say on stage, radio, or TV.

The Roasts were so private that women, all non-members, even the waiters serving the lunches were rudely kicked out of the hall before the festivities began. Eventually, the Roasts became so notorious, that Benny himself quipped, "My wife Mary hates these stag luncheons. I didn't even dare tell her that I came here today. She thinks I'm in a whorehouse." Now you want to know what they were like, right? Well, we can give you the insults, but you'll have to open the book to find the obscenities. Go ahead. Read a few pages. See, they are funny. And now you're hooked. Now go to the counter and pay for the book, like a good little reader. But keep your face covered, or you may get arrested for mooning. And don't try to stuff the book down your pants. Remember what happened last time. And it was at a discount store. How cheap can you get? -- welcome to your first Roast!

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A compilation of tales, anecdotes, and historical information about the club, focusing on insults to celebrities, among whom are Milton Berle, Frank Sinatra, Jerry Lewis, Kelsey Grammer, and Drew Carey. Only names are indexed. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781567315134
  • Publisher: MJF Books
  • Publication date: 9/28/2002
  • Pages: 274

Table of Contents

Foreword 11
Introduction 13
1 In the Beginning (Who the hell are these people who make Howard Stern seem like a virgin?) 15
2 The Early Years: Toasts Rule! (They may have worn tuxedos, but their tongues were dipped in venom!) 48
Clyde Fitch - 1907
Victor Herbert - 1907
Oscar Hammerstein - 1908
William Harris - 1910
Irving Berlin - 1912
Enrico Caruso - 1916
Al Jolson - 1918
Nellie Revell - 1924
Calvin Coolidge - 1925
Alfred E. Smith - 1925
Arthur "Bugs" Baer - 1926
Jimmy Walker - 1927
Fred Block - 1929
3 1950s-Through the 1970s: Let the Roasts Begin and the Cheers Continue! (You've heard the laughter from behind closed doors--now take a look through the peephole!) 66
Maurice Chevalier Roast - 1949 (Why serve Welsh rarebit when you can have New Jersey tongue?)
Sophie Tucker Roast - 1953 (She is woman, hear her roar!)
Humphrey Bogart Roast - 1955 (Here's pokin' fun at you, kid!)
Jimmy Cannon Roast - 1959 (Well, it's one of the few they still have on tape)
Milton Berle Roast - 1959 (This would be Roast number 5,003!)
George Burns Roast - 1960 (Even then he was close to a hundred!)
Alan King Roast - 1961 (But what about me?)
Don Rickles Roast - 1968 (It's called payback, Don)
Joey Adams Roast - 1976 (Here's to the Friars' crier)
Neil Simon Roast - 1978 (He left holding the bag!)
Norm Crosby Roast - 1979 (Norman, can you hear me?)
Mike Todd Testimonial Dinner - 1958 (He never got a dinner)
Dinah Shore Testimonial Dinner - 1960 (Nuthin' could be finer!)
Joe E. Lewis Testimonial Dinner - 1962 (Bottom's up!)
Johnny Carson Testimonial Dinner - 1965 (He kept things flowing)
Barbra Streisand Testimonial Dinner - 1969 (Musical memories)
Carol Burnett Testimonial Dinner - 1973 (You sure it's not a Roast?)
Frank Sinatra Testimonial Dinner - 1976 (Nobody move!)
David Brinkley, Walter Cronkite, and Howard K. Smith Testimonial Dinner - 1978 (The Marx Brothers were busy that night!)
4 1980s--Devilish Dinners and Rowdy Roasts (Tough guys and tempestuous gals) 132
Dr. Henry Kissinger Testimonial Dinner - 1980 (Accent on the testimony)
Burt Reynolds Testimonial Dinner - 1981 (Everybody but his hair was there)
Buddy Hackett Testimonial Dinner - 1981 (Give this man a Roast!)
Cary Grant Testimonial Dinner - 1982 (Cheers and tears)
Elizabeth Taylor Testimonial Dinner - 1983 (Who's afraid of Joan Rivers?)
Dean Martin Testimonial Dinner - 1984 (Shouldn't someone tell him he was there?)
Milton Berle Testimonial Dinner - 1985 (Again!)
Red Buttons Testimonial Dinner - 1987 (Finally, he got a dinner! Now shut up already!)
Barbara Sinatra Testimonial Dinner - 1988 (Pretty in pink--sort of)
Alan King Testimonial Dinner - 1989 (Memories of me, me, me!)
Dick Shawn Roast - 1982 (Sometimes you just want to shower after a Roast)
Sid Caesar Roast - 1983 (Your Roast of Roasts!)
Phyllis Diller - 1983 (Busted!)
Phyllis Diller Roast - 1985 (Let the punishment fit the crime!)
Jerry Lewis Roast - 1986 (France should be so lucky)
Rich Little Roast - 1987 (So much time, so little material)
Bruce Willis Roast - 1989 (Laugh hard!)
5 Oh, Those Naughty '90s Making Whoopi--And More! (Exiting the century with the laughs intact!) 199
Diana Ross Testimonial Dinner - 1990 (Call me Miss Friar!)
Clive Davis Testimonial Dinner - 1992 (Oh, my achin' back!)
Barbara Walters Testimonial Dinner - 1994 (These people are journalists?)
John Travolta and Kelly Preston Testimonial Dinner - 1997 (Kelly who?)
Chevy Chase Roast - 1990 (A whole new world)
Richard Pryor Roast - 1991 (The original Fried Friar)
Billy Crystal Roast - 1992 (One shattered ego)
Whoopi Goldberg - 1993 (The face that launched a thousand "Holy shit's!")
Steven Seagal - 1995 (Bye, Bye Berley)
Kelsey Grammer - 1996 (Pick a topic, any topic)
Drew Carey Roast - 1998 (Friars, you're on the air!)
Jerry Stiller Roast - 1999 (Swan Song)
Epilogue 253
Acknowledgments 255
Index 257
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2000

    Move Over, Buddy Hackett

    OK, so you expect a book on the Friars Club to be funny, right? The biggest surprise may be the biting asides of Barry Dougherty. The author has the best job in the world: working behind the scenes at the Friars Club and eavesdropping on the likes of Alan King, Red Buttons, Billy Crystal and Jerry Stiller. They've rubbed off. When the pros fall flat, Dougherty keeps the LOLs going.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2000

    The Friars have met their match...

    The Book of Roasts reads like a Roast. A little bawdy but affectionate and interesting look at the history of the Friars and their famous roasts. Dougherty shows good natured fun has he takes us through nearly a century of American humor.

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