Friday, August 05, 2005

Friars Club Roast

I have another REAL story to share with you (check the post before this as well), my patient and loyal readers...

Since my father knows that I am interested in comedy writing, and he knows people who know people, he set up a meeting for me with a comedy writer/producer named Alan Zweibel at The Friars Club. The Friars Club, as you may know, is famous for its Roasts of notable celebrities, in which the celeb being roasted is subjected to a flurry of vulgar insults.

I nervously entered the Friars Club, walking past the Sinatra Room and the Billy Crystal Room until I found the large ballroom where Mr. Zweibel told me to meet him. When I opened the door, I realized that this "meeting" was actually a book signing for Zweibel's new novel. As such, many Friars and their wives were there--
It is difficult to describe just how old and just how Jewish the assemblage in that room was. I was easily the only person under 65. These people's ears were bigger than my face. Women were actually saying "Oy Vey" unironically.

Though the women were priceless in their own way, the real stars of this affair were the men, all of whom were washed-up Borscht-Belt insult comics who probably hadn't performed professionally in 20 years, but who still lived to work a room. One of these elder statesmen, a fellow by the name of Freddie Roman, got up on stage to give a sort of mini-roast to Alan Zweibel. Here is a condensed version of his speech and the proceedings--

Roman (old Jewish voice): When I met Alan, he was workin' at a deli over on 57th Street. He told me he wanted to write comedy, and I told him "I want a fuckin' corned beef on rye, ya cocksucker." But soon enough, this shmuck began writing jokes for me. I told him to write me some sperm bank gags, so he came up with "A sperm bank's the only bank where you actually LOSE interest after you make your deposit." It was then that I knew this pimply-faced little motherfucker had some talent... Now before the guest of honor gets up here and tries to make us buy his piece of shit book, I wanna thank a few people. My writing partner, Ross Steinberg. (Ross waves) Ross, what're you so happy about, I fucked your wife. And my agent Larry Rosenstein. Hey Larry, this is the first gig you've gotten me in ten years, and it doesn't even pay. And-- wait a second, is that, is that Milt Freedman? Holy shit it's Milt Freedman!

[the assembled crowd parts to both sides, leaving Milt Freedman standing alone in the center]
[Milt Freedman looks about 90 years old, and resembles George Burns. He has about three strands of white hair left, and his ears and nose look straight out of a caricature. He is from a generation even before most of these 70 year old guys]
[Milt struggles to say something, but kind of just lets out a sound]
Members of the crowd: Hey, it's Milt! Milt, you made it! Milt-y boy!...

Zweibel: I would first like to thank my comedic mentor, the late Fred Weiner.
Members of the crowd: Uch, Fred Weiner, he was one of the greats! A good man! And a good comedian!
Zweibel: I will now read from Chapter 2, which draws heavily on my early days in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.
[Zweibel reads a passage which pokes fun at Hassidic Jews in Bensonhurst]
Zweibel: Well, that does it for the reading. I will now be signing books over in the corner there. Thank you all for coming out this evening, it means a lot to me.
[The crowd is about to disperse and go back to their various conversations -- when all of a sudden, Milt Freedman makes a noise. The entire crowd hushes and looks at Milt]
Milt Freedman (mustering every last ounce of energy in his body): This just in-- de Bensonhurst Jews are suing Zweibel fuh slander.
[The crowd, myself included, erupts in laughter]

The experience made me want to become a member of the Friars. I've decided that the best way to become a Friar is to act like a Friar. So this is how I IMAGINE the conversation with my parents will go when I ask them to pay for the membership fee--

Mom: Well, Daniel, now that you've graduated from college, your father and I expect you to contribute toward these kinds of expenses. We feel it would be fair for you to pay 10 percent of the membership fee.
Me: How 'bout I contribute my fist in your face, ya cocksucker.
[unsure of what to do, Dad first tries to console Mom, but then decides to give me a high-five]
Me (leaving Dad's high-five hand hanging): How come you're hi-fivin' me? Is it 'cause I porked your mom last night, ya cocksucker?

[Enter Milt Freedman]
Milt: Listen to me, ya cocksucker. That's my line. 50 years ago, I invented the "cocksucker" gag. Back then, no one was doin' it. Now even a two-bit hack like you has "cocksucker" material.
[My parents and I settle our squabbles and we all sit at the dining room table as Milt regales us with war stories from his comedic past]
Milt: De Simpsons- I used to write for them. But we had a falling out.
Mom: What happened?
Milt: Well, I'm sure you remembah the Who Shot Mister Burns two part episode. At the end of the first episode, Dr. Hibbert says, "I couldn't possibly solve this mystery. Can you?" and he points into the camera at the audience.
Me: And then Chief Wiggum says, "Yeah, I'll give it a shot, I mean, you know, it's my job, right?"
Milt: Well I envisioned a different direction for the gag ta go in. In my version, Hibbert says, "I couldn't possibly solve this mystery. Can you?... Ya cocksucker!" Think about it. Simpsons-- watched all ovah the world. We've got a 9-year-old Paki and a 70 year-old Chink gettin' called a 'cocksucker' by Hibbert.


Nostradamus said...

Amazing work. I cried. I cried.

Dan said...

addendum: The next night, I saw Jackie Mason, the king of the borscht belt circuit, at a bar.

Anonymous said...

I just loyned what oil the blahghas are doing for jobs:

dan is doing have fun go to movie and museum play poker in central perk gotta love "friends" going out new york cheeseey pizza big apple post style!
eric is at investment bank. assistant. doing shoddy work. zing!
Al died.
Tom's interning at hospital.
rich is watching the simpsons reruns in a rat hole apartment with a girl who works at ray's pizza. great joint. real mom and pop place. one of a kind.

Anonymous said...

dan, a lovely lady insisted that i start reading your blog. she told me its the best of all. i told her that you have a small penis. i think both of us were telling the truth.

That Girl said...

Alan Zweibel's daughter Lindsay totally got her ass kicked out of Crossroads back in the day when she and another girl gave everyone on the softball team weed brownies. Even better, the Zweibels tried to fight the expulsion by passing out a comic at school in which Lindsay was depicted as the innocent victim of peer pressure, and that she only gave her softball coach weed brownies because the other girl (named Caylin, who I will admit, was really butch and scary) told her she should. I'll tell you, that was a great fucking day.

michele said...

help!! I need to write a roast to my dad!! can you help me get started at least? please?

michele said...

by the way, if you want to help: