I've been to a couple roasts in my days, and I must say, I've never seen a recipient take his skewering better than promoter Lou DiBella did Monday night at the venerable Friars Club in NYC. Yeah, he was a light shade of pink for a good deal of the time that a handful of comics (lovingly) gave him and galpal Chiara Strzesiewski and Lou's mom the business, but that was as much from roaring with howling laughter as he got nailed for being bald and dating maybe a week or two out his accepted age bracket as it was from being abashed.
The roast--actually, it was more of a saute than a full on rotisserie session--took place so money could be raised for the Friar's Sunshine Committee, their charity arm which dispenses thousands upon thousands of dollars and even more in fond memories to area kids who can use a hand up and some cheer. DiBella himself was the most active bidder in an auction, and drew multiple compliments from emcee Stewie Stone, in between Stone's jaw-dropping gawking at Chiara, and his feigned bewilderment that DiBella enjoys the company of such a fox. Stone said that in the multiple decades the Sunshine Committee has been doing these "saute" sessions, not one single guest of honor has ever bid on items, as DiBella did. And bid he did...DiBella reached into his pocket and snapped up a table at Rao's for $5,000, and those funds will all go to the kids. Items up for raffle also drew solid bids, and those funds will go to the kids.
This being the Friars Club, comedy was on the menu, and a roster of talented quipsters took the stage, rapid fire, and gave DiBella the business. Three quarters of the material cannot be repeated here, but to give you an idea of the tone, find some video of Esther Ku, the first comic to the stage, and you'll get a sense. She works in the vein of Sarah Silverman...DiBella never flinched, and his mom Anna showed boundless good humor as the comics showed boundless, and uproarious, bad taste. Here's hoping video of DiBella's time on the stage playing dummy for comedian John Pizzi is leaked online. It is damned near priceless...
It wasn't all giggles. DiBella took the mike at the end of the evening, which raised well north of $10,000 for the kids, and thanked his mom and dad for coming. His father, 88 years-old Lou, has been battling health woes, and DiBella choked up when he said, "My dad's my hero." Stone bathed Dibella in praise, saying, "He has a heart as big as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, anything that's ever been in this room. It's a distinct honor to call Lou a Friar."