On Friday, October 24th I attended the Friar's Club roast of Matt Lauer at the NY Hilton. It was a star-studded event with a surprise guest-Tom Cruise. Tom came out while the lights were dim and gave a funny tribute to Matt. On the dais were Donald Trump, Katie Couric, Ann Curry, Al Roker, Meredith Viera, Martha Stewart, Joe Scarborough, Clay Aiken, Omarosa, Miss America, Miss USA, Jeff Zucker, Brian Williams, comedians Richard Beltzer, Pat Cooper, Jeffrey Ross, Bob Saget, Gilbert Gottfried and others. In the ballroom of 1900 guests were Howard Stern and his wife, and Joy Bahar of The View. Aretha Franklin sang the national anthem. After she sang, Stewie Stone said it was the first time he heard the fat lady sing before it was over. Aretha communicated her response with a New York gesture.
Many of us have an opportunity to give a toast but roasting is less common and requires a special skill. It was interesting to experience how some people can read a script and be funny where others are not. It's all in the delivery. The best comedian was Jeffrey Ross. Jeff Zucker, TV anchor Brian Williams, and Meredith Vieira were surprisingly funny. Richard Beltzer kept tripping over his lines and finally Matt got up and read it for him. At the end of the luncheon, Matt Lauer gave a gracious thank you speech.
A roast is expected to be funny and raunchy especially when it's for entertainment celebrities. But in a business setting it's important to be careful. You need to remember that humor in the workplace is a great release when it's appropriate. But unlike the celebrities who went home after the event, you live in your workplace. You'll see the same people the next day. So when you roast, make sure it's well done.