Picks and Pans Review: The NY Friars Club Roast of Hugh M. Hefner
It would be easy to dismiss this one-hour special as a raunchfest for perennially adolescent males. But I submit that it's worthy of study as a bizarre cultural artifact.
Taped in late September, it's an edited version of the New York Friars Club's annual celebrity roast. The smiling victim is 75-year-old Hugh Hefner, and a motley crew of jesters—from Ice-T to Alan King—take turns insulting the Playboy founder and praising his magazine for its stimulating pictorial content. Boys being boys, many words are bleeped out.
The fun part is observing the VIPs and semi-IPs in attendance. Did Abe Vigoda (Barney Miller) show up just to be mocked? (I liked comic Jeffrey Ross's line about patriotic Abe trying to enlist at Old Navy.) Did Carson Daly, Dr. Joyce Brothers and Patty Hearst meet afterward for a few beers? Make up your own jokes. They don't have to be dirty.
Bottom Line: A few laughs if you look for them