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From the Friar’s Club Roast of Donald Rumsfeld
Hoover Theater, Washington, D.C.


President George W. Bush: “… heckuva job, Rummy, heckuva job. I should’ve gone with my first choice for Secretary of Defense—a retarded Doberman! (RAUCOUS LAUGHTER FROM CROWD) Hahaha! Haha! Ha! When Don first came to me about Congressional oversight, I said—Donny! Bubalah! Forget about it! If I was worried about Congress, I’d have dissolved the whole branch after breakfast! (MORE RAUCOUS LAUGHTER) … I kid, though, I kid. Look, Rummy, I know how you feel. I once made a real big mess myself—woke up in south Houston with a Mexican hooker and a coke hangover like you wouldn’t believe. Luckily, I had Dad’s pals to bail me out. Hey, wait a second! We got ‘em this time, too! Hawhawhaw! Aha! Ah!


From the National Book Club Roast of Dan Brown, Author of The Da Vinci Code
J.P. Salisbury’s, New York, New York


Phillip Roth: “…as we honor our esteemed colleague Dan Brown. You know, there are some in the literary community who begrudge Dan his great success. Who feel that his popular literature is somehow beneath the standards of “serious” literature. To these, I say: Goddamn right! (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) To paraphrase Capote, Dan Brown doesn’t write, he doesn’t even type—he just dictates two-bit genre vomit from his pile of lies and filthy ducats! (TOSSES BACK THREE MARTINIS IN A ROW). Hey, Dan—I got a code for you, brother: ‘Yuck Fou!’ (THROWS LATIN DICTIONARY AT HONOREE TABLE)


From the Comedy Central Roast of Michael Richards
Laughs, Inc., Los Angeles, California


Sarah Silverman: “Thanks a lot, Michael! Nice work, you fucking dilettante! (DRAWS IMAGINARY LINE ON STAGE) See this? This is the line you don’t cross. (HOLDS UP MAP OF CALIFORNIA) See this? This is a point 127 miles off the coast of Southern California, where you ended up, halfwit. (HOLDS UP NOTEBOOK) And see this? This is my act, an hour and forty-five minutes of delicately calibrated material subverting racial prejudice, which I’d honed and distilled from hours on the circuit. Now I guess I can just wipe my ass with it! (TO SELF:) ‘Wipe my ass!’ Hey, that’s funny … there’s a bit in here…”


From the Australian Children’s Television Roast of Greg “The Yellow Wiggle” Page
Matilda’s Steakhouse, Sydney, Australia


Elmo: “I remember when I first met Greg. I said, ‘Look, kid, your act stinks, OK? Four metrosexual caneaters in primary colors? Forget it. You’ll never make dollar one.’ Shows what I know. Three years later, these punks are stomping me in the ratings. And I don’t even wanna talk about the DVD. I tell ya, never underestimate stupidity of the American three-year-old. Barney the dinosaur? That freak looks like a distended colon… (MUTTERS ANGRILY…)


A Few Highlights. . .


Condoleeza Rice: “Hey waiter, bring a hot towel over to Mr. Rumsfeld here, he’s got some marinara on his tie. Oops, wait, my mistake—it’s the blood of tens of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians! (LAUGHTER) Don’t forget the US troops! (MORE LAUGHTER)


Anthony “The Blue Wiggle” Field: “We’re sorry to see you go, mate, we really are. But then again, fruit salad splits better three ways than four!” (LAUGHTER) Not to mention $85 million annually! (MORE LAUGHTER; ANDY DICK JUMPS ONSTAGE AND LICKS THE MICROPHONE)


Pope Benedict XVI: “… and Dan says, ‘Yeah, Joe, but you and I know the real deal about the Church…” And then—swear to God, swear to God —we both say it at the same time: ‘THE WHOLE THING IS BULLSHIT!’  Ahahahaha! Ahaha! (WIPING HIS EYES) Oh, man. Oh, man … I never laughed so hard…”


Ted Danson (IN BLACKFACE): “What? Too soon?”


Jeff “The Purple Wiggle” Fatt: “…and that’s after taxes, bee-yatch! Seriously, Greg, you ever get second thoughts about your ‘voluntary retirement,’ just remember: New Year’s Eve 2002; you, Kylie Minogue, Dorothy the Octopus, and two quarts of vegetable oil. We’ve got duplicate sets of 8x10 glossies….”


Phillip Roth: “No, I won’t get off the stage! I’m drunk, and I’m furious, and I’m Phillip Godammned Roth! Do you realize that at one point Da Vinci was selling 100,000 copies per day? PER DAY? (ANDY DICK JUMPS ONSTAGE, ROTH STABS HIM IN THE FACE WITH A BROKEN VODKA BOTTLE)


Gilbert Gottfried: “So this guy walks into a talent agency with his wife and two kids, says, ‘Boy, have I got an act for you! It’s a family act, see? Then the wife bends over and the daughter…”


Iraqi President Jalal Talabani: “You contemptible coward! You malevolent child! Your arrogance and ignorance have cost my country—” (MICROPHONE CUT OFF)


President George W. Bush: “Well, that’s all the time we have tonight, folks. Thanks everyone, you’ve been great, really great! And thanks to our very special guest, Don Rumsfeld. Don, you’ve been a helluva sport tonight, I mean it. We love ya, Rummy! Now get out there and make $30,000 an hour on the lecture circuit, you rascal! OK, good night everyone! Drive reckless! Take chances!”

Glenn McDonald writes about popular culture from his home in lovely Chapel Hill, NC. His humor essays have been described as "grammatically consistent" and "remarkably frequent". He is editor of the Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me daily news quiz at NPR.org, and a film critic at the Raleigh News & Observer. He lives virtually at www.glenn-mcdonald.com.


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