Likes some of the reviews are pretty standard fare, but 'gain today we are pleased to feature one of the more creative praisin' prosin' a la roasts. From the pen of NorthJersey.com's staff writer Mr. Bill Ervolino comes a creatively crafted review. From the beginnin' of Mr. Ervolino scribin's we just knew that this was gonna be one grand and glorious homage to our most beloved Dino...."Dean Martin's manic roasts in a new DVD collection? Yes! They're here. They're hilarious. Hallelujah."
What makes Bill's review stand out from the rest of the plentiful pack of pontifications is that he includes thoughts from a number of current comics all given their nod of approval to these "beloved Dean Martin roasts." Likes how very very cool to have kudos come from those who ply their trade by makin' funny.
For example, Ervolino shares that....."Comics who learned their craft from watching the roasts think so, too. Joey Kola, a regular at Bananas Comedy Club in Hasbrouck Heights and the warm-up comic for "The Rachael Ray Show," said the roasts, just released in "The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts Collector's Edition," 'were very influential. I learned who I am from watching the old-school comedians and from Dean Martin, who was so funny. And a singer. And Italian.'
ilovedinomartin found Mr. Bill Ervolino's review of the Dino-roasts just so so refreshin' 'cause likes youse can see that he wants to do his very very best to show his absolute adulation of our King of Cool. The addition of personal prose form various comics took a good deal of extra effort on Bill's part...and we salute him for that! The pallies at NorthJersey.com oughta be proud as punch to have this scriber on their staff.
To checks this out in it's original format, simply clicks on the tag of this here Dino-report. Dino-growin' an glowin', DMP
Beloved Dean Martin roasts collected on DVD
Dean Martin's manic roasts in a new DVD collection? Yes!
They're here. They're hilarious. Hallelujah.
Comics who learned their craft from watching the roasts think so, too. Joey Kola, a regular at Bananas Comedy Club in Hasbrouck Heights and the warm-up comic for "The Rachael Ray Show," said the roasts, just released in "The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts Collector's Edition," "were very influential. I learned who I am from watching the old-school comedians and from Dean Martin, who was so funny. And a singer. And Italian. A lot of what you see on television today is about pushing the shock value. And, nowadays, you can't be shocked anymore by five volts, it has to be a million volts."
New Jersey comedian and booker Bob Gonzo said the roasts also provided an opportunity to see a different side of such beloved performers as Henry Fonda: "We saw Fonda and James Stewart as such serious stars and then we'd see them getting whacked by Ruth Buzzi's handbag, and it was wonderful. Even Orson Welles did the roasts! Political figures, too. They were all there for a good time."
Believe it or not, it's been 40 years since "The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts" began. Originally part of Martin's weekly variety show in 1973, the roasts — modeled after the infamous Friars Club roasts in New York — became popular enough to be spun off into a series of specials on NBC.
Between 1974 and 1984, more than 50 of these specials aired on the network. The first batch of "roastees" from 1973 included such heavy hitters as Ronald Reagan, Hugh Hefner, Bette Davis and Ed McMahon. And, for the later specials, the big names just kept on coming: Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Frank Sinatra and — he had to sneak in there sooner or later — Martin, himself.
12 roasts on six DVDs
A collection of these roasts eventually made their way onto VHS. A series of DVDs was released years later — resulting in a lawsuit from NBC Universal, because the package included roasts from "The Dean Martin Show" along with the specials.
A new package, by Star Vista Entertainment, Time Life and NBC Universal, includes the best of both.
The set features 12 of the most memorable roasts on six DVDs. And the skewered, many long gone, were — and remain — household names: Hope, Johnny Carson, Stewart, Sammy Davis Jr., Jack Benny, Ball, Martin, Kirk Douglas, Michael Landon, Jackie Gleason, Don Rickles and Joan Collins.
At the time of her roast, in February 1984, Collins was at the height of her fame, thanks to her role as television's villainess-in-chief on "Dynasty." And, as was often the case on these roasts, the dais consisted of close friends of the star (John Forsythe, among them) as well as such bold-faced names as "Maude" star Bea Arthur (one year before "The Golden Girls"), who admitted she had never met Collins before.
Did it matter? Nah. Arthur began by attributing Collins' success to "her acting, her beauty and the general decline in American morality," and just kept going from there.
Among those roasting Martin are Muhammad Ali, Sen. Barry Goldwater, Gene Kelly and funny man Paul Lynde, wincing through his observations about Martin's skewed cultural sense.
As Lynde deadpanned: "When Dean went to the ballet and saw everyone up on their toes, he said, 'Why didn't they just get taller girls?' "
"As a child, I remember those roasts being incredibly funny," Elayne Boosler told The Record. "And there's your difference between then and now. The roasts then were good-natured, gentle and very funny. The thing I remember most is the spontaneous-seeming, unscripted fun and the incredible camaraderie on the dais. It was like you were watching a great party at the home of the honoree."
Comic Nancy Lombardo, who was on the dais for the Friars Club roast of "Sopranos" star Vincent Pastore and who also serves on the club's charity-oriented Sunshine Committee, said that in roasts past and present, "no matter how nasty it gets, you only roast the ones you love. And that was something that always came through on those Martin roasts. Have fun, but always end it with love and respect."
Longtime Garden State resident and "Saturday Night Live" alumnus Joe Piscopo agreed — and he should know. Piscopo was part of the live Friars Club roast of Martin, which took place years after the 1976 television version. "Mr. Sinatra was the emcee," Piscopo recalled, "and it was a career and life highlight for me."
Piscopo said he watched the TV roasts "religiously" and adds that, despite the barbs Martin hurled at his roasted comrades, "he was a warm and wonderful guy. The epitome of cool, talent and effortless genius."
The DVD set includes bonus comedy sketches, two additional Martin television specials and interviews with Rickles, Buzzi, Betty White and others. A larger set, with more than 40 hours of roasts and additional material, is available at deanroasts.com.