Milton Berle, The Funniest Roast Of The Century Volume 1

Ben Schwartz

By Ben Schwartz

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Television’s first icon, insulting and being insulted by his peers.

Taped in the early '80s &#8212 taste-free and definitely not family values-approved &#8212 this is what the Friars do when they like you, so one shudders at the alternative. What's fascinating is that the "honorees" are rarely relevant to the monologue, because their odd sexual habits, lack of talent and abysmal taste in suits ("Don't you throw anything out?") are apparently universal. The roasters are who stand out here: Milton Berle and Henny Youngman deliver what you'd hope, but the surprises are lesser-known comics like Dick Shawn and country comic Pat Buttram (Mr. Haney from Green Acres, who Berle introduces as having "a black belt in cow s**t"). And then there's Pat McCormick, Johnny Carson's great writer, who Berle declares "the pixie prick of pornography." McCormick goes on to set standards of indecency the FCC would fine whether broadcast or not. You'll probably want to leave this off your Mother's Day gift list.