Deana Martin’s inaugural celebrity roast had all the elements of her famous father’s hit TV series: brutal zingers, blue language, even a Ruth Buzzi impersonator.
About 400 showed up at the South Point Showroom on Monday to watch roastee Dennis Bono take his lumps at the charity benefit.
He got plenty of them from Buzzi, who turned out be local entertainer Kelly Clinton. She came out swinging like Buzzi’s purse-flailing spinster character, Gladys Ormphby, a fixture on the hit hit TV series “Laugh-In.”
The event doubled as a 70th birthday party for the longtime entertainer and radio show host.
Bono’s tormentors included actors Tony Lo Bianca and Robert Davi, celebrity reporter Robin Leach, comedian Rich Little, and entertainers Frankie Scinta and Clint Holmes, Clinton’s husband. Deana Martin piled on as well.
Holmes, who has a history of highlighting many a roast with his hilarious musical parodies, had one ready for Bono.
Set to Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme’s 1960 hit, “This Could Be the Start of Something Big,” Holmes’ version went this way:
“He’s driving along the Strip just dreaming of billboards,
He sees that the Scinta family’s making it big.
He’s thinking how great he croons, and that guy’s just playing spoons
Who do I have to whack to get the gig?
He says that he sings as well as his best pal Stevie.
Of course he says this after having quite a few swigs
Steve’s singing at Carnegie Hall
Dennis sings right next to the outlet mall
Who do I have to whack to get the gig?
There’s nothing wrong with doing radio just once a week
It gives you so much time to not learn songs
But could you pick a song just once that doesn’t put us all to sleep
And please stop holding all your notes soooo lonnnnnnnnng!
But just as the spotlight’s fading on his career
And he was having trouble making the vig
He’s praying for one more joint,
And thank God they built South Point.
This could be start of something, this could be the start of something.
Cool and fresh and hip it is. Almost on the Strip it is.
This could be the start of Bono’s gig!”
Bono, who was discovered by Frank Sinatra’s righthand man, Jilly Rizzo, didn’t take the grilling sitting down.
When Leach said Bono “is so meticulous he even has creases in his underwear,” Bono fired back, “Hey I’m 71. I don’t wear underwear. Those creases are my (posterior).”
Bono teased Rich Little about his young wives.
“You’re suppose to meet your future wife in a restaurant or a bar,” said Bono, “not in a Chuck E. Cheese.”
To Holmes: “I know how hard you’re trying to be hip. I know you’re my age. You should be concerned about breaking one.”
Bono mentioned he and Scinta are typical Italians – close to their families. “I visit mine a lot back east. He visits his when the prison allows on visiting day. The rest of them are in the witness protection program.”
Taking aim at Leach’s expanding waistline, Bono snarked, “Try going to the hold-the-Mayo Clinic.”
The scene and heard
Las Vegas resident Jason Hook, lead guitarist for Five Finger Death Punch, was so inspired by VH1’s long-running “Behind the Music” TV series that he decided to try his hand at it.
The result is “Hired Gun: Out of the Shadows, Into the Spotlight,” a revealing look at some of the greatest unsung musicians who made a career of jumping from one gig to another with rock legends.
Hook’s one-night-only version is being shown Wednesday across the country, including numerous theaters in Las Vegas.
Among the “hired guns” and music greats featured in the documentary: Liberty DeVitto (Billy Joel), Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp), Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy Osbourne), Phil X (Bon Jovi), Jason Newsted (Metallica), John 5 (Rob Zombie), Glen Sobel and Nita Strauss (Alice Cooper), Steve Lukather (Michael Jackson, Toto), Steve Vai (David Lee Roth), Paul Bushnell (Katy Perry), Jay Graydon (Steely Dan), Derek St. Holmes (Ted Nugent), Chris Johnson (Rihanna), music producer David Foster and featuring Cooper and Zombie.
On this day…
June 28, 1997: The second heavyweight fight between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield at the MGM Grand Garden ends after three rounds when Tyson is disqualified for biting Holyfield’s ear. The Nevada State Athletic Commission yanked Tyson’s license for 18 months and fined him a whopping $3 million. He was reinstated in early 1999.
Sheila (Mann) Allan and Liz Kelley-Hansen of Dean Martin’s famed song-and-dance troupe The Golddiggers, in the crowd at the Bono roast. Eight were in town to perform on Deana Martin’s weekend shows at South Point honoring her dad’s 100th birthday. Mann, who lives in Las Vegas, spent one year with the original Golddiggers, keeping a promise she made to her parents. She was 19. Her parents were Holocaust survivors and had concerns about losing their daughter to the temptations in the world of show business. She recalls the 12-member troupe being forewarned about the legendary Buddy Hackett before a 1969 engagement at the Sahara. “We were told to be leery of him because he had a tendency to show up on the stage naked,” she said, “And he did, but not with us.”
The punch line
“Two Florida men reportedly abandoned their car last week after crashing into a Dorito’s truck, which sounds like the perfect case for Chips.” – Seth Meyers.