ShulmanSays: According to Wikipedia, two people hold the record for the most appearances on The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts (with 24 appearances, each). Do you know who they are?
Deana Martin: Let's see. I think maybe one could be Rich Little?
SS: He was one of them…
DM: And Foster Brooks?
SS: Nipsey Russell.
DM: Nipsey! Oh, my God, he was funny! So good! And, you know what? Last year, when I did the Deana Martin Celebrity Roast of Dennis Bono, Rich was there; and he's so funny. And he will always come up; and I'll get him up on stage, and he'll do Dad, or Reagan, or Nixon, or something.
But, yeah; those roasts were amazing, and they are some of the funniest... For me, I come home, and we'll watch them. We'll just put them on, and laugh. And I remember going to them, when they would film them. I even remember what they went through when they were trying to get Henry Kissinger, (who was hysterical) on the show, because he was so... "Oh," he said, "I don't know if I should be funny or not." And then they would say, "Don't try to be funny: Just be humorous, and you'll be fine." But I just remember all of the people who were on the show…
SS: That’s a lot of people!* But, more to the point, it always struck me that it must’ve been the hippest room in the world!
DM: Yeah. It was definitely the place to be.
SS: And you did not have to look far for your Man of the Hour, I mean, because y’all go back a ways.
DM: Yes, we do. And I adore Joe. He's very respectful, and he's a true Italian, and well, he loves my Dad. And I know he's such a good sport, and, well, first of all, Criminal Minds. Forget about it. I mean, it's been on for 13 years, and I thought, "Well--"
SS: You know... His Criminal Minds co-star, Matthew Gray Gubler (who's one of the roasters), is from Las Vegas.
DM: Yes, Matthew, of course… I can't wait to roast him. I get to do little mini-roasts of each one of the roasters, which is kind of…
SS: Roast Mistress’ prerogative?
DM: Ha! Yes, that's exactly right.
SS: So, Deana… Why should people come to this roast?
DM: Why? First of all, because it's going to be such an entertaining hour and a half. And hopefully, we can keep some of these comedians down to their allotted five or six minutes; because once they get on a roll, anything can happen. But it's going to be entertaining. It's going to be touching. It's going to be so funny. I believe it's R-rated. I think. But, I mean, it won't be bad. This is a Deana Martin Celebrity Roast; not the Friars Club or Comedy Central. But it's going to be fantastic. We have a few surprises. People who couldn't be there have sent letters, or they've done little videos.
DM: Oh, yeah! It's going to be very, very special and fun. And Joe is such a doll. We've got great comedians and great actors, and I just spoke to Gail O'Grady - who is so sweet. People should come to see her! She told me, "I love Joe. I don't think I can do anything like that. I can't roast him." So we told her, "Don't you worry."
SS: I think she was just on Criminal Minds as one of the ex-wives…
DM: She was! And she's an absolute doll. So, we got it figured-out for her, and now, she's happy; and said, "Okay, I like it," (to whatever we sent her, for her to say). So, I think the main reason that people should come, is to watch all of these amazingly talented and funny people. What a group! Clifton Collins, and Mike Marino, and Lou Martini… Joe Piscopo! And Tommy Dreesen? Fuhgeddaboutdit!
Concluded in Part 3…
The Deana Martin Celebrity Roast honoring Man-of-the-Hour Joe Mantegna
The Showroom | South Point Hotel, Casino, and Spa
Click HERE for info and tickets
Get into it!
[Editor’s Note: When it came to The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts, such things as race, gender, religion, and sexuality were pretty much irrelevant – so long as you were funny (though being funny and famous certainly helped). Thus in addition to the likes of Milton Berle, Jack Benny, Sid Caesar, George Burns, and Don Rickles; a (very) abridged list of roasters includes Paul Lynde, LaWanda Paige, Wayland Flowers and Madam, Charo, Flip Wilson, Totie Fields, Freddie Prinze, Bette Davis, Charles Nelson Reilly, Jimmy Stewart, Phyllis Diller, Rev. Billy Graham, Neil Armstrong, Gene Kelly, Orson Welles, Mama Cass Elliot, Zsa Gabor, Dr. Joyce Brothers, George Hamilton, Muhammad Ali, Gen. Omar Bradley, Shelley Winters, Hank Aaron, Howard Cosell, Betty White, Redd Foxx, Telly Savalas, and Abe Vigoda.]