(All Photos And Text By Anne M. Raso, The Mac Wire Contributing Editor, Except Movie Poster Shot Courtesy Encore.)
On March 16th, the legendary Jerry Lewis just happened to do a Q and A and screening of the documentary on his life called The Method To The Madness, and we here at The Mac Wire were lucky enough to get to go to the after-reception at the world-famous Friars Club in New York City. Jerry is actually the abbot of the Friars Club and has been for several decades—and that’s why it’s okay to scream “Hey Abbott!” when he walks into the dining room there. (Yes, we know that’s a VERY BAD joke, LOL!)
Jerry took a good long look at the gorgeous cake that depicted the story of his life from Jersey boy (he was born in Newark and graduated from Irvington High School in 1944) to gaining fame as part of Martin And Lewis, then moving on to major comedy films and being host of the MD telethon. The Carlo’s Bakery crew was repped by the super-affable Mauro Castano and his lovely wife. (Mauro is Buddy Velastro aka The Cake Boss’ brother-in-law in case you don’t follow the funny reality series and he’s a big sweetie who really knows the baking business back and forth.) Some of the details on the cake (all edible) included statues of Jerry and former partner Dean Martin and fondant borders patterned with his movie posters and famous movie scenes.
The guests poured in to hold court with Jerry. who stayed in a special roped off VIP table for most of the event. Many of them were comedy legends–after all, any comedian who’s anybody is a member of the Friar’s Club. Dropping in to pay their respects were Paul Shaffer, Richard Belzer, Robert Klein, David Steinberg, Joe Piscopo, Tony LoBianco and numerous others. Joe Piscopo did his best Sinatra impression in front of the Sinatra portrait hanging up by the dais and it brought back some great memories of his SNL days for us. Seems that when a veteran comedy legend is in the dining room of the Friars Club, everyone makes a bee line–and no one is more respected in the comedy business than Jerry Lewis. Richard Belzer was a big help to people trying to get different bits of Jerry Lewis memorabilia signed–bringing them back to Jerry who stayed at his table all night. (We here he doesn’t “work the room” anymore due to chronic back pain–sorry to hear that–but a few determined fans did make it over to his table.)
Jerry let the staff of the Friars Clubs club
cut his cake but everyone in the room sand happy birthday–Jerry had a live mic for the last couple of lines, so of course he sang those lines with the classic “Hey Lady” shtick! Everyone laughed! Jerry did not take the first piece of cake–guess he is not a superstitious birthday boy at the ripe old age of 86! (He looks about 20 years younger in person, by the way!)
It was truly a magical night heightened not only by the great cake (which the large crowd of more than 100 could only eat about 1/8th of), but by great espresso supplied by Chock Full Of Nuts and trays of Godiva truffles. It was a night for of sweets for a sweet and funny mag. In case you are curious what the inside of the magic cake was like, well there were both chocolate and yellow cake layers with very fudgy frosting in between the layers. The outside of the cake was vanilla frosting with an outer edge of dark chocolate fondant. The cake was as rich as Jerry Lewis’ career. We’ll never get over the great detail on the edible eight-inch-high “mini-statue” of Jerry and Dino!
Going to the Friars Club always means a night of friendly guests and staff (and world class “country club style” food), but a birthday party for Jerry Lewis–the abbot of “the joint”–is a rare occasion and something we’ll remember for a lifetime.