“Roasts” of corporate big shots can turn out to be gentle sautéings, as their underlings often reveal how hard it is to do standup. But at the Center for Communications’ lunchtime affair for Time Warner Chairman Dick Parsons at the Pierre Hotel in New York on Oct. 20, the room was roaring at some of the material delivered by Time Inc. Editorial Director John Huey, TW Entertainment & Networks Group Chairman Jeffrey Bewkes and others.
Sharp-eyed attendees noted the presence of Mark Katz, in-house White House humor writer during the Clinton years.
Regardless of who wrote the gags at the Parsons fete, Bewkes got the biggest laughs with riffs like this: “2002 was Dick’s first year as CEO. As it happens, it was also the year he purchased a vineyard in Tuscany ... You know, Jerry Levin also bought a vineyard. The New York Times wrote that Jerry and Steve Case sealed the AOL merger on a bottle of Chateau LaTour ’82. And God only knows what they were drinking in the days before that ... I was worried at the time that Jerry might have gotten in a little over his head. I asked him what grape he was growing. He said, ‘Red.’”