NBC Universal Television Group president Jeff Zucker was the target of the Hollywood Radio and Television Society's first roast Wednesday.
The high profiles of many of the roasters, including former Vice President Al Gore, former President George Bush (who used the word "ass," no less), and arch-rival and newly promoted Viacom Co-President Leslie Moonves" may have helped the medicine go down a little easier. Mostly, Zucker was forced to endure an unending stream of short and bald jokes while wife Karen looked on.
Kicking off the night's festivities, HRTS President and The WB CEO Jordan Levin told the crowd that Zucker was the night's lucky target because "[Fox Entertainment president] Gail Berman was too busy, [newly-named ABC Prime time president] Steve McPherson, too soon, Les Moonves too scary and [recently departed E! CEO] Mindy Herman too likely to beat us up in a strip club parking lot and too likely to take all the gift bags."
Theformer head of NBC Studios Ted Harbert claimed for himself the "Joyce DeWitt Award for Luckiest Person in Show Business," then offered a list of "the top-ten reasons why I'm thrilled to have been fired by Jeff Zucker." They included "number seven: no longer have to pretend that I hate Les Moonves," and "number six: no longer have to hide the fact that it was really Ted Frank [head of NBC's current department] who came up with the idea of supersizing Friends."
Other roasters were UTA's television head Jay Sures, who used Zucker's many quotes ("I think Coupling will have people talking about it at the water cooler" and "some of these shows just sucked") against him.
Comedians Kathy Griffin and Tom Papa took the opportunity to needle Zucker for either failing to follow through on their pilot (Griffin) or burying their sitcom in the summer (Papa).
Finally, former ABC Entertainment Group Chairman Lloyd Braun provided a video showing how he's been spending his recently acquired downtime: Lying around in scroungy shorts and t-shirt, swigging whiskey and surfing the Internet.