B.S. I LOVE YOU by Milton Berle


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Uncle Miltie"" gives a celebrity-studded history of the Friars Club and of his love affair with its members. The club was organized about 1907 by some press agents in Manhattan. The agents had some actor friends whom they also invited--and soon the actors had taken over. Now it's largely an actors club renowned for its irreverent humorists and their daily lunches, dinners, and celebrity roasts. Berle, an abbot (or president) of the Friars, has been a lynchpin among kingpins for the club's functions, often tempting members to attend special roasts by offering them boxes of his favorite Havanas. It was in 1920, when Berle was 16, that he was first taken to the Friars Club by Eddie Cantor: ""You won't be such a wise guy big mouth when the men at the club cut you down to size."" Berle was impressed by the assembled wits but held his own. Then in 1945, Al Jolson, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope decided to open a Hollywood branch of the Friars and a second club arose. Among the famed that Berle gives special attention to in his pages are Phyllis Diller, Mae West, Caruso, Will Rogers, Sid Caesar, George Bums, Sid Silvers, Joe E. Lewis, Jolson, and Welles. His jokes come off about every fifth time, aside from the blue ones--which come off every time: ""[Noel] Coward was generally impish. On the opening night of Lady in the Dark, Coward sent Gertrude Lawrence a wire: ""Hope you get a warm hand on your opening."" Like those televised roasts: funny fluff, eminently forgettable.

Pub Date: Nov. 23rd, 1987
Publisher: McGraw-Hill