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The Blog Is Slow Today Because We Had a Roast Last Night

Last night, COMMENTARY hosted our second annual Roast — this year of the prominent philanthropist, capitalist, and glorious nudnik Roger Hertog. About 300 people joined us at the Plaza Hotel in New York for an evening of great merriment, featuring sharp barbs from COMMENTARY’s former editors Neal Kozodoy and Norman Podhoretz, Hertog’s business colleagues Marilyn Fedak and Lew Sanders, and Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard (who wrote a poem!). Not to mention, in a tour de force, Roger’s Bronx-born steel magnolia of a better half, Susan Hertog, also known as the peerless biographer of Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

There were surprise appearances as well from The Maccabeats, Abraham Lincoln (on tape from heaven), and the very moderate Republican T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII, former editor of the National Topsider and the co-founder of No Labels, who called for civility despite describing the attendees as “simian idiots” and then inviting Hertog to join the East Hampton Philanthropist’s Club. He even coerced me into singing the club’s fight song with him, accompanied by ukulele:

Fight fiercely Philanthropists! Give until it hurts!
Fight fiercely Philanthropists!
Like the Mongols in their yurts.

There’s never been such a noble occupation
For a man to elevate his social station.
So fight fiercely philanthropists,
Fight! Fight! Fight!

Fight fiercely Philanthropists!
Endow those worthy chairs!
Fight fiercely Philanthropists!
Make your marks on world affairs.

No ordinary Tom or Dick or Harry
Could hope to be so eleemosynary,
So fight fiercely philanthropists,
Fight! Fight! Fight!

Five-oh-one-cee, de-duct-a-bi-li-ty,
Fight! Fight! Fight!

T. Cod is a character invented by the great Internet humorist Iowahawk (if you’re smart you’ll follow him on Twitter), who wrote the bit and played the ukulele. He was inhabited (as was Abe Lincoln) by the comic writer and performer Brian Sack. I thank them both for a wonderful evening, which was also the most successful fundraising event in our history. That is a tribute to Roger and his selflessness in allowing us to make a pin cushion of him all night for a good cause, and to all those who were so generous with their support.

For my sins, Roger likened me to both Michael and Fredo Corleone. I told him it wasn’t personal. It was business.



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