"I'm going to destroy the mother*@$&#@."
That's roughly all of last night's roast of Anthony Bourdain that we can share and not get a phone call from our lawyers (or possibly our moms). The epithet was delivered by Bourdain's close friend, chef Eric Ripert on the red carpet of a New York City Wine & Food Festival event at which fellow chefs and acid-tongued comedians took turns dicing up the cantankerous chef/author/TV host/pot-stirrer/traveler - all in the name of charity.
Sarah Silverman appeared via video to explain the rules of the roast (and introduce a few crossover culinary/comedy terms that involved salad, teabags and pork) and set the tone for the evening advising the guest of honor, "There's gonna be a lot of great lines tonight. You can't snort any of them."
Roasters were not spared the chopping block, and recurring themes included: Bourdain did drugs, Batali is not a small man, Allen is gay, Ray cannot cook, Guy is a "douchebag" (who also can't cook), and Ripert is, well, French.
A few of the less ribald jabs:
"Anthony, is there anything you can't do? I mean, besides cook?" - Bonnie McFarlane
"You're like if Billy Idol and a hippo mated." - Bonnie McFarlane on Guy Fieri
"You dress like a health department violation." - Bonnie McFarlane on Mario Batali
"In case you're wondering why Guy Fieri is here, he won a contest." - Mario Batali
"You're like the poor man's Anderson Cooper." - Artie Lange on Willie Geist
"Anthony Bourdain, of course, has huge talent, and he’s the first to tell you that. If his ego got any bigger, it would look like Paula Deen’s thighs." - Willie Geist
"An all-star lineup of Lipitor centerfolds" - Ted Allen on his co-roasters
"Body by Ichabod Crane, hair by Jamie Lee Curtis in those 'thank God I can [have a bowel movement]' yogurt commercials...you're the edgy guy who will tell you like it is about cous cous." - Jim Norton on Anthony Bourdain
"Your food is so sloppy, I saw Jim Norton trying to buy it a drink." - Bonnie McFarlane on Rachael Ray
"I hope you enjoy eating at Olive Garden, mother*@$&#@." - Mario Batali to Gilbert Gottfried after a blistering string of fat jokes.
Bourdain, to his credit, took his lumps like a gentleman (though he spared absolutely no mercy for his longtime nemesis Paula Deen, who was not in attendance). He admitted afterward, over an ice cream cone in the parking lot, that things could have gone much more roughly.
It was, after all, for a good cause. 575 tickets to the dinner were sold at a hefty $400 apiece, and diners took part in silent and active auctions to benefit Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry initiative. While totals are still being tallied, the proceeds from all New York City Wine & Food Festival events are expected to raise at least $1 million for the charity.
And it only cost Bourdain and crew a little bit of dignity.