Somebody call a comedian
As Laura Vozzella correctly pointed out in today's column, the 90th birthday "roast" of former Gov. Marvin Mandel was ... not funny -- even though Mandel was a prime candidate for roasting:
His tenure in Annapolis was part soap opera, part crime drama. An affair. A first lady holed up in Government House. A stint in federal prison.
There was good governing, too. And that's what almost every speaker stuck to the other night at an event to mark Mandel's 90th birthday. It was billed as a roast, but about the only person who took that approach was state Comptroller Peter Franchot. Even he treaded lightly — but not lightly enough for the crowd.
Franchot said that as governor, Mandel took an interest in improving the judiciary — and "even tried it out as a customer."
"Folks, this is a roast," Franchot reminded the gathering.
Cheers to Franchot for trying. What the Mandel affair lacked in humor (see? it's easy!), it made up for in heartfelt tributes. But here are a few other funnies I jotted down before falling asleep.
"I'm here representing all living Maryland Republican governors." -- Former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.
"I've always thought, if he keeps smoking that pipe, it's going to shorten his life ... He's not going to live past 115." -- U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, on Mandel's best-known habit, which he gave up years ago.
"Ive' been to so many of these things that I think my lips are permanently printed on his rear end." -- Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, the emcee.
"If you tell any lies about me, I’m going to tell the truth about you." -- Mandel, thanking his roasters for being kind.