Hustler founder Larry Flynt was roasted by the Friars Club of California Sunday night, withstanding scabrous, take-no-prisoners comic broadsides from the star-studded Friars, then delivering one such broadside himself to the Bush Administration, urging the adult industry not to allow the government to erode its First Amendment rights.
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"Most of you know that I've spent most of my adult life fighting for free expression," Flynt told the crowd, which included a healthy smattering of adult industry movers and shakers, to a standing ovation. "I've been in court, I've been imprisoned, I've been crippled for that particular fight and I'm still continuing that fight today…We must never, ever refuse or refrain from reminding John Ashcroft and George Bush that this is our country, not theirs."
Though Flynt was honored by the Friars Club for the lofty achievement of being a "torchbearer in the fight for the protection of the First Amendment," much of the evening's tone was as down and dirty as the latest issue of Hustler.
Comedian Jeff Ross set that tone right from the get-go, calling the partially paralyzed, wheelchair-bound Flynt "the Christopher Reeve of porn."
Turning to fellow Friar Woody Harrelson, who played Flynt in the Milos Forman-directed movie The People vs. Larry Flynt, Ross said, "Woody, you're sorta the opposite of Larry Flynt. You're dead from the neck up."
Actor Gabe Kaplan, another roaster, said Flynt is "the only man in America who goes up on women…Larry told me, 'you know Gabe, some people call it cunnilingis. I call it meals on wheels.'"
When it came Harrelson's turn to roast Flynt, the actor presented him with "the smallest inflatable penis in America award." Harrelson and fellow actor Edward Norton, who portrayed Flynt's attorney in The People vs. Larry Flynt, later performed a skit in which both put forth their best Flynt impressions.
Flynt's daughter, Theresa, labeled her father "a man-whore. I can't believe your penis hasn't fallen off yet."
Other roasters included comedians Norm Crosby, Pauly Shore, Eddie Griffin and Vinnie Favorito, talk-show host Larry King (who wasn't in attendance, but who delivered his prepared remarks via television screens), actor Joe Viterelli and even former Los Angeles Police chief and current Los Angeles city councilman Bernard Parks, who told Flynt that despite their different career paths, "thank you for all you've done for the First Amendment."
Garnering the most attention from photographers on the Friars dais was reality TV star Anna Nicole Smith, who frequently was the recipient of scabrous jabs herself, appearing none-too-pleased with some of them.
"Her pussy is so big, Milton Berle's cock is buried in it," Ross said to big laughs from just about everyone but Smith.
Adult industry figures in attendance included VCA Pictures founder Russ Hampshire, whose company was recently purchased by Flynt, Flynt's brother, Jimmy, Jimmy Flynt's son, Jimmy Flynt Jr., Hustler Video's Jim Kohls, performers Ron Jeremy, Cherry Rain and Angel Cassidy, Wicked Pictures owner Steve Orenstein, Private's Bob Johnson, Topco's Scott Tucker, Cal Exotic Novelties owner Susan Colvin, Pleasure Productions' Frank Kay, Video Team's Christian Mann and from Adult Video News, Paul Fishbein, Darren Roberts, Tim Connelly and Farley Cahen.