Much like the theater full of Nazis at the end of Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino was roasted thoroughly Wednesday afternoon at the annual Friars Club event held in the ballroom of the Hilton New York. The director stood against the verbal slings and arrows of his friends and colleagues as they lovingly lambasted him for, among many other things, his love of Uma Thurman, foot fetishism, and reliance on “homage,” cramming in more profanity than, well, one of his movies. For those wondering, they did not serve Royales with Cheese at the luncheon, just the standard chicken.
Presiding over the occasion was roastmaster was Samuel L. Jackson, who did a decent job moving things along and dropping in a few zingers now and again. The first real surprisingly hilarious roaster was fellow director Eli Roth, who, in his own homage to Tarantino, switched up the chronology to get medieval on his ass: “It’s only fitting, like Pulp Fiction, that I begin my speech with the ending,” Roth said, flipping to the end of his speech and reading, “’However, to Uma, it was just considered foot-rape.’” Another director, Brett Ratner, didn’t fare quite as well, with most of his jokes falling flat.
Comedienne Whitney Cummings was probably the least known of those taking the podium, but she got some of the biggest laughs. To Eli Roth, she quipped, “All your movies are about torture. If you’re so into people getting tortured on camera, you should make a movie about people watching your movies.” Quentin’s muse, Thurman, who sat to Tarantino’s left the whole night, occasionally blushing under the onslaught of jokes about his obsession with her and her feet, nevertheless concluded her own tribute by removing her high heel shoes, pouring champagne into each of them, and toasting with her director in what was simultaneously the sweetest and grossest moment of the night.
Jackie Brown star Pam Grier was scheduled to appear, but an unfortunate bout with the flu kept her away. Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World director Edgar Wright was chosen as a last-minute replacement, using the opportunity to joke, “Of course I’m everybody’s first choice to stand in for Pam Grier. You may remember me from Foxy Brown 2: British Fox, or Coffey 2: White Coffey.” Roast stalwarts like Jeffrey Ross and Sarah Silverman also got up to tear down the director, and so did Reservoir Dogs star Harvey Keitel. Finally, after a heartfelt, but still profanity peppered, speech from Friars Club Abbot Jerry Lewis, the man of the hour delivered his rebuttal. Anyone who has seen an interview with Tarantino knows that he’s one of those people who best communicates via celluloid, but the Pulp Fiction auteur still managed to get off a few good jokes and express his appreciation for the honor. Throughout the night, he appeared to take every poke good-naturedly – even if he didn’t quite know how to react to some less-than-tasteful jabs at the late David Carradine – and it was clear that, if nothing else, he’d enjoyed being talked about for two hours straight. Of course, it’s also quite possible that he had Thurman assassinate everyone on the dais with a samurai sword later that night.