On October 24, 2008, Clay Aiken attended the Friars Club Roast of Matt Lauer. Held at the Hilton Hotel in New York City, the event was hosted by Matt’s Today Show buddy, Al Roker who was titled The Roastmaster.
The Friars Club Roast is an annual event and each attendee paid $400 to eat dinner and watch a long line of NBC employees and celebrities make fun of Matt Lauer. Proceeds from the event go to the Friars Club charity.
According to the New York Observer, the only guest without a joke at Matt’s expense was Aretha Franklin – she just sang The Star Spangled Banner. The Observer listed the following participants in the Roast:
Katie Couric, Meredith Viera, Martha Stewart, Jeffrey Ross, Bob Saget, Brian Williams, Gilbert Gottfried, Richard Belzer, Pat Cooper, Jeff Zucker, Vanessa Williams, Clay Aiken, Bob Costas, Diane Sawyer, Kathie Lee Gifford, Joy Behar, Luke Russert, Jim Cramer, Donald Trump, Tiki Barber, Mario Lopez, Danny Aiello….
The Friars Club was established in 1904. It was first known as the Press Agents’ Association. It’s home in New York is called the Monastery. It was in 1906 when the organization began its tribute dinners to theatrical celebrities.
The membership of the club is composed mostly of celebrities, especially comedians. They have a monthly newsletter named the Epistle. The Friars’ leadership is made up of a series of positions similar to those in an Abbey, including positions such as “Abbot,” “Dean,” “Prior,” and “Scribe.”
I remember seeing Clay being introduced, but most of the fans believed that he was just a part of the audience. However, in every thing I read for this article, it was mentioned that Clay Aiken was a part of long line of celebrities that made fun of Matt Lauer. Access Hollywood reported that Clay was assigned a seat in the participant room. Whether Clay was a silent observer or a celebrity with a zinger, it was an honor for him to be at the event.