Comedy legend Shecky Greene, 88, has been a member of the Friar’s club for decades, but today he tore up his membership card and said he’s finished. And it’s all because of Gilbert Gottfried’s dirty mouth. Shecky came by the SiriusXM studios along with his friend and fellow Friar Jeffrey Gurian, to sit down with Ron Bennington of the Ron and Fez show and talk about the incident that upset him so much that he turned in his Friars Card.
The Friar’s Club was planning to honor comedian Freddie Roman, and had a big show planned at the Pierre Hotel, so they invited long time Friar Shecky Greene to be one of the performers. “They called me in Palm Springs,” Greene told Bennington, “it’s for a very good friend of mine, Freddy Roman. “They tell me they’re going to pay to fly me here…so I came and everything was fine.” The show had gone on long– too long in Greene’s opinion, and so he was already annoyed, when Gottfried– who he refers to as “the little Jew” took the stage.
So now…he gets on and goes into a tirade, and jokes— but so filthy— can i tell you something? I was in the navy and I was with the tough guys and everything– i never heard that kind of language…And he got dirtier and dirtier so I got up and I said ‘that’s it.’
This set off a chain reaction, because Freddy Roman got up and told Schecky he was out of line, which made Greene so mad that he got crazy. “Well I used to be a fighter, and I can’t do it now, but it all came back, my youth all came back to me,” Greene said. He told Bennington that he was ready to get physical over the incident, and the disrespect. There was screaming, and people telling him “no, don’t” and he even told the producer of the show at one point that he was going to kill him. “I swear to God,” he said, “I really was gonna kill him.” No punches were thrown, but after he got back to his hotel, he ended his association with the famous club. “I called up and I told them tear up my card and i quit.”
The disrespect has left Greene furious. Not only did he tear up his membership, but said Gottfried made him so mad that after the show he wanted to “throw Gilbert against the wall.” Greene later mentioned that he has no problem with anyone doing any act they want– in fact he said he’s met Gottfried before and liked him. But, he says the time and place was inappropriate, and that it was a clean show. “It’s called drek” he said, referring to Gilbert’s performance that night.
“I think i liked him better as a duck.”
Gurian, who had been covering the event’s red carpet for his ComedyMattersTV, had said that it was sad because so many people were excited to see a Greene– who was so important in the world of comedy — show up for the event.
Bennington asked if there was any hope of repairing the friendship, but he said, no. He’s done. Greene also talked with Gurian and Bennington about his long career, stories about Frank Sinatra, the history of comedy, and what it was like to be a drinker and a gambler working in Vegas making six figures a week.
If you want to catch the interview in its entirety (and we recommend it) you can hear it exclusively on SiriusXM satellite radio and SiriusXM OnDemand on The Ron and Fez Show. The Ron and Fez Show airs daily on SiriusXM’s Raw Dog Comedy Hits Channel 99 from noon until 3pm in the east.