By Tony Adams
Even though he wrote a book called “Fork On The left, Knife In The Back,” everyone who knows him will tell you that Michael Musto is a good guy. That is what made roasting him a daunting task for the glittery assemblage of media stars wielding more air kisses than knives at the Michael Musto Broadway Roast, benefitting the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. The roast took place at the Actors Temple Theater on 47th Street, on Monday, May 22. When the celebs did get around to the good-natured knifing, they turned gleefully on each other with Rosie O’Donnell leading the charge. (If you do not know “La Dolce Musto,” check out what I wrote about him for South Florida Gay News.
As the first speaker of the evening, O’Donnell recalled being officially outed by Musto many years ago. Any hard feelings about that have long since evaporated, and the crowd (Sold out tickets ranged from $150-60) cheered with approval when Rosie announced that she would personally match all donations. On a more serious note, she talked about the deep depression that has enveloped her since November 9, 2016 – this is only her fifth public appearance since that date – and about the personal family difficulties she has endured in the past year. If her appearance is any indication, she has come through it with her edge and perfect comedic timing intact.
The adorable Bruce Vilanch acted as Master of Mischief for the evening, introducing (and often having to coax off stage) roasters including drag stars Bianca Del Rio, and Jinkx Monsoon, Randy Jones of the original Village People, Johnny Skandros (AKA Johnny Scruff – founder and owner of the hookup app SCRUFF) comedian Judy Gold, Youtube star Randy Rainbow, vintage reality TV star Countess Luann D’Agostino, and NYC celebrity doorman Marcus Kelle.
The VIP reception preceding the roast was an exhausting delight in and of itself. Those stepping on and off the red carpet and each other’s shoes included comedian Robbyn Kaamil, public access TV legend Robin Byrd, radio personality Frank DeCaro, party promoter Daniel Nardicio with model Artem Shcherbakov, Paper Magazine’s Mickey Boardman and Vogue’s Lynn Yaeger.
Musto, wearing a tilted jeweled crown and a fur lined gold robe worked the crowd with glee. At one point, with faux disgust, he whispered to me, “You invite them and they turn on you, because they can, like a dog licking its own balls, but they better hope that there is no karma because I am speaking last tonight.” Musto did get the last words as playful and as endearing as is his lengthy career celebrating all that is wonderful and gay about New York City.