BY BOB HOLT
Brendan Byrne served as New Jersey’s 47th governor from 1974 through 1982, and his voice is often heard on New Jersey issues today.
Byrne was roasted at the Performing Arts Center in Newark in honor of his 90th birthday, but the host of the event may have heard more jokes than Byrne did.
That would be Governor Chris Christie. NorthJersey.com reported that Christie heard jokes about the George Washington Bridge lane closure issue, his weight, and possible 2016 presidential candidacy. “It really is an honor to be standing next to what could be the next president of the — I’m sorry, these are the wrong notes,” former South Hackensack judge Vince August said. “I’m doing a roast next week with Jeb Bush.”
Former state governors Jim McGreevey, Donald DiFrancesco, Dick Codey, Tom Kean, and Jim Florio were in attendance at the event, according to Politicker NJ. Christie got in his own shot at one of them, saying, “There’s no pressure on me tonight. I’m going right before Governor Florio.”
New Jersey jazz singer and guitarist John Pizzarelli provided music for the benefit, which raised over $100,000 for Performing Art Center education programs, according to an Associated Press report in the News Times.
Former “View” host Joy Behar was in attendance at Byrne’s roast. About Byrne, she said, according to NJ.com. "To him, I’m jailbait.” Regarding the current governor, Behar commented, "It was very brave of him to come. First the Velveeta shortage and now the bridge thing."
After Christie mentioned that the affair was a Byrne roast, Behar responded, "Don’t bully me.”
According to Politicker NJ, Christie called Byrne a New Jersey treasure. The 90-year old Byrne invited the people in attendance to a similar dinner he hopes to have in ten years.