He’s Got A Million Of Them
Author documents laughs & life inside Friars Club
By Eleanor O’Sullivan
Take my book, please.
Lovers of a good laugh can hear all about 100 years of the famous Friars Club at the Ocean County Library’s Brick branch Monday, as writer Barry Dougherty discusses his new book on the New York club, “A Hundred Years, A Million Laughs.”
Dougherty got inside the famously secretive celebrity club for his new biography of both a social hangout and cultural icon. Its members have included Irving Berlin, Jack Benny, George M. Cohan, Enrico Caruso, Milton Berle, Sophie Tucker, Al Jolson, Jimmy Durante, Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Carol Burnett, George Burns, Sammy Davis Jr., Robin Williams, Joy Behar, Billy Crystal and Barbara Walters.
Many of them are interviewed in Dougherty’s new book, often telling revealing stories about the club and what goes on behind its closed doors.
“This book is dedicated to the longest-running joke in history: May its punch line bring laughter to last till the end of time. Here’s to the Friars!” Dougherty writes in his book’s dedication. The club opened in 1904 and became a nationally known hangout by the 1930s. Its golden age was considered to be in the 1950s and 1960s, when partying and performing among the celebrated became synonymous. Nearly 200 photographs illustrate the history, as well as rare Al Hirschfeld caricatures.
Dougherty is the editor of the Friars Club magazine, “The Epistle.” He also has written and edited “How To Do It Standing Up,” and “The Friars Club Book of Roasts,” and his articles have appeared in The New York Times and Newsday.
Dougherty will speak at 7 p.m. Monday at the Brick Branch, 301 Chambers Ridge Road, Brick.