If anyone harbored any illusions that Saturday night's roast of Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens at Zanies Comedy Club at MB Financial Park would be "playful" -- as promised in the invitation -- those illusions were quickly shattered.
Roastmaster Pat McGann tore the invitation in half and then, along with several comedians, proceeded to turn Stephens into what McGann aptly described as a piņata.
It was the anniversary of the club, and, as McGann said, "We have developed such a great relationship with Rosemont over the year that we wanted to say thank you in a special way -- the only way we know how -- we're going to tear apart the leader of this great village."
It was special. Your average Jeffrey Ross roast had nothing on this one. And it was just as profane. There were enough unprintable words thrown about to do a Blackhawks victory celebration proud.
But it was all for a good cause.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Chicago-based Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation. The foundation provides services to children, from newborns up to age 19, diagnosed with pediatric cancer.
It is a charity that has been dear to Stephens, who noted before the event that cancer took the life of his father, former Mayor Donald Stephens.
Everything was fair game for the roasters, including the age disparity between Stephens and his wife, the town's nepotism, Stephens' courting of the Cubs and the fact that neighboring Des Plaines has a casino.
Stephens sat in a chair on the stage and showed himself to be a good sport, smiling and laughing at the most stinging of barbs.
As he took his seat, wearing a white shirt that fully displayed his form, McGann said, "That is a great outfit. That fashion mall can't open soon enough, can it?"
McGann made fun of the labyrinthine parking garage, then thanked some special people, including "the superintendent of public safety, Donald Stephens II, chief of police, Donald Stephens III, executive director of the convention center, Chris Stephens, the director of advertising, Darrin Stephens, secretary of stupid music, Ray Stevens, drama consultant, Connie Stevens ..."
The roasters included two of Stephens' friends, Ramblin' Ray from country radio station US99, and former state Sen. James DeLeo, who showed up in a shiny black shirt that did not escape the darts of his fellow roasters.
Some of the strongest material came from WGN's Pat Tomasulo.
"He's got a wife 30 years younger than him. Nothing we can say is going to impact this man whatsoever. He practically owns an entire town. None of us own our own cars."
Stephens had the last word, trying a few jokes of his own.
"McGann is here for the one-year anniversary," Stephens said. "He has been stuck in the parking garage since opening night. All these guys were nice, except for Tomasulo. I saw him down at WGN. He is much taller in his cubicle."
He then turned serious, saying he became involved with Bear Necessities a little more than five years ago, adding, "Cancer sucks. There is no two ways about it. Cancer got my dad," as well as another friend fighting a battle.