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Cavalcade for May 28

Dylan and Dean

Dylan photo: flickr.com/badosa. If you miss them too, Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts are available on DVD from Time-Life.

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It’s The Bob Dylan Celebrity Roast on Cavalcade!

Red Buttons was right. He “nevah got a din-ner!” Of course, Red Buttons likely had no idea who Bob Dylan is. Nor Foster Brooks. Nor Norm Crosby. Nor even—dare I suggest—Nipsey Russell. And that cat could rhyme. But oh, how glorious it could be if the old Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts of the 1970s could have zeroed in on Zimmy.

Imagine it’s 1976. The TV screen goes wavy (but not gravy). We zoom back forty years to that smoky dais. Dino is holding court in the company of the bellowing laugh of Orson Welles, and at least one cowboy actor of some generation—could be Lorne Greene, could be Michael Landon. The usual Joey Bishop-esque nondescript comedian could have been Jack Carter, Jackie Vernon or Dean's seemingly homeless uncle, Leonard Barr. Nevah got a din-ner. The inappropriate presence of some political figure could have been Barry Goldwater or Hubert Humphrey. No matter whom, John Wayne would have flanked him. And then, the heavy artillery: Redd Foxx, Rickles. Look out.

I picture Bob sitting in the next-to-podium "hot seat" in his Desire western get-up, or maybe even in "Renaldo & Clara" whiteface—stone-faced, ashen, firing up an endless string of Marlboros and keeping his Buster Keaton deadpan cool. As Dino slobbered one tipsy intro after another, as each speaker came and went, Dylan would hold his ground and then rise to the podium to slay them all.

This is all, of course, pure fantasy. But I can assemble a program of oddball interpretations of Bobby the Bard’s songs to approximate what a Bob Dylan Celebrity Roast might have sounded like—if the guests ranged from Beck and Jack White to Jerry Garcia and Nico; from Rage Against The Machine to Social Distortion to (dramatic pause)… Shatner.

Listen 8-10 p.m. on 90.7 FM tonight and on demand, on some jingle-jangle morning of your choice, next week in the Weekend Archives.