NJPAC Celebrates Governor Brendan T. Byrne’s 90th Birthday With A Celebrity Comedy Roast Benefit Featuring Roastmaster Governor Chris Christie, Five Additional Former NJ Governors And Special Guest Comedians


Sign in to view read count
NEWARK, NJ – NJPAC will celebrate Governor Brendan T. Byrne’s 90th birthday on Tuesday, April 1 at 5:30pm with a Roast and toast of the former Governor by his predecessors in the New Jersey governor’s office, celebrity comedians and other New Jersey politicians. Held in NJPAC’s intimate Chase Room and benefiting the Arts Center’s education initiatives, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will act as Roastmaster and lead Tom Kean, James Florio, Donald DiFrancesco, Jim McGreevey, and Richard Codey, as well as Assemblyman Jon Bramnick in saluting New Jersey’s 47th Governor. Joining the politicians onstage to roast Governor Byrne will be acclaimed “Saturday Night Live” alumnus Joe Piscopo, comedian and former talk show host Joy Behar, Vice President of New York Friars Club, Stewie Stone, and New Jersey judge turned comedian Vince August. World renowned jazz singer and guitarist John Pizzarelli will provide musical accompaniment for the evening. Additional celebrity guests and politicians may be added to the lineup.

The benefit includes cocktails at 5:30pm followed at 6:30pm with dinner and a Roast of the guest of honor. Media interested in covering the event should contact Josh Balber at 973-353-8051 or jbalber@njpac.org.

When told of the plans for a birthday Roast, Governor Byrne said, “If I knew I would live to 90, I would have taken better care of myself."

“There are smart things we do and funny things we do. This Roast is going to be both,” said Mark Krantz, Executive Producer of The New York Friars Celebrity Roasts for more than a decade, co-creator of The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor (producing the recent salute honoring Carol Burnett), creator of The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song (overseeing the 2013 ceremony honoring Carole King, presented from The East Room of The White House), and a producer overseeing numerous specials for Comedy Central, PBS, VH1 and HBO. “The Friars always roast the ones they love, and Governor Byrne — a New Jersey icon — is well loved by so many from both sides of the political aisle.”

NJPAC, Ruthi Zinn Byrne, President of Zinn Graves & Field Inc. and wife of Governor Byrne, and Mark Krantz are co-producers of this event. The Roast is sponsored by New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company, PSEG and Investors Bank.

Programming has been made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, and by Discover Jersey Arts.


New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is among the largest performing arts centers in the United States. It is the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey — where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day. As New Jersey’s Town Square, NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the State’s and the world’s best artists, while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city. Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted over seven million visitors (including more than one million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents. Visit njpac.org or call 1-888-GO-NJPAC for more information.

Visit Website



Timely announcements from the industry.

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.