DAVID BIANCULLI

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DEAN MARTIN ROASTS MARATHON
February 27, 2021  | By David Bianculli

Decades, 12:00 p.m. ET

 
These Dean Martin specials, which Decades collects tonight in an all-weekend marathon, are anything but politically correct, so be forewarned. But they’re fascinating, to me, because no matter how many hundreds or thousands of paid customers are crammed into the Las Vegas venues for these Las Vegas celebrity roasts, the people on the dais essentially are performing only for each other. And what makes them laugh, in these vintage TV specials, is illuminating as well as sometimes surprising. All the heavyweights of comedy and show business seem to be here, from Bob Hope and Muhammad Ali (and, of course, Dean Martin himself) to Howard Cosell and Jimmy Stewart – but the talents who crack everyone up the most include Ruth Buzzi in her Laugh-In old lady role, Foster Brooks in his drunken speaker role, and Don Rickles as… himself.
 
 
 
 
 
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