Mario Batali looked bigger than life last night, as he sat in a carved wooden throne taking punches from speaker after speaker at his celebrity roast at Capitale. The event, which benefited the Food Bank of New York, was simultaneously tame and vulgar: Every imaginable anatomical insult was made, but there was barely a mention of Super Mario's actual partying practices, which are legendary in restaurant circles. Rachael Ray and Rocco DiSpirito, neither of whom were present, took far worse abuse.
Still, the roasters, who ranged from Sarah Silverman and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog to Anthony Bourdain, got the merry pasta mogul pretty good.
Nick DiPaolo: "Look at you! What are you, trying to be the Chris Farley of the Food Network?"
Ted Allen of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy: "He drinks beer, feeds all day, is constantly getting massages from transvestite hookers — basically, Mario is a Kobe human … Don't expect to see him in the kitchen at Babbo though. Mario hasn't actually cooked since 1979 — unless you count freebasing."
Tony Bourdain: "He's got shows, a line of cookware, books, the NASCAR connection — Mario is every man's dream: a whore who can cook."
Artie Lange: "You look like Kiefer Sutherland after he was stung by bees."
Lange probably had the night's best set. The worst? Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, who couldn't get his microphone working. And then there was Mario: His speech at the end was unexpectedly poised, venomous, and funny (and, sadly, too obscene too excerpt here).