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Californiaroast.jpgThis year's California Roast will be no laughing matter for Capitol denizens in need of a chuckle.

That's because the California Center for Civic Participation's much-anticipated fund-raising dinner, known for delivering raunchy lines and lots of laughs, couldn't nail down a politician willing to take the heat. The center announced in a letter sent to supporters this week that it has postponed until 2013 what was set to be the 30th annual roast.

"We tried so hard and we just couldn't make it happen," Belen Flores, the center's executive assistant, said in an interview.

Flores said organizers extended invitations to multiple prominent politicians they wanted to be the "honoree" -- including Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Kamala Harris -- but all had scheduling conflicts or declined for other reasons.

While Brown is among the politicians who will avoid the hot seat this spring, the now 74-year-old governor didn't escape the comedic crossfire last year.

"In his first race he ran against the original Tea Party.... No one's asking to see this governor's birth certificate because they're worried it would crumble if it was exposed to air," Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, D-Woodland Hills, cracked at the time about the governor's senior status.

The stage has been shared by some of the state's top political names in recent years, including Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez . Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger got in on the action in 2010, exchanging jabs with Pérez and other politicians on hand for the festivities.

The roast, which attracts high-profile sponsors and hundreds of guests each year, is a major fundraising source for the center, which runs civic engagement and policy programs for the state's youth. Flores said while several grants, including one from The California Endowment, have allowed the center to "move things around and budget" for the coming year, the group is still seeking donations and sponsorships to make up for the revenue lost by postponing the roast.


Pérez , others, punch lines at raunchy California Roast

Balls fly as Schwarzenegger, others roast Steinberg

PHOTO CREDIT: Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, feels the hair of Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, as he makes fun of his hairstyle as Steinberg was roasted at the annual California Roast on Tuesday, June 1, 2010 in Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua


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