Former Gov. Gray Davis will turn 70 next month, and to celebrate he subjected himself to a roast.
The event, which followed dinner with friends and former staffers Wednesday at The California Museum, included more than a few jokes about Davis' rigidity and prodigious fundraising.
The real highlight, though, was a video including clips of Davis playing himself, choking on a cigar, raising the wall - not the roof - and learning to say, "What's up?"
The video, presented by Jason Kinney, the Democratic strategist and former Davis aide, includes a clip of Davis recording a tribute suitable for any Assembly speaker's retirement - "The Assembly goes through speakers like I go through blue shirts and red ties," he says - and an interview with Davis' wife, Sharon, about the influence of her husband's political adviser, Garry South.
"He knows what's best for us," she says. "He takes polls, you know. He really takes a lot of polls."
Later, Davis appears in the video as part of the "Herb Wesson Four," a nod to the former Assembly speaker.
"I really like that rap group NWA," says Davis, describing his musical influences. "I'm not sure what that means, although someone told me it means 'Nice Guys Win Always,' and I think that's a nice message for children."
About 200 people attended. Davis told them he was proud of the work they did while in office and in the years since. There were few references to the election in which Davis was recalled. That is another anniversary coming up - the day this month in 2003 that Davis watched while his successor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was installed.
At the end of the night, Davis took to the podium. Ribbing about his frugality would go unchecked, but remarks about his tardiness and taste for turkey sandwiches required an update.
Davis arrived at the airport Wednesday an hour before his flight, he said, and a diet precludes him from eating turkey anymore.
"News alert, or breaking news, breaking news," Davis said. "Broccoli is still in. Turkey is out."
He said the diet is limiting but leaves him full of energy. After all, he said, it was about 10:30 p.m. He described himself as an "old man" still going strong.