Cheers for Bob Dylan -- In honor of the musician's 30th anniversary as a recording artist, here's the celebrity roast we'd like to see

By Bob Cannon
Updated October 16, 1992 at 04:00 AM EDT

Cheers for Bob Dylan

On Oct. 16, a veritable Who’s Who of rock & roll — from George Harrison to Sinéad O’Connor — will gather in Madison Square Garden to honor Bob Dylan for the 30th anniversary of his debut as a recording artist. Nice lineup, but we think a very special occasion like this demands the ultimate show-biz tribute — a celebrity roast. Here’s how we’d like to think it would go:

Dean Martin: Well, good evening, everybody. It’s nice of you all to come to honor one of the wildest — and I do mean wildest — crooning cats to ever strap on an instrument, Mr. Bob Dylan. I tell you, folks, every time I’ve ever heard the kid sing, I haven’t been able to make out a word he’s saying…so I’ll have what he’s having. (Laughter from crowd)

Ed McMahon: You are correct, sir! Dated alcoholic reference!

Steve Allen: Bob Dylan has been called the voice of his generation. Some have called him a real poet. And some have called him hoping he wouldn’t answer! But, seriously, allow me to read from the poet’s own work: ”I want you…I want you…I want you…so bad.” Ladies and gentlemen, the genius of Bob Dylan!

James Brown: Yeeeaaahhooow! Bobby D! Jump back, wanna kiss myself! Unh!

Frank Sinatra: Enough of that, you crumb. I’m here tonight because Mr. Bob Dylan is a class human being. A cat who can do it all. Like ”Lay Lady Lay.” Any cat who can describe the ol’ ring-a-ding-ding like that is aces, pal. So let’s hear it from a groovy individual who’s a real stand-up guy. A man I humbly call ”the Poet,” Mr. Bob Dylan. (Loud, sustained applause)

Dylan: Thank you. I had a speech. It used to go like that, but now it goes like this. Sometimes you’re not sure that what you know is something you suspected all along, but then it turns out to be an idea that was widely believed to be disproved in this or any other time. Given that, everything that was worth improving was essentially verbatim. My daddy (long, wistful pause)…my daddy told me everything is not in the best interest of the indifferent, but then again, he’d got hit by lightning in a dream. I’ve certainly got the right to by now. It’s not like it was when there was pressure to leave it be and create a vibe to become a new version of the status quo. And vice versa. (Dylan leaves the dais. Silence from crowd.)

Sinatra: What the hell was that?

Martin: I dunno. It sounded good to me.