City Desk

Dan Snyder Roasted in Absentia

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David Tveite (left) roasts Dan Snyder, played by Adam Friedland

It's too bad Dan Snyder can't be more like former Washington Pigskins' owner Jack Kent Cooke, Yaser Al-Keliddar said: Dead.

And that one was one of the only jokes about the team's much-maligned owner at a roast by nine local comedians at the Brixton last night that was suitable for print, even by alt-weekly standards. Snyder, unfortunately, couldn't make it, but the "Tuesdays with Funnie" event organizers had a stand-in, comedian Adam Friedland, pretend to be him, dressing in a blazer and Snyder-esque wiry glasses.

The all-male line-up of comedians touched on everything people in the D.C. area have grown to dislike about Snyder: his team's aggressive financial moves (it sued a 73-year-old grandmother because she could no longer afford her season tickets); its consistently subpar performances; his refusal to change his team's name; and his perceived insensitivity to the many of us who aren't as wealthy as he is.

"'Dan Snyder' is actually an Indian word for racist," comedian John Conroy said. "Sorry, that was harsh—Native American word."

Alas, a sizable chunk of the jokes strayed away from obvious character lapses and instead focused on him being Jewish and variations of jokes involving his wife and her vagina.

The Jewish jokes might have been striving for relevance, considering the growing campaign to get Snyder to change his team's name from a word that is, by definition, "usually offensive." But most just revolved around old stereotypes of Snyder being rich and cheap. Which didn't make them any better than the team's name, really.

"He made his money like any good Jewish boy—by turning 13," Pat Riley said.

Snyder, of course, once accused Washington City Paper of anti-Semitism as part of his defamation lawsuit over an article that he hadn't read and that never mentioned his religion. A few of the comedians referenced the case—in which Snyder also claimed, incorrectly, that City Paper had gone after his wife. But the comedians, not entirely surprisingly, did just that. "Dan Snyder tried to sue City Paper for making fun of his wife's cancer," Andy Kline said. "No, they didn't, they made fun of her husband—and that's way worse, at least cancer wins sometimes."

After the roast was done, Friedland took to the stage pretending to be the team owner to accept what he referred to as his "Lifetime Appreciation Award." He thanked a list of corporate sponsors for "keeping us rooting for our 'Skins" and gave the classic Snyder defense of the team's name, saying it celebrated the heritage of the team and of Native Americans.

"I've never had a business that works, but somehow I'm worth $1.2 billion," Friedland said.  "If you guys are so upset about the [Pigskins], buy your own team."

Photo by Perry Stein

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