After his company announced hundreds of millions in losses yesterday morning, Blackstone Group chairman and co-founder Steven A. Schwarzman did his best Henny Youngman impression with a political roast routine at last night’s annual Al Smith dinner. Mr. Schwarzman’s schmaltzy speech at the Waldorf Astoria white tie bash included zingers about Occupy Wall Street, the News Corporation phone hacking scandal and New York Senator Chuck Schumer. Hey-O! Fortune’s Katie Benner described all of Mr. Schwarzman’s “borscht belt glory” in recap of the yearly charity event for his daily “Term Sheet” email.
“Anyone who got near the mic managed to fire off a strained “Occupy the Waldorf Astoria” joke,” Ms. Benner wrote.
Mr. Schwarzman’s best line may have been a crack that referenced both his mother and Rupert Murdoch’s phone hackers.
“After I read some of my jokes over the phone to my mother, Rupert called and told me I had pretty good material.”
The Al Smith dinner is a white tie event benefitting a foundation run by the New York Archdiocese that started in the late 1940’s. Over the years, it earned a reputation for hosting political heavyweights. Past keynote speakers include JFK, Winston Churchill, President Barack Obama, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Senator John McCain, Winston Churchill, and former Presidents Reagan, Bush Senior, Nixon and Carter.
NY1 posted a clip of Mr. Schwarzman joking about two New York politicians who were conspicuously absent at this year’s dinner.
“I’m a bit disappointed our two senators couldn’t be here tonight, but … there’s some votes in the Senate. I wanted to personally congratulate Senator Gillibrand who looked stunning in that photo spread in Vogue. I so admire her poise, professionalism and ability to find the one news outlet that Chuck Schumer couldn’t monopolize,” Schwarzman said.
You can’t blame Mr. Schwarzman for wanting to yuck it up and blow off some steam. Earlier that same morning, Blackstone Group posted a nasty $342 million third quarter loss.
“The third quarter presented extremely challenging market conditions,” Mr. Schwarzman said.
Take my portfolio … please!