OLD Media Moves

One golden joke made this year’s Financial Follies

November 21, 2011

Posted by Chris Roush


Another Talking Biz News society correspondent has provided this take on the 69th annual Financial Follies, hosted Friday night by the New York Financial Writers’ Association at the Marriott Marquis:

There was one punch line — one wonderful punch line — from the Follies that made it all worth it.

And I only half remember it. I can’t recall the set up, or what came after but it doesn’t matter. It ended with John Corzine, the disgraced former Chairman and CEO of MF Global, being called a “Stupid MF-er.”


The line sent my table into a tizzy. How had this phrase not been used 100 times already since the scandal broke we wondered? And if it had how had none of us had heard it before? It was so obvious! So beautiful. A joke for us business news nerds. And wanted to hear more, except, well. we didn’t really hear that. We saw it on the teleprompter.

That’s because we couldn’t hear anything at all. I don’t know if it was the microphone system, the drunks shouting in the room or the acoustics, but the dancers and vocalists on stage might as well have been mutes for all we knew. Conversations arose at my table, and I assume every other table, about how you couldn’t hear anything, which had the effect of drowning out the performers further.  The dancing seemed on point. The mock news video clips looked like they were probably funny.

But if you can’t hear it, well than you just can’t hear it. But does anyone REALLY come for the show? Plus, we already got the golden “Stupid MF-er” joke. Did we really need to hear anymore? You can only go down from there.

So how did the Follies compare to follies of the past? It was exactly the same. Same menu, same jokes about the U.S. borrowing money from China, the same nerdy reporters spending the night bringing up Dodd Franks and Italian debt yields and then trying their damnest to stop talking about Dodd Frank and Italian bond yields. The same occasionally drunk fund managers and annoyed flacks who leave as soon as their guests are tipsy enough to wander off on their own.

But so what? No matter what anyone says there will always be something special about being inebriated in the middle of Time Square while wearing gowns and tuxedos, and there was magic in the air. And in a land of drunken nerds, there are no nerds.

It was the follies of course, the one day PR professionals host journalists they pretend to like at the Marriott Marquis so the real star of the night was the wine. As long as cups were filled there were no complaints. And from start to finish oh, how it flowed, especially with rumors flying that there might not be any open bars to top the night off with once the main event was over. Slurred speech was widespread.

One graceful reporter allowed another reporter to borrow his tuxedo vest to cover up copious wine stains, while a fixed income investor holding a glass of wine had problems remembering and this was at a preparty. When the show was over bands of vulture’s roamed abandoned tables to procure whatever unused wine was left over.

Near the end of the event there was furious texting of one last rumor of one last open bar. Well, it was open if said you were invited by Brunswick. So we were all with Brunswick of course, and the magic continued late into the night.

As reporters filed out at the end there was some snickering about reports of Occupy Wall Street Protesters who came to protest the event, but ended up at “Follies” the musical instead. “I bet they looked silly” was the sentiment among reporters, gleefully oblivious to curious stares of tourists wondering about drunken flocks of walking, stumbling, hopping and skipping adults in prom garb walking north, and then back south looking for the Rum Room. Or was it the rum lounge? There was much debate.

The next day, while trying to sneak naps in a failed attempt to sleep off the effect from the previous night’s affair a text from a colleague read “I hate the follies.” I remember nearly identical texts from her last year, and the year before that.

She’ll be back. We all will, to talk about Dodd Frank and Italian bond yields. And how I pray for another chance to use Stupid MF-er again, just one time.

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