A crowd of hundreds of community leaders, officials and supporters of the Malon D. Mimms Boys & Girls Club crowded the Northside Hospital-Cherokee Conference Center to watch Olens take the heat.
Typically, the event draws more than 500 attendees and raises roughly $75,000 each year for the Boys & Girls Club, which moved from a school basement to a new facility on Univeter Road in November 2007. Last year’s roast of U.S. Congressman Tom Price (R-Roswell) reportedly brought in $80,000.
Tickets to last night’s roast were $75 per person. The event included a cocktail reception, live entertainment that featured club members, and auctions.
The roasters who took turns taking a stab at Olens were: Cherokee County State Court Judge Alan Jordan; Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee; Cobb Chamber of Commerce President and CEO David Connell; and John Wallace, Cherokee Republican Party precinct manager.
Connell used a photo slide show during his roast of Olens that showed the attorney general on the campaign trail and with his family, whom Connell said he consulted while preparing for the event.
“They all said the same things, ‘Sam is not funny,’” said Connell.
In April, Connell was arrested and later released on a $1,000 bond after passing through a security checkpoint at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport with a handgun in his briefcase that he said he forgot was there.
“The reality is when you’re doing a roast you have to have some good material,” said Connell.
“You have to have mistakes that people have made, stupid things that they’ve said, but Sam is always doing the right thing. He doesn’t make any mistakes. I on the other hand have lots of opportunities if anybody wants to do a roast of me. There are a lot of things that have gone on in my life.”
Jamie Bendell of the Punchline Comedy Club in Atlanta served for the third time as master of ceremonies.
Bendell joked that he and a karate instructor who performed during the evening’s entertainment portion had rehearsed chopping in half a copy of President Barack Obama’s heath care law Olens opposed, but failed because it was too thick.
“We pulled off the mandate but still…” Bendell said to audience laughter.
Olens sat on stage with his roasters, but as a seasoned politician used to the spotlight, he couldn’t help but interrupt Bendell’s shtick periodically by throwing in his own off-the-cuff remarks. In response, Bendell quipped that it was rare for a heckler to be the guest of honor, which made it difficult for him to have the attorney general thrown out of the building.
Before he was elected in November 2010 as Georgia’s 53rd attorney general, Olens served as chairman of the Cobb Board of Commissioners for eight years. An early supporter of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and outspoken critic of Obamacare, he was a speaker at last month’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. He and his wife, Lisa, have two children, Lauren and Jonathan, and live in east Cobb.
Recaps of other roast performances could not be made available due to press deadlines.
Samuel Moore, Cherokee Boys & Girls Club executive director, said the club serves an important role in the community. About 400 youth annually from 10 schools in Cherokee County are served by the nonprofit, he said.
“We focus on the individual young person…geared to develop and enhance their educational skill level each day,” said Moore.
Roast Committee Chairman and Cherokee County Manager Jerry Cooper, who was honored for his work, said he expected this year’s event to raise $80,000 to help the Boys & Girls Club. Organizers expect to use the money to provide after school services, leadership development programs and a safe haven for at-risk and disadvantaged youth in our community.