Honolulu Lite

by Charles Memminger

Friday, January 22, 1999

Donnelly ...
is fit ...
to be fried ...

'WHY write a column? Aren't there any honest jobs around? That, I'm sure would be my father's reaction to my current means of employment were he alive today. But after a checkered career in television and a hyperactive one in radio, I think we can settle down to chronicling all manner of items that might not otherwise find their way into a newspaper. So, without further etc., let's begin ..."

With those words, and more importantly, with those three little dots, Dave Donnelly began a remarkable career as a "three dot" columnist with this paper. That first column appeared on Dec. 16, 1968, just about the time I was starting high school. Little did I know then that 30 years later Dave would still be at it and I'd be sitting within spitting distance of him.

Not that I'd spit on him. It's just that he is within range, desk-wise. I've only been doing this column for eight years, which represents a mere 700 or 800 columns. Donnelly's been toss-ing out the dots five days a week for 30 years. That's a lot of dots.

Entire lives have been chronicled in his column in one- or two-sentence snippets. Whether the subjects liked it or not. "Making Donnelly's column," can be a good or bad thing depending on whether you recently did something worthwhile or something really embarrassing. (For the record, Don Ho, mentioned in Donnelly's very first column, has appeared 46,532 times).

Ibring this up now because some of Dave's friends have decided he has passed the audition and feel it's time to honor him in public. Honor might not be the right world. Belittle, humiliate, insult, affront, offend, abuse, embarrass ... those are the words. That's what happens when you become the main entree at a celebrity "roast." A few of your best buddies bust your chops in front of a crowd, all in the spirit of good fun, at least for them.

But Donnelly's got fairly thick skin -- it looks pretty thick from here -- and he gets to take the stage at the end of the roast and retaliate for the nasty things each fryer says about him.

This being Hawaii, the Donnelly "roast" actually is being billed as a "stir fry." Fryers will include promoter and radio guy Tom Moffatt; the man formerly known as "Famous Amos" but who now is just plain old Wally Amos; rival three-dot columnist and Viagra test pilot Eddie Sherman and a bunch of others. There's a rumor that Bob Sevey, the elder statesman of Hawaii television news, who snuck off to Washington state several years ago, will appear to get in a few jabs.

Now, I know what you're thinking. YOU would like to be there when these hijinks ensue. Right? Well, how much would you be willing to pay. One hundred per ticket? Two hundred per ticket?

Wait. What if I told you that the Donnelly stir fry also is a fund-raiser for Hawaii Public Television and that most of the price of a ticket is tax deductible? And that it will be held at the venerable Hawaii Theatre? Now how much would you pay? Three hundred?

Wait. What if I told you there would also be heaps of cuisine from fine local restaurants? And that you'll be able to get in line BEFORE Jim Leahy?

Well, I'm here to tell you that tickets to this once in a lifetime (I may be overhyping this thing just a tad) event are not three hundred, not two hundred, not even one hundred dollars a ticket. You can attend this fabulous happening for a mere $75. Or you can buy a row of ten comfy seats for $600. Operators are standing by right now to take your order. Just call PRWorks at 944-4343 and you can watch a bunch of famous people savagely fry Donnelly like a flounder. But in a fun way.

Charles Memminger, winner of
National Society of Newspaper Columnists
awards in 1994 and 1992, writes "Honolulu Lite"
Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Write to him at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, 96802

or send E-mail to charley@nomayo.com or

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