Roast of Richard Rotella

Ashley Winward

Right on the heels of Comedy Central’s Roast of Justin Bieber, the University of New Haven campus got the chance to roast their own “celebrity,” their very own USGA president Richard Rotella.

Members of various organizations Rotella has been involved in, such as Sigma Chi Fraternity, Scope and USGA, filled the room in hopes of getting a good jab in at Rotella, all while enjoying a delicious spread of fried foods provided by Sodexo.

The Roastmaster of the evening was future USGA president, James Kielar, who strolled in fashionably late to the podium. “We’ve gathered together today to honor our current president for the many wonderful things he’s done in the past year…unfortunately President Kaplan could not be here tonight, so we’ll settle for you, Rich,” Kielar began his opening monologue.

Kielar had the room cracking up throughout the night with quips and jokes, adding a bit of awkward silence in for good measure. In between roasters, he stayed in election mode, giving debate lines such as “Thank you, you’ve brought up some really good points” to each and every roaster. He also delivered a crowd pleasing joke that evening: “I want to take this opportunity to list a few things that are more popular than Rich: The new smoking policy, Sodexo, parking and the walk to Harugari.”

Dale Eriksen was first up for his chance at Rotella, and at first it seemed as if he was going to take it easy on his fellow brother of Sigma Chi. He first asked, “What can you say bad about him? He was really likable, admired, you really looked up to him….alright I’ll stop talking about Zani now.”

After making a few nods to previous presidents Zani Imetovski and Patrick Kelland, Eriksen continued through a slideshow of embarrassing photos of Rotella courtesy of Facebook, spanning from his youth to college. “Have you guys seen his pants? It’s like American Eagle meets Skittles,” he commented on Rotella’s current wardrobe much to the audience’s agreement.

He also touched upon the views of the public, noting, “There’s no middle ground with you; you either dislike him or you hate him.”

The next roaster up was Fire Science club president and Sigma Chi brother Matthew Carroll, who also presented with his own embarrassing visual aids (with the help of Dan Chudy). Although he claimed that he did not prepare as much as other roasters, the jokes he came stocked with packed quite the punch.

“I was in Soundview the other day and noticed that the weight limit was changed in the elevators; they now use USGA presidents as a unit of measurement. If you get on an elevator with Rich and Zani after a DPhiE formal, you’re going to get stuck,” Carroll got the crowd going.

There was plenty of audience participation from the various roasters, from knock-knock jokes to seeing a show of hands. Kelland, former USGA president, even brought prizes in the form of pillow cases with Rotella’s Tinder profile and a split shot of Rotella and Josh Peck, tossing them into the crowd. Former president Imetovski also sent a letter, as he could not make it due to work obligations. As with the roast custom of giving the roastee a gift at the end of the evening, Imetovski sent along Rotella a gym membership.

Rotella took the whole night in stride, barely roasting his friends who spent the night making fun of him. He almost took not roasting them as an insult, which was an interesting way to go.

In the end, there were just about as many good things said as bad, highlighting his friendship and leadership and Rotella was nothing but humble for the whole experience.