As the Friars Modernizes. Gyure Keeps it in touch with its past and its future
You may be familiar with the comedy roast in which comedians honor the careers and personalities of an individual celebrity by hurling witty insults in their direction in front of a live audience, primarily for the amusement of others, as well as the entertainer at center stage. These events are most notably associated with one place: the Friars Club in New York City.
The club has existed since the early twentieth century and was formed from the allegiance of people involved in creating Broadway productions. Regular business meetings soon turned to dinners where the stars of the entertainment industry would be celebrated in a public toast. It became a tradition to choose one member to highlight at each event.
By the 1950s these toasts had changed dramatically. Whereas previously they had been all about paying compliments to the greats, they soon became about insulting them publicly to their faces. These good-natured and witty events, known as ‘roasts’ became immensely popular, and many of the greatest performers, actors and comedians would go on to be roasted at these events, and the stars that would be the roastmaster also make an incredible who’s-who list. With names like Sammy Davis Jr., Robin Williams, Jerry Lewis, Jack Black, and even Donald Trump, among the notable roastees and roastmasters, it is one of the most notable events of the entertainment calendar.
Since 2007, the role of organizing these events has belonged to Michael Gyure, the Executive Director of the Friars Club. Spanning the gap between business and the arts, Gyure has a varied background.
Born in New York, but raised in the United Kingdom, Michael Gyure benefited from having parents who loved the theater. This gave him an excellent grounding in entertaining. At school, he was considered the class clown, so it would be no surprise that he would one day want to rub shoulders with the best class-clowns that the world as ever seen.
Michael studied a degree in Hospitality Management and then later completed a Master’s in Business Administration. He worked for various five-star establishments while in Britain. However, his career really started to rise when he became Chief Operating Officer at a prestigious East Hampton members club called The Maidstone Club, where he got his first real taste of entertaining affluent individuals.
Gyure’s time at the Friar’s Club has provided him with the opportunity to get involved with many different charitable causes. One of the biggest causes that Michael has been involved in is the Lincoln Award which he co-founded. This award seeks to celebrate the successes of those that have gone the extra mile for the veteran community. The organization has recognized Bruce Springsteen in the past for the charitable concerts he has put on to celebrate veterans. It has also commended the efforts of the inventor of the Segway for his work in creating bionic limbs for injured veterans. The organization has hosted various charitable concerts and events for veterans and looks for ways to help wounded veterans wherever it can.
Another philanthropic endeavor of Michael’s is his work with Chess NYC. This group looks to work with a diverse bunch of inner-city kids, helping them with communication and developing new skills.
His role as the Executive Director of the Friars Club in combination with his philanthropic efforts positions Michael to create successful and personally rewarding events for those of various backgrounds.