Poor Lewis Black. It’s his shtick to be irritated, yes. But usually it’s because he wants to be irritated. At Jon Bon Jovi and Kenneth Cole’s R.S.V.P to HELP benefit last night, the Tribeca Rooftop crowd was so noisy Black couldn’t get a word in — and he wasn’t pleased. The comic launched his act with a tirade about the long Christmas season — and we can’t imagine why that bit didn’t grab the crowd in late January — before growing frustrated with the noise. He first tried to just laugh it off, telling people go ahead and talk, it’s not like anyone’s onstage or anything. But partygoers — who seemed so unfamiliar with the benefit scene that one gal bid $50,000 on a Harley only to rescind it seconds later — took the joke as direction and turned up the volume of their chitchat.
Black, flustered and yelling about doggie testicles for sale and Santa for president, finally lost it and shouted, “You know, I’m really glad this is a good cause because I’m about to kill myself for it!” No one stopped talking. Black kept yelling. He eventually gave up on the clueless crowd and then, offstage, morphed from comedian to schoolmarm, screaming “Shut up!” throughout the live auction. (Among the items offered: an internship at Laird and Partners advertising agency, thus proving that you can in fact buy anything, including the right to work for free.) Kenneth Cole’s gentle shushing at the mike finally convinced the audience to put a cork in it. —Jocelyn Guest