Wednesday night in Chicago, I hosted the unGeeked Elite Roast of Chris Brogan. The event was put together for two reasons. First, unGeeked Elite (a traveling social media marketing retreat/conference), wanted to raise money for a good local charity (Sit Stay Read) prior to its event there this week. Second, it offered an opportunity for those who could participate to pay tribute to Chris, who has been an inspiration, mentor and friend to a lot of us.

Roasting Chris Brogan is pretty easy in and of itself. You find 3-4 qualities or facts that can be lampooned a bit and come up with potentially humorous, tongue-in-cheek material like this:

  • Tonight, we want to honor a man who is a legend in the world of social media. His influence spans the globe. His insights have forced seismic shifts in companies. And his wit and charm have made him loved around the world. We want to honor that man tonight… But since Doc Searls couldn’t make it, we’ll roast Brogan instead.
  • Tonight’s event is about raising money for a great charity. The good news is that you’re supporting a good cause. The bad news is this event is associated with Chris Brogan, so it’ll cost you $27 a month to leave.
  • Many people think Twitter is 140 characters because of SMS texting limitations. It’s actually because the Twitter guys figured that’s how long they could keep Brogan’s attention.

There were more, but in the interest of space and context (yes, I got a little R-rated), I’ll just leave it there.

But Roasting Chris Brogan is also terrifying. If he’s not the nicest guy on the planet, I’m not sure who is. Picking on someone who not only is so god-awful generous with his time and spirit — not to mention who second-guesses himself constantly and thinks because he didn’t respond to one of the 524,000 messages directed at him each day that he’s somehow less of a human being than the rest of us — is just wrong. I’ve never seen Chris cry … at least not sober … but I know he’s an emotional guy, an introvert at his core and wears his emotions on his sleeve sometimes.

Not to mention his wife, mother and father would be there.

So the task at hand for Joe Sorge, Liz Strauss, Dave Murray, Troy Janisch, Amber Naslund, Jeff Willinger, Rob Hatch and me Wednesday wasn’t all shits and giggles.

But boy, did we have fun. And the Brogans … all of them … loved it. (Or so they claim.)

I put together some videos from friends and folks we asked to participate who couldn’t be there in person. (Thank you Jessica Northey, Priya Ramesh, Shashi Bellamkonda, et. al., for the leg work!) Remember not to take them out of context. We were roasting the guy, after all. The first video was a little play on Chris’s “celebrity” status. As big of a deal as Chris is in social media, we asked some celebrity types (both Internet and otherwise) to help roast him. Here’s what they responded with:

The second video was more of a “people who know Chris well” who wanted to pay more tribute than poke fun. But I took some liberties with the subtitles.

Big thanks to the folks who participated. We didn’t have to beg, which was awesome.

Lost in a lot of the witty banter of the evening were a few things I said that I want to make sure everyone hears. My script for the evening included this:

Chris has had a tremendous role in my success, both as an inspiration from a distance, like he has been for all of you, but also as someone who has actively helped me elevate my name, my game and my business. To say I would be here today without him and his influence would be flat wrong. For all his aw-shucks charm and sometimes annoying habit of wanting to be everybody’s friend, Chris is the real deal, through and through. Where I’m from, we say, them’s good people. Chris isn’t just good people. He’s the best kind.

No man has done more for more people than Chris Brogan has. That’s why he has influence. That’s why he is popular … because he more than any of us wanna bes, deserves it.

It was a pleasure honoring Chris Wednesday. He does deserve it, even if his self-image and modesty issues won’t let him think so.

We love you, Chris. That’s all we really wanted you to hear.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog and signature Explore events. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • Anonymous

    You were the perfect host for this event Jason. You were funny, poked fun at everyone including yourself and at the end it was easy to see your love and appreciation for Chris was real and heartfelt.

    Great job my friend.

     

  • http://www.webfugitive.posterous.com Anthony Richardson

     Awesome. He certainly deserves it, and I hope you’re next Falls.

  • http://JimRaffel.com/ Jim Raffel

    Well done Jason. Was a pleasure and an honor to be there with everyone.

  • http://www.mikestenger.com Mike Stenger

     Shankman cracked me up! Good stuff, thanks for sharing

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  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

     You were far and away amazing. I have raved nonstop about how hard it must have been to prepare for this, and how you had no idea what you were getting yourself into. 

    I was flat out terrified. I’m a guy who speaks to CEOs for a living, who stands in front of thousands of people for a living. But I was SO afraid. And you made it a great night. 

    Well, you and everyone who contributed. : ) 

    Thanks, buddy. Slushies on me. 

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

     You were far and away amazing. I have raved nonstop about how hard it must have been to prepare for this, and how you had no idea what you were getting yourself into. 

    I was flat out terrified. I’m a guy who speaks to CEOs for a living, who stands in front of thousands of people for a living. But I was SO afraid. And you made it a great night. 

    Well, you and everyone who contributed. : ) 

    Thanks, buddy. Slushies on me. 

  • http://philgerbyshak.com Phil Gerbyshak

    Well done Jason. You rock! Roasting @chrisbrogan:disqus is quite a feat and you handled it masterfully. Where’s the video from @joesorge:twitter ? Love ya Chris!  

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Some things don’t belong on the web. You’ll need to see Joe for that one. Heh.

      • http://philgerbyshak.com Phil Gerbyshak

        Oh I will. Was just hoping it was in the wild :)

  • http://www.TheFranchiseKingBlog.com The Franchise King

    Gosh, I wanted to be there. I actually was. (In Chicago) 2 weeks earlier.

    Thanks for all you do, Chris.

    JL

  • http://linkedin.com/in/joesorge Joe Sorge

    Jason, you made it all come together. So very well done. :)

  • http://raulcolon.net Raul Colon

     This was excellent.. Really laughed at Leachman asking for her agent. 

    I do agree that Chris is a great guy. Thanks for sharing the videos! 

  • http://twitter.com/eRocketFuel eRocketFuel CEO – JZ

    Great meeting you guys finally. Tx for stories about sharing hookers, slushie bars in Vegas and ninja’s walking thru waist deep water. The only thing that was missing at the end of the night was Chris and you going back and forth screaming “I love you, man!” LOL. And of course group hugs with Joe’s wife.

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  • http://www.themurr.com/ David Murray

    Jason,

    Thank you for putting this all together, and thank you for having me be a part of the roasting. It was a lot of fun, and though that may sound trite, it is far from it. We spend too much time blogging, updating stuff, and counting followers instead of taking the time to enjoy what life is all about – good friends and family.

    Well done, sir!

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks, brother. You were hysterical. It was good to hang for a bit and
      enjoy the non-virtual world together.

  • http://richardatdell.blogspot.com Richardatdell

    good one Jason and well done