The Man Behind the Friars Club: Executive Director, Michael Gyure

Michael Gyure and Gloria Allred with Friars Club Donation to Women’s Equal Rights Fund

The Friars Club in New York City has long been coveted as the place to be when it comes to American comedy. The famous venue has been the scene of some of the most memorable moments in comedy history and is primarily known for its celebrity roasts; some even say the Club was the originator of the roast.

The Friars Club stage has been filled with the likes of Robin Williams, Sammy Davis Jr., Jerry Lewis, Chevy Chase and even Donald Trump. Bringing these greats to the stage since 2007, the man behind the Club and coordinating its coveted events is Executive Director, Michael Gyure.

Early Career

Born in New York, Michael Gyure spent much of his early years in England where he grew up. He was raised by theater-loving parents and has always been drawn to the arts. In his youth, he was often seen as the class clown, so it would be no surprise that he would be drawn to spending his life and career in the company of comedians.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management, Michael Gyure went on to complete a Master’s degree in Business Management at the University of Columbia. He put these qualifications to good use working in several five-star establishments in Britain before landing the job of Chief Operations Officer at the prestigious Mainstone Club in East Hampton.

The Friars Club

In 2007, Gyure’s career took him into New York City to the Friars Club, where he would become heavily involved in an institution that has existed to celebrate the brightest and best lights in the entertainment industry. The club grew out of the heart of the entertainment community and was established in the early part of the twentieth century after a group of Broadway workers formed a regular meet-up. This soon evolved into dinners in celebration for the likes of Oscar Hammerstein, who had a profound impact on the industry. They soon moved into their own venue, and, over the years,

Friars Club for lunch, l-r, Mike Reiss (Simpsons), Ed Solomon (upcoming Bill and Ted face the Music), Gilbert Gottfried, Jackie Martling, Denise Reiss, Mollie Heckerling, Alan Zweibel, Amy Heckerling, (Clueless), Richard Kind

what started as the toasting of the brightest and best became a roasting by the 1950s. These events involve a roastmaster throwing hilarious insults and witty put-downs at a celebrated guest. Held annually, a roast is taken in good humor by the person on the receiving end and is considered to be a high-point in the careers of many.

 

During his tenure at the Friar’s Club, Michael has been responsible for many aspects of the running of both the club and foundation, but the role that he plays in facilitating the celebrity roasts may be one of the most notable aspects.

Philanthropic Activities

In addition to his regular work at the Friars Club, Michael Gyure is involved in a number of organizations that work to promote good causes. He co-founded the Lincoln Awards. This awards ceremony is devoted to those of the veteran community in one way or another. He has hosted free entertainment events for veterans and their caregivers, and works to support injured veterans. Michael is also on the board of Chess NYC; an organization that tries to help young people from challenging backgrounds to learn how to communicate and learn new skills.

 

About Eric Baum

Eric is a business reporter from New York who has covered national affairs and corporate philanthropy for major publications. Currently, he freelances and writes speeches for corporate executives.