A review of the 2012 Financial Follies

by
NYFWA

The society correspondent for Talking Biz News once again attended the Financial Follies, hosted by the New York Financial Writers’ Association, and filed this report:

Thank god 2012 was an election year. And the year of the biggest storm to hit New York City in a really, really, really long time.

For once, the Financial Follies – the annual prom and sketch show for business journalists and PR reps– wasn’t filled to the brim with esoteric jokes about Greek bond yields, China’s hard landing and the Fed’s totally unprecedented quantitative easing measures (!!! OMG, y’all, QE276 is coming).

Instead, the stars aligned and we had a hurricane named for John Travolta’s love interest in Grease. We were fortunate there was a guy who looked like a younger version of Mitt Romney, could sing, and chose to do both for us. How that damned girl (I mean storm!) wreaked havoc on my heart (I mean political aspirations! I mean city?).

Of course, the binders of women made it in!

This stuff was just writing itself this year, and all in the name of a good Follies.

Personally, it only took me four years to get a seat where I could actually see the stage. (Or maybe this was the first year that I took note that there was a stage). One veteran at my table said she’d skipped out on the Follies for the past few years, but believe it or not, she told me, it’d been around since the 1990s, and yes, it was always in that room.

I wonder if 1998 – you know, “Bill Clinton meet Monica Lewinsky” and all the shenanigans that followed — at all compared with 2012’s lineup of sketches? At least they had cigars then, my table mate told me.  No, I mean, smoking was allowed in the room. …And yes, that too.

Well, we still had JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon. And the Sandy-Romney love/hate saga.

If you know anything about the Follies, you know that key to a successful night is your table, its location, its members, and most importantly the number of bottles of wine it holds. I’m not saying the volunteers for the New York Financial Writers’ Association aren’t entertaining and talented, I’m just saying they’re writers by training, and financial writers at that.

So there was a momentary scare for some attendees this year when rumors circulated that their dinner table would not have any – ANY – wine awaiting them when the show began. A Follies without wine?? 2012 definitely wasn’t going to compare to the years before. Turned out to be just one table, and don’t worry, some kind, alcoholic soul who was seated at that table made it happen. They got their wine. We all did.

As in years past, the evening started with $11 drinks for those without connections and heavy-handed bartenders dolling out free whiskeys for those who made it to the USAA pre-dinner cocktail hour. By the way, this year, they’ve caught on. If you don’t actually cover, you know, finance and markets, you can’t get in anymore.

Sorry, political reporters, this is our White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. You got the Obamas and Kate Upton, we got a tiny suite on the top floor of the Marriott and the same steak dinner as every year before, probably from the same cow. I think you know who wins.

Apparently David Faber made it. Photographic evidence exists, in fact. Everyone loved Pat Kiernan’s presence. Well, everyone on one side of the room, as I actually am not sure if he was at the event or made an appearance on stage or if people just really like Kiernan and were talking about him a lot. He is pretty great, go NY1.

The lack of financial focus this year I think made us all feel a bit cooler. There were jokes I could take home to the outside world. Granted, I don’t remember any of them, but I promise I laughed at them! And I would again today! Maybe.

But the one that got a ton of laughs was still as nerdy as they come — “No more Goldman Sachs means no more Bloomberg snacks.”

Aren’t you witty, Financial Follies. It’s true, and it rhymes.