Happy Birthday, Gov. Brendan Byrne. Here’s my favorite joke of his.

Today is Brendan Byrne’s birthday. His 92nd. I don’t know him well, but I like the man a lot. I’ve been blessed to sit with him during a couple of cocktail hours at the kind of Democratic event at which he’s surely a hoped-for guest. He always classes up the joint, no lie.

One of Gov. Byrne’s best things is telling jokes, and I live with a stand-up comedian so I appreciate good delivery. Byrne leans across the table, lowers his voice, like he’s taking you into his confidence:

“After I left the governor’s office, I became a partner in a Newark law firm that worked closely with the airlines industry. One of my clients was Air Italia.  Who I found out liked working with me because they thought I was Italian. (beat) (beat) Because of the name, you know. Brendan Byrne Arena.” **


** Arena became the Izod Center, and now sadly is no more. That said, how many times does a guy outlive a 19,000-seat sports & entertainment venue once named for him? I hope the Gov has a great birthday, and a good year ahead. 

Comments (4)

  1. Dan Hoffman

    Best Byrne political insight, the belief by some that, “if you are not getting something for nothing, you aren’t getting your fair share.”

  2. John Schoonejongen

    Here are some stories from Brendan Byrne culled from an interview Jason Method did with the governor several years ago for the Asbury Park Press:

  3. CreedPogue

    The joke about wanting to be buried in Hudson County so he could stay active in politics is my favorite. 🙂

  4. robosz

    Here’s a quick joke Byrne used when he announced he was running again. I found in some NJN archival news footage. I felt I somehow had to use this clip in the 2011 documentary, “The Power of the Governor.” The Byrne portion is right at the head of this excerpt.



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