The roast was a fundraiser for the EMUBA Scholarship Fund. Tickets were $20 for general admission, $10 for EMU students and free to anyone who showed their ticket from the NPHC Stepshow at EMU the previous night.
The event was sponsored by the EMU Foundation and the roasters consisted of nine people who somehow had an impact on Mathis’ life, from childhood friends, brothers, sons, the best friend of Mathis’ wife, to college and law school friends, manager and Bailiff Doyle Devereux from “The Judge Mathis Show.”
The roast had very light-hearted jokes coming from all of the roasters, along with kind words of admiration and respect for the work he has done for his family and community.
Jokes referring to Mathis as “Thug Mathis” and how Mathis dressed in college were told, as well as being raised by Mathis and his “frugal” ways. After everyone finished, he was allowed a rebuttal and jokingly made comments about everyone’s funny remarks about him giving them the “real version,” as he called it.
The audience was filled with laughter at Mathis’ well-known, funny remarks and was also happy to hear comical stories from his past.
Afterward, the president of the EMUBA, Karinda Washington, presented Mathis with an award for his dedication to the chapter. Washington has been president of the EMUBA since March and put a lot of time and effort to making the event successful.
“The idea came from the history of the organization; awhile back they did a roast of Freeman Hendrix and it was really successful so we wanted to bring it back, so it was my job to make it happen,” Washington said.
The event was put together in 45 days, and though there are around 55-60 members who actively pay dues to the EMUBA chapter, there are only around 10 members who are able to be assist with planning events for the campus.
The EMUBA has volunteers along with its members, and being a member is not required to be a volunteer.
Mathis is a native of Detroit and an alumnus of Eastern Michigan University. Mathis has been a member of EMUBA for 20 years.
“It would be beneficial to young African-Americans to follow other black alumni and EMU is a school that extends itself more than most universities in helping people of color,” he said.
Mathis had never taken part in a roast before and this “would probably be my first and my last roast, but I would roast someone else’s, I do that for a living,” he said.
“It’s like looking at the same group of students that I went to college with,” he said.
Mathis and his wife pay for two EMU students’ tuition annually and Mathis gives advice to EMU students on careers.
“Find a career that you would do for free and then find a way to get paid for it,” Mathis said. “It will be the most fulfilling in terms of career fulfillment.”
The roast was hosted by 107.5 radio personality Sylvia Simone and Bailiff Doyle. Simone is a big fan of Mathis and the show.
“I had an event booked the same night but once I heard it was Judge Mathis I canceled event,” Simone said.
Simone was very happy to do the event and felt it gave the audience “inspiration, motivation, and let people know there’s always room for growth.”
Mershon Dye, a member of the EMU Black Alumni chapter, also enjoyed the roast.
“It’s good to see the other side of celebrities,” she said.
Dye has been a member of EMUBA for 2-3 years and heard about the roast through EMUBA’s Facebook page.
“I helped with setup and just wherever I was needed,” Dye said. “I wish a lot more people would have come out and that we could encourage more alumni to join EMUBA, it’s great for networking.”
The EMUBA consistently gives scholarships to deserving EMU students and encourages students to apply for them.
It is now preparing for its annual program in partnership with the Housing Association, “Young and Successful,” on Oct. 20, where successful and distinguished EMU alumni speak on their experiences in their careers.