Billy Crystal honored by Friars Club with Entertainer Icon Award

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- It was a major honor for Billy Crystal as the actor/comedian was given the Entertainer Icon Award by the Friars Club Monday evening.

"It's a nice four-letter word," Crystal said.

The club of comics is known for the many ways its members make fun of each other, but this was not as harsh as others.

"No, it's for Billy," comedian Robert Klein said. "It's not a roast. I don't like roasts."

Klein first met Crystal before he made his mark on "Saturday Night Live."

"I look back at those days, sometimes not fondly when I watch myself on those early shows," Crystal said. "I think 'Oh god, he was so scared.' To come all of this way -- not to be scared anymore -- is a great feeling. And to have an amazing partner and children and now grandchildren alongside that, so the whole package is amazingly satisfying."

Crystal has inspired generations of performers.

"I wanted to be Billy," actor Josh Gadd said.

Long before Gadd became famous as the voice of "Olaf" in "Frozen," he watched comic relief as a 10-year-old.

"I turned to my mom and said 'I want to do that one day,'" Gadd said.

Inspiring others -- as he was inspired -- Crystal is part of a continuum of comedy, which was another reason to celebrate.

* More Manhattan news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.