Councilor Bill Linehan steps into limelight, takes over as host of St. Patrick’s Day roast in South Boston

Bill Linehan better warm up his vocal cords and bone up on his bad jokes.

The city councilor from South Boston said today that he will host the annual St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast this year, taking over from former state senator John A. Hart, who left the Legislature to take a job at a law firm.

Hosting duties at the political roast traditionally fall to the state senator from South Boston. For the last 11 years, that was Hart. Before him, it was William Bulger, the Senate president. But without a state senator from the neighborhood this year, Linehan said he will step into the green limelight.

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“It would be an honor to share fun, laughter, political banter, and song with you as the host,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to the opportunity to put a little Linehan stamp on the breakfast this year. I invite all to watch and share in this great Boston tradition.”

The breakfast inspires its share of fans and critics. In past years, it was not uncommon for the president to greet the crowd by phone, in a nod to South Boston’s prominence in the political scene. These days, some see it as a hoary bastion of tasteless jokes and entrenched interests.

Attendees this year will include Governor Deval Patrick, Mayor Thomas M. Menino, US Senators Elizabeth Warren and William “Mo” Cowan, US Representative Stephen F. Lynch, Senate President Therese Murray, and House Speaker Robert DeLeo.

The breakfast will be broadcast live on New England Cable News, or NECN, starting at 10 a.m. on Sunday, March 17.