It was all in fun, but officials at National Jewish Health who invited Gov. John Hickenlooper to speak at its annual Beaux Arts Ball apparently didn't want him to inadvertently deliver an R-rated message.

"We've used all the technological advances to build in a 5-second delay," joked former National Jewish board chairman Tom Gart as he introduced the governor.

"Only a real friend would do that," Hickenlooper replied.

No worries, though. The governor spoke eloquently and without mishap.

About 1,200 people are at the black-tie gala tonight at at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. The annual event typically raises at least $1 million for the respiratory hospital.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, who was to have been there to accept the hospital's highest honor, the Arthur B. Lorber Award for Distinguished Service, was ill with bronchitis and unable to fly from Hawaii. The Lorber acknowledges Inouye's support and dedication to National Jewish for more than 40 years.

Joanne Davidson: twitter.com/GetItWrite, 303-809-1314 or jdavidson@denverpost.com; also, blogs.denverpost.com/style