Comedy Central Roast Review

Lest you start to read this and immediately jump to the false conclusion that I am writing this from the unqualified perspective of a prudish religious zealot, let me set the stage.  In high school my favorite non-rock  band was 2 Live Crew.  My favorite radio show was Howard Stern, my favorite comedy albums were Dice Rules and Delirious, and let's just say that my favorite actress worked under a pseudonym comprised of her pet's first name and the street upon which she grew up.  So yes, I've heard some things..and yes, I've seen some things. 

Now, let me speak to the peculiarly popular Comedy Central Roasts.  I'm not even going to review a specific one, because if you have seen one, you have seen them all.  Let me explain the premise for those of you who haven't seen this.  You take a wildly successful multimillionaire, often an actor, and then bring in a group of less successful supporting celebrities or actors to make fun of them.   This is supposedly a defining moment in their career.  Once you have been roasted, you have truly made it.  Sounds promising but this is where the challenge comes in.  These roasters are limited to 9th grade locker room humor and the grown-up equivalent of gross out jokes.  You remember dirty gross-out jokes from school:

"What's grosser than gross?"
"Two vampires fighting over a bloody tampon."
"What's grosser than that?"
"One of them wins."

Now to make this modern and more edgy, replace vampire with William Shatner, and tampon with anal sex, and you have some A+ quality Comedy Central material for the roast.  What?  Still not sold?  Enter Lisa Lampanelli to drop the "C" word 6 times in a 2 min. segment and Gilbert Gottfied to find 200 ways to say your junk is stank and you are so old that you took Irene Ryan's virginity....which was when she was 13 because Granny was a whore too.  Double burn, hilarious.

Since we were on the subject of William Shatner, I must say that listening to George Takei explain how good ol' Billy Shatner is so inconsiderate that he doesn't even Blank his Blank before he Blanks you in the Blank had me rolling on the floor.  Oh My!  Well said good sir!  You are truly a master of your craft.  But the fun doesn't stop there, maybe you will have a surprise visit from Bob Sagat.  His jokes will definitely include Blanking....and most likely in the Blank.  I'm in stitches over here.  All joking aside, this guy is a fantastic actor.  He masked the foul beast that he really is for many years as America's favorite dad.   

To be completely fair, there are some talented comedians as roasters that will have some funny segments, but the majority of the time, it is just too much.  More often than not, family members and even older kids of the roastie are present and it is more than uncomfortable.  I guess that is their goal.  Must be a progressive thing.  Getting to the 5% funny part is not worth the bleeding ears for the other 95% of the time...and I sat through 7 seasons of The Sopranos.  These Roasts are generally unfunny, unoriginal, and truly filth for the sake of filth, cleverness checked at the door.  Having a room full of supposedly intelligent, successful people sit in a room and fake laugh at smelly beaver jokes just isn't my cup of tea and I'm afraid wouldn't have been even to my 16 year old morally-depraved self.  I still can't figure out how these roasts are so popular, but somebody is making some money.  I think some small tweaks to the format could make these a huge hit though.  Comedy Central, try moving a little bit further away from the Blank and a little closer to the big fat Blank and you will have a recipe for success.  I rate Comedy Central Roasts 1 Blanking star. 

Aside:  The one star technically goes to Anthony Jeselnik for this quote during the Roseanne Barr Roast "You had gastric bypass surgery in 1998, and then you beat it."  See, I give props where props are due.


Anonymous said...

i just watched the Shatner roast, sadly like almost everything else that American media turns out, the genuine and spontaneous creativity that actually fosters interest, such as can be found in watching a beloved old star sent up by his old antagonists, was really utterly destroyed by an obvious "canned" slick production, where the jokes where all so self similar and guttural that they reeked of the same awkward hacks sitting in a room over a laptop somewhere, guffawing at their own farts.

It was a surreal thing to endure, and really that's all you are doing enduring it, you know where the humor originates, desperate hacks trying to outgun each other in a race for the bottom inspired by jaded image boards etc. It's all so horribly predictable, You can see the target audience, its like watching a mockery of a mockery, the script writers half assed research leading them to direct scawn on people they don't really know, then having those very people read out their hashed up crap at one other and filming the bizarre facial contortions that result.

Its a weird sort of show, like all shows it creates an emotional response, however the reaction is not one of enjoyment but far more complex. It's closet to that horrible feeling you get after a night of drinking, when you suddenly remember you said something hideous to someone and all you want to do all morning is forget that you ever said it...

That's how I feel after watching a comedy central Roast, like i desperately want to hurry up and forget all about it.

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