Comedy Central pulls off best roast in years
Published: Thursday, September 5, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 5, 2013 00:09
Comedy Central roasts have either been very good or just OK. Let’s be blunt, the roast of Roseanne last year was not very good. Sure, it had its funny moments, but overall the jokes were drier than whatever is left of Roseanne’s career. I suppose most of the roasts have been of washed up celebrities, but the majority of the roasters, and Roseanne, did not seem too excited to be there and Jane Lynch was not a very good roast master. The decision to roast James Franco and bring all of his friends to roast him was probably decided after the success of “This is the End” to draw higher ratings. Nevertheless, it was a great idea as it was by far the best Comedy Central roast yet.
Similar to Roseanne’s roast, the majority of the jokes were not directed at Franco himself, but at the roasters. This year we saw bigger celebrities than usual with names like Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, Aziz Ansari and Sarah Silverman alongside some not-so-familiar faces like Natasha Leggero, Nick Kroll and Jeffrey Ross. Only roast fans will be familiar with Jeffrey Ross, which made for one of the most frequent jokes of the night. One of the best lines came from Jonah Hill when he quipped, “When you meet people do you lie to them? Because it seems a lot easier to say I’m unemployed than to explain I’m on TV once a year. While we all go back to our lives in show business after this Jeffrey Ross has to stay and clean up. Seriously guys, don’t make a mess.”
Other frequent joke topics included Jonah Hill’s frequent body image transformations, the frequent collaboration with Judd Apatow from the roasters, Aziz Ansari being Indian and Silvermans’s age. Of course there were Jewish jokes made throughout since the majority of the roasters were Jewish.
The only real thing anybody could tease Franco about was his up-and-down career choices, his questionable sexuality, his poor Oscar hosting and his eyes never fully opening. As Nick Kroll said, “If at any point tonight James Franco fully opens his eyes then we will get six more weeks of winter.” It never really got too personal. Franco was a better sport than some of his predecessors. While Charlie Sheen and David Hasselhoff were good sports, Roseanne and Pamela Anderson were not as enthusiastic. Franco’s 91 year old grandmother was even teased by Ross at one point when he told her that “127 Hours” was how long she had left to live, but it was all in good fun as nobody got offended.
For Bill Hader’s speech, he came out dressed up as the fictitious president of Hollywood, bashing the careers of everyone in the room. It wasn’t very funny at first, but it got better. Andy Samberg attempted to do a satirical roast speech in which he complimented everyone else while insulting himself. He followed every punch line with, “Boom, roasted!” It was, at first, very unfunny and awkward, but like Hader’s routine it got better as it progressed. There were no moments like The Situation’s speech at Donald Trump’s roast where he made jokes so unfunny that after a minute nobody pretended to laugh and the audience was dead silent.
Franco’s roast was by far the funniest Comedy Central has had yet. They certainly learned from the mistakes they made last year by bringing in a real celebrity with real roasters to deliver real comedy. It will be a hard act to follow, but it will be interesting to see who gets roasted next year.