Jeff Ross dressed as Joe Paterno, flanked by two “young” football players in only towels & helmets (don’t worry, they’re both 27 year old comedy writers), set the tone for the rest of the Comedy Central Roast of Roseanne.
That is, if the tone was “Jeff Ross really is the master of this roast.” By all accounts, the Roast of Roseanne was a more collegial affair than the recent roasts of celebrities like Donald Trump, Pamela Anderson and last year’s blockbuster edition targeting Charlie Sheen. The dais housed roasters Carrie Fisher, Ellen Barkin, Wayne Brady, Katey Sagal, Seth Green, Gilbert Gottfried, Anthony Jeselnik, Amy Schumer, “surprise” guest Tom Arnold and Roastmaster Jane Lynch. But it’s Ross who’s getting all the attention in the lead up to the August 12 airing.
Like Amy Schumer’s controversial Ryan Dunn joke last year, it’s Jeff Ross’ “too soon?” joke that’s struck a chord. TMZ reports that the joke at Seth Green’s expense, referencing the recent shooting at a showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, will be edited out of the broadcast. But you have to imagine that for every executive tugging nervously at his necktie, wondering how many people in Kansas will complain to sponsors that Ross has gone too far, there’s two more high-fiving each other for the great publicity leading up to a roast without the train wreck factor that Sheen brought.
The attention will likely also give a boost to two other Jeff Ross vehicles airing on Comedy Central next week - Jeff Ross Roasts America and The Burn. Jeff Ross Roasts America premiers August 11 and is a stand-up special compiled from Ross’ spring/summer nationwide stand-up tour that featured custom jabs at each city he visited and a “speed roasting” segment where audience members volunteered to face the wrath of Ross. The Burn is a new weekly series, premiering August 14, that features host Jeff Ross skewering the week’s events solo in his opening monologue then with the help of a panel of comedians, along with pre-taped segments featuring Ross making fun of of folks like parking enforcement and flea marketers. Both shows bank on the popularity of Ross as a professional meany who dances gleefully across “the line” so it seems like the perfect time for him to trade in that old Colonel Qaddafi outfit for a disgraced coach’s whistle.
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About the Author: Amy Hawthorne is an LA-based stand-up and writer and the founder of ComedyGroupie.com. She is convinced that the food industry is being unduly influenced by Big Avocado.