After the first night, Ross sent me this message about it via Twitter: "Im gonna follow CS around the country & roast him as a public service 4 those who bought tickets to his trainwreck of a tour."
Today, Ross told The Hollywood Reporter quite a bit more about the experience. He hadn't met Sheen beforehand. His one rule for Sheen before agreeing to join the tour? “If Charlie calls me himself and says it's OK to roast him, and if he can go through that gauntlet, then it will be great.” And when Sheen said OK, and the tour happened to be heading to Atlantic City, it was game on.
So, about that first show together:
I let him sweat it out for a good 30 minutes, then he started getting a little choppy and someone yelled out, “I want a refund!” We didn’t have a cue or anything. I walked out in a hazmat suit, pulled the mask down, and said, “Charlie, these people paid for a show, they deserve a show … it's a comedy intervention.” Because that’s what was driving me crazy: He was billing it as a comedy tour without being a comedian. You can see why comedians were not supporting it; they were insulted. And it's tough to insult a comic.
So I just laid into him -- the meanest things I could think of on a day's notice: “You call yourself a Warlock from Mars — maybe you are, but you're not a comedian from Earth;” "If you're winning, then this must not be a child custody hearing;” And my favorite: “Charlie Sheen is to stand-up what Larry Flynt is to standing up.” At the end, he hugged me and asked me to do the next show at Foxwoods. Since I already had the weekend off, I was on the East Coast, I figured I'd do both shows and then be halfway to New Jersey to see the family on Passover. It was the oddest mix of happy accidents imaginable.
Their tour together continues tonight in Vancouver, B.C.
On last night's Lopez Tonight, George Lopez talked to Jeffrey Ross about the recent Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump. Only this didn't air on TBS. It's only on the Internet.
Lopez reveals that he doesn't have the stomach to roast and be roasted, while Ross talks about sharing a joint with Snoop Dogg during a commercial break, how "The Situation" created a situation by bombing during his set, and how Ross reacted to Courtney Love during a previous roast.
Roll it. The clip. Not the blunt. To be blunt. Oh, shut up, me.
The Friars Club and Comedy Central are having a high time roasting the celebrities of today. But who among us can roast the celebrities and historical figures of yesterday and days of yore?
The Adam Carolla Show has decided, and many could agree, that only one person, one man, could undertake what he calls an "experiment" in honoring the dead. Ladies and gentlemen, your Roastmaster General, Jeffrey Ross, presents "Roast In Peace." It's a likely sell-out on Friday night at The Comedy Store in West Hollywood.
But is it a one-time-only experiment? I asked Jeffrey Ross himself to find out!
So how's it going, preparing to roast the dead? "I'm trying to write this show in time for Friday, and then write this (Comedy Central) Roast for (Donald) Trump. When it rains it pours."
How'd the idea come about? "Adam's producer, Mike August, thought of it, as a way to honor the deceased, and put the final nail in the coffin of celebrities we care about."
Was it a hard sell? "I didn't agree until he booked the date. I thought it was a bad idea. Possibly a lot of bad karma for me. But I thought if I could do it lovingly and with affection, it could come off OK."
Is there a formula to combat the element of "too soon?" "I think each celebrity has their own place for it's time to be OK to be funny. Some will be too soon than others. Is it too soon to make fun of Abe Lincoln? Maybe! It's a unique way to pay tribute and to bring closure to some of these celebrity deaths."
So past presidents like Lincoln are on the list? "Oh, Lincoln's on the list. For sure, I'm also probably going to mention people who died more recently. Your Patrick Swayzes, your Kurt Cobains, those types of people. George Harrison is on the list. It has to be people I care about, people I admire."
Are you planning to take "Roast in Peace" on the road with you? "Oh, it's an expermient. so if it works, I'll try it again. I'm not going to go out and get myself assassinated. So I don't know yet."
And you said you're still a part of the Donald Trump roast, too, for Comedy Central, even though the network has tapped Seth MacFarlane again to emcee it? "Oh, well, he did it last year. I never host. I always do a spot. This year I'm closing. Which is the spot (Greg) Giraldo had last time. So it's a little eerie. But the trip to roasts must go on."
Will you be taking requests? "There might be some, but I feel like I'll do a warm up, talking about life and death in general, and then I'll let loose. Put them randomly, just to keep it fresh. And then when I get to the dead people, maybe I'll invite people onstage and let them let loose...and then at the end, we'll all sing 'Knocking on Heaven's Door.' Does that sound like a good idea, Sean?"
Well, with you, there's an expectation that this is what you do. You're the Roastmaster General. So it's not coming out of left-field, that's for sure. "It's coming right down the middle. It should be really really fun. I may do more. But I'll at least do this one. It's a way to talk about people I care about onstage."
Have you ever delivered an actual eulogy? "Yeah, quite a few. My father, my grandfather, Buddy Hackett, Jan Murray, a lot of great comedians."
So this shouldn't be that different, just that instead of a church or synagogue, you're in a comedy club. "I'm in a ghost house. The Comedy Store has ghosts, so I felt like that would be the appropriate place to do this."
Will you be roasting any of those Comedy Store ghosts? "Wait. That's a good idea. Is Andrew Dice Clay still alive?"
Yes. I think so. "Then I guess he's off the hook. But I know it'll all be in good fun, and nobody will get hurt. I was nervous about it at first. But now that I've written some of it, who doesn't love a good Michael Jackson joke?"
Today is Nov. 17, 2010, which Jimmy Kimmel has dubbed "National Unfriend Day."
And I don't know how what to do. On the one hand, I have firsthand anecdotal life knowledge that there's no way I have 2,372 friends -- with 95 friend requests pending! -- despite the fact that that's what my Facebook page clearly tells me. On the other hand, there's a button on my home page at The Comic's Comic telling readers to interact with me by becoming my Facebook friend. And I still haven't gone through the Facebook ritual of asking all of my Facebook friends to "like" The Comic's Comic. Which, for someone who wants to expand his readership to as many comedy fans as possible, seems like a triple-dog-dare of a conflict.
I want my Facebook network to reflect my true friends and acquaintances in the worlds of comedy and journalism, but I need my Facebook network to include as many people to spread the good word about The Comic's Comic to their friends, and their friends, and so on and so forth. Hmmm.
While I think it over, here's a new video from Jeffrey Ross for Newsweek/The Daily Beast trying to get New Yorkers to shed fake friends.
And here's the original missive from Kimmel that started this effort.
If you watched the series debut last night of TV Land's Harry Loves Lisa -- and why would you have, really? Really. This show is merely the latest in a continuing trend of celebrities letting TV crews into their homes and lives, all in the hopes of rejuvenating their celebrity. Which normally takes hold in something like another reality competition, a celebrity tabloid correspondent gig, or even actual roles in which the actors act. Except in this case, Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna already have cashed in their reality competition cards, both having been there and done that on Dancing with the Stars.
So we are left with other plot contrivances in Harry Loves Lisa, and the first one cuts close to the comedy bone, as Harry Hamlin's acting coach and manager sign him up for a Friday-night slot at the Hollywood Improv. Hamlin had never attempted stand-up before. Note to aspiring comedians: You cannot just have someone call up the Improv and get you on the 8:30 p.m. Friday show. But if you were People mag's "Sexiest Man Alive" in 1987, you just may be in luck!
OK. Here's what else we learned in the episode.
1) Hamlin's wife and supposed managers remind him constantly of his bad acting audition, reinforcing the notion that he "freaks everyone out" with his line readings. This was, for all intents and purposes, the plot point by which the suggestion came forth for him to let loose and try to be fun for a change.
2) Hamlin is poker buddies with Robert Wuhl. Wuhl tells him he will bomb: "This will be the longest four minutes of your life."
3) Hamlin only knows dirty jokes. Bad, hack, dirty jokes. Hamlin's manager called up Earthquake to swing by the home and listen to Hamlin crack about "super maximus" condoms and the difficulty of having sex on a waterbed. Earthquake suggested he joke about the difficulty of being married, but Hamlin said he's happily married. Earthquake said "you'll have to take that ass-whipping" when he bombs.
4) Jeffrey Ross asks Hamlin backstage what his opener and closer are, and ribs him gently by saying his wardrobe looks like it came from Forever 41. And still, Hamlin wears a giant scarf around his neck.
5) Mike Bridenstine, as the show's MC, is not billed.
6) Instead of telling dirty jokes about condoms, Hamlin's entire set seems built around gay sex. The part we see on TV is about Hamlin showing his privates to get a part in a play. The part we didn't see on TV, well, is right here. Roll the clip!
Throughout, however, Hamlin says the right things when he's just talking solo to the camera. "I think the funniest thing about my going onstage is that I'm going onstage at all. But I'm not sure that's how stand-up comedy works. I think you actually have to be funny." Afterward, he tells the camera from his home: "Doing stand-up comedy was one of the most fearful things I could have done in my life, and I did it anyway, and I'm never doing stand-up comedy again."
Well, it's the little victories. You can watch the full episode, called "Comedy Club," here.
The Comedy Central Roast of David Hasselhoff taped on Sunday night in Los Angeles, and will air on Aug. 15, 2010, and to get us more interested in actually watching the darned thing, the network has produced some one-liner clips of quips from the dais.
Would you like to see Seth MacFarlane do his "Stewie" voice to talk about Pam Anderson's breasts, or Whitney Cummings slam Lisa Lampanelli, or Lampanelli slam the Hoff, or Jerry Springer slam the Hoff, or Greg Giraldo and Jeffrey Ross take on MacFarlane? Well, then click click on this vid vids. We'll start with Ross, because he is our generation's Roastmaster, no matter what Comedy Central says, and since he takes down MacFarlane for something he should be taken down for, if he ever submits to a full Roast himself, so roll the clip!
Back before they were famous for being the Upright Citizens Brigade, the UCB players produced their first feature-length film that spoofed both Spring Break and Girls Gone Wild. Naturally, it's called Wild Girls Gone, and it's only now available for your digital download pleasure via iTunes.
That seemed so random, but then again, this isn't the only random comedy news for today.
Sorry, comedy fans. The Comic's Comic did not don something scary or silly this Halloween, but that didn't stop plenty of our favorite comedians from celebrating (and sometimes even performing) in costume on Saturday night. And in the age of the Internets (the age...of the...INTERNETS) that also means going online to share our Halloween disguises with our friends and followers. Here are some of my favorites that I spotted over the weekend. Who were yours? Did I miss it? If so, please share!
To kick things off, though, how about a "doodle" from Michael Showalter about Halloween parties:
Some comedians have a difficult time knowing what their niche is. Others find it and run with it. It's hard to argue that any one comedian is more associated with our generation's newfound love of celebrity roasts than Jeffrey Ross, who joined the Friar's Club at an early age and brought the club's grand tradition of roasting into the 21st century, with Comedy Central now banking on Ross and the roasts for an annual event to generate watercooler talk. Well, Ross now has written a book about his relationship with roasting, I Only Roast the Ones I Love, and is doing a promotional tour to support it. Here's his official video for the book (warning: contains profanities):
Marc Maron has an acute awareness about himself and is unafraid to share that onstage. If you've seen Maron perform stand-up, then you already know that. If you haven't, then do we have an opportunity for you. Here is a full, 71-minute performance Marc Maron gave at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Hollywood last month. In it, he confronts the state of his career, his one-man show he staged this year, his personal demons, and he engages the audience throughout. It's quite something to watch, especially since you hardly get the chance to see stand-up videos this long on the Internets. I checked with Maron this afternoon, and he's more than happy to share this and let you into his world. (Thanks also to comedian Troy Conrad for filming this)
In related news, Marc Maron launched a new podcast series yesterday. It's called WTF with Marc Maron. His first guest was Jeffrey Ross, and you can hear them talk about how far back they go in comedy, roasting, the Friars Club and more. Click here to listen in a new window!
Dog days, am I right? While I cozy up to the air conditioner, please allow me to share with you a few things I have posted recently to the recently redesigned Comedy.com site for funny things by and about comedians, aka The Laugh Track:
Comedy Central's Roast of Larry the Cable Guy taped its raucous proceedings last night in the greater Los Angeles area, and through the power of the Internets, we already know the best parts. Thanks go to The Laugh Track, the Tweets of @dougbenson, and CCInsider's Matt Tobey for providing us with their picks of the best zingers and photos from inside the taping. Does this mean we don't have to tune in on March 15. Or does this tease you enough to set your DVRs and TiVos already? That's up to you, isn't it?
Video previews already up from Lisa Lampanelli, Greg Giraldo, and (big gulp) Maureen McCormick!
Apple did not tell me how it came up with its list of Best of Comedy 2008 in iTunes, so I cannot tell you if this lineup is based on sales, judged rankings or something else entirely. But I can tell you who made the iTunes cut in 2008 (I've reviewed half of these CDs, which means I still have some work to do). Whom do you think they overlooked?
Robert Kelly, Just the Tip
Steve Byrne, Happy Hour
Gabriel Iglesias, Hot and Fluffy
Josh Sneed, Unacceptable
Lisa Landry, Put Your Keys in the Keybowl
Pablo Francisco, Ouch! (Live from San Jose)
Jimmy Dore, Citizen Jimmy
Dov Davidoff, The Point Is
Bill Burr, Why Do I Do This?
Jeffrey Ross: No Offense, Live from New Jersey
I knew I should have gone to today's Friars Club Roast of Matt Lauer! I'd seen Jeffrey Ross try out some of his roast jokes earlier this week at Seth Herzog's Sweet show at The Slipper Room, but reluctantly didn't ask Ross to get me into the roast. Argh. Ross wasn't roastmaster general on this lunch, ceding that honor to Lauer's Today Show colleague, Al Roker. But. I missed seeing Tom Cruise make a surprise visit to the dais. As the gossipy tabloids reveal, Cruise joked that he and Lauer actually were good friends with altered pics. OK! Magazine relays Lauer's retorts, which were pretty witty: "Come on, Tom... Stay. We can get a booster seat!" And when he realized Tom wasn't returning, he added, "Oh, guess his spaceship has to leave." Nancy O'Dell from Access Hollywood also jotted down some of the barbs Lauer received from Katie Couric, Meredith Vieira and others. (Photo courtesy of NBC)
If it's glib you're looking for, Entertainment Tonight's Mary Hart interviewed Lauer right before the roast.
UPDATED: The Village Voice's editor wrote down more raunchy roast lines. And here's my friend Mandy Stadtmiller from the New York Post getting lots of quotes from the red carpet...
At 43, Jeffrey Ross has spent two decades in comedy, and as he told me over the phone just minutes ago, he has "waited a long time" for today, the release of his first stand-up comedy DVD, No Offense: Live From New Jersey. My review appears after the jump. First, let's talk about the extras on your DVD.
The commentary track is a brilliant idea, not only because most comics analyze their sets in this kind of depth already, making it fun for fellow comedians to see your own process, but also because casual fans of yours get to know more about your jokes and you as a person. "I guess it was the director's idea. To me it seemed like he made a movie, so it made sense to do the commentary. Plus I got to tell a bunch of boring uninteresting comedy stories," he said. "Plus I wanted to give my director Jay Karas some much deserved credit."
"We looked at old stand-up concert films like Richard Pryor and other comedians used to do. Like Live on the Sunset Strip. Most comedy movies these days look the same way they host the Emmys, with the camera swooping in over the audience and the chandeliers…We wanted it to look more rock-and-roll…Plus, it also looks cooler. Anything to distract from my jokes."
One of the other DVD extras is a documentary following you back to your hometown and high school. Did it feel any different telling dick jokes to students there now compared to when you were wise-cracking as as student back then? "In high school you don't know you're telling dick jokes. It's only when you get out to the outside world and you're around adults, do you even think about whether you're trying to be funny," Ross said. And his relatives and friends all had good senses of humor. "Everyone in my neighborhood back in Jersey were funnier than me. They still think that way. I was back at my high-school reunion and people were saying I wasn't that funny back then. I said, well people don't think I'm that funny now, either."
How did you decide on Atlantic City versus other locales in your home state? "I investigated a bunch of theaters all over Jersey. I originally tried to do it in Newark but Newark couldn't get its s&!t together. Ultimately Atlantic City proved to be the best…with the brash attitude and the swagger, the Sinatras and the Sopranos, the Jersey vibe would be there." He also thought his material would go over better with that type of venue and crowd.
And Ross knows tough crowds as the Roastmaster General for the Friars Club (as well as Comedy Central's celebrity roasts). So what did he think of the club's So You Think You Can Roast? contest (which coincidentally just named a winner, John "Goumba Johnny" Sialiano)?
"I saw some clips, it looked pretty fun," Ross said. "I did see Matt Lauer and Al Roker recently and they're both really looking forward to it." The winner gets to participate in that roast of Today Show anchor Lauer on Oct. 24, you know. "I know, that's scary. I actually had to earn it." He thinks about it a moment. "I'm against the contest! I think I'm actually on the advisory board. But I'm definitely conflicted about that, because whomever wins is funnier than me. But at least I'm better looking than Lisa Lampanelli."
Have you been able to get any distance and added perspective yet on your performance on this season's ongoing Dancing With the Stars? "I'm still in my post-Dance depression," Ross said. "You can't imagine how depressed I am. I finished 13th out of 13 in a contest that now only has 12 contestants! I have a better chance of winning the Preakness." Does it hurt more because you got injured before the first night?
"It was a heartbreaker not because I got hurt, but because I couldn't dance better for my partner, Edyta," he said. "She did say, though, that poking someone in the eye is a form of greeting, and we're now married by Polish tradition."
For my review of No Offense: Live from New Jersey, by Jeffrey Ross, keep reading...
King Magazine publishes a brief, and already somewhat old oral history of Chappelle's Show. And by old, I mean it sounds as though these interviews happened years ago.
The New York Times profiles B.J. Novak, who has seen his career rise as a writer/performer on The Office, which starts its fifth season on Thursday.
Jeffrey Ross was the first contestant eliminated on this season's Dancing With the Stars. You're welcome?
I got to see Jeffrey Ross gear up for his new one-hour special with a couple of run-throughs during the Comic Strip Live 50-hour marathon, which happened a few days before the taping in June. So you can click on that madness on my site to relive my first thoughts about this special, which now gets its Comedy Central debut tonight at 11:30 p.m. It's Jeffrey Ross: No Offense, Live from New Jersey. Here's a clip before the clips!
Within the past 15 minutes, seemingly half of the capacity crowd has made their moves for the exits, following Jeffrey Ross toward the door at the end of his 50-minute set. I happen to be in the lobby when this happens, having filmed a short improvised riff with Rory Albanese and Mike Birbiglia, followed by a two-camera interview with Marina Franklin. Franklin performed three sets here today, one in the early morning, another in the afternoon, then finally a sweet set in the 9 o'clock evening hour. But Franklin wanted to get me on camera to capture how I look and act after staying awake for the past 38 hours. I'm punch drunk on a combination of Red Bull, adrenaline and willpower. Sitting here at the computer is a lot easier to handle than walking and talking, it seems. No. It doesn't seem. It is that way. Is it Thursday yet? Almost. Almost.
Jeffrey Ross explained a porn joke to one of the young Aussie lasses in the front row and made her snort Long Island Ice Tea out of her nose. Fist bump! "If I do it a second time, do I get my own record?" Ross asked. We'll have to look that up.
Judah Friedlander, hilarious for 24 straight minutes, and right out of the gate, told us: "I just saw the worst movie ever. 'The Charlie Sheen Story,' starring Emilio Estevez."