As we waited for the opening act to take the stage at The Comedy Store in Hollywood, my friend and I noticed a very conspicuous table of ridiculously hot chicks to our left. My friend convinced himself they were porn stars. I personally got a high-class call girl vibe from them. We passionately debated this until Ian Edwards took the stage to talk about the fact that all mixed race girls are hot, even if their dad looks like Mr. Burns and their mom resembles Susan Boyle.
What brought us together under one roof was a chance to see Jeffrey Ross (The “Roastmaster General”) roast dead people. He’s roasted everyone from Bea Arthur to Courtney Love, but this was his first shot at roasting honest-to-goodness dead as a doorknob celebrities. Everyone from Abe Lincoln to Anne Frank to Corey Haim must have been shaking in their boots – or, turning in their grave is more like it – because the “insult comic” had them by the balls. And he could say whatever he wanted. They were dead. How mad could they get?
When Ross took the stage, I furiously scribbled notes on a piece of paper, old-school style. Right away I noticed his super shiny, glittery silver boots, which I thought were a nice touch. Shoes say a lot about a person. It would have been a let down to see him stroll out in some nondescript brown loafers or – even worse – green Chuck Taylors, that Hollywood symbol of a male midlife crisis.
I spoke to Jeff via phone earlier that day as he put the finishing touches on his act for the night. “What do you think? Bad karma?” He’d asked me, referring to the fact that he was about to insult and roast a bunch of defenseless dead folks. “Nah.” I answered. I didn’t want to make the dude worry, and I really wanted to see his show. We agreed there would be no bad karma involved.
Ross started off with Abe Lincoln, and once he knew the audience was along for the ride he tore into everyone from Michael Jackson to John Ritter, who seemed to elicit the biggest “awwww” from the crowd when his photo popped up. I get it. I’ve always thought of Jack Tripper as the ideal man.
When a photo of Hitler flashed on the screen I gripped my pen tighter. “Finally, a Jew gets to roast a German,” Ross began, and he let loose on the “Dane Cook of dictators,” as he called him. Later a pic of a very glammed up Jean Benet Ramsay popped up. Ross paused. “Man was she hot,” he blurted out. That one got the biggest laugh of the night – for good reason.
The whole show had an interactive, loose feel to it. The next day a very groggy Ross said he was happy with the way his “experiment” turned out. Roasting the dead was “cathartic,” he explained. Instead of roasting the flavor of the month, taking on the dead was a “great brain exercise.” Next on Ross’s agenda is roasting Donald Trump for Comedy Central. It’ll be fun to see which insults he throws in the toupeed billionaire’s direction. I hope he wears those silver boots.