‘Comedy Central Roast’: All the best celebrity roasts in TV history
Roasts have been an American comedy staple since as early as the late 40s, but it wasn’t until The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast in the early 70s when they really became loved by the American public. Bruce Willis (Die Hard) was the focus of the most recent Comedy Central roast – the roastmaster was Looper co-star Joseph Gordon Levitt – and to celebrate, we decided to take a look at some of the sickest burns and the best roasts of all time.
Norm MacDonald roasting Bob Saget
There is something amazing about seeing a comedian who is so confident as a performer that he can stand onstage at a roast for six minutes and purposely bomb. And by bomb, we mean tell bad Dad jokes and still get laughs because he’s clearly fearless on stage. Norm apparently chose to do his set this way after a producer told him to “be shocking”.
No doubt it was shocking for the producer to see Norm take to the stage to tell jokes like, “Hey, she may be a vegetarian but she’s still full of baloney in my book.”
The Rob Lowe roast
The Rob Lowe (Wayne’s World) roast was pretty brutal overall, with a lot of it aimed at Ann Coulter (and rightly so). Singer Jewel also managed to get some good pops in (the non-comedians can be hit or miss, but Jewel did pretty good), including the rip, “Gay men love Ann Coulter. It’s because two minutes into hearing her speak, they remember why they hate pu**y.” Yeowch!
Hannibal Buress roasting Justin Bieber
“I hate your music.” Buress (Spider-Man: Homecoming) makes this point in his conversational style a few times more before signing off with the punchline: “I hate your music more than Bill Cosby hates my comedy.” More aimed at himself and Cosby than Bieber, but a solid joke nevertheless.
This joke was symbolic of a surprisingly strong roast. Most every guest delivered, from Martha Stewart and Ludacris to Pete Davidson and roastmaster Kevin Hart. The expectations may have been low going in, but Bieber wound up with the best Comedy Central roast in recent memory.
Gilbert Gottfried roasting Hugh Hefner
If anyone was going to tell a 9/11 joke only a week after it happened, it was going to be Gilbert Gottfried (Aladdin). After the joke was met with a frosty reception (people booed and hissed and someone shouted “too soon”), the comedian moved on with the infamous aristocrat joke, proving once and for all there is only one Gilbert Gottfried.
Don Rickles at pretty much every roast he’s done
Don Rickles (Casino) was a regular roaster from the early Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts and while some of his bits have aged a little, he’s still the archetype for how to not to care about anyone you’re roasting (even if you do care about them deep down).
Richard Pryor at his own roast
The problem with roasting Richard Pryor (Lost Highway) is that there’s simply no way he’s not going to come out on top, and his roast proved just that. Although the lines don’t read too well, it’s Pryor’s top-notch delivery that kills it every time.
Larry Sanders on “The Roast” episode of The Larry Sanders Show
“Larry found work on a poultry farm, taking blind turkeys out to sh**.” Following this line, Larry later mentions that he once said Carrot Top “would suck a c**k to win a sack race,” before Carrot Top is introduced as his surprise guest at the roast. The whole episode is a look at the makings of a roast, showing Larry getting absolutely obliterated by his friends and a couple of strangers too.