The only thing that will ever convince Comedy Central to stop perpetuating its disgusting celebrity roasts are poor ratings. Taste, decency, talent -- none of these has bearing on this network's decisions. Nor do they care about the damage they're inflicting on youngsters. They care only about the numbers. So the good news is that their August 12 roast of Roseanne Barr flopped, bringing in only 2.6 million viewers. That’s almost a million less than their roast of the day before yesterday's news, David Hasselhoff. It came in far below the 6.5 million they drew last fall for their wish-you-were-dead roast of Charlie Sheen, but that was just capturing Sheen’s lightning of insanity in a bottle.
Roseanne Barr was, is and forever will be a pig. The roast did her justice. Let's review the "highlights":
1. Jane Lynch, the celebrated “Glee” actress who recently campaigned with Michelle Obama, hosted this awful program. It took her thirty seconds to roll out the first F-bomb, saying “That reminds me, [bleep] Chick-fil-A!” I wonder if her friend Michelle approves.
2. Amy Schumer, who like so many others participating in these roasts deserves her near-anonymity, tried to see how many oral-sex jokes she could work into five minutes, including “Roseanne bought a nut farm, which is the nickname for Ellen Barkin’s mouth at an audition.”
3. Seth Green mocked Roseanne’s overuse of Twitter: “You tweet more than Big Bird when he’s getting [anally] raped.”
4. Jeffrey Ross appeared badly costumed as deceased Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. Outside the studio, he greeted reporters with two young men in tow wearing only towels and football helmets. He dragged out the old joke that Roseanne was molested as a kid, and he sympathized with the molester. He joked about “I haven’t heard sounds that disturbing since I hung out in [Jerry] Sandusky’s basement.” He ended by joking about height-challenged Seth Green, “Now I’m gonna take Seth Green and hit the showers.” Stay classy.
( For this utter lack of comedy genius, Comedy Central is awarding Ross with his own weekly “roast” show called “The Burn.”)
5. It may not be the lowest moment, but it was the saddest when Wayne Brady labored mightily to shred any notion that he’s a kinder, gentler entertainer, because apparently being well-liked on those family-friendly shows means you’re less black. First, Brady turned to Schumer and unleashed a rant about how he wouldn’t have sex with her if she was wearing a “fried-chicken G-string.”
Then he turned to Jeff Ross and said, “But a lot of people hate you, especially Sarah Palin, because you remind her of what Trig is going to look like when he’s 40." This was greeted with a mixture of laughs and boos for joking about Palin’s four-year-old son with Down syndrome. Brady yelled back: “Oh, now you boo me? F—k y’all. I don’t want to hear that. These people say all of this s—t about me, and you boo me because of Trig.” In a sense he's right. This audience had no right to pass judgment on anyone.
6. That wasn’t the only underhanded political attack. Katey Sagal, once the star of Fox “Married with Children” and now thoroughly a nobody proclaimed, "Roseanne, I feel honored that you and I broke new ground as TV moms who didn’t cook, didn’t clean, and didn’t make any money. In the ’90s that made you a bad mom. But today it makes you Mitt Romney’s wife."
7. Gilbert Gottfried literally screamed his entire routine, including an extended oral-sex “joke” about how Jane Lynch keeps coating the microphone with a “thick layer of pubic hairs” after she speaks.
8. For shock value, Roseanne’s ex-husband Tom Arnold appeared and joked “I’m not here to tear Roseanne a new one because, quite frankly, I’ve seen the old one, and it’s spectacular! It could use a little paint, maybe a couple of plants in the corners, a wicker loveseat, but trust me – that baby is move-in ready!”
9. At the end, Roseanne’s retorts included comparing Gottfried’s voice to a “sandpaper dildo,” but “after 20 minutes, you might start enjoying the dildo.”
Sponsors for this wretched mess at least lived down to the surroundings. There was the online sex-toy shop Adam and Eve.com. Sascha Baron Cohen sold the raunch of his uncut and unrated DVD of “The Dictator,” and they sold the DVD of “Resident Evil: Retribution 3D.” It’s too bad that title was already taken, because it could have also described the roast of Roseanne.
Never have so many who collectively have accomplished so little come forward with a presentation so filled with artistic nothing.