Roasts Are Terrible - Hollywood: My Good Friend Who Is Also a Little Embarrassing - Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) - Mindy Kaling

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) - Mindy Kaling (2011)

Hollywood: My Good Friend Who Is Also a Little Embarrassing

Roasts Are Terrible

WITH THE EXCEPTION of organized dog fighting, or roller coasters named the Mind Eraser, there is no form of entertainment I like less than the modern-day televised roast.

It’s a real shame, because I think creative, funny, even merciless teasing is one of the greatest cathartic ways to laugh and bring people together. This is, like, the point of wedding festivities, besides the drunk dancing to the Electric Slide.

I’m not going to rhapsodize about the Friars Club roasts of the 1960s, I promise. It’s not like I’m yearning to return to some classy golden era of roasts, like those annoying people who only like entertainment from any time but the present. But what I do appreciate about old Friars Club roasts is that when, say, Freddie Prinze roasted Sammy Davis Jr., it seemed like (a) they actually knew each other, and (b) the people roasting weren’t professional insulters. They had other careers, as comedians, actors, politicians. This was just something they did very well, from time to time. And it was affectionate.

When I see comedians roasting their victims, and viciously making light of their flaws, I want to put my hand on, say, David Hasselhoff’s shoulder and say, “David, it gets better.” If this isn’t a hate crime, then what is? But mostly, I think of the roasters. Do they call up their parents excitedly, like, “Look, Ma! I made it! I’m eviscerating Pamela Anderson on television tonight for having STDs!” Jeff Ross is one of the most gifted living comedians, in my estimation, and he does roasts all the time, which is incredibly frustrating. Jeff’s stand-up is truly funny, and it’s much more relatable and observational than his roast material. He should have his own show where he’s an awesome leading man. He should not be roasting cast members of Jersey Shore. Watching Jeff do roasts is like watching Andy Roddick destroy at Ping-Pong in your grandfather’s basement.

I do not need to hear people tearing into Lisa Lampanelli for liking to have sex only with black men. I’m sad that this is her famous running gag. I’m sad that I now know this. I’m sad that a legitimate rung on the ladder of making it in comedy is writing hateful stuff about total strangers. I don’t know. I also did not want to see photos of Osama Bin Laden’s dead body. I think the two things are related.

When I watch roasts, I actually feel physically uncomfortable, like when I see a crow feast on a squirrel that has been hit by a car but has not stopped moving yet. The self-proclaimed no-holds-barred atmosphere reminds me of signs for strip clubs on Hollywood Boulevard: “We Have Crazy Girls. They Do Anything!” We don’t have to do anything. Let’s bar some holds.