Monday’s roast of Charlie Sheen was the highest rated Comedy Central roast in history with 6.4 million viewers, that’s more than Hugh Heffner, David Hasselhoff and William Shatner pulled. Which makes total sense, the masses have been lapping up the Sheen trainwreck for years now especially since he’s revealed himself to be a total bitchin’ rock star from Mars. He embraces his craziness with a smile on his face and a big fuck you to the conventions of Hollywood when other celebrities apologize for their transgressions and that’s what makes Sheen so likeable – wait likeable isn’t the right word. Watchable, sure. Fuckable? Hmm, given his track record I’m gonna say probably not unless you’re looking to get stabbed, shot or famous.
A life and career so ripe for the mocking doesn’t come around often so I was really surprised at who Comedy Central landed, or rather didn’t, to lambast America’s favorite manic. Where were the A-list comedians, the celebrity ex-wife or the far less famous younger brother whose career pales in comparison? More importantly what the hell was Kate Walsh doing there? Her claim to fame is a TV show spinoff only watched by middle aged women notorious for having no sense of humor…oooh so the same audience as Two and a Half Men, ok it all makes sense now. She actually wasn’t bad as a roaster except for clinging to the “I play a doctor on TV let me diagnose you” schtick for the entire bit. But even so she didn’t shy away from the low blows and impressed with some of the best lines of the evening including “You know what’s amazing, despite all those years of abusing your lungs, your kidneys, your liver, the only thing you’ve had removed is your kids.” She was far funnier than so-called comedian Jon Lovitz who let’s be honest, hasn’t been funny in at least ten years and that’s being really generous. What’s worse than not killing at the podium was his inability to laugh at himself when other roasters turned their attentions to the dais. Every joke made at his expense was met with a blank look driving home the point that Lovitz is just a tired old man who’s had more time in the spotlight than he deserves.
Patrice Oneal is another roaster who didn’t take kindly to being in the hot seat and was visibly displeased at the many diabetes jokes flung his way. Who knows – or cares – if he actually has diabetes he sure as hell looks like it so unless he’s never seen a roast before it shouldn’t have been such a shock. Actually considering how far up Sheen’s ass he was at his turn at the podium it’s not a stretch to say he might not understand what a roast is. A few weak insults followed by a speech about how much he respects Sheen is not exactly pushing the envelope and only serves to answer the age-old question: why did Web Junk fail so quickly while Tosh.0 gets more popular every season?
There were the obligatory “novelty” acts trying their hand at comedy like Mike Tyson, William Shatner and Steve-O. Tyson’s contribution was entirely in his ability to laugh uproariously at the many face-tattoo and rape jokes thrown his way since nobody could understand a fucking word he said at the mic. Oh and of course to punch Steve-O in the face. Steve-O specifically stated in a pre-show interview that he hoped this appearance would bolster his stand-up career so he could stop getting paid to hurt himself yet couldn’t go one hour on stage without pulling a stunt. The living joke that is William Shatner did about as well as anybody expected him to. He offered up this gem, “Reexamine your relations with women. Prostitutes cost a lot of money, but actresses will sleep with you for free” and ended his time with a plug for Priceline. I only hope this leads to a slew of Shatner/Sheen commercials because I am mighty sick of the ones featuring the intimidating Samoan dude in a fur coat.
Easily the most controversial and my personal favorite of the evening was practically unknown comic Amy Schumer. Or maybe she’s super famous and I’ve just never heard of her, who the fuck cares. What’s important here is she was the only person to get booed and thoroughly piss of the twittersphere and for that I applaud her. While doing her part to insult her fellow roasters she dropped the joke heard round the net; “When Ryan Dunn died Steve-O probably was thinking it could’ve been him … with the rest of the world wondering, ‘Why wasn’t it?’” Really? We’re going to spend all night laughing at jokes about rape, spousal abuse and drug overdoses but oh noes don’t make fun of the drunk driving asshole who was kind enough to pull himself out of the gene pool before taking someone else out. It’s a goddamn roast, it’s supposed to be offensive and edgy otherwise it would be called Mind of Mencia. She had another great line about the Sheen himself, “You’re like Bruce Willis. You know, you were big in the ’80s and now your old slots being packed with Ashton Kutcher” and between the two gives me hope for the future of chicks in comedy. Overall it was a pretty weak roast of what I assumed was the easiest target in Hollywood. Maybe it was too easy and everyone just assumed the jokes would sell themselves who knows why it fell so short of the mark. What I do know is we all walked away with the knowledge that Charlie Sheen and Mike Tyson were going to be partying together after the show and nobody felt the need to put a stop to it and that terrifies me. – AS