The Artist’s Roast
James Franco. Are you groaning yet? We haven’t even started!
Franco announced on Instagram (OF COURSE) that he will be the guest of honour at a Comedy Central roast. Past roastees include Dennis Leary, Pamela Anderson, William Shatner, Charlie Sheen, Donald Trump, Roseanne Barr, Joan Rivers, Flavor Flav, Jeff Foxworthy, Bab Saget, Larry the Cable Guy and David Hasselhoff. Not exactly an A-list group.
Have you ever watched one? They are pretty mean, with moments of humour. And it’s not just the guest of honour who is the target – oftentimes the jokes directed at the dais are even worse. Will Franco be able to convince his famous friends (like Seth Rogan and Judd Apatow) to attend like they would a movie premiere? Not many celebrities would have the nerve to sit up there knowing they are a prime target for jokes about anything and everything: weight, appearance, sexual history, career bombs – nothing is off the table.
A few comedians have said that they are asked to be shocking and provocative (duh – ratings), and Comedy Central throws a lot of money and promotion towards it (they have offered private jets to get people like Artie Lange to the taping). But really, how many Trump toupee and Charlie Sheen hooker jokes are there? Aside from a few legitimate shockers -Tom Arnold surprising Roseanne Barr was exciting for a 90s freak like me – it’s insulting just for the sake of being insulting. When the jokes work, it is because there’s equality between the sparring forces –watching two comedians lambaste one another is fun because there’s a mutual respect and camaraderie between them; two people in a brutal business are both in on the joke. But is Franco down with Lisa Lampanelli and Jeffrey Ross, or is this just going to be a bunch of people making jokes about a movie star they don’t know? I’m guessing Franco’s material will focus on him being a stoner, a few career bombs and “gay jokes.” Haha you are a PhD candidate at Yale, you loser!
So why would Franco agree to be roasted? I can’t begin to understand the thought process behind his Huffington Post movie reviews, so his genius is obviously more than I can comprehend. But this is a movie star who chose to work on a soap opera – he’s decreed himself outside of the usual hierarchy we assign to celebrities, and so we have no choice but to accept his choices. In a way… brilliant? Franco can’t be boxed in. No, I’m sorry, the Artist can’t be boxed in.
So of course I will watch this roast, if only to see who chickens out and tapes their segment from the comfort of their living room (ahem, Jonah Hill).
Click here to watch Franco making his announcement, from his bed.
Attached – Franco making you want him in a tank top on the set of Good People in London the other day.
Neil Warner/ Splash