Comedy Central Roast

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Comedy Central Roast
Comedy Central Roast 2011.png
Genre Roast, comedy
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 14 (List of roasts)
Running time 90 minutes
Original network Comedy Central
Picture format 4:3 SDTV (2003–2008)
16:9 HDTV (2009–present)
Original release August 10, 2003 (2003-08-10) – present

The Comedy Central Roasts are a series of celebrity roast specials which air on the Comedy Central cable network. As of 2015, a total of 14 roasts have aired.


Between 1998 and 2002, Comedy Central produced and televised the annual roasts of the New York Friars Club.

After the original five-year agreement expired, the network began producing its own roasts in the same spirit.[1] The first, featuring roastee Denis Leary (and produced by Leary's production company, Apostle), aired on August 10, 2003 and was the most watched program in the channel's history, excluding episodes of South Park.[2]

Some roastees have stated that certain topics are off-limits. Pamela Anderson, for example, prohibited jokes about her Hepatitis C infection. Joan Rivers disallowed jokes about her daughter, Melissa. Others, like David Hasselhoff, have imposed no limits on the topics.[3] Although Charlie Sheen initially agreed to no restrictions on his roast, he later said during an interview with Jay Leno that he requested jokes about his mother be edited out of the broadcast.[4][dead link]

During Charlie Sheen's roast, Steve-O made the joke "The last time this many nobodies were at a roast, at least Great White was playing", which was removed from broadcast on Steve-O's request.[5]

During Denis Leary's roast, comedian Lenny Clarke, a friend of Leary's, said there was a carton of cigarettes backstage from Bill Hicks with the message, "Wish I had gotten these to you sooner." This joke was cut from the final broadcast.[6] During Roseanne Barr's roast, Jeff Ross compared fellow roaster Seth Green to James Holmes, responsible for the 2012 Aurora shooting. The joke was also removed.[7]


Roastee  Roast master(s)  Original air date  U.S. viewers
Denis Leary
Jeff Garlin August 10, 2003 3.2[8]
Roasters: Jim Breuer, Mario Cantone, Lenny Clarke, Doctor Dré, Dane Cook, Nick DiPaolo, Adam Ferrara, Michael J. Fox, Peter Gallagher, Don Gavin, Gina Gershon, Gilbert Gottfried as Denis' Irish Wolfhound, Ed Lover, Joe Mantegna, Conan O'Brien, Colin Quinn, Rene Russo, and Christopher Walken.[citation needed]
Jeff Foxworthy
Bill Engvall, Ron White, & Larry the Cable Guy March 20, 2005 6.2[9]

Roasters: Nick DiPaolo, Lisa Lampanelli, Greg Giraldo, Colin Quinn, Denis Leary, Jay Mohr, Steve Bridges as U.S. President George W. Bush, Christian Finnegan, Gilbert Gottfried as Jeff's cow, Heidi Klum, Patrice O'Neal, Anna Nicole Smith, and G. E. Smith.[citation needed]

The hip-hop group B.A.M.A. performed their cover of "Sweet Home Alabama".[citation needed]
Pamela Anderson
Jimmy Kimmel August 14, 2005 4.3[10]

Roasters: Courtney Love, Adam Carolla, Bea Arthur, Nick DiPaolo, Greg Giraldo, Elon Gold, Eddie Griffin, Lady Bunny, Lisa Lampanelli, Tommy Lee, Jeff Ross, Sarah Silverman, Andy Dick, roastmaster Jimmy Kimmel and pre-taped appearances by David Spade and Hugh Hefner.[citation needed]

Notable audience members: Anna Nicole Smith[citation needed]

Dennis Rodman was amongst the crowd on the stage. This roast featured a large amount of jokes and satire regarding sex directed from roasters toward fellow roasters, complete with Andy Dick appearing as Pamela's plastic surgeon and groping her breasts as part of his skit. Many of the jokes were also directed at Courtney Love for appearing to be inebriated (but claiming to have been sober for a year), Bea Arthur's masculinity, Andy Dick's ambiguous sexuality and Lisa Lampanelli's full figured body as well as her attraction towards black people.
William Shatner
Jason Alexander August 20, 2006 3.6[12]

Roasters: Andy Dick (as the "love child" of James T. Kirk and Spock), Farrah Fawcett, Greg Giraldo, Lisa Lampanelli, Artie Lange, Nichelle Nichols, Patton Oswalt, Kevin Pollak, Jeff Ross, George Takei, Betty White, and Fred Willard performing the roasting duties. Special, pre-taped, guest appearances were made by Leonard Nimoy, Sandra Bullock, Ben Stiller, Sarah Silverman, Jimmy Kimmel, and Clint Howard.

Notable audience members: Adrian Zmed, David Carradine, Roger Corman, Brent Spiner, Jeri Ryan, Rene Auberjonois, Rosalind Chao, Mark Valley, Carrie Fisher, Scott Hamilton, country music star Brad Paisley, Reno 911! stars Cedric Yarbrough and Niecy Nash, and Brian Posehn.[citation needed]

Executive Produced by Joel Gallen, with Aaron Matthew Lee serving as Head Writer. The Leonard Nimoy sequence which originally opened the broadcast on Comedy Central (Nimoy and Shatner were shown having an argument over the phone) was omitted from the DVD release, while many pre-taped sequences and jokes told during the roast itself were added back in after originally being cut.The tagline for this roast was "The Shat hits the fan." The Roast was nominated for a 2007 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety Special.[11] The background music for the montage of Shatner was "Everything I Do, I Do with William Shatner" by the Star Trek-influenced rock band, Warp 11. Women dressed as green Orion slave girls can be clearly seen tending bar.
Flavor Flav
Katt Williams August 12, 2007 3.8[13]

Roasters: Ice-T, Jimmy Kimmel, Snoop Dogg, Greg Giraldo, Patton Oswalt, Lisa Lampanelli, Jeff Ross, Carrot Top, Sommore, and Brigitte Nielsen.

Notable audience members: Flavor of Love, Ron Jeremy, comedian Luenell, comedian Red Grant, Scott Adsit from 30 Rock, Nicole "Coco" Austin, Kordell Stewart, Derek Parker, Moonlite BunnyRanch owner Dennis Hof, and Chyna.[citation needed]

The roast was produced by Joel Gallen.
Bob Saget
John Stamos August 16, 2008 2.2[18]

Roasters: Susie Essman, Greg Giraldo, Brian Posehn, Jim Norton, Jeff Garlin as fictional Full House executive producer Saul Schwartz (though he broke character at the end), Gilbert Gottfried, Jon Lovitz, Norm Macdonald, Cloris Leachman, and Jeff Ross.[14] Pre-taped appearances were delivered by Sarah Silverman, Lewis Black, and Don Rickles.

Notable audience members: Full House co-stars Lori Loughlin, Jodie Sweetin, and Dave Coulier along with Growing Pains star Alan Thicke, Rex Lee of Entourage and Quantum Leap & Star Trek: Enterprise star Scott Bakula and Alonzo Bodden.[citation needed]

Norm Macdonald's set was notable in that it avoided racy content and featured intentionally cheesy and antiquated jokes.[15] He later revealed that the material was taken from a book given to him by his father that contains jokes meant to be told at retirement parties circa 1950, and that when the roast's showrunner asked him to be "shocking," he decided to go in the opposite direction of the usual roast humor.[16] Artie Lange was scheduled but did not show at the roast because he had entered a rehabilitation center. It was later revealed that Saget was highly offended by the jokes aimed at Candace Cameron and the Olsen twins.[17] The DVD was released on December 30, 2008.
Larry the Cable Guy
Lisa Lampanelli[19] March 16, 2009 4.1[10]

Roasters: Nick DiPaolo, Jeff Foxworthy, Greg Giraldo, Toby Keith, Jeffrey Ross, Reno Collier, Maureen McCormick, Warren Sapp, and Gary Busey. Bill Engvall made a pre-taped appearance.

Originally taped on March 1, 2009. This marks the first time that a previous roastmaster has become a roastee, and the first time that a roast was broadcast in 16:9 high-definition.
Joan Rivers
Kathy Griffin August 9, 2009 2.8[10]

Roasters: Carl Reiner, Gilbert Gottfried, Mario Cantone, Whitney Cummings, Tom Arnold, Brad Garrett, Robin Quivers, Greg Giraldo, Don Rickles and Jeff Ross. Donald Trump made a pre-taped appearance and Melissa Rivers came from the audience to roast her mother.

Notable audience members: Melissa Rivers, Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, Alan Thicke, T.J. Miller, Chris Pratt and Anna Faris.[citation needed]

Originally taped on July 26, 2009.[20] It was released on the Comedy Central Emmy Consideration DVD sent only to members of the Consideration program.
David Hasselhoff
Seth MacFarlane August 15, 2010 3.5[24]

Roasters: Jeff Ross, Pamela Anderson, Lisa Lampanelli, Hulk Hogan, Jerry Springer,[21] Whitney Cummings, Greg Giraldo, George Hamilton,[22] and Gilbert Gottfried, Sharon Osbourne and Piers Morgan made pre-taped appearances, and William Daniels reprised his role as the voice of KITT.

Notable audience members: John Slattery, Craig Robinson, Christina Milian, Hasselhoff's two daughters, Hayley and Taylor, Hulk Hogan's son, Nick, and fellow Baywatch alumni Alexandra Paul, Nicole Eggert, Gena Lee Nolin, Traci Bingham, Angelica Bridges and Jeremy Jackson.[citation needed]

To close the show, Hasselhoff sang "This Is The Moment" from the musical Jekyll & Hyde, which he formerly starred in.[23] The DVD was released in January 2011.

This is also the final roast in which Greg Giraldo participated. Giraldo died on September 29, 2010.
Donald Trump
Seth MacFarlane March 15, 2011 3.5[28]

Roasters: Whitney Cummings, Lisa Lampanelli, Jeffrey Ross, Marlee Matlin (interpreted by friend and business partner Jack Jason), Gilbert Gottfried, Anthony Jeselnik, Larry King, Snoop Dogg, and Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino.[25]

Notable audience members: Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump, Ice-T, Russell Simmons, John Legend, Lindsay Lohan, Joel Madden and David Foster.[citation needed]

Originally taped on March 9, 2011.[26] The roast consisted of jokes toward Trump's hairstyle, his show The Apprentice, and his family. Jokes were also made about Jeselnik's fame (or lack thereof), Matlin's deafness, King's age, and Jersey Shore. Several roasters paid respect to Greg Giraldo, a Comedy Central Roast regular, who died on September 29, 2010. Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino's performance was widely panned by critics and viewers alike; as a result, Comedy Central pulled several of his jokes from the television airing of the roast.[27] This roast was dedicated in memory of Greg Giraldo. This was also the first time someone served as roastmaster more than once, as Seth MacFarlane also roasted David Hasselhoff.
Charlie Sheen
Seth MacFarlane September 19, 2011 6.4[34]

Roasters: Mike Tyson, Jeff Ross, Anthony Jeselnik, Steve-O,[29] William Shatner, Kate Walsh, Jon Lovitz, Patrice O'Neal and Amy Schumer.

Notable audience members: Brooke Mueller, Aaron Paul, Maria Menounos, Corbin Bernsen, Duane Chapman, Michael Boatman, Kristin Cavallari, Patrick Warburton and Richard Kind.[citation needed]

The roast was taped in Los Angeles on September 10, 2011, and was broadcast on September 19, 2011, exactly one hour after the premiere of Ashton Kutcher's first episode on Two and a Half Men where he replaced Sheen.[30][dead link] Slash made an appearance playing his guitar during Sheen's entrance.[31] Harvey Levin from was scheduled to appear but ended up not doing so. During an interview on The View, Sheen's ex-wife, Denise Richards stated that she hadn't been invited to appear and, while she thought roasting her ex-husband could be humorous and that he would be able to take it, she feared it would have a negative impact on their daughters.[32] Sheen's famous family members, Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen, were unable to attend as they were promoting their film The Way,[33] although Sheen appeared in a commercial for the roast, spoofing his film Apocalypse Now.

A montage of Sheen's film and television work were featured, though due to legal reasons, clips of his tenure on Two and a Half Men were never used. In reference to how his Two and a Half Men character Charlie Harper was killed off the series (hit by a train), Sheen arrived on stage riding on a replica locomotive. In the UK and Turkey, on the network which Two and a Half Men airs, The roast aired directly after Kutcher's first Two and a Half Men episode. This was O'Neal's final television appearance before his death on November 29, 2011.

With 6.4 million viewers in its original debut, this roast was the highest rated Comedy Central Roast to date.[34]
Roseanne Barr
Jane Lynch August 12, 2012 2.6[38]

Roasters: Jeff Ross, Katey Sagal, Carrie Fisher, Ellen Barkin, Anthony Jeselnik, Seth Green, Amy Schumer, Wayne Brady and Gilbert Gottfried, and also featured a surprise appearance by Barr's ex-husband Tom Arnold.[35]

Notable audience members: Sarah Chalke, Blake Anderson, Alicia Goranson, Michael Fishman, Chris Colfer and Fred Willard.[citation needed]

The roast was taped in Los Angeles on August 4, 2012.[35] Sharon Stone had been announced as one of the roasters,[36] but dropped out for unknown reasons prior to the event. The final surprise of the night was Barr's choice to close out the show by legitimately singing the last two lines of The Star-Spangled Banner, in an effort to finally redeem herself for her infamous and controversial rendition of the American anthem at a nationally broadcast baseball game in 1990.[37]
James Franco
Seth Rogen September 2, 2013 3.1[40]
Roasters: Aziz Ansari, Bill Hader, Jonah Hill, Nick Kroll, Natasha Leggero, Jeff Ross, Andy Samberg, and Sarah Silverman.[39]
Justin Bieber
Kevin Hart March 30, 2015 4.4[44]

Roasters: Hannibal Buress, Jeff Ross, Martha Stewart, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, Shaquille O'Neal, Chris D'Elia, Natasha Leggero, Pete Davidson and Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy.[41][42]

Notable audience members: Scooter Braun, Dave Chappelle, Tito Ortiz, John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, Kendall Jenner, Jack Gilinsky, Blake Anderson, Katharine McPhee, Kourtney Kardashian, Kate Walsh, Chris Paul, Trevor Noah, Sarah Tiana, Larissa Marolt, Carly Rae Jepsen, John Legend, Jaden Smith and Kyle Kinane.[citation needed]

In an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Ellen DeGeneres revealed that she was approached by Braun, Bieber's manager, to participate in the roast, but refused because she did not want to be mean to Bieber. Jokes referencing Paul Walker were cut out of the television broadcast.[43]

Being age 21 at the time of filming, Bieber is the youngest roastee to be roasted by Comedy Central to date.

Recurring roasters[edit]

The table below features any roasters who have appeared on more than one Comedy Central Roasts. "RM" indicates that they were the roastmaster for that roast. As of the Justin Bieber roast, the most frequent roaster has been Jeff Ross, who has appeared in all but the first two roasts, for a total of 12, and has yet to be a roastmaster.[a]

Denis Leary (2003) Jeff Foxworthy (2005) Pamela Anderson (2005) William Shatner (2006) Flavor Flav (2007) Bob Saget (2008) Larry the Cable Guy (2009) Joan Rivers (2009) David Hasselhoff (2010) Donald Trump (2011) Charlie Sheen (2011) Roseanne Barr (2012) James Franco (2013) Justin Bieber (2015)
Tom Arnold Yes Yes
Mario Cantone Yes Yes
Whitney Cummings Yes Yes Yes
Andy Dick Yes Yes
Nick DiPaolo Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bill Engvall Yes RM Yes
Jeff Garlin Yes RM Yes
Greg Giraldo Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Gilbert Gottfried Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Anthony Jeselnik Yes Yes Yes
Jimmy Kimmel Yes RM Yes
Lisa Lampanelli Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes RM Yes Yes
Jon Lovitz Yes Yes
Natasha Leggero Yes Yes
Seth MacFarlane Yes RM Yes RM Yes RM
Patrice O'Neal Yes Yes
Patton Oswalt Yes Yes
Colin Quinn Yes Yes
Don Rickles Yes Yes
Jeff Ross Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Amy Schumer Yes Yes
William Shatner Yes Yes
Sarah Silverman Yes Yes Yes
Snoop Dogg Yes Yes Yes

Cancelled roasts[edit]

In 2008, a roast for musician Willie Nelson was planned to coincide with the release of his box set, One Hell of a Ride, but was ultimately cancelled, according to Jeff Ross.[46][47][48]

A roast for musician Kid Rock was announced in November 2010 and scheduled for January 2011, but was later replaced by the Donald Trump roast.[49] Rock's roast was rescheduled for August 2011,[50] but was replaced again, this time by Charlie Sheen's roast.[30] Both Kid Rock roasts were reportedly replaced because Rock insists on them taping the roast in his hometown of Detroit, which Comedy Central wouldn't agree to.


The first international roast aired on Comedy Central New Zealand on Wednesday, December 15, 2010 and the roastee was prominent Māori comedian, Mike King.[51] Also roasted in New Zealand was rugby commentator, ex rugby player, and ex of Miss Universe Lorraine Downes, Murray Mexted.

Comedy Central Africa also roasted veteran South African performer, actor and songwriter Steve Hofmeyr on September 11, 2012. South African comedian Trevor Noah was the roastmaster for the evening.

In May 2013, Comedy Central Latin America roasted Mexican comedian Héctor Suárez, hosted by his own son Héctor Suárez Gomís.

In April 2014, Comedy Central Africa hosted a second roast and roasted South African businessman Kenny Kunene. The Roastmaster was British comedian Jimmy Carr[52] and included a dais of local personalities. Roasters included comedians John Vlismas and Tumi Morake, socialites Khanyi Mbau and Somizi Mhlongo, TV presenter Dineo Ranaka, OFM (South Africa)'s former host Rian van Heerden and music personalities PJ Powers and Jack Parow.[53]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref
2007 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Special Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner Nominated [11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ross hosted the roast of Gene Simmons, a third-season episode of Gene Simmons Family Jewels on A&E.[45]


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  19. ^ Official site[dead link][dead link]
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  21. ^ "Show Tracker". 
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  25. ^ Larry King, Snoop Dogg and The Situation Among Donald Trump Roasters[dead link][dead link]
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  30. ^ a b Tobery, Matt (July 5, 2011). "Comedy Central to Roast Charlie Sheen". Comedy Central Insider. Comedy Central. Retrieved July 5, 2011. [dead link]
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  32. ^ Video on YouTube[dead link][dead link]
  33. ^ [dead link]"Martin Sheen & Emilio Estevez Talk Charlie Sheen". YouTube. August 22, 2011. Retrieved October 14, 2011. [dead link]
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  35. ^ a b Rose, Emily (August 5, 2012). "'Roast of Roseanne': Tom Arnold makes 'surprise' appearance on a not-so-mean night". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 12, 2015. 
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  39. ^ "Comedy Central Homepage". Comedy Central. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  40. ^ Bibel, Sara (September 3, 2013). "Monday Cable Ratings: 'Comedy Central Roast of James Franco' Wins Night, College Football, 'WWE Raw', 'T.I. & Tiny', 'Basketball Wives', 'Teen Mom' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved October 6, 2014. 
  41. ^ "Justin Bieber: I'm Gonna Get Hannibal Lectured at the Roast". TMZ. February 16, 2015. Retrieved March 22, 2015. 
  42. ^ Marianne Zumberge (March 5, 2015). "Comedy Central's Justin Bieber Roasters to Include Snoop Dogg, Martha Stewart". Variety. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  43. ^ Alex Stedman. "Paul Walker Jokes Removed from Roast of Justin Bieber - Variety". Variety. 
  44. ^ Bibel, Sara (March 31, 2015). "Monday Cable Ratings: Comedy Central Roast Wins Night, 'WWE Raw', 'Better Call Saul', 'Teen Mom', 'Bates Motel' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved March 31, 2015. 
  45. ^ Gene Simmons Family Jewels. Season 3. Episode 17. A&E. 2008.
  46. ^ Halperin, Shirley. "Willie Nelson Comedy Central roast is postponed", Entertainment Weekly, March 11, 2008
  47. ^ "Comedy Central Is High on Willie Nelson! Network to Roast American Icon". The Futon Critic. February 5, 2008. Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  48. ^ Ross, Jeffrey (2009). I Only Roast the Ones I Love. New York: Gallery Books. p. 190. ISBN 9781439101407. 
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  52. ^ "Jimmy Carr To Spice Up "The Comedy Central Roast Of Kenny Kunene Fired Up By Nando's". Comedy Central Africa. February 23, 2014. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  53. ^ "Final Roasters Revealed!| News". Comedy Central Africa. March 17, 2014. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 

External links[edit]