"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Monday, June 22, 2009

The (sexist, ablelist, homophobic) Art of the Comedy Roast

The morning radio show I occasionally listen to had "insult comic" Jeffrey Ross as a guest this past week, because he was advertising his upcoming shows at a local comedy club. Ross is apparently well-known for his presence at Comedy Central's roast specials, as well as a short stint (meaning he was the first contestant kicked off) on a season of Dancing with the Stars. He wasn't on the air very long before he was completely pissing me off with his sexism and homophobia. Here's an excerpt from his interview with the D.C. Decider, in which he uses pretty much all the same jokes he used on the morning show I heard. I was going to put the really offensive stuff in bold, but changed my mind when I realized that would be most of it. Just read for yourself:

Decider: Out of all the people you have roasted, who has been the best sport?

Jeffrey Ross: Everyone I’ve roasted has been a great sport. The only person that ever came after me was Penny Marshall. It all started when I roasted her ex-husband Rob Reiner. I said, “What was your wedding song, ‘How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?’” I saw her at a roast two months later and she attacked me. Luckily I’m a black belt in karate.

D: How did she attack you?

JR: She headed toward me in a drunken rage. So, I made a joke. I said, “Which one were you again? Lenny or Squiggy?” Of course, they escorted me out the back door. Occasionally a roastmaster needs to get out of Dodge.


D: Or you can roast the whole cast of The Hills. That works, too.

JR: Oh boy, I’d rather bang the cast of The View. Seriously, though, Spencer Pratt? That guy is adorable. He’s like Lance Bass’ retarded nephew.

D: Miley Cyrus.

JR: Well, I’ve got a good story about Miley Cyrus. My nephews begged me to take them to see Hannah Montana, but it was sold out. So I took them to see Hannah New Jersey.

D: How old are your nephews?

JR: They are 6 and 12. They got a couple handjobs in the lobby on the way out.

D: Okay, here’s one for you to roast—Lindsay Lohan.

JR: You know what? Lindsay is a friend of mine. I feel like she’s gotten a raw deal. So, Lindsay, wherever you are, I hope you find love, and, uh, I hope I can watch.

D: Amy Winehouse.

JR: Oh my God, she is the greatest. She makes Courtney Love look like Mother Theresa.

D: Paris Hilton.

JR: The Hilton sisters. How great is it that two sluts are named after a cheap motel?

D: Oprah Winfrey.

JR: Oprah. You don’t mess with Oprah. She has enough money in her left pocket to have me killed.

I guess the thing that angers me the most is that he makes it quite evident that the best way to "roast" a woman is to (1) attack her femininity/fuckability, (2) sexually objectify her, or (3) call her a slut. Someone needs to send him a memo that relying on the basic tenets of sexism to insult women does not make one a comedic genius.


plumpdumpling said...

Hey! I listened to that interview, too. Thin yet hearty wires, bebz.

Tracey said...

plumpdumpling: Neat! Were you just as offended as I was?

plumpdumpling said...

Oh, no, I laughed out loud during the entire thing, elbowed the guys next to me to share in the jokes, and scratched my crotch a lot. Same ol', same ol'.

Also: my word verification word is "conts". Just sayin'.

Tracey said...

This comment made me laugh SO hard.

Nina said...

Nice blog. I had an incident recently where a few up and coming comedians were totally inappropriate on their podcast. I wrote and asked them if they understood sexism was as consequential as racism and they started to roast me. My question is, what more can we do about it? How can we stop this?

I am sick of hearing these hurtful things everywhere. How can we hold people accountable? If we start with comedians,? Is there anyone who would like to start talking about and experimenting with this topic?