Photo from Kevin Roberts/gamblingsites.org
By Nick Kalantzopoulos
With the recent dwindling ratings of two of Comedy Central’s new television shows, The Daily Show and The Nightly Show, the latter being cancelled earlier this month, the network attempted to bring back audiences with one of their oldest’s traditions, a roast. The target was meant to be actor Rob Lowe, but as the show went on, the comedians and celebrities on the dais turned their vitriol to another person: conservative commentator Ann Coulter.
The “Roast Of Rob Lowe” was led by Saturday Night Live alum and star in the Grown Ups series, David Spade, and included comedians Jimmy Carr, Pete Davidson, Nikki Glaser, Rob Riggle, Jeff Ross, as well as actor Ralph Macchio, musician Jewel, the aforementioned New York Times best-selling author Ann Coulter and recently retired National Football League quarterback Peyton Manning.
The show’s cold open started off with Rob Lowe in his dressing room preparing or the show, as “The Devil,” portrayed by his fellow Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler, shows up to pick up Lowe’s soul, now that he has made it as a Hollywood actor. Lowe stated that he had not yet achieved that success, setting the tone for a rather self deprecating show, at least on Lowe’s part.
Given the title of Roast Master for the evening, Spade led the evening, commenting fondly on Lowe’s attractiveness, while at the same time poking fun at his career acting. Perhaps summing up his set, one of his best jokes went as follows:
“It’s not easy being Rob,” Spade said. “Being so handsome made it difficult for (him) to find meaningful roles. I wanted to ask Brad Pitt about that, but he was too busy acting in meaningful roles.”
Next up was current SNL comic, Pete Davidson, who was one of the two holdovers from Comedy Central’s Roast of Justin Bieber, which took place last year.
Davidson began taking jabs equally at the fellow members of the dais, but was the first to begin focusing on Coulter, saying, “Ann describes herself as a polemicist, but most people call her a c*nt.”
He also joked, “Last year we had Martha Stewart, who sells sheets, and now we have Ann Coulter, who cuts holes in them.” Davidson started the pattern and many of the fellow celebrities on stage followed suit, much to the happiness of the crowd.
Rob Riggle was next, saying, “Ann Coulter is here, which means one thing: someone must have said her name three times.”
Actress and singer-songwriter Jewel brought her guitar up during her set, playing in between her jokes. She started off as well with Coulter, saying, “As a feminist I can’t support everything that’s being said up here tonight, but as somebody that hates Ann Coulter, I am delighted.” She did however focus on Lowe, and explained her “connection” with Rob Lowe. Singing her last few sentences, Jewel, joked that she was the unnamed sixteen year-old that was famously a part of the sex tape that Lowe was in, in 1988, much to the joy of the audience.
Next up was the breakthrough star of the Roast, British comedian Jimmy Carr. Carr’s set was perhaps the funniest of the night, and not coincidentally the harshest.
When making fun of Peyton Manning and the NFL, Carr joked, “The only people that get more concussions than NFL players are their wives,” forcing many in the audience to laugh while simultaneously shaking their heads. Carr knew where the line was, and was very comfortable straddling it, a necessity for roasts. Carr even went to the point at which he suggested Ann Coulter commit suicide.
“Ann Coulter is one of the most repugnant, hateful, hatchet-faced bitches alive, but it’s not too late to change, Ann,” joked Carr. “You could kill yourself.”
Up next was two-time Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning, who surprised many with a great comedy set of his own.
Manning, who has hosted SNL in the past with great reviews, pointed out many of the cancelled television shows that Lowe has been apart of, and joked, “If you had been quarterback for the Broncos (Manning’s team this past season) last year the freaking Super Bowl would have been cancelled.” And even Manning, who last year made a contribution to the Jeb Bush campaign, took a swipe at Ann Coulter.
“I just realized that I’m not the only athlete up here tonight,” Manning joked, “As you all know, earlier this year, Ann Coulter won the Kentucky Derby.” Manning also couldn’t help but make a Deflategate joke at the expense of his rival and friend Tom Brady.
“(Lowe) tried to take the air out of my retirement announcement so fast, (he) could probably get a job as Tom Brady’s ball boy.”
Next up was Comedy Central’s newest star Nikki Glaser, who also made a fun of Lowe’s sex tape with an underage girl.
“I had such a crush on you when I was a little girl,” Glaser joked. “If only I’d known that’s when I had my best shot.”
Actor Ralph Macchio followed Glaser, and had a set, mostly making fun of himself.
“Yes, it’s me Ralph Macchio, the ‘Karate Kid’. I still look the same, don’t I?” joked Macchio. “My secret to looking so young: not working.”
The most anticipated comedy set of the evening was definitely Ann Coulter’s. For most of the night, Coulter showed the same expression while many joked at her her expense, a dry smile on an otherwise straight face. While many of the celebrities on the dais were given comedy writers by Comedy Central, Coulter refused hers, according to comedian Sarah Tiana.
“Peyton and Riggle were my special assignments,” said Tiana on her Instagram page. When someone on Twitter asked her if Coulter had any help writing her material, Tiana responded, “We tried. She brought in her own writers. Even the ones I got in she changed last minute.”
What followed can only be described was an awkward bomb of a set by Coulter. She spent much of her time plugging her book, In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!, and attempted many political jokes that simply didn’t land, reminding roast fans of the infamous set given by The Situation during the Roast of Donald Trump in 2011. The audience started off boing Coulter, and finished off booing Coulter’s material.
The last comedian was the “Roastmaster General,” Jeff Ross. Ross, a constant at the roasts, dressed up as Prince, and also played his guitar between jokes.
Ross too made fun of Coulter, joking, “How do I roast somebody from hell?”
Ending the proceedings as per custom was Rob Lowe. Lowe tied the night together, sending back a few jokes to the celebrities on the dais, and of course, made sure to get a shot at Coulter as well.
“Ann, after seeing your set tonight, I think we’ve all witnessed the first bombing you can’t blame on a Muslim.”
The night was meant to be a funny roast of Rob Lowe. It certainly was funny, but the actual victim ended up being somebody else entirely.