Programming

Left Coast Bias: Comedy Central Got-R-Done

3/07/2009 02:00:00 AM Eastern

I've learned a lot from my redneck brother-in-law. My wife's brother taught me how to blow a bird out of the sky with a shotgun, and haul a 100-pound halibut into a boat and finish it off like a 'roided-up Yankees third baseman. So long, entire vegetarian readership, and good riddance. Go eat a steak already and get over it.

One of the greatest things my redneck brother-in-law turned me on to long ago was the comedic stylings of one Dan Whitney, better known as Larry the Cable Guy. While I haven't seen any of his movies (I don't think I'm in the minority there, by the way), his early standup material is borderline legendary if you share my general lack of sophistication.

So when I finagled an invite to Comedy Central's taping of the celebrity roast of Larry, I was expecting some big laughs. And wow, was I not disappointed.

If you are reading this publication, there is a pretty good chance your job basically stinks these days. Or at the very least, you are coming to grips with the industry's gravy train being sidetracked (if not derailed) and your 401(k) having about as much substance as a cast member on The Bachelor.

So you could definitely use a few laughs, and I'd think about tuning in Sunday night when Comedy Central debuts this roast.

The event was hosted by Lisa Lampanelli, a rising star who just headlined her first HBO special. Among those on the dais were a group of comedians, former NFL star Warren Sapp, country singer Toby Keith, actress Maureen “Marcia Brady” McCormick (who figuratively stole the show) and noted nut case Gary Busey (who probably literally stole some stuff).

I don't want to share too many of the best lines, plus there is no way I could write most of them in this publication anyway. I (somewhat) enjoy my job and would like to keep it for at least another week or two.

The night consisted of everyone tearing into each other—like when Lampanelli said Busey was so unstable she'd “rather take my chances with that crazy chimp from Connecticut,” and called the dais a “group of losers so bad even the Octomom would abort them.”

Even Comedy Central was on the receiving end of abuse. After an early technical glitch, Lampanelli deadpanned to the audience, “Like this happens at HBO.”

Larry took his shot at the network, too, noting, “The comedians here tonight make Comedy Central what it is today—unwatchable.”

Among the roasters was Jeffrey Ross, whom I had just seen kill a couple of 8 earlier at a fundraiser for Boston University, my undergraduate alma mater and national football powerhouse. Noting Larry's signature catch-phrase, “Git-R-Done,” Ross said it actually wasn't the roastee's first choice. “But some other lucky inbred already used 'Mission Accomplished,'” Ross said, confirming that the statute of limitations on ripping the last president is not yet up.

Now remember: I am not a TV critic. I know this because if my job ever let me stay a couple weeks for free at a Ritz-Carlton, replete with free food and nice parties, I wouldn't complain the entire time. Then again, until you've sat through a press tour session with some of these brain-dead actors, who pontificate on their character's thoughts and dreams like they were contemplating Plato, you haven't known true pain.

But if your pain—recession-induced or otherwise—needs some easing, Comedy Central's latest roast is a pretty good temporary fix.

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ben.grossman@reedbusiness.com

 

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