1 out of 5
I was… not expecting great things, having watched some of the recent Comedy Central roast-y stuff – Jeff Ross certainly keeps things going with a slew of barbs, but even he runs into a wall of hitting up the same gross-out gags again and again – but I was not expecting it to be this unfunny, and, at points, embarrassing.
I have not seen an ‘official’ roast since the format apparently switched to a lineup of guests and not actual friends of the roast-ee. Most of these people knew or had tangential ties to Bruce, but some of them were clearly at a loss for any connection – would say as such during their bits – and so their jokes went far and wide, which leads to the main problem: the majority of the runtime was the hosts ragging on each other. They hardly went up against Bruce, and when they did, excepting maybe Dom Irrera and some of Ross’ stuff, they were softballs, just calling him an asshole and bald before remembering to say how much of an influence he was. Kevin Pollak’s bit and Edward Norton’s were the most well rounded, but again, they sort of danced around things, and even Norton had to fall back on the pre-scripted offensives and whatnot. Great, saying the f-word, whoop-de-doo. Jokes about Weinstein and MeToo hashtags are “risque,” except that nothing is, and it’s actual weird in a climate wherein (if I may date myself for future readers) James Gunn is fired from Disney for ribald humor in the same vein. Without taking a side on that, context is just a strange thing sometimes.
Anyhow, tack on a befuddled Dennis Rodman, an out-of-sorts Cybil Sheppard, a rather nervous seeming Lil Rel Howery – who hardly had any jokes, mind you – and a “surprise” visit from Demi Moore, which she herself deflates by calling out that they’d rehearsed the whole thing (she did well, I just hated the faux nature of the the presentation), and the roast added up to quite the bummer. Bruce and his family looked to be having a great time, I just wish the dang thing were actually funnier, and filled with more significant burns.