Celebrity roasts aren’t the ratings motherlode they used to be fifty years ago in the days of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and John Wayne. Over the years, many people stopped watching after they became less about crafting jokes to take light-hearted jabs at participants, and more about taking vulgar potshots at the person, with every conceivable bodily function, orifice and appendage gutter joke up for grabs.
Most of the politically astute baby-boomers in my circle, who dropped in to check out the Rob Lowe roast during numerous airings this week, were primarily curious about the involvement of conservative mouthpiece Ann Coulter. It seemed like a mismatch made in heaven for Comedy Central joke writers. But we forgot the writers are also a product of today’s society, which has gotten more uncivilized and mean-spirited on every level of human communication as time has gone by.
The event was hosted by David Spade, who took his turn, along with the others, bashing, insulting, offending, mocking and belittling each other for laughs. Watching the show, it soon became very clear that it was more of a platform to roast Coulter than Lowe, who has been one of Hollywood’s popular darlings for decades.
There’s not a liberal-minded person alive who embraces anything about Ann Coulter and I’m no exception, but the jokes were unusually cruel at her expense. We learned that she was there to promote her floundering book on Donald Trump. She sat at the end of the back row, with a stoic look or a feeble smile on her face through the entire show. Coulter later said she wasn’t bothered by the barrage of insults against her, only “bored,” but at times her face couldn’t hide the distress and I found myself actually feeling sorry for her.
It was particularly disturbing when comedian Nikki Glaser had this to say, “Ann’s been called things like a racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, a white supremacist. … The only person you will ever make happy is the Mexican who digs your grave.”
Then British comedian Jimmy Carr piled on during his set to add, “It’s not too late to change, Ann. You could kill yourself.”
And those were the clean jokes.
Singer Jewel was the only one who offered a less cringe-worthy jibe:
“As a feminist, I can’t support everything that’s being said up here tonight. But as someone who hates Ann Coulter, I’m delighted.”
When Coulter got her chance to take the stage and dish out some retaliation, her jokes bombed so badly it was painful. But why would anyone expect a different result from the entertainment world audience? They booed, shook their heads or sat with looks of extreme discomfort.
Sadly, celebrity roasts have become a lowbrow form of “entertainment” and it is representative of how philistine American society has become over the years on many levels. And that is particularly evident in the uncivilized, political discourse leading toward the 2016 election.
Many blame the depravity and the stunning rise of cultural decadence on conservative-promoted ignorance. But Ann Coulter was the only conservative on the Comedy Central stage for Rob Lowe’s verbal cook out.
Roasts have become unfunny lessons in cruelty and immorality that can’t be blamed on decades of political dogma. Someone should pull the lever and flush the toilet.
Photo by Mark Davis/wire image.
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