Jeffrey Ross, Roastmaster General: "Charlie Sheen's Got Super Thick Skin"
Jeffrey Ross is best known as a shit talker. A master roaster, if you will. Rather, "The Roastmaster General." With a hilarious book under his belt, "I Only Roast the Ones I Love: Busting Balls Without Burning Bridges," Jeff is all that and then some. With upcoming projects like a movie starring Robert De Niro and a pilot in the works for Comedy Central, Jeffrey Ross is just getting warmed up. Scary, isn't it? Give yourself an early Hanukkah gift this year (even if you aren't a Jew) and see him grace the stage at the Brea Improv this weekend. But trust us, no one is safe.
I just watched your movie Patriot Act recently and I apologize I took so long to see it. It was amazing. I don't know how I missed it.
Oh wow! Well thank you so much and I appreciate you watching it! It was sort of an underground thing. It wasn't something I made on purpose. I made sort of an accidental film by going on a trip and seeing things I wouldn't be able to describe. I just started rolling.
I also caught you on Rocco's Dinner Party ...
Oh my god! You really did your homework!
No! I'm a big fan and I happen to be a big fan of Rocco DiSpirito's hot ass too!!
Yeah, he's pretty handsome.
Really though, did you want to make out with him at any point?
No. [Laughs.] No I didn't want to make out with him but he's great. A lot of respect.
Alright, agree to disagree. So was the food really that great because you were on the under 350 calorie episode.
Umm you know, the low calorie thing kind of threw me. I'm not going to lie, I did have to go out and eat afterwards. You know I was eating pasta 45 minutes later. [Laughs.] She did a good job with the Matzo Brei though. I was impressed. That's an acquired delicacy and she did a good job with that one.
Let's get into the roasting because you do it so well. My favorite roast was Flavor Flav. Maybe because I love racial humor.
[Laughs.] A lot of people say that was their favorite! That's a good one. It was a good moment.
Has there been anyone who's been real a-hole afterwards?
You know, I've been very lucky. I remember I took a shot at LaToya Jackson once and she was not happy. But that wasn't an official roast. I feel like I've been lucky as far as official attendees of a roast. I've been careful to go after only good sports.
I feel like, you should know what you're in for!
You would think! Do you think you could handle it?
Yeah I think not. There are a handful of all things I've done in my life that I wouldn't want brought back up! Charlie Sheen's roast was also brilliant but I was wondering, is material written for the performers that aren't comics? I mean, no way is that Grey's Anatomy chick is funny on the regular.
Well, people get help. It's a very carefully produced show so if someone needs help, advice, or wants to collaborate, we help. Not everyone can kill. You know, it's very competitive in a way because everyone wants to do better than the person before them. Right? And you don't want to do the same jokes like a throw a lamp comment to Charlie.
[Laughs.] Exactly! Yeah, you get people all wanting to talk about Charlie Sheen's nostrils, it can get redundant. We have to be careful to mix it up.
Is it safe to say you pretty much saved "Charlie's Torpedo Tour"?
People say that but I had so much fun on that tour! I wasn't there for the shows that went belly up but I was there for eight shows and they were all really fun! He would let me come out half way through and let me just rip into him. To his credit, he was a good sport about it. I think the crowd liked seeing him laugh at himself a bit.
And how did that happen?
They were poking around for about a week or two trying to figure out how they could save the show because there were walk-outs and people yelling for refunds. They wanted to get me to moderate but I told them I didn't really see myself moderating this riot but, I would come out and roast him. Sort of as a public service. To his credit, he called me up and said to me, get on the next plane if you would and don't hold back.
I read that Courtney Love went to rehab after the Pam Anderson roast and also, Charlie has kind of leveled out of sorts. Do you think you could be some sort of "Roasting Rehab"?
That's a great question. I think these roasts are a moment of truth and a moment of clarity. Often times like in Charlie's case, I feel like these jokes, these moments, these melt downs sort of go into a box in a drawer like another role on his resume! He's the warlock! He's a rock star from Mars! It's just a guy he did. That's what the roast provides. It's a closure to a certain chapter. By the time he goes on for his closing rebuttal, he's on page one of the next chapter.
Well I loved Charlie's roast.Good job!
Yeah and I don't know if there's ever been a guest of honor that's ever invited the roasters over to watch the roast! He was a really good sport. It was all his idea too! He sort of wanted to face his own demons and watch his death on Two and a Half Men and then watch his transformation on the roast! I thought it was cool that he did that. Yeah. That is so much better then crying in the corner in the fetal position.
Yeah! [Laughs.] That's probably what I would have done. I think most of us would but he's got super thick skin.
Pretty much. You have a new movie directed by Sean Penn that you co-wrote?
That's right. It won't start until early next year but it looks like it's ready to go. I'm pretty pumped about it. I kind of can't believe it's happening. I'm just along for the ride. Robert De Niro and Sean Penn ... Kristen Wiig just jumped into the female lead so I have to pinch myself because it's like a dream to me. Finally my film school education is paying off with a real credit! I'm excited.
You also are working on a pilot for Comedy Central?
We just shot it and we don't know if we're picked up yet. Hopefully we'll know in the next few weeks. It would be so cool. It'll be basically a roast of popular culture called, The Burn. It should be really different and really cool. From talking to you it seems like you'd love this show. It's right up your alley.
Yeah, up my alley. Ouch. People enjoy seeing you roast on TV but how safe is the front row at the Brea Improv? Will there be some burning going on?
I'll be doing some audience burning. Sitting up front is one thing but at some point, I'll just invite volunteers for about 15 seconds of pain and heat. Whoever wants to come up and get "speed roasted" can come on up. I'm really excited to come out to Brea. The last time I played in that area I had the wildest and most fun time. A woman even propositioned me on stage! I'm not gonna tell you what happened but, maybe I'll tell you offstage. There is no more fun crowd than the crowds in So Cal.
Yeah, I'll just assume you got laid that night then. Do you think a lot of people will have the balls to get up and get roasted by the General?
Oh yeah. Everyone wants to be the center of attention, believe me. Especially at my shows. It will be a little punk rock with random drunk people on stage but, I'm a black belt so I can handle it. I've also got a whole bunch of jokes about Penn State and Steve Jobs so I hope people have a sense of humor. It's pretty crazy too. Penn State just drafted my nephew out of Pop Warner. He's the first mute kid to ever play ball for them.
Awww. Wait, a mute?
Yeah, it's such a sad story. I really feel bad for the poor guy who has to mop up the showers.
Ahh yes. Hopefully he carries a plunger. In the spirit that I'm a Jew and Hanukkah is coming up, can you freestyle roast someone for me? Call it an early Hanukkah gift.
Sure! Like who? But I will never roast someone you hate, it has to be someone you love.
That makes it hard because I love so many people. OK then, I love Jim Norton, Dave Attell, and you.
Well those are very easy people to roast. Jim Norton, me, and Dave Attell? That's not a comedy line-up, that's a Munster's tribute band. The Addams family cast reunion. I make fun of people but you have to remember, it comes from a place of affection.
Come see Jeffrey Ross at the www.improv.com" target="_blank">Brea Improv this weekend from December 16th - the 18th. You can also follow Jeff on Twitter @RealJeffreyRoss and buy some great schwag on his website www.roastmastergeneral.com. The Brea Improv is located at 120 South Brea Blvd. Brea, CA 92821.
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