The James Franco Roast on Comedy Central was the best thing on TV Monday night, and it delivered just like all the other roasts on Comedy Central. Seth Rogen hosted, while Nick Kroll, Jonah Hill, Sarah Silverman, Andy Samberg, Aziz Ansari, Natasha Leggero, Bill Hader and Jeffrey Ross were the roasters. Everyone played it pretty straight except for Hader, who did his roast in character, and Samberg, who went reverse roast.
Samberg mocked the roast by being intentionally bad and making jokes about the same subject matters each roaster poked fun at. I didn’t think the intentionally lame jokes were that funny, much less his delivery, but some others enjoyed the changeup he threw. His style wasn’t exactly new; the real innovator of the anti-roast roast is Norm MacDonald, who literally pulled lame jokes out of an old joke book when he roasted Bob Saget.
MacDonald later said in an interview that he liked Saget too much to say mean things about him, which is why he went with such a lame set. He also says he was instructed to be shocking, which he accomplished by having the most unusual bit of everyone.
To me, what MacDonald did was a thousand times better than Samberg. Samberg came across as trying to hard, whereas Norm was so much more natural. His lame jokes were fantastically lame, and his delivery and timing were excellent. Samberg was so over-the-top intentionally bad, it made my cringe. Norm made me laugh.
As for the others, I already was a big fan of Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen, so I thought they were great — particularly Jonah. Silverman was really funny, and I was pleasantly surprised with Natasha Leggero. But as much as I LOVE Aziz in his acting roles, his stand-up work still underwhelms me. Ross continues to just dominate the roast scene. Also, is it just because I’m Jewish, or did they go a little too heavy on the Jew jokes?Google+