Follow TV Tropes


The Roast

Go To
No fools were pitied during the filming of this event.

"Stanley, you crush your wife during sex and your heart sucks. Boom, roasted."
Michael Scott, The Office (US)

In comedy, The Roast is a specific kind of comedy performance. Typically mixed with a banquet, the Roast is, at its basest, where one comic (or other kind of personality/celebrity) is brought on stage to be made fun of by a collection of his/her closest friends. The standardbearers for the Roast are the New York Friar's Club, who have been roasting celebrities since the early 1950s. Only rarely have these been seen by the rest of the world, either in video offers seen on late-night TV or through Comedy Central, who got the rights to broadcast a few of them in the early 2000s. Another series of roasts were hosted by Dean Martin in the 1970s (he was the roastmaster for all of them), and revived thanks to those late night Infomercials by Guthy-Renker.

While it may look and feel spontaneous, it really isn't. The Roastee has just as much say in the creative process as the producers, including choosing a Roastmaster (Master of Ceremonies who fires the first salvos at the Roastee and introduces the other guests) and other Roasters. Comedy Central roastees include Denis Leary, Jeff Foxworthy, Pamela Anderson, William Shatner, Flavor Flav, Bob Saget, Larry the Cable Guy, Joan Rivers, David Hasselhoff, Donald Trump, Charlie Sheen, Roseanne Barr, James Franco, Justin Bieber, Rob Lowe, Bruce Willis, and Alec Baldwin.

Well known regular Roast events include:

  • The Friar's Club. One of the most famous yearly roasts of all time. It is an enormous honor to be roasted by them because, as the Friar's Club motto states, they only do this for the ones they love. Unless you're Chevy Chase (then they really hate you).
  • Comedy Central Presents The Roast of... Comedy Central's yearly roast of a famous celebrity, probably the most well-known of the current era. CC used to run The Friar's Club roasts for years before switching to their own. Although not officially cancelled, none have aired since 2019, both for obvious reasons and (most likely) because of a strong cultural shift against politically-incorrect insult comedy in The New '20s.
  • Additionally, Comedy Central ran a show called The Burn hosted by Jeff Ross for a few years, which was essentially Ross using his roasting skills on current events, the panel of celebrities that episode (who also participated) and the audience.
  • The Golden Gods Awards Roast of... Heavy metal magazine Metal Hammer's annual metal awards has done a roast of a well-known metal personality in conjuction with the ceremony in the last few years.
  • Ring Roasts is a pro wrestling version done by You Shoot Productions.

Common tropes:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: A common motif among both roastees and roasters. A particular nasty zing will get a briefly pained look, then hysterics.
    • Lisa Lampanelli is one of the most common roasters and has probably received more insults collectively than anyone ever (to the point the roasters claim they are having harder and harder times coming up with new material for her, you can only bash someone's looks, weight, and penchant for black men so much before the well runs dry), and without fail she laughs the hardest at it.
    • Andy Dick regularly protests any and all homosexual jokes. However, there's been at least one time when he's cracked a smile. One time he acted pissy over every single joke at his expense during the Pamela Anderson roast... except when Sarah Silverman performed. When Lisa made a joke about Pamela's sex tape with Tommy Lee, and how Andy could never have made money blowing anyone, Andy embraces it, walking over to Tommy Lee and pantomiming blowing him.
    • Many of the non-professional comedians are incredibly entertaining. While most if not all of their material was written by Comedy Central's provided writers and such, they deliver it well. George Takei, Betty White, Snoop Dogg, and Martha Stewart are standouts.
    • Mike Tyson got in a killer dig by stating he got through a tough time in his life by reading The Iliad. He then looked at Seth MacFarlane and said "You're not the only one to get by taking ideas from Homer." Everyone on the dais lost it, especially MacFarlane.
  • Affectionate Parody: Yes, the jokes are meant to be insulting and even mean, but (usually) a genuine affection for the Roastee keeps them from being offensive.
  • The Alcoholic: A lot of roasters make jokes about other roasters who've had established drinking problems.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Common enough. One notable example:
    Seth MacFarlane: Tonight we honour a self-made millionaire. He started with nothing, worked hard and made a fortune. That man is Fred Trump, Donald (Trump)'s dad.
  • Black Comedy Rape: Anthony Jesselnik says this:
    "(Jeff Ross) has been roasting people since Whitney Cummings was nothing but a glint in the eye of the man who raped her mother."
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Larry King confused a lot of people at Trump's roast by acting like it was an episode of his talk show. He'd deliver the jokes but would occasionally randomly blurt out things like "Caller, you're on the air."
    • They also had Gary Busey show up, who lampshaded his loopy reputation by saying "Do you know who I am? Well, would you mind telling me?" He then proceeded to roast himself as if he were a separate person, fully embracing the bit (Lisa Lampanelli was furious about this. In a behind the scenes video, she mentioned how she had so much material ready for when he crashed and burned, and when he didn't, it was worthless.)
      Gary: (pointing) How'd they manage to get Gary Busey out here tonight?
      (Camera shows his empty seat on the dais. Everyone else starts laughing)
  • Cluster F-Bomb: And the bleeped versions might be even funnier.
  • Country Matters: Occasionally. Examples are in But Seriously Folks, and also this:
    Artie Lang: "A lot of people might say, 'Why hit Janeane (Garofalo)? She's not here to defend herself' and the answer's simple. I've met Janeane Garofalo and she's a fucking cunt."
    • Another example is Pete Davidson towards Ann Coulter at the Rob Lowe roast:
    Pete: You know, Ann describes herself as a polemicist but most people call her a cunt."
  • Crosses the Line Twice: And thrice, four times, five times, six times...
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Few of the roastees seem to get genuinely hurt by the roast, as they go in knowing what they're in for (Chevy Chase of all people being a very odd exception to the rule), but do occasionally seem genuinely hurt by a few of the real mean zingers. In fact, the inverse is often true. The meaner the joke, the harder some of the roastees laugh. Drew Carey, Flavor Flav and Joan Rivers being prime examples.
    • Additionally, some topics are discussed ahead of time by the roastees/roasters/producers as verboten. By convention, each roastee is allowed to pick one subject as a no-questions-asked "off-limit," most people pick their family or children. Notably, Pamela Anderson forbade any jokes about the child that died in her pool at a party and her having hepatitis, while William Shatner similarly banned jokes about his wife dying (also in a pool, strangely enough). Reportedly, Donald Trump would not allow any jokes that insinuated he was not as rich as he claims to be.
    • On the other hand, some of the invited members of the dais apparently DON'T know what they're in for, and walk away upset by it. A major stumbling block to the modern roast is that none of the attendees really know each other professionally, so it has become an exercise in humbling these supposedly 'untouchable' celebrities rather than an appreciation of what they do. The guests react to this as well as can be expected (not well). And the comedians are a lot less likely to pull any punches nowadays, egging the roastee on in hopes of getting them to crack. Joe Cabot's words seem apropos here.
      "Nobody knows anybody else, so nobody wants to back down!"
    • Hulk Hogan (who is known to go nuclear over bald jokes, so you can imagine how this went) occasionally balked at some of the jokes written for him to say at the expense of Pam Anderson while on the dais, as it was poison to his wrestling persona.
    • Courtney Love (although given her state it's hard to tell) has a surprisingly healthy ego considering all that's happened in her life.
    • Lita Ford got suckered in by the red carpet treatment and went as far to say she hoped it bombs in the ratings.
    • During the Roseanne Roast, when she was doing her "shred the other roasters" rebuttal, she turned to Amy Schumer and said, "Thanks for doing nothing to stop that rumor that women aren't funny." Since Roseanne has a terrifying backstage reputation, Schumer took it at face value — until Barr backpedaled and said she enjoyed her set.
    • During one of his later stand-up specials, Katt Williams talked about how he was outraged by the racist jokes during the Flavor Flav roast, if only because he felt it was the higher ups using the largely black dais' N-Word Privileges as an excuse to use as many racial slurs as they could.
    • Even in the 1980s this was a concern. The roast of Mr. T is a good example (and the last of the roasts that Deano would be involved with). At the time, Mr. T was one of the biggest stars in America and The A-Team was still red-hot, but you can tell that Martin and a lot of the other participants lack a real connection to the guy. The end result is… well, not bad, but a little awkward.
    • According to this article, a major issue in the notorious 2002 roast of Chevy Chase (who had actually been the subject of an earlier roast before that) was that hardly any of the roasters were friends or people he'd worked with (as they all declined the invitation as they were so tired of Chase's mere presence that they were not even willing to insult him for pay), meaning it was basically a couple of hours of younger comedians he didn't know calling him a talentless hack. And the evening was capped off by a blistering speech from a then relatively unknown Stephen Colbert, whose lament for Chase's self-destruction managed to strike such a chord that Chase went home and cried for hours.
    • Zig-Zagged: Ted Danson's infamous blackface performance for the Friars Club roast of Whoopi Goldberg got a horribly offended reaction from nearly everyone in the audience— except Goldberg, who was dating Danson at the time and said she put him up to it. (That did not change anyone's opinion on the tastelessness of the performance, and Danson issued a public apology.)
  • Epic Fail:
    • Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino notoriously crashed and burned at the Trump Roast, and was almost booed off the stage (Jeff Ross actually had to go up and defend him long enough for him to finish).
    • When Ann Coulter was booked to appear on the Rob Lowe Roast, the writers genuinely wanted her to look good and sent her a script which she then rewrote herself. The result was a disaster: Coulter became the roastee, her set was greeted with stony silence and booing (the only time the audience laughed was when Pete Davidson started heckling her), and the whole thing become headline news.note 
    Rob Lowe: And you know, Ann, after seeing your set tonight, I think we've witnessed the first bombing that you can't blame on a Muslim.
    • In the Bruce Willis Roast, Dennis Rodman also failed a lot, even replying to a silence with "I'm fucking drunk..."
  • Everyone Has Standards: A lot of the Comedy Central Roasters (especially Lisa Lampanelli, Whitney Cummings, and Anthony Jeselnik) are highly unapologetic for the number of times they cross the line. However, when Marlee Matlin was on the Donald Trump roast, most of them said that she was such a class act, they wished they'd gone easier on her. (This despite the fact that Marlee took it all in stride and, frankly, was able to give as well as she got.)
  • Face Palm: During the aforementioned crashing and burning of The Situation, the camera panned to Ice-T, who appeared to have been brought to physical pain by Mike's set.
  • Fan Disservice: Lady Bunny states that he is this during the Pamela Anderson roast. Quote, "a boner break." He then jokes that Courtney Love is the second one.
  • Genre Savvy: When the crowd would boo at a particularly nasty joke, the Roaster would remind the crowd just what they were watching. (Once, when Lisa told a joke that elicited more cringing than laughter, she point-blank said "It's a roast, assholes!"). Greg Giraldo and Lisa Lampanelli definitely acknowledge this the most.
    Greg Giraldo: "It's a fucking roast, groanie, groan, groan."
    • During Joan Rivers' roast, SHE admonished the crowd when they booed a rather mean joke at her expense. "Lighten up! It was funny!"
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: The ones on television are edited - sometimes heavily - for syndication. There's still plenty of swearing and lewd jokes, but they look tame by comparison to the original.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Happens to plenty of jokes over the years but notably any "too soon" joke ever made by Greg Giraldo.
    • One of the worst was at the Larry the Cable Guy Roast. Lisa is talking about how successful Larry is and mentions that he makes $250,000 a night. She repeats the number a few times, then says, "I just wanna see how many times I have to say that before Greg Giraldo kills himself." He actually looks at her and says "Once more."
    • At the Charlie Sheen Roast, comedian Patrice O'Neal seemed legitimately upset that people were making fun of his diabetes. He went on stage and said he was "dying". The Roast aired in September 2011; O'Neal died in November 2011 at the age of 41. Crosses with Harsher in Hindsight and Tear Jerker since O'Neal and Sheen had never met prior to the Roast.
      • Patrice didn't mind the diabetes jokes in and of themselves (he had made fun of it himself many times and had laughed at jokes about it from his close comedian friends in previous lower profile roasts held in comedy clubs). Patrice was more bothered by the fact that the jokes were coming from people he didn't know. The impersonal nature of Comedy Central's roasts were what irked him.
    • At the William Shatner Roast, Betty White joked, "It always makes me laugh to see Artie Lange onstage...knowing that I'm going to outlive him." (1) This was before Lange's suicide attempt in 2010, (2) Betty White wound up outliving two other roasters (Greg Giraldo and Farrah Fawcett), and (3) Lange wound up outliving White 15 years later.
      • At the same roast, Artie Lange himself joked, "It's the whiskey talking; I'm going right to rehab after this." He did two years later.
    • At the Bruce Willis Roast, Demi Moore made a surprise appearance and joked that, "I knew he'd be [surprised], even though I went over with him yesterday. I knew he'd forget." This is in addition to jokes about his limited acting range and vocabulary in films. He revealed in 2022 that he was diagnosed with aphasia which impairs memory and limits speech, forcing his retirement from acting. This is coupled with him being diagnosed with dementia a year later.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In the 2011 roast of Donald Trump, roast master Seth MacFarlane joked that, "I smoked a lot of pot, and clearly don't give a shit about this show. I'm kind of the perfect host for this roast or for the Oscars." This was before he was chosen to host the 2013 Academy Awards.
    • James Franco was roasted two years later, also adding to the meta-joke.
    • Lisa Lampanelli's joke from Larry the Cable Guy roast "What is this, Last Comic Available?" is made more hilarious with roasters Jeff Ross and Greg Giraldo having judged Last Comic Standing, and starting with the Charlie Sheen roast, they used a former contestant from LCS, Amy Schumer.
    • Jokes about Amy Schumer's obscurity seem off thanks to the success of her Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer and film Trainwreck.
    • A lot of the material directed at Denis Leary was aimed at his abysmal-to-that-point attempts at an acting career. The roast was done shortly before Rescue Me started airing and became a big hit and he made a comeback as a fairly prolific character actor.
    • When it was time for William Shatner to get back at the dais for his roast, he would brag, "I've been to space!" In 2006, he was referring to his character James T. Kirk. By 2021, the actor really did go to space via a Blue Origin flight.
  • Insult Comic: Ya think? This entire genre is tailor-made for them to shine.
  • The Lad-ette: Many a female roaster, such as Amy Schumer. Along with them being profane, the others also claim they are promiscuous.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: In Andy Samberg's stint on the James Franco Roast, he decided to utilize an anti-humor approach, where his attempts at "roasting" the other attendees would be by saying things that were actually complimentary, but in a ferocious way (calling Jonah Hill out on his generous hospitality, saying that Natasha Legerro was blessed with the ability to birth a child, etc.). The exception came with Jeff Ross, who he simply refers to as a "melting hippo" before moving on.
    • In fact, one can argue that the entire roast for James Franco would be one compared to most roasts, considering the verbal abuse/banter thrown around is very much self-aware, good-natured and done amongst real friends and non-strangers.
    • In a similar fashion, while everyone else at the roast of Bob Saget went with typically offensive material, Norm Macdonald basically took his material from a 1950s joke book.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    Gilbert Gottfried: "BOB SAGET RAPED AND KILLED A GIRL IN 1990!"
  • Money, Dear Boy: At Pamela Anderson's roast, she and the others were pretty open about the fact that the reason she agreed to do it was because Comedy Central agreed to make a sizable donation to Anderson's favorite charity, PETA.
  • Never Live It Down: A typical source of humour about any of the participants. One example during the Bob Saget roast:
    Greg Giraldo: (to John Stamos) "You lost your wife to the fat kid from Stand by Me!"
    • David Hasselhoff's infamous drunken cheeseburger eating video was alluded to several times during his.
    • Did you know that Denis Leary made some terrible movies? Well, we will remind you of that. Several times.
    • Drew Carey once wrote a book called Dirty Jokes and Beer. It wasn't really good. Let's remind him. Repeatedly.
  • Off the Wagon: The Pamela Anderson roast is notorious for Courtney Love spending the length of the special completely smashed. She flubbed her speech within 5 seconds, then basically gave up and made a snorting gesture with her finger. Gruesomely funny.
    • Especially because she claimed repeatedly that she'd been clean and sober for over a year, which led to more than one person saying what amounted to, "Honey, if you're not on drugs, you should be."
    • Another straight-edge poster child, Andy Dick, toasted his recent stint in rehab during Shatner's roast.
    • Scott Hall was similarly smashed and belligerent at The Iron Sheik's roast and had to be escorted out.
  • Older Than They Think: Roasts didn't start with Comedy Central, the Rat Pack, or even the Friar's Club. There have been records of event resembling roasts of well-known public figures going back to at least Roman Times.
    • One of the traditional roles of the court jester in medieval times was to mock the king/queen while they were holding court, including jokes about their political blunders, their lineage, their rumored sexual indiscretions, etc. It was used as a sign that the Royalty weren't quite above it all.
  • Once a Season: The Comedy Central Roast specials aired approximately once per year from 2003 to 2019 (seventeen roasts in a 16-year span). This is consistent with the Friars' Club Roasts, which are an annual event.
  • Passing the Torch: Shortly before he succumbed to lung cancer, Alan King made it to the Hefner roast. Sarah Silverman's first words upon walking to the podium (actually her second line, after lobbing a bomb at her then-boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel) was to inform Alan "the last person who thinks you're funny just died." For the record, he laughed.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The other Roasters.
  • Really Gets Around: Courtney Love actually embraces this view of her character during her turn at the Pamela Anderson roast and is able to crack a few jokes about it. In fact, so did Tommy Lee — especially at the end of his routine.
  • Recycled Script: Some of the other comedians such as Lisa Lampanelli have gone on record of saying that Comedy Central has some pretty talented writers who can write some pretty good material for the roasters who aren't professional comedians, but there are still a few old jokes that get dragged out at each roast. At Pamela Anderson's roast, she told drag queen Lady Bunny the classic line "I always knew you were crazy, but in that dress, I can clearly see you're (your) nuts" and to the famously-smashed Courtney Love "It's nice to see her doing stand-up comedy. I always knew she could do comedy, I just didn't know she could stand up."
    • And speaking of Lisa, as above, given that she's done so many of these, the jokes aimed at her have started to get repeated.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Very few topics and people are spared and all sorts of rude, naughty and inappropriate jokes are given and encouraged — with only a few exceptions which are agreed upon. Particular denizens who took up permanent residence include:
    • Lisa Lampanelli
    • Anthony Jeselnik
    • Jeff Ross
  • Running Gag: Each roast has its fair share, but one running theme among the majority of the Comedy Central roasts was ragging on Greg Giraldo (before his death) by insinuating that no one knew who he was and mocking his lack of success.
    • It has continued since his death, with the targets now being Anthony Jeselnik, Amy Schumer, and, at the James Franco roast, Jeff Ross.
    • Jeff Ross in particular gets a lot of jokes about how he apparently has no other job but showing up to roasts. His face has also been compared to that of a horse on more than one occasion.
    • As noted, Lisa Lampanelli's (former) weight, taste in black men, and insinuating she looks mannish have been used many, many times.
    • Gilbert Gottfried giving an alternate style of roast during his set. And of course his voice and squinty eyes are often mocked.
    • The Comedy Central ones always have the roastee make a grand entrance that is themed to their persona.
    • Seth MacFarlane having ripped off The Simpsons (or South Park) to achieve success.
    • Jeff Foxworthy's mustache and annoyance that he makes a lot of money being a clean comic.
    • Someone will invariably stand up to mock confront a roaster at a particularly mean joke.
    • Greg Giraldo using various different analogies for people masturbating over various female roasters (e.g. Pam Anderson or Farah Fawcett).
    • On Roseanne's roast, Carrie Fisher mocked the other running gags (Roseanne is fat, Jane Lynch is a lesbian, Seth Green is short, etc.).
    • Andy Dick's sexuality. Lisa Lampanelli especially dishes out the most euphemisms for homosexuals when talking about him (e.g. pickle kisser).
    • Exclusive to the roast for Pamela Anderson: Any and all quips about Courtney Love being not particularly sober.
    • In the Rob Lowe one, Ann Coulter being a Hate Sink right winger. To the point her part started with "Welcome to the roast of Ann Coulter, featuring Rob Lowe..."
  • Sadist Show:
    • The Bieber roast was just a small pit stop on the Beeb's World Apology Tour. Also see: The Chevy Roast. Some of these guys had been waiting decades to exact revenge on him.
    • Funny part is this roast was a public execution: Chevy was bought out in chains, like a condemned man, and the only person he honestly knew was Paul Shaffer, so he was surrounded by people he'd stepped on in the past. It's rumored that none of his actual "friends" wanted to be there, so he basically fumed and berated all of them backstage before they went up to the dais. The editors went into overtime trying to make it look like everything was fine, but Chevy didn't chuckle at all for the entire roast. There's a reason they don't air that one on Comedy Central reruns.
    • Mark Maron, one of the roasters, has said this roast was the absolute worst experience of his career.
    • Shaffer lampshaded the lack of big names with his opening song titled "we couldn't get anyone good."
    • Laraine Newman summed up the evening with this little gem: "When Chevy left Saturday Night Live he told us he had a dream, to star in crap movies and then host the worst talk show in history...we knew he could do it."
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: It didn't take long for Marlee Matlin's interpreter and friend to throw his hands up and leave during her routine. He got replaced by Gilbert Gottfried who arguably went 'off script'.
  • Self-Deprecation: The Man/Woman of the Hour is the last to go; they often roast themselves as well as the people who roasted him/her.
    • Gary Busey took this to the next level by roasting his empty chair on the dais. "What's Gary Busey doing here? Did someone turn on the Batshit Signal?"
    • Usually there's the occasional roaster who spends more time ripping into themselves than the person they're supposed to be roasting. Carrie Fisher and Ellen Barkin at the Roseanne roast spent more time talking about their past drug problems and tendency to date younger men, respectively, than they did roasting Roseanne.
  • Sincerity Mode: The greater majority of the Roasters' routines ends with several endearing remarks about the Roastee.
    • Lisa Lampanelli subverts this. She'll say the endearing remarks in full honesty, but use them as a setup for a final zinger. About Jeff Foxworthy, she mentioned how he was able to become the most successful comic in the world without being dirty, mean, or sleazy, ending with "Thanks for fucking it up for the rest of us." Similarly, when mentioning that Pamela Anderson was able to be such a beautiful, good-hearted class act, ended with, "Knock it off, bitch, you're making me look like a foul-mouthed cunt."
    • Greg Giraldo did on one occasion as well, combining with Self-Deprecation during the roast of Larry the Cable Guy. "In all seriousness, you make more in a week than I will in my life. You may not have done drugs, but your act put me in rehab twice so thanks for ripping my soul out, you hillbilly fuck!"
    • The entirety of Gene Simmons' rebuttal. He had a script ready to go to get back at his roasters, but began talking about the charity the roast was for (Wounded Warriors) and got so choked up he tossed it out totally and did a serious call to action for the charity and simply thanked the dais. The footage of that part is here.
    • When James Stewart was being roasted, Orson Welles came on, and at first he had the typical snark and sarcasm that's standard for these ceremonies... but very quickly goes into a dead serious tribute for Stewart, saying Stewart's career is "an evergreen" and adding that while it's fun to imitate Jimmy Stewart, "imitation is all we can do." It is a dignified, emotional, and powerful praise.
  • So Unfunny, It's Funny: There's usually one roaster (usually not a professional comedian) brought in with the intent of being hilariously awful.
    • Notably, Norm MacDonald fell squarely into this during Bob Saget's roast, typically pairing it with Don't Explain the Joke. While the audience took a few of these to start laughing, the other roasters were dying.note 
      Norm MacDonald: Cloris Leachman is here. Cloris, if people tell you you're over the hill, don't believe 'em. Why, you'll never be over the hill, not in the car you drive. [...] But now we come to Bob Saget, that's why we're all here. Bob, you have a lot of well-wishers here tonight, and a lot of them would like to throw you down one. A well. They want to murder you in a well. Seems a little harsh, but...apparently they want to murder you in a well, says here, on this card.
    • Andy Samberg offered a similar style when he showed up at the James Franco roast. Similar to Norm's case, the audience seemed to take a while to catch on, but some of the dais members (ESPECIALLY Bill Hader) found it hilarious.
  • Start My Own: After its contract with the Friar's Club expired, Comedy Central started doing its own series of roasts.
    • Additionally, AMC did one for Gene Simmons, and the heavy metal magazine Metal Hammer has started doing them in conjunction with their annual Golden Gods awards.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Marlee Matlin's ultimate response to Gilbert Gottfried's routine as her replacement 'interpreter'.
    Gilbert Gottfried: "Did I get that right?"
    Marlee Matlin: (while signing) "Sounds good to me."
  • Swapped Roles: Some roasts (especially the Comedy Central ones) end with the roastee turning around and roasting everyone else.
  • The Tyson Zone: Mike Tyson himself roasting another glorious example of this, Charlie Sheen. Their unbelievable lives were referenced by most, if not all, other roasters.
  • Troll: Jeff Ross, particularly during the first moments of his routine at the Pamela Anderson roast. He very quickly makes fun of the roastee, P.E.T.A., and Bea Arthur using his main (temporary) prop.
  • With Friends Like These...:
    • The reason the roastee never gets offended by the hilariously awful statements is usually a combination of having a good sense of humor, knowing what to expect, and most of all, being good friends with the roasters and being able to make a few jokes at each other.
    • Some roasters genuinely have a hard time getting through their scripts because some of the jokes are just too mean and aimed at people they are good friends with/greatly respect.
    • In ones where the victim's actual friends are the roast board, such as James Franco's, it's even more enforced.
    • Double subverted when Ann Coulter appeared on the Rob Lowe roast: the roasters genuinely loathed her and said so.

Media examples:

    Comic Books 
  • In 1982, Marvel Comics published The Fantastic Four Roast, where virtually everyone in the Marvel universe showed up to poke some gentle fun at the FF. Written and laid out by Fred Hembeck. Lampshaded as Spider-Man approaches the dais:
    Spider-Man: *to the Human Torch, ablaze* Speaking of hot, is it ever! How about turning off that flame for awhile?
    Torch: No way, pal. The fans came to see the Human Torch. The flame stays on.
    Spider-Man: Fine. I roast you, you roast me. Seems fair.
  • In the last issue of the last Deadpool comic series featured a back-up story where the Marvel Universe roasts Deadpool (who set it up using the Infinity makes sense in context...kind of). Everyone gets off a few good zingers at Deadpool, but his retort stole the show.

    Comic Strips 

  • Amazon Women on the Moon features a roast/funeral. The widow steals the show.
  • Liar Liar: Jim Carrey's character only gets away with running down his boss while under his truth curse because his boss thinks he's being roasted.
    The Boss: I love a good roast!

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Office (US): Michael Scott sets up a roast for himself in one episode, foolishly assured at what jokes they will make about him...and then gets upset when they *really* rip into his character flaws. Later in the episode, Michael gets his revenge by roasting everyone back. The workers don't enjoy the 2nd roast, until Stanley starts laughing at Michael's diss for Stanley("You crush your wife during sex and you're heart sucks! Boom, Roasted!")
  • Seinfeld - Jerry's dad Morty, as president of his condo board, gets a roast in his honor, but he's so sore with his emcee friend over Jerry and the 'astronaut's pen' that he pushes the whole affair into an ugly brawl.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 - TV's Frank roasts Dr. Forrester, who slowly boils over into a murderous rage.
  • Murphy Brown had an episode where Murphy organizes a roast for Jim's birthday. He does not enjoy it.
  • An entire episode of WWE Legends House is about the set up and execution of a roast for cast member, wrestling legend "Rowdy" Roddy Piper.
  • There's an episode of Rupauls Drag Race that has all the cast members doing a roundtable roast of all the contestants and a panel of judges that critiques their performances.
  • The Star Trek: Voyager episode "Revulsion" starts with Tuvok getting roasted by Tom and Harry before Janeway promotes him.
  • An episode of The Good Place features a demon performing a witless and deliberately cruel roast of a group of human prisoners in the Bad Place. Apparently the concept of roasts was invented by the Bad Place as a way of torturing people.
    Michael: Now that's funny, because it's very cruel and humiliating! *demons laugh*
  • An episode of Schitt's Creek features the town’s annual mayor’s roast. Johnny, played by Eugene Levy, fills in for his wife to roast Mayor Roland Schitt, played by Chris Elliott. The character of Johnny bombs at first, and Levy tweeted that it was difficult for him given his long career in comedy to make Johnny bad.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Frank receives The Gang's unusually aggressive intervention as a roast in "The Gang Gives Frank an Intervention." He's delighted.

  • Game Informer magazine has a recurring feature called the "Sacred Cow Barbecue" where they savagely but good-naturedly mock classic and/or popular games.

    Web Original 
  • CollegeHumor has done a couple parody roast sketches:
    • The Roast of Facebook by the rest of the Internet, with Google, Twitter and FourSquare resembling and voiced by, Penn Jillette, Gilbert Gottfried, and Lisa Lampanelli, respectively. However the roasters get more mileage out of hazing MySpace instead, and MySpace himself derails the Roast completely when his own set falls flat.
    • The Roast of HBO... which lasts for the first three jokes. After that it quickly becomes everyone roasting everyone else.
    • The Roast of Weed by alcohol, cigarette, cocaine, and other drugs associated with them.
    • The Roast of Mario, most characters who talks about Mario usually directs theirs jokes towards Luigi, who continues drinking more liquor until he gets fed up with it and throws a tantrum.
  • The Music Video Show has two episodes of this trope that applies to this. Episode 4 has this on Kim Kardashian and Episode 15 on Kevin Federline.
  • Screen Junkies has done several roasts of fictional characters, such as Darth Vader and the MCU version of Captain America.
  • One of the PSA episodes for Red vs. Blue has Sarge be the subject of this. Among everyone's comments, from Sarge changing Donut's notification tone on his phone to the ping of a grenade pin ("Alertness is a full time job!"), to coining the term 'active bitch-face' just for Carolina ("And you kicked my ass. I think we're even."), to presenting a list of changes to Wash, which are just Happy Days plots with Sarge as the Fonz. ("It'd be a real turning point for us!")

    Western Animation 
  • Celebrity Deathmatch has Don Rickles do this to Rodney Dangerfield during their fight. He's trying to be genuinely insulting, but unfortunately for him he can't find any insults that Rodney doesn't wholeheartedly agree with. When Don runs out of material, Rodney takes the upper hand and literally roasts him (a pit of charcoal was placed in the ring specifically so that this kind of thing could happen).
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold has The Joker throw one for Batman while he's literally roasting on a spit — with Jeff Ross having been kidnapped to join in. Batman lets Ross go ahead with no hard feelings. (This is actually a Batman Gambit: while Ross launches the Take That! at Batman, the villains don't realize Batman's freeing himself from the roasting spit.) Batman then lands a few lines on Penguin ("They ought to call you The Nail, because you're always pounded by the Hammers of Justice!"), Two-Face ("I'd try not to hit your good side, Two-Face, but you don't have one!") and Riddler ("The answer to all your riddles is THIS!").
  • The Simpsons:
    • The episode "Gump Roast" starts as a roast for Homer, but it then becomes a Humanity on Trial situation after Kang and Kodos show up.
    • Krusty gets roasted in "Clown in the Dumps", with Jeff Ross as roastmaster and Sarah Silverman as one of the roasters. Not only does Krusty takes the jokes too personally, he also fails to come up with suitable comebacks.
  • The Smiths roasted Roger in American Dad!'s "The Great Space Roast". Roger wears Ray-Bans throughout the set and pretends to join in the fun, until he removes his sunnies to reveal tear-streaked cheeks. He spends the rest of the show trying to assassinate the family with guns and bombs. This is likely a reference to the incident with Chevy. At the end of the episode Roger forces the family to roast each other and is honestly shocked that they can take it with such good humor, suggesting that he didn't understand what a roast was about in the first place.
  • The above plot would get recycled into another Seth MacFarlane showFamily Guy with Peter being roasted then of course overreacting to it and trying to find newer people to hang out with.
  • In an episode of House of Mouse where Mortimer Mouse takes advantage of being mistaken for a food critic, Mickey and friends get back at him by subjecting him to a roast.
  • In the Futurama episode "A Clone of My Own", Professor Farnsworth's birthday celebration is turned into a roast by emcee Bender.


Video Example(s):


Brandon Rogers Roast

In "I Got ROASTED by My Characters! (NOT CLICKBAIT)", all of Brandon Roger's most iconic characters roast the hell out of him.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheRoast

Media sources: