25% Funny, 40% Shocking, 35% Bad

About a month ago, I was, inexplicably, asked via email if I’d like to review Comedy Central’s Roast of Pamela Anderson – Uncensored.  Apparently because of what I write on this blog, I “seem like a reputable influencer”.  I guess one of my posts which mentioned Sarah Silverman (who appears on the roast), was the bridge between my blog and the company M80, which, according to their website, “is a unique Entertainment and Lifestyle Marketing company specializing in online grassroots marketing, online publicity and promotion, creative services, lifestyle and offline marketing, fanclub service, market research and consulting.”
Intrigued by the process and by the absurdity of the whole ‘reputable influencer’ concept, I agreed, and a couple of weeks later, I received the DVD in the mail.  I watched it yesterday and today.
Here’s what I think:
I used to be a fan of the Dean Martin roasts, years ago, that would occasionally air on television.  I enjoyed the idea of celebrities and barely-celebrities coming together to insult the roastee.  I always thought they were rather tame, though, and quite likely heavily censored.  That, of course, was par for the era.  My curiousity was further piqued a couple of years ago when I had heard about the existance of Friars Roasts.  Apparently, these were anything but tame, and I’d read all kinds of articles and reviews of No-Holds-Barred insults and bad language and filth and foul, etc.  I’d always wanted to see one of these roasts.  Not because I wanted to be entertained by filth and foul (although I have nothing against it), but moreso, because I was curious to see if my limits and sense of “crossing the line” were on par with those of so-called professional comedians and entertainers.
So, that was kind of my history and experience with roasts, before I put this DVD into the player.
And how was the Pamela Anderson Roast – Uncensored? 
I knew of most of the comedians who roasted Pamela – Jimmy Kimmel (host), Adam Carolla, Sarah Silverman, Andy Dick, Eddie Griffin – and didn’t know others – Jeffrey Ross, Nick DiPaolo, Greg Giraldo, Lisa Lampanelli, Lady Bunny (a female impersonator.  Actually, a Divine impersonator, if you ask me). Some of the guests weren’t comedians, but acquainted with Pamela Anderson – Tommy Lee and Courtney Love-Cobain, and for some strange reason, Bea Arthur was on hand too.
Rather than go through each performer’s performance, I’ll just say that, like the title of the post says, I’d guess that 25 percent of the jokes were funny, 40% shocking and 35% simply bad..  Some jokes made me laugh out loud, but there weren’t enough really funny jokes to make me glad I watched it.  Of the 40% shocking, some of it was very vulgar, and a lot of it was pretty personal.  Honestly, I was rather fascinated with these personal, shocking, vulgar jokes, and while many of them weren’t really funny, and a lot of them covered the same ground – Tommy Lee has a huge penis, Pamela has a large vagina and is a “loose” woman – I was interested to see how far, how personal, the comics would go.  Of course, a lot of the material fell completely flat and was rather painful to watch.  But even that was somewhat interesting to me, because it seemed that a lot of this material was written specifically for this event, for Pamela.  So it was interesting to see comedians trying out what I assume to be new material.  Some of the comics are naturally funny and made jokes work despite themselves, and some of the jokes didn’t work because you could tell the comics didn’t have the timing quite right yet.  So, that was interesting to me.  Not funny, for the most part.  But interesting.
Part of the tradition of roasts, I believe, is to also make fun of the other guests.  So, through this tradition, I now know that Jimmy Kimmel has a small penis and large balls.  Andy Dick is gay and Bea Arthur may be a man.  Again, some of this was funny, some was interestingly shocking and personal, and a lot of it was just boring.  It was usually interesting to see how the various people reacted to insults that you just know had to hit a personal nerve with them.
Specific things to mention:
Courtney Love-Cobain is a mess.  And not a funny mess.   There’s not a lot of humour to anything Courtney Love-Cobain does.
Andy Dick’s bit wasn’t very funny.  He pretended to be Pamela’s plastic surgeon, and the bit didn’t work very well.  I’m usually a fan of the characters and bits he does for things like the MTV awards, but you could tell not much effort went into this bit.
Tommy Lee performed a song, which I fast-forwarded through, because, well, why would I watch it?  He also had a monologue that was painfully unfunny and boring.
Sarah Silverman was funny, but not as funny as I had hoped she’d be.
Bea Arthur was pretty funny, surprisingly.  All she really did was read excerpts from one of Pamela’s novels (she’s written two, apparently).  So, it was funny seeing Bea Arthur, with what’s left of her dignity (there were a lot of pretty mean jokes recited about her throughout the night), reading these rather soft-porn soft-literature passages.

If you enjoy base humour and a lot of it, you may like this more than I did.  As I said, I laughed out loud a few times, but mostly I was intrigued by the oddity of it, and interested in it from a professional standpoint. It’s a wonder, the depths of degradation that celebrities are willing to go, both roasters and roastee..

The DVD extras were terrible.  Some “rehearsal” footage of Courtney and Andy talking.  Far too much “red carpet” interviewing and banter that was pretty excruciating to sit through.  And a few snippets from other Comedy Central productions.

The funniest thing on the whole DVD, which happened to be the very last thing I watched, and which happened to symbolise, to an extent, my experience with the DVD, was a clip from South Park.  Paris Hilton had just opened a new store in town, called Stupid Spoiled Whore.  As she’s leaving the town in her limo, with her little dog, she’s talking inanity on the phone, and being very preciously spoiled.  The dog, desperate to get away from the blackness that is Paris Hilton’s very being, steals the limo drivers pistol and attempts to commit suicide with it.  The dog tries a variety of positions and finally succeeds in blowing its brains out.

Now that’s comedy!

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