Last night, James Franco was the guest of dishonor at the Comedy Central Roast of James Franco (airing Labor Day) at Culver Studios in Culver City. The network normally roasts celebs who've become pop culture punch lines, like Charlie Sheen, Joan Rivers, Donald Trump and David Hasselhoff. Sure, Franco screwed up hosting the Academy Awards, and he was caught falling asleep in a university class. But he's an Oscar-nominated actor, not to mention director, professor, painter, published poet and a straight guy who's very, very comfortable kissing other guys on camera.
“Why are we here?” host Seth Rogen asked Franco early on in the program. “Can you tell me why we're here. No, seriously, why the fuck are we here? So his friends can take a shit all over him.”
And the excrements went flying courtesy of roasters Rogen, Sarah Silverman, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Jeff Ross, Aziz Ansari, Andy Samberg, Natasha Leggero and Nick Kroll, many of whom piled on the anti-Semitic jokes despite nearly all being Jewish. “This dais is like Hitler's wet dream,” Rogen said before turning to Silverman. “I'll start with the Jewy-est and work my way down.” Oy.
If you've ever sat through these jab-fests, the humor can be merciless — no one is safe, dead or alive (sorry, Phil Hartman). Not Dave Franco, who Hader described as the “younger, less retarded brother.” Not even Franco's 90 year-old bubbe Mitzie, who Ross said only had 127 hours to live.
Franco's grandma held court during the pre-show along the red carpet, sitting on a sofa in a makeshift living room decorated with baby pictures of her grandson. Though nothing can top the year he came dressed as Gadhafi, Ross arrived wearing corn rows, grillz and “2 Soon” tattooed on his neck, accompanied by four girls in bikinis and pink ski masks, referencing Franco's movie Spring Breakers. Other celebs along the red carpet included most of the roasters, as well as Andy Dick, Paul Scheer, the cast of Comedy Central's Workaholics and Franco's Freaks and Geeks cast mates Samm Levine and Busy Philipps.
“I don't know if you guys know this, but James Franco has the biggest cock in America,” Kroll said to a reporter. “Twice voted.”
Kroll wouldn't be so kind on stage. They all took their shots: Kroll (“If anyone bombs tonight, they're just doing an impression of James Franco at the Oscars”), Silverman (“This the first time he's been around this many assholes without getting a massive boner”), Ross (“You truly are a Renaissance man. I hope you die of Black Plague”), and Hader (“You did the impossible — you made me like Anne Hathaway”).
As is the format, the roasters also traded insults with each other. “Aziz is only in show business because he's too big to be a genie,” someone said. Hader even turned on himself, poking fun of his T-Mobile commercials.
Wincing in his seat, Franco endured it all until it was finally his turn. “This is not a roast,” Leggero said. “This is my most elaborate art installation.” He left with the parting words: “Blow me.”
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