The rules for any roast demand that the roasters should have genuine affection for the roastee. You never rib someone you don’t like. But at the taping of The Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump last night in New York City (airing on Comedy Central on Tuesday March 15 at 10:30 pm EST) not all of the comedians on hand had love in their hearts for the Trumpster — including Lisa Lampanelli, who had established that roasting rule in the first place. “Well, I broke the rule because the money’s really good,” the Roast veteran jested to me on the red carpet. Whitney Cummings, who’s quickly becoming a Comedy Central MVP, added, “Donald takes himself very seriously. I think he’s a clinically diagnosed narcissistic egomaniac. I think we’re dealing with a real sociopath here.” First-time roaster Anthony Jeselnik predicted, “They say you only roast the ones you love, so this is going to be short.” Sure others played nice — namely Larry King, who gushed “The Donald…what a guy!” more than once during the show — but it was the nasties, led by Roastmaster Seth MacFarlane, who ruled the night…and proved that gotta-like-the-roastee rule irrelevant.
One of the more bizarre events I’ve attended in person — Jon Hamm and John Slattery, there to support Jeffrey Ross, sat to my right, while the Oscar-winning director of the documentary Born Into Brothels was placed to my left — the Roast waxed and waned like the Donald’s fortune. Some obvious potential roasters were AWOL (um, where was Regis? Martha?), while those in attendance, with the exception of King and Celebrity Apprentice contestant Marlee Matlin, bore little connection to anything Trump. When I asked Snoop Dogg what he and the Donald had in common beyond a mutual love of bling, all he could come up with was, “Money — we both love money and know how to get it.”
The evening also lacked a shred of spontaneity, with everyone, even seasoned pros like Lampanelli, Cummings, Jeffrey Ross and Seth MacFarlane, reading their scripted one-liners off giant teleprompters. It’s pretty sad when the biggest surprise of the night occurs when Gilbert Gottfried takes the stage as Matlin’s new “interpreter.” Can you imagine if Rosie O’Donnell had shown up to continue her years-long war of words with Mr. Rughead in person? Now that would have been a show!
But that ongoing feud begged the biggest question about Trump going in to his hatefest last night: Does he have a sense of humor about himself? For Cummings, the answer to that question didn’t matter. “I don’t know him, so I don’t really care. I lose nothing if I lose Donald Trump as a friend….I mean, his daughter’s pregnant, so I want to stay away from her-being-a-whore jokes.” Needless to say, Cummings had the funniest monologue of the night. When I spoke to Trump after the show, he felt that the Roast had proven the existence of his funny bone. “You have to have a sense of humor about yourself just to go through this,” he said. “It wasn’t easy, though. It was a rough night.” That said, even after the show, MacFarlane remained adamant about the Donald’s fragile ego: “Does he have a sense of humor about himself? I can almost certainly say, absolutely not.” Who can argue with the Roastmaster?
Check out our picks for the best lines from the show! (Word of warning, they are designed to offend.) Oh, and please let last night be a lesson to anyone who lets the Situation try his hand at comedy.
“Please welcome the second worst tragedy ever to hit New York City, Donald J. Trump.”
“Donald opposes abortion, which makes sense, because that may be his next wife you’re killing.”
On how Trump inherited much of his fortune from his father: “For all of his self-started bulls—, he’s basically Jaden Smith with a comb over.”
To Whitney Cummings: “She’s got the body of a crackwhore…but the razor-sharp wit of a crackwhore. Some people think Whitney struggles with bulimia, but I actually think she’s pretty good at it. Now if she’d just tell Lisa Lampanelli her secret we could all ride the elevator together.”
“Donald, you’ve ruined more models’ lives than bulimia. You’ve disappointed more women than Sex and the City 2. You are the ultimate proof that money buys good-looking p—-. If you were broke, you’d be f—ing me.”
“Donald is very happy with his lovely wife Insert Name Here.”
To the Roastmaster: “Seth, I love your work. I particularly love that weird baby you made with the enormous football-shaped head. Oh, sorry, that was for my Sarah Palin roast.”
To her fellow Roasters: “I’ve seen more stars on the Puerto Rican flag.”
To fellow roaster Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino: “The Situation has a new fragrance out called The Sitch, which is also what you call yourself when you can’t spell your own nickname.”
Capturing the magic of Larry King Live: “That’s all we’ve got for tonight, but before we go, let’s check in with Anderson Cooper and see what she’s got coming up.”
“Now Donald says he wants to run for president. Why not? It wouldn’t be the first time he’s pushed a black family out of their home.”
To the Situation: “I can’t tell white guys who’re trying to act black apart.”
“Larry King is proof that there’s not only life after retirement, there is life after death.”
“You have given more uneducated whores on-camera jobs than Fox News.”
Countless others that are completely unprintable on a family website.
“This has been a rough year for comedy. Not only did the world lose Greg Giraldo, it kept Jeff Ross.”
“Mike Sorrentino, sometimes known as the Situation, never known as the Education.”
“The only difference between you, Donald, and Michael Douglas in the movie Wall Street is that nobody’s going to be sad when you get cancer.”
“Thank you for what I can only assume was the sound of applause.”
“As a developer, Donald has done so much damage to the New York skyline, instead of calling him ‘The Donald’ they should call him the 20th hijacker.”
“Larry King Live. Even the title was an oxymoron.”
“The first time Larry covered an uprising in Egypt, he interviewed Moses.”
On Snoop: “He personally ended the East Coast/West Coast rap feud by becoming totally irrelevant.”
“What’s the difference between a wet raccoon and Donald J. Trump’s hair? A wet raccoon doesn’t have seven billion f—ing dollars in the bank.”