Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Roast of Charlie Sheen

I watched Charlie Sheen get roasted last night and enjoyed it. I seldom pay attention to celebrities, but I often do enjoy these roasts. Besides, this one had William Shatner on it and he is one celebrity I do occasionally pay attention to. Besides Shatner and Sheen himself, there was John Lovitz, who I believe was in the movie--The Wedding Singer. There was Mike Tyson, who I know from boxing. And there was Seth MacFarland, who I understand is the creator of Family Guy. Slash played guitar and I recognized him. I really had no idea who the rest of the people were, although I’ve seen some of them on roasts before.

As was to be expected, the roasters poked fun at Charlie Sheen’s drug use, his fights with ex-wives, and his use and abuse of hookers. They made a lot of jokes about his apparent recent meltdown, which I had only heard vaguely about. I didn’t get any of those jokes, but many of the others were funny. Many of the roasters also made fun of the other roasters, and I often find those jokes the funniest of all during these events. Mike Tyson appeared to be intoxicated and was actually quite funny.

Interestingly to me, the jokes at these events are generally extremely mean-spirited. Sheen, for example, was ‘taunted’ about having lost his daughters because of his bad behavior. (I winced a bit at that.) I generally dislike mean-spirited humor, but for some reason it seems OK on these roasts. I guess it’s because I can actually see the person being skewered on the screen, and they are laughing themselves at what’s just been said about them.

The funniest joke of the night, from my perspective, involved William Shatner. Sheen was doing his spiel at the end and said he’d wanted Shatner to be there because he needed some clean urine. He added, “I had to wring it out of the diaper but it was still good.” (Shatner is 80 years old.) I laughed pretty hard about that one.

So, do you watch these roasts? Do you even know who these people are? And does the mean-spirited nature of the jokes ever bother you?

BY THE WAY, my post about "Fantasy by Definition" is up over at Rogue Blades Entertainment at the moment. I've joined that august group and will be posting relatively regularly there as time goes on. So check it out if you get a chance.
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38 comments:

Paul R. McNamee said...

I really enjoyed the Shatner roast. Especially George Takei's parting shot about the horse.

I don't think I've sat through many of the others.

Yes, losing child custody as a joke subject seems a bit too vicious even for a roast.

the walking man said...

Last question first..if it's mean it isn't humor.

I like the Dean Martin roasts better than the ones today not because crass can't be funny but the old "stars" had a certain appeal to them that didn't smell corporate made or inherited from a family connection. I though have only seen one or two of the modern roasts and I can't even remember who was in the hot seat.

Chris said...

I've never watched any of these roasts, so I don't really have an answer on that front. I will say that I don't care for mean-spirited, snarky humor. At the same time, some things I do laugh at may seem that way to others. It's one of those things that I can't really define, I just know it when I see it.

As for celebrities, I probably know more than I would admit to. Part of it is because my wife gets a kick out of the tabloids, so I pick up some via osmosis. But there are a few trainwrecks that I am often amused by. But it doesn't go much beyond the occasional click from the front page of Yahoo or someplace like that, though.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

I always enjoy these roasts. Last nights was good, but not the best I have seen. In fact, on the laugh-0-meter, it was way not that great. David Hasslehoff's was particularly funny, as was Pamela Anderson's.

Charles Gramlich said...

Paul, I liked that one too. Maybe the best one of all time.

Mark, I liked the old Dean Martin ones too. There was a level of funny there that the modern ones don't reach, I think.

Chris, I do sometimes find myself intrigued by the celebrities who have done nothing to get to be a celebrity. They're just rich and slutty. It's weird to me.

Sean, I saw the Pamela Anderson one and thought it was good. I don't think I saw the Hasselhoff one. My favorite has been the roast of Shatner.

BernardL said...

Like others have commented, the very first celebrity roasts were funny with Dean Martin, but like you I winched through the ones I checked out in recent times. Since I consider Charlie Sheen one night away from a DOA at an emergency room somewhere, I stayed away from that one. The style of eviscerating humor on the roasts today are a complete turn-off to me. Even that diaper joke aimed at Shatner you liked is not my idea of funny. It's kind of amazing to remember comedians at one time had to earn a living being funny and not crass. I admit though I can LMAO when I watch the 'Blue Collar Comedy Tour' shows where they constantly border on crass.

Richard Godwin said...

Charles since the Gladiators the meanness that resides in the failed human spirit needs to see the once famous humiliated, these shows appeal to the lost. That is no reference to you Sir, I know you watched it from a far superior perspective, I know you are a scientist and equipped with an ability to see.

Carole said...

I don't ever watch roasts because I hate meanness used as humor unless it's self-deprecating meanness. Then it is funny or at least a little funny. You have to be brilliant at humor to make a roast funny.

Snowbrush said...

I'm a PBS fan, so, no, I don't watch roasts, and I don't even know who most of the modern day celebrities are when I hear their names.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

They are always mean-spirited! The one for Rob Reiner was the best. I missed last night's (football game instead) but would've been cool to see Shatner.

Charles Gramlich said...

BernardL, I'm a big fan of the Blue collar comedy stuff too. I don't think I would have laughed at the Shatner joke if 'he' hadn't been there laughing so hard himself.

Richard Godwin, I absolutely agree that our culture seems to have a need to see the famous brought low and humiliated. It bothers me when I see it happen to Tom Cruise for example, without what I can see as any good reason. I definitely think it has something to do with the objects of the jokes being able to laugh themselves at it that makes it somehow acceptable to me.

Carole, the old ones were definitely better, and more involved with giving the roastee a bit of a prick instead of slicing and dicing them.

Snowbrush, I don't recognize most celebrities by names either, although I might know their faces from "something." SO many last night I couldn't believe I'd ever seen before.

Alex J. Cavanaugh, The Shatner roast itself was the best I've seen of the modern ones.

Angie said...

I remember watching the Dean Martin roasts with my family when I was a kid (although I don't remember any specifics because that was like 35-40 years ago) but I haven't watched one in a long time. I agree with you, though, about how it makes a difference re: the mean spirit of some of the jokes if you can see that the butt of the jokes is sitting right there and is laughing too, or at least being a good sport about it. Figure, anyone who didn't expect to get massively skewered and believe he/she could handle it wouldn't be there in the first place. :)

Angie

sage said...

I actually saw that it was on last night, but didn't watch it. I am with my parents and watched with my father (second time for me), "No Country for Old Men" I agree, mean spirited jokes aren't funny.

Cloudia said...

all in good fun as charlie rehabilitates his image. . . .

2& 1/2 men was awesome last night. The writers tore him up pretty good.

Good writing. Maybe a good show without that annoying character :)


Warm Aloha from Waikiki;

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David J. West said...

I haven't really watched all that many of them, but the wife is a big fan and tells me about them.

Charles Gramlich said...

Angie, I don't know if I could take such a skewering personally.

Sage, I watched part of that. I had seen it before. Good movie.

Cloudia, I've never seen 2 and a half men. Don't watch many sitcoms.

David, Lana switched the TV over to this after I said I didn't care what we watched. I was mostly fiddling on my laptop but I did pay attention to it after it was on.

Ty Johnston said...

I watched the roast and didn't find it all that funny, with a few exceptions. The Shatner diaper joke was one of the highlights, and a drunk Mike Tyson trying to quote literary sources also had me cracking up.

Of the modern roasts, the only one I've really enjoyed was the Shatner roast, and that was probably because of Takei and the Star Trek in-jokes.

I also watched the new episode of Two and a Half Men, and unless the writers have a couple of awesome episodes coming up, I think the show will be over after this season. It had a few moments, but overall I felt it lacked humor, even any funny crassness, which is what the show was known for anyway. I did find it interesting Charlie's death was done so that Sheen could potentially return someday in a soap-opera-I-never-really-died storyline, but I have my doubts that will ever happen.

Travis Cody said...

I don't watch those things, mainly because I dislike mean-spirited humor. I do recall the Dean Martin series of roasts in the 70s. I never understood half of the jokes, being just a kid, but the shows were fun.

Charles Gramlich said...

Ty, I heard that the first episode with the new guy had a really huge audience, but I suspect that was because of all the controversy. I've never really watched the show so I don't know whether it's any good or not.

Travis Cody, so much of humor today is mean spirited. It's unfortunate.

laughingwolf said...

all tv is lost to me, as of some 5 years ago... tho i did like the old dean martin roasts at the friars club, back in the mists of time....

damn, just saw mark liked those, too... old farts think alike! :O lol

Angie said...

The only experience I have of Two and a Half Men was kind of sideways. I've been a CSI fan since it first came on, and a few years back, the two shows swapped writers, so the Two and a Half Men writers wrote a CSI episode (I think it was called Two and a Half Murders, or something like that) and the CSI writers wrote a Two and a Half Men episode. I didn't watch the TaaHM ep, but the CSI ep was really funny. They have decent writers, at least. :)

Angie

X. Dell said...

I used to watch some of the Dean Martin roasts. I've watched a few of these on cable, recently, but not in their entirety. A lot of the jokes aren't so much provocative as they are awkward. And many of them I can see coming from a mile away. But some of them were funny.

Sphinx Ink said...

Alas, Charles, when I clicked on your link to Rogue Blades Entertainment, it went to the apparent site, but I also got a popup message asking whether I was sure I wanted to remain on that page because it is a known distributor of malware. Of course I closed the page immediately. I won't try it again unless I can be assured it's not giving my computer a virus. Thought you should know....

eric1313 said...

The roast of Chexy Chase was a really mean one. People honestly hate him throughout Hollywood I guess. He was almost in tears at the end of his roast, and not from laughter.

Ty Johnston said...

Sphinx Ink, yeah, the RBE site has had some major problems of late, but apparently its going to be taken care of. I heard from the editor in charge there earlier today, and he'll likely take the site down for a while and come up with something new. He's just had a lot of tech problems recently.

Charles Gramlich said...

laughingwolf, you're probably the better for it, man. No TV means a slower mental decline for sure! :)

Angie, I've never seen an episode. I'm really slow getting started into any new sitcom, although I picked up on Modern Family pretty quickly and enjoy that.

X. Dell, these days they run those roasts over and over, so though I don't make an 'effort' to catch 'em, I often do see parts of them at some point. There are usually at least a few funny lines.

Sphinx Ink, I know they did have a problem with a "hack" I think. It was down for a while. If you don't feel comfortable going, don't worry about it. I visit regularly and haven't had any problems. I've got pretty good antivirus software, though. I see Ty commented on the subject further down.

eric1313, eek. I'm kinda glad I didn't see that one. Man. I'm not a huge fan of Chase but I've liked some of his movies.

Ty Johnston, sorry to hear about all that stuff. I knew it was down for a while but then it was brought back up again.

pattinase (abbott) said...

No, I hate them. They make me cringe despite how I feel about the subject. Comedians are not very nice people when they are let loose. I saw the Joan Rivers documentary recently and she was both pathetic and shockingly vulgar. Ugh.

Charles Gramlich said...

Patti, yeah, a lot of comedians really have some nasty personalities it seems. I don't blame you for not watching. I did enjoy the Shatner roast, which seemed to have some love as well as insults involved in it. That was the main reason I watched this on as well, because Shatner was on it.

Travis Erwin said...

I saw the last half hour or so that roast and thought Shatner's line about another guy he knew getting persecuted by a dozen Jews was pretty funny and unexpected from him.

Charles Gramlich said...

Travis Erwin, there were a fair number of Jew jokes. I'm pretty sure Shatner is Jewish, or was at least born Jewish.

Steve Malley said...

Yeah... I don't get the roasting thing. Just don't get it at all...

Heff said...

Watched the Sheen roast and LOVED IT.

Pretty sure someone wrote Iron Mike's jokes FOR HIM, though, lol.

Angie said...

I'm pretty sure Shatner is Jewish, or was at least born Jewish.

He is. [nod]

Angie

Charles Gramlich said...

Steve Malley, it's definitely a weird ritual. I think it's probably a hark back to primitive humans rights of passage.

Heff, Yeah I figure so for many of them. I saw in the credits afterwards a number of folks listed as "writers."

Angie, I thought so. And "Spock" too.

laughingwolf said...

back in the dawn of time, harlan ellison wrote: the glass teat [and a sequel]

took years for his insights to sink into my feeble bean :O lol

Charles Gramlich said...

Laughingwolf, I remember Bradbury with some early criticisms of the TV world too.

Mary Witzl said...

Meanness isn't funny, but oddly enough, close to the edge stuff can be hilarious. The trick is getting close enough to the edge without falling in.

But an 80-year-old Captain Kirk, seriously? Has time gone by so fast? Now that's just too cruel.

Charles Gramlich said...

Mary Witzl, agreed. Kirk will always be about 34 to me.