Saturday, September 17, 2016

Spit Roast

The Comedy Central celebrity roasts are one of my guilty pleasures over the years, though less and less so. The success of these events depends entirely on the people on the dais, roastee and roasters alike. Usually there is at least one roaster who is not a professional comedian, to provide some novelty. This time around, for the roast of Rob Lowe, that novelty roaster was infamous right-wing comic troll Ann Coulter.

There's no doubt that much of the invective lobbed at Coulter was mean and petty, but that's the vibe of such things to begin with. And if anyone brings that shit on themselves, it's Ann Coulter. Come on. Comparing the cracks about Coulter to the recent internet wilding of Leslie Jones is (once again) a case of completely misrepresenting the proportionality of the two situations.

I'm not saying that Coulter deserves necessarily every nasty thing ever written or said about her. But she has made a career out of going out of her way to be an obnoxious asshole. No one should be surprised that she invites that scale and degree of vituperation, when she openly revels in and encourages the same. Leslie Jones, on the other hand, committed the high crime of being in an all-female remake of perhaps the most overrated movie of all time, a perfectly decent comedy that has somehow become The Most Important Thang Evar in the Mountain-Dew-and-Adderall-soaked pea-brains of the MRA sub-reddits. Talk about having no sense of proportion.

Of course, what the article is really asking is whether the roasts would be missed terribly, and the answer is no. Most of the material is the usual gay/fat/old jokes, roughly the same level as your average "momma" joke. The catharsis is in supposedly watching someone famous get cut down to size.

Perhaps the most famous recent (and yugely telling) example of self-censorship at the supposedly no-holds-barred proceedings was in the 2011 roast of none other than Cheetolini himself. The roast was bizarrely tame, compared with most others, but supposedly the only thing off-limits was jokes insinuating that Clownstick isn't really as wealthy as he claims to be. Truth spoken in jest?

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