Dad jokes are great. And there’s a place in this world for puns. But sometimes, a laugh at somebody else’s expense really hits the spot. If you’re having a really bad day, you might need two hours of vulgar insults to lift your spirits. Enter: the roast.
Roasts began over a century ago as a tradition started by the Friars Club, a group of press agents and their clients who would get together to eat, drink, and kid each other mercilessly. The group held their first official roast in 1949, and thereafter the roast became an annual tradition, where comics and friends would gather to tease a member of their club with jokes so blue that women weren’t allowed in the club out of a misguided sense of decency.
Almost 20 years ago, Comedy Central first aired a Friars Club roast. The format proved so popular that eventually Comedy Central and the Friars Club parted ways, so that Comedy Central could air something a little less insider-y and the Friars Club could stick to their motto: “We only roast the ones we love.” If you find yourself in need of a laugh, here are a few of the best jokes from the roasts of celebrities. But if you’re in need of something a little more friendly, check out The 30 Funniest Sitcom Jokes of All Time.
“Greg Giraldo is here…”
“… He has the wisdom of an owl, the grace of a swan, and the eye of an eagle. Ladies and gentlemen, this man is for the birds.”— Norm Macdonald, Roast of Bob Saget.
“Look at me doing all the talking…”
“…while you sit there doing nothing. I feel like I’m co-hosting the Oscars with you.”— Seth Rogen, Roast of James Franco.
Rogen said to his friend and frequent collaborator, James Franco. For a little context to Rogen’s dig, check out 30 Oscars Telecast Jokes That Totally Bombed.
“I actually tried to buy one of your songs on Amazon.com…”
“…It said, ‘Users who bought this item also bought a shotgun.'”— Whitney Cummings, Roast of David Hasselhoff.
David Hasselhoff’s reputation for being ridiculous (and inebriated) made him an easy target at his own roast. For a better idea of what we mean, check out his contribution to The 30 Most Hilarious Celebrity Riders.
“Unlike all you people on this dais…”
“…I actually know Charlie. And I’m famous.” — Jon Lovitz, Roast of Charlie Sheen.
Charlie Sheen and the group there to send him up were equally roast-worthy, as Jon Lovitz proved with this joke.
“I’m told Peyton Manning…”
“…is one of the top three quarterbacks in his family.” — Jimmy Carr, Roast of Rob Lowe.
British comedian Jimmy Carr did a solid job of mocking everyone on the dais at Rob Lowe’s roast, with some exceptionally good jokes directed in Peyton Manning’s direction.
“He plans on spending his retirement…”
“…opening a jar.” — Jeff Ross to Larry King, Roast of Donald Trump
Age is a frequent topic at roasts, so when Larry King is on the dais, you can expect plenty of jibes on the subject.
“Darling, you were supposed to explore the galaxy…”
“…not fill it.” — Betty White, Roast of William Shatner
“Donald says he wants to run for president…”
“…and move on into the White House. Why not? It wouldn’t be the first time he pushed a black family out of their home.” — Snoop, Roast of Donald Trump
In 2012, Donald Trump proffered himself for a roast, ending up the butt of an evening’s worth of jokes. And for more on the president, check out 7 Times President Trump’s Tweets Baffled the World.
“Flavor Flav is responsible…”
“…for more homeless black children than Hurricane Katrina.” – Jimmy Kimmel, Roast of Flavor Flav.
Flavor Flav is such a mess that he doesn’t really require roasting. But that didn’t stop Jimmy Kimmel from landing a few choice insults at his roast in 2007.
“No one has any idea who you are….”
” …You’re like the Jeff Ross of comedy.” — Whitney Cummings, Roast of Joan Rivers.
The roast of Joan Rivers was an opportunity for comics to showcase their talents in front of a comedy legend, even those Whitney Cummings couldn’t pick out in a lineup.
“Bieber has 10 million fans—most are in middle schools…”
“…or standing at least 500 feet away from one.” — Kevin Hart, Roast of Justin Bieber.
Roast master Kevin Hart didn’t pull any punches at the roast of Justin Bieber.
“Ann Coulter, if you’re here…”
“…who’s scaring the crows away from our crops?” — Pete Davidson, Roast of Rob Lowe.
One of too many to count insults directed at Ann Coulter during Rob Lowe’s roast, it’s Davidson’s delivery that really makes this one something special.
“James Franco, acting, teaching, directing, writing…”
” …producing, photography, soundtracks, editing — is there anything you can do?” — Natasha Leggero, Roast of James Franco.
Natasha Leggero didn’t hold anything back with this diss directed at James Franco.
“Tom Arnold wanted to be here tonight…”
“…but at the last minute no one asked him.”— Jane Lynch, Roast of Roseanne.
Even Roseanne’s ex, Tom Arnold, got some heat in absentia at her roast.
“People say you’re the next Audrey Hepburn….”
“…Does that scare you, knowing you’re going to die of colon cancer?” — Sarah Silverman to Jennifer Love Hewitt, Roast of Carson Daly.
MTV Bash: Carson Daly was supposed to be a roast of Carson Daly, but Sarah Silverman skipped Daly and all the other comedians participating and went straight for Jennifer Love Hewitt in the audience.
“Her kid is the only kid who wishes…”
“…her mother was Casey Anthony.” — Joan Rivers, Roast of Howard Stern.
Howard Stern hosted a roast of himself for his birthday, and Joan Rivers got things off to a vicious start when she spotted Tan Mom in the audience.
“Gary Busey’s here…”
“…Kind of.” — Greg Giraldo, Roast of Larry the Cable Guy.
The late Greg Giraldo was a master of roasting people, as evidenced by this quip.
“Let’s get to the reason I’m here tonight…”
“…which is to give Justin Bieber some tips to use when he inevitably ends up in prison. The first thing you’ll need is a shank. I made mine out of a pintail comb and a pack of gum.” — Martha Stewart, Roast of Justin Bieber.
Martha Stewart was the surprise star at Justin Bieber’s roast, cracking jokes about prison and shunning the prim and proper image we all know and love her for.
“The only reason you got on TV in the first place…”
“…is because God hates Michael J. Fox.”— Anthony Jeselnik, Roast of Charlie Sheen.
Remember: anything goes at a roast.
“…the second worst tragedy to ever hit New York City.” — Seth MacFarlane, Roast of Donald Trump.
Seth MacFarlane hosted the roast of Donald Trump, and now he can look back and remember the time he said this to the future president.
“But here’s something positive…”
“…you had gastric-bypass surgery in 1998, and then you beat it.” — Anthony Jeselnik, Roast of Roseanne.
Anthony Jeselnik’s joke about Roseanne’s fluctuating weight was nothing short of brutal.
“Here’s something you’ll never hear…”
“…great tattoo! You have a slutty lower back tattoo on your face.”— Amy Schumer, Roast of Charlie Sheen.
If that isn’t the perfect description of Mike Tyson’s face tattoo, we don’t know what is.
“As a feminist, I can’t support everything that’s being said up here tonight…”
“…But as somebody who hates Ann Coulter, I’m delighted.” — Jewel, Roast of Rob Lowe.
Once again, Ann Coulter provides better fodder for roasting than the show’s intended subject, Rob Lowe.
“I’m not the only athlete up here tonight…”
“…As you all know, earlier this year, Ann Coulter won the Kentucky Derby.”— Peyton Manning, Roast of Rob Lowe.
Just to really hammer home how bad Ann Coulter got it, here’s Peyton Manning joining in on the fun.
“What’s with all the plastic surgery, Kathy?…”
“…You’ve been stitched up thousands of times and you are still sad to look at. You’re like the AIDS Quilt.” — Greg Giraldo, Roast of Joan Rivers.
This burn is a little more in line with classic Greg Giraldo-style roasting, and it is vicious.
“Is there a barista here?…”
“…Because this roast just got dark.” — Andy Samberg, Roast of James Franco.
Rather than go the typical roast route, Andy Samberg took a play out of Norm Macdonald’s book and did a pretty bad job of insulting anyone other than himself.
“Soul Plane was the worst experience of my life…”
“…involving a plane.” — Pete Davidson, Roast of Justin Bieber.
For a little context on why this joke is so good, Pete Davidson’s father died in the attacks on 9/11.
“I’ve never roasted an oily cadaver before…”
“…You’re like a skeleton wrapped in electrical tape.” — Greg Giraldo, Roast of Flava Flav.
This highly-specific insult proves why Greg Giraldo was considered one of the all-time masters of roasting.
“Before the show started, Seth rolled a gigantic fatty…”
“…because that was the only way we could get Jonah Hill onto the stage.” — Sarah Silverman, Roast of James Franco.
Jonah Hill was roasted all night long at James Franco’s roast for his frequently fluctuating weight.
“…what other rapists only think.” — Carrie Fisher, Roast of Roseanne.
Carrie Fisher was known for her razor-sharp wit, and she showcased it to maximum effect at Roseanne’s roast by skipping the jokes about age and weight and cutting straight to top notch burns. It doesn’t get much better than this, but if you’re still in need of a laugh, check out The 30 Funniest Celebrity Commercials.
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