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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Jeff Ross Roasts America (2012) DVD Review

When the roast thing first caught on, it was a lot of fun. Then I got tired of it. It seemed to be a routine that had played itself out. Not that they stopped doing it, of course. But I had lost interest. That is, until I heard of the special Jeff Ross Roasts America. This is the first roast in a long time that caught my interest. The idea is a good one. And this country could use a good shaking, a good talking-to.

However, the actual program is quite different from what I had in mind. What I was imagining was a scathing tearing apart of the country, a look at everything wrong with the United States and its people, its politics, but done with a wicked sense of humor, of course. I was hoping he'd roast some politicians. The program is actually short segments from Jeff Ross' stand-up routine shot in various cities.  And in the cities, he roasts audience members who volunteer to come up on stage.

The show starts in Seattle, and Jeff Ross rips on his young nephew before the show. His nephew seems really unsure of what's going on, really uncomfortable.  And then it goes into his stand-up routine. (He has notes, by the way).  During the speed-roasting of audience members he says about two girls, "Two fives make a ten."  The next stop is Toronto, and yes Toronto is in America - North America.  In Washington D.C. he does a bit in front of the Abe Lincoln statue. He roasts Abe Lincoln (again, working from notes).  Then he's on stage, where he does more speed-roasting of audience members, including a guy with no legs in a wheel chair.  But he doesn't really roast that guy; instead he talks about how the guy is defending free speech.  I had expected Jeff Ross to really rip apart D.C., but this was just one short segment.

There is a short segment in Miami, but it's just a bit of him screwing around on the beach, not a performance on stage.

In Minneapolis, the chick he lost his virginity to gets up on stage. It's actually really odd and funny. I've never seen anything like that in a comedy special.  There is no speed-roasting of the audience in this segment, but he does say, "Have you guys been watching that AIDS documentary on FOX? I think it's called Glee."

Some of the best speed-roasting is the segment shot in Madison.  And the Las Vegas segment is pretty good too.  He says, "I wanted to stay at New York, New York, but it was too expensive, so I stayed at Newark, Newark."  He plays a bit of "Dueling Banjos" on guitar while talking about being abused by his dad, which is totally funny.

As for the Nashville segment, I hope the stupid girl who climbed on stage at the beginning of the show now at least has the brains to feel ashamed, but I'm guessing she's dead in an alley somewhere. And that's okay too.  He reads a "love poem" called "Baby, Move Over," while three musicians accompany him, and it's pretty damn funny. At the end he says he's learned that "Americans have a great sense of humor, especially about themselves."  I can't say I share his optimistic view.  After all, if he said some of those things to people in any other set of circumstances - you know, not on a stage being filmed - they wouldn't find it at all funny, and he'd probably be beaten.  I think people have absolutely no sense of humor about themselves.

Though the performances are pretty funny, I found the whole thing rather tame. I expected something a little more biting.  And there are really no politics whatsoever.  America was not really roasted, though it deserves to be.

The DVD's special features include the complete audience speed-roasts from three cities: Seattle, Minneapolis and Nashville.  Okay, so the chick in Seattle he calls the "lost Kardashian" is seriously hideous (as well as being overly obnoxious), but he just tells her how beautiful she is, and that he wants to fuck her. But if her nose had electricity and plumbing, it could solve the homeless problem in this country. I think Jeff Ross' taste in women in questionable at best. Plus, it's supposed to be a roast. Here is a woman that is begging to be torn down, and all he does is stroke her insane ego.  He does the "Two fives make a ten" joke in Minneapolis too, except that one of those women is clearly a seven.  Also in Minneapolis, there is some footage of him talking to folks after the show, getting a photo taken with some kids.

Jeff Ross Roasts America was released on August 14, 2012.  The DVD, by the way, is a DVD-R.  The program also aired on Comedy Central on August 11th.

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