‘Meanest Man in Comedy’ on Sheen and upcoming showWritten by John Benson | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Considering he’s been called “The Meanest Man in Comedy” and “A One-Man Verbal Assault Unit,” comedian Jeffrey Ross knows he’s doing something right.
Ross has also garnered the tag of “The Roastmaster General” for his memorable appearances at celebrity roasts for everyone from Drew Carey and William Shatner to Hugh Hefner and Pamela Anderson. Now the New Jersey native finds himself entangled in the Charlie Sheen “Torpedo of Truth” tour. Toledo Free Press talked to Ross about his connection to the “Winning” train wreck, the most recent Donald Trump and Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino roast and his return to Cleveland May 13 and 14 at Hilarities 4th Street Theatre.
Toledo Free Press: First of all, before you joined the Charlie Sheen tour what was your opinion of what he was doing?
Jeffrey Ross: I was taking it personally reading the accounts of the Sheen shows because it did bother me he was selling it as a comedy tour when in fact it was more of a rally. Essentially, he was probably taking tickets away from comedy shows. People only have so much money to spend so yeah, I did feel bad for people who paid for tickets and deserved a show.
TFP: So how exactly did you get involved?
JR: Actually, they approached me to come earlier, even before the tour came through Cleveland, but I was nervous because it did seem like a toxic environment. And as I read the accounts more carefully, I realized people were coming for a show and it wasn’t a show they were seeing. They were seeing this sort of mish-mash and that was really enticing to me. I knew I could come out and try to save him the way I saved “The Situation” in the latest Comedy Central Roast. So they approached me to be a moderator and to be a guy who could take the audience into civility. I didn’t necessary sympathize with Charlie. I sympathized with the audience who were expecting a show.
TFP: How did the first show go over?
JR: I bumrushed his Atlantic City show. I waited until he started bombing, somebody yelled, “I want a refund” and Charlie called him on stage, gave him $100 and had security walk him out. As soon as he did that, hundreds of people started rushing in front of the stage asking for a refund. And before Charlie could get to them, I walked out in a Hazmat suit and said, “Charlie, I heard there was a bomb scare. I got here as quickly as I could.” We rolled out a podium, and I roasted him. And now we’ve done a bunch of them.
TFP: So are you giving his tour credibility?
JR: I don’t know if that’s the word. I’m not here to defend him, I’m here to roast him. I’m calling him out essentially on his insanity. My opening joke is, “You have some balls coming out here every night with no act.”
TFP: You spoke earlier about MTV’s “Jersey Shore” star “The Situation” who bombed on the latest roast. The other thing that stands out about that show was it was roasting Donald Trump, who only weeks later entered the political ring with presidential aspirations. Did you sense this was coming?
JR: You heard rumblings of his ambitions to be President right before the roast, which kind of gave the roast some nice context. Now that I’m hearing some of his actual policies, I wish I roasted him a lot harder. A lot of the attention went to “The Situation” who bombed but this whole thing with Trump, it’s like we can roast him again a month later almost.
TFP: Finally, speaking of someone you can roast, any chance a former NBA star who took his talents to South Beach can be next on your list?
JR: One of the reasons I wanted to come back is because I was heartbroken for the fans since I know how much he meant. I figured I’m not a replacement, obviously, but I am a couple of hours of forgetfulness. Everybody there needs to laugh. That was a painful heartbreak. As soon as it happened I said to my agent, “Please get me back to Cleveland. Those people need some cheering up.” It took a while but I’m coming. And I will roast LeBron at Hilarities when I’m there, whether he’s there or not.
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