Today I made the mistake of watching the Charlie Sheen Roast via Netflix Watch Instantly. Before you also fall victim to this, allow me to let you know what you’re getting into. It’s monotonous and felt watered down in every way.
Charlie Sheen Roast Review
The roasters were not exactly a varied bunch. Since this was my first time watching a roast (unless you count the Michael Scott one on The Office) I expected to see more roasters who actually knew Charlie. Instead, it’s more of a general “who is funny and can be mean” kind of casting call. This group was a hodge podge of four distinct groups: comics who are established as talented (Jon Lovitz, Jeffrey Ross, Patrice O’Neal) comics who are up-and-coming with not a lot of credit but who are trying desperately to prove themselves (Anthony Jeselnik, Amy Schumer) celebrities who are kind of funny (Kate Walsh, William Shatner) and celebrities who aren’t funny at all but apparently wanted some press (Mike Tyson, Steve-O.) There was also the roastmaster, Seth MacFarlane, who was more than decent. And, of course, there was Charlie Sheen.
The roasters seemed to take more time to send jabs at the fellow roasters than in focusing on Sheen. And the jokes were all slight variations on each other. While nothing was off limits (hookers, drugs, spousal abuse, death) it somehow never seemed to be all that mean to Sheen. This is either because he laughed and rolled with the punches better than anyone else (Patrice O’Neal stands out for being a big cry baby whenever someone said something about him – even though he also attacked them all) or there’s a total sense of desensitization involved here. Instead of being an experience to shame Sheen (which I’ll admit, I wanted) he was cheered on and everyone was supporting him.
It’s exactly the opposite of what an intervention should be. “Hey, you are totally f*cking screwed up now, high five!”
Plenty of jabs were taken at Chuck Lorre, and in light of the recent comments Lorre made, I couldn’t help but feel that Lorre was the only person in Charlie’s life (aside from his brother and father) who were actually going to take a stand and say that rampant drug abuse was not just okay, but it was bad for him. Lorre didn’t just shove Sheen away, he tried to help him. But Sheen would rather laugh merrily with everyone else who is celebrating his rebellious attitude. (But what is he rebelling against? The Man? The system? He’d have you believe that. But that’s not at all what he’s done in shirking his responsibilities to be a good father, a good employee and to be a person who isn’t living a self-destruction lifestyle.)
During the roast, Charlie Sheen himself wasn’t crazy at all. You’d do better to watch the other interviews he gave if you want to be entertained. Here, Sheen seemed to have calmed down, and you saw the part of him that does impress people. He’s masterful with words and humor. There’s no wonder why we loved him as an actor for all these years.
The legendary Jon Lovitz was funny and there’s nothing really bad to say about him, which is why everyone just kept making jokes about his double chin. And that is hardly even funny the first time.
Jeffrey Ross is a fun character and seems to have inspired young asian girls to dress up like him, which makes me think he get laid a lot for being such a cerebral artist of the funny bone.
I don’t know much about Patrice O’Neal. His material was funny enough, but during the roast he kept whining to interupt whenever someone picked on him. (Everyone picked on everyone else. It’s what they do, apparently.) And while he thought it was okay, apparently, to make fun of Charlie losing custody of his kids, he doesn’t like people mentioning that he’s overweight or that he has diabetes. For all of that hypocrisy, I roll my eyes and plan to never watch his act.
Anthony Jesselnik was funny in a forgettable way. Which is why I have very little to say about him. I’ve no doubt that he is competent and good at this craft, but I didn’t find him likeable or relatable.
Interestingly, Jesselnik dates Amy Schumer. Now, she’s interesting. She looks pretty and sweet, she even wore a sparkly little dress and red carpet worthy shimmery high heels. And then she starts to talk. Not only is she funny, she’s much funnier than her boyfriend. Her brand of funny is especially mean (at least for this roast) and people seemed to be surprised and almost annoyed by it. Sexism? Maybe a little.
The only other female on the panel was Kate Walsh. I don’t watch Private Practice, but I know that plenty of people do. And the kinds of people who watch that show would probably be shocked and offended by what she said. But they really should just be impressed that she’s so damn funny. She gracefully took all of the punches about how she’s old, going through menopause, lacks moisture, etc, etc. I don’t resent Walsh for being funny, but I do wish she’d use her powers for good instead of just being mean.
William Shatner is a very funny guy and that’s all there is to that.
When it comes to Mike Tyson… oh, I don’t know. He was made fun of a lot. He was the most vocal interrupt during the roast, and he was also very visibly nervous while delivering his jokes. He kept trying to button his jacket and never got it. Yes, he was funny. But that was an odd choice.
Steve-O was still slightly newly sober during the filming of this, and he’d recently had a death of a friend. People made fun of both. One of the most honest jokes flung at anyone was when someone said that Steve-O is more boring these days and his entire act lacks edge. (He had already run into Tyson’s fist once to get a black eye. It looked fake. So then, clearly ready to prove something, he did it again.) Steve-O just makes me sad.
Finally, there’s Seth MacFarlane and the only jokes people had to make about him were 1.) He’s secretly gay 2.) He’s too metrosexual with the tanning and the eyebrow’s being groomed, 3.) He’s too famous and does too much. Certainly, this is a case where he’s laughing all the way to the bank.
Actually, I’ve forgotten to mention someone. Brooke Mueller. I never knew anything about her until I watched the awful Paris Hilton Reality Show on Oyxygen (The World According to Paris.) On this show viewers were treated to seeing that Brooke was obsessed with Sheen, taking very poor care of herself and her children, and was completely selfish and whiny. Rather than staying far away from the mess that is Sheen like ex-wife Denise Richards did, Mueller (who has had about a thousand stints in rehab including one that was just recently announced) showed up to laugh and cheer Sheen on. It just made me sad to see her there.
After watching this, something disturbing happened. I’d sat through about two hours of people being as mean as they could be, and subconsciously I picked that up and was in a bad mood and was being kind of a crab. (This same thing happens to me when I watch Jersey Shore. I want to start fights and I inexplicably want to get fake nails.) For people who think that we aren’t influenced by media and violent video games can’t make violent children, I’m sorry but you’re wrong. If that wasn’t true, why would so many companies and brands pay to have their product included in the latest Sex and the City movie? Even subconsciously, we are aware of what we’re seeing and we remember it. It influences us. And generally not for the better. Of course, that’s an article for another time.
If you haven’t already watched the Charlie Sheen Roast, pass on it. It’ll leave you angry and unsatisfied. Don’t you feel that way about what’s happened to Charlie’s old show, Two and a Half Men, anyway?
Charlie Sheen Photo: Comedy Central Picture Group
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