I’ve decided for my 30th birthday that I would like to be roasted. You know, some big party where I sit in on a dais in front of a crowd of people and my friends all take turns making fun of me. Everyone gets drunks while eating good food and laughing about how I use to be fat. While I would be the brunt of all the jokes, I could think of no funner and funnier way to celebrate a milestone birthday. Now, I don’t actually think it would be successful, because I don’t have that many friends and the friends I do have would be terrible at writing roasting jokes. But this seems like a great idea after finishing Jeff Ross’ I Only Roast the Ones I Love: Busting Balls Without Burning Bridges.
Part autobiography, part how-to guide, comedian Jeff Ross guides wannabe roasters through the art of comedy’s most celebrated tradition. You’d probably recognize Ross from Comedy Central’s televised roasts, Jimmy Kimmel Live, or even his brief appearance on Dancing with the Stars. He’s known as the Roastmaster General and he’s certainly lived up to the title with his famous one liners about Bea Aurthur and Courtney Love. In the book, Ross doles out his advice on how to host a roast, his writing process and his journey from a New Jersey catering hall to the bright lights of Hollywood. The prose is conversational and easy to fly through. Most importantly, the book is hilarious. I laughed out loud at least four times a chapter.
While there is certain tons of comedy to be enjoyed within the book, there are also heartfelt stories about September 11, performing for the troops overseas and the legendary feud between him and [Jimmy Kimmel’s] Cousin Sal that was eventually settled by none other than Tom Cruise. Ross proves that behind the bulletproof exterior of an insult comic lies a thoughtful and compassionate person.
The message of the book is simple: laugh. Humor is a universal language and, in the hands of the right people, a powerful device. Ross is grateful for everything that he has accomplished and not jaded in the least bit. I adamantly recommend everyone read this book and see him live if possible. As for my four friends, you have five years to read and digest I Only Roast The Ones I Love in order to learn how to write jokes and plan one bitchin’ party.