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The Roast of Alec Baldwin is part of The Comedy Central Roasts that date back to 1998. During this time, the channel televised the annual roasts held at the New York Friars Club. These were a tradition since 1950. When the original contract ended, Comedy Central began to produce its own roasts which followed in the same type of spirit. These began in 2002 with Dennis Leary. Other roastees include Pamela Anderson, William Shatner, Charlie Sheen, Joan Rivers, and Justin Bieber.
The Roast of Alec Baldwin is the latest special, originally broadcast in 2019. Baldwin is an academy award-nominated actor and has appeared in various box office hits as well as critical darlings including The Departed and The Hunt For Red October. Today, he is probably best known for taking the role of Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live.
The Roast of Alec Baldwin: What An Amazing Cast
Sean Hayes steps up to the plate as Roast Master for this special. Debra Messing was originally supposed to take the role but was forced to drop out due to a scheduling conflict. Hayes provides an admirable attempt as Roast Master and quickly sets up the tone of the evening with a couple of dirty jokes. He’s not quite on the same level of some of the previous Roast Masters such as Jeffrey Ross or Seth McFarlane but he’s far from the worst.
A Great Group of Roasters
There’s a solid group of roasters for this special which includes Jeffrey Ross (The Roastmaster General), Robert De Niro, Blake Griffin, Caitlyn Jenner, Nikki Glaser, Chris Redd, and Ken Jeong. Ireland Baldwin also makes a surprise appearance to take some shots at her dad for the infamous voicemail he left on her phone in 2007.
All of the roasters get time to shine and provide some memorable jokes as well as fantastic one-liners. Caitlyn Jenner is probably the best of the bunch and takes a lot of the jokes aimed at her in stride.
Unfortunately, the weakest roaster is probably De Niro. He’s one of the last performers and his jokes feel just a little too safe. Undoubtedly a legendary actor, he doesn’t seem particularly suited for this type of routine.
Other memorable moments include Blake Griffin thanking Caitlyn on behalf of the NBA for giving her all her daughter’s daddy issues. Nikki Glaser is also on top form here and her routine is close to the best she’s ever been on stage.
Any Pulled Punches?
Many people are unaware that these roasts can have jokes and topics that are off-limits. The topics that cannot be brought up are typically chosen by the roastee themselves. Charlie Sheen requested there to be no jokes about his mother while Donald Trump barred jokes about him having lower levels of wealth than previously claimed. Similar to Hasselhoff, Baldwin apparently imposed no limits and it does lead to a better night of comedy. The jokes are wide and varied with references to his age, anger, past performances as an actor and even his family life.
Too Safe For Standup
According to reports, there was a teleprompter used for this roast. It makes a lot of the jokes and some of the moments that are meant to seem shocking feel a lot more scripted. Baldwin, in particular, seems to be reading a comeback that the audience has already heard.
However, there’s also nothing said that’s particularly mean spirited. Everyone seems to be having a fantastic time and this is probably due to the fact they all get some great shots in at one another. This hasn’t always been the case with some complaints of remarks that were below the belt in the past. Bob Saget for instance, is well known for taking offense at the remarks directed towards the Olsen twins. So, while it may be more safe than usual, there are at least no uncomfortable or cringeworthy moments.
The Roast of Alec Baldwin: The Best Roast Yet?
While fun and certainly providing more than a few laugh out loud moments, this isn’t the best roast Comedy Central has delivered. That award is still firmly in the hands of Charlie Sheen. Baldwin is fun to watch but he doesn’t quite reach the standards of Sheen for sheer craziness or incredible comebacks. Sheen’s roast is also still the most viewed episode with 6.4 million people tuning in.
However, while it may not take the crown the Comedy Central Road of Alec Baldwin is fantastic fun to watch. Although the jokes begin to wear thin in the final hour, it’s worth staying for the whole roast to catch Baldwin’s brilliant return zingers.