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Q&A with Jeff Ross on Roasting America

Jeff Ross Roasts America is exactly how it sounds.

The Roast Master General himself, Jeffrey Ross, is coming to town, shameless and blunt assaults ready to fire. If his name sounds familiar, it’s because Ross has been everywhere lately, writing books, directing films, starring in popular TV shows and most notably, roasting celebrities right and left on Comedy Central. Most recent of roasting fame was his audacious bash of Charlie Sheen, landing as the highest rated roast in Comedy Central history. He’s also knocked down some of the biggest celebrities of Hollywood, including the roasts of Pamela Anderson, Flava Flav, Bob Saget, David Hasselhof, William Shatner and Joan Rivers.

With a self-written book under his arm (“I Only Roast the Ones I Love: Busting Balls Without Burning Bridges”), a movie script he co-wrote starring Robert De Niro and Kristen Wiig, and his directorial debut in a documentary on entertaining U.S. troops in Iraq, Ross is a force to be reckoned with. Not to mention, he keeps us laughing on guilty-pleasure reality TV shows Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelorette.

Now Ross is showing the country what he’s made of in his first comedy tour, Jeff Ross Roasts America. Before he stops by the House of Blues San Diego on Saturday,Jan. 28th, we chatted with Ross about his Roast Master reputation, career path, and why he thinks his show will make a great date idea.  

DiscoverSD: The show’s called Jeff Ross Roasts America, but what will it involve? What can we expect?

Jeff Ross: I’ll have all the jokes that you can’t do anywhere but in a temple of free speech like a comedy show. All the Steve Jobs jokes, all the Penn State sex scandal jokes, all the stuff we all think but we’re too afraid to say out loud. It’s going to be definitely a lot of those too-soon type of moments. Plus, I’m known for roasting celebrities, but I thought an adventure would be to try roasting fans, so at a certain point I will invite whoever wants to come on stage to do a speed roast. It’s a new invention, and it’s an experiment. I’ll have to ask House of Blues to have extra security in case it gets too out of hand.

DSD: “I Only Roast the Ones I Love” is the title of your new book. How will you apply this rule of thumb with your audience and where do you draw the line?

JR: I don’t draw the line. The line is at the bar in lobby at the theatre. Anything goes at my show. I want people to come expecting to see something that they can’t see on television. I also think this is a good date idea. If you’re looking to get some action, I talk about sex a lot in my show. It increases your chances of getting laid by 10% if you bring your boyfriend or girlfriend to the show.

DSD: Fantastic, that’s a great selling point.

JR: I think so.

DSD:  Your most recent roast was with Charlie Sheen. Can you tell us more about what that was like?

JR: Oh, just picture roasting an alien space monster and putting it on TV as the highest rated show roast Comedy Central’s ever had. And it was euphoric because it was driving people crazy that he was having this meltdown and people were obsessed with it—so he found a way to own that, have a laugh at that, and put it behind him. And you know, he came out looking like the man.

DSD: So what did that do for your career?

JR: Well, I’m doing a lot more cool stuff with Comedy Central now, plus they’ve gotten behind my tour so I’ve never had that before. To me that’s a big vote of confidence from them. I don’t know who were gonna roast next but I know it’ll be fun...

DSD: Who do you wish you could roast next?

JR: I guess I’m so focused on all the blondes in San Diego—that’s who I want to roast next.

DSD: How did you get your start in comedy and get into the world of roasts?

JR: The roasts just happened. I started doing comedy because I had nothing else to do at night— it was more to meet chicks than it was to make a point or tell jokes. I had no social life, I was just a chubby loser living in New Jersey with my grandfather, and comedy gave me a way out. I went to the Friars Club as a guest and it sort of grew out of that. I sort of realized when I walked out into my first roast in front of 200 people in New York that I was home and that was gonna be my arena.

DSD: Besides Charlie Sheen, do you have a favorite roast of all the celebrities?

JR: Whoever’s next—it’s like going to battle. The preparation is the fascinating and exciting part.

DSD: How long does it typically take to prepare for a roast?

JR: From the moment I hear about it until the moment I tell the jokes to their face. Whether that’s a week or a month, it doesn’t matter because it’s all I can think about.

DSD: Do you have any tips for people who want to do some roasting on their own?

JR: Don’t hold back, commit to your material, and never apologize.

DSD: Lastly, where do you see your multi-faceted career taking you in the next year?

JR: Well after I roast America, there’s only one place left— the world. Maybe you should expect a Jeff Ross Roasts the World Tour.

See for yourself: JoinJeff Ross Roasts America at the House of Blues San Diego on Jan. 28th at 7pm. Tickets are $25-$35 and can be purchased online at livenation.com.

 
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