The temperature was unusually high in the Saban Theatre Saturday night, and the jokes were sizzling too. On center stage was Comedy Central’s latest roast-ee, Alec Baldwin, for tonight’s taping of the Roast of Alec Baldwin.
Since all of the evening’s roasters were also fair game for hard-jabbing punch lines, a round of applause for bravery should go to host Sean Hayes and roasters Ken Jeong, Chris Redd, Jeff Ross (also a co-executive producer of the roast), Blake Griffin, Nikki Glaser, Robert De Niro, Caitlyn Jenner, Adam Carolla and Caroline Rhea.
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Glaser, who took plenty of hits for her two-left-feet turn as a contestant on Dancing With the Stars,” offered mock delight at getting the chance to meet “Justin Bieber’s wife’s oldest, fattest uncle.”
Special kudos to De Niro, because, as Hayes pointed out at the top of the show, the Hollywood legend was “the real reason we’re all here tonight.” Said De Niro of Baldwin’s legendary hot temper: “I once saw him take a selfie and punch his own face.”
De Niro, a two-time Oscar winner, took almost as much ribbing as Baldwin for his advanced age and his recent penchant for starring in big screen comedies never destined for awards greatness. Ross referred to De Niro as the “Aging Bull.”
And while the audience learned early that Baldwin’s 23-year-old daughter Ireland Baldwin was in the audience, it came as a surprise when the offspring the actor famously called a “thoughtless little pig” on a voicemail 12 years ago, took the stage to have a chat with her dear old Dad.
Ireland Baldwin appeared cool and poised as she zinged her famous father for his role in Mission Impossible: “Mission Impossible is what I call getting my dad to apologize,” she said sweetly.
Nothing was off limits, including Baldwin’s wicked temper, his 35-year-old yoga instructor wife Hilaria, his past substance abuse, paparazzi punching and the extreme likelihood he will never be named father of the year.
Naturally, transgender Jenner took plenty of heat, but was quick to respond when her turn came, telling De Niro that she wasn’t the only one going through a transition, pointing out that Robert De Niro used to be “Robert F—king De Niro.” On a more serious note, she encouraged other transgender people to find the strength to be who they are and “if you have a problem with that, you can suck my d–k. If you can find it.”
When he got his chance at the podium, De Niro cheerfully opened his remarks with “What the f— am I doing here?” observing that the rest of the roasters are people you can’t even find on Wikipedia. He took a friendly shot at Jenner, wishing her vagina a happy second birthday but getting a little political by saying Comedy Central wanted to wait until after her surgery “so they can pay her 20% less than a man.”
A few roasters couldn’t resist breaking the barbed tone of the evening. A recorded announcement by Lady Gaga revealed Baldwin and Comedy Central are donating $1 million to the charity Exploring the Arts, an arts education nonprofit founded by Tony Bennett and Susan Benedetto, pointing up the fact that this roast was for charity.
But in true Comedy Central Roast form, even that generous gesture was undercut by a review of Gaga’s performance: “You’re not Lady Haha,” Hayes said.
At the end of the nearly four-hour evening, Baldwin went down the line, insulting each and every guest. He praised himself for a charitable act: “Sharing the spotlight is my gift to all of you,” he cracked.
But at the end of it all, he thanked them for their support for a man who didn’t always star in hit movies, or be polite to the paparazzi, but “did it my way.” “And if you don’t believe me, check your e-mails,” he said.
The roast will premiere on September 15 at 10 pm ET/PT on Comedy Central.
The Comedy Central Roast of Alec Baldwin is executive produced by Joel Gallen from Tenth Planet Productions, who also served as Executive Producer and Director of the Comedy Central Roasts of Bruce Willis, Rob Lowe, Justin Bieber, James Franco, Charlie Sheen and Donald Trump, as well as the Emmy-nominated Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner. Rick Austin is also Executive Producer, with Ross as Co-Executive Producer. Christian McLaughlin is the Executive in Charge of Production and Jordan Ellner is the Talent Producer for Comedy Central.