Too soon? Not when Jeffrey Ross undertakes his experiment honoring dead celebrities: “Roast in Peace”

The Friars Club and Comedy Central are having a high time roasting the celebrities of today. But who among us can roast the celebrities and historical figures of yesterday and days of yore?

Jeff_Ross_Comedy_Store_sbThe Adam Carolla Show has decided, and many could agree, that only one person, one man, could undertake what he calls an "experiment" in honoring the dead. Ladies and gentlemen, your Roastmaster General, Jeffrey Ross, presents "Roast In Peace." It's a likely sell-out on Friday night at The Comedy Store in West Hollywood.

But is it a one-time-only experiment? I asked Jeffrey Ross himself to find out!

So how's it going, preparing to roast the dead? "I'm trying to write this show in time for Friday, and then write this (Comedy Central) Roast for (Donald) Trump. When it rains it pours."

How'd the idea come about? "Adam's producer, Mike August, thought of it, as a way to honor the deceased, and put the final nail in the coffin of celebrities we care about."

Was it a hard sell? "I didn't agree until he booked the date. I thought it was a bad idea. Possibly a lot of bad karma for me. But I thought if I could do it lovingly and with affection, it could come off OK."

Is there a formula to combat the element of "too soon?" "I think each celebrity has their own place for it's time to be OK to be funny. Some will be too soon than others. Is it too soon to make fun of Abe Lincoln? Maybe! It's a unique way to pay tribute and to bring closure to some of these celebrity deaths."

So past presidents like Lincoln are on the list? "Oh, Lincoln's on the list. For sure, I'm also probably going to mention people who died more recently. Your Patrick Swayzes, your Kurt Cobains, those types of people. George Harrison is on the list. It has to be people I care about, people I admire."

Are you planning to take "Roast in Peace" on the road with you? "Oh, it's an expermient. so if it works, I'll try it again. I'm not going to go out and get myself assassinated. So I don't know yet."

And you said you're still a part of the Donald Trump roast, too, for Comedy Central, even though the network has tapped Seth MacFarlane again to emcee it? "Oh, well, he did it last year. I never host. I always do a spot. This year I'm closing. Which is the spot (Greg) Giraldo had last time. So it's a little eerie. But the trip to roasts must go on."

Will you be taking requests? "There might be some, but I feel like I'll do a warm up, talking about life and death in general, and then I'll let loose. Put them randomly, just to keep it fresh. And then when I get to the dead people, maybe I'll invite people onstage and let them let loose…and then at the end, we'll all sing 'Knocking on Heaven's Door.' Does that sound like a good idea, Sean?"

Well, with you, there's an expectation that this is what you do. You're the Roastmaster General. So it's not coming out of left-field, that's for sure. "It's coming right down the middle. It should be really really fun. I may do more. But I'll at least do this one. It's a way to talk about people I care about onstage."

Have you ever delivered an actual eulogy? "Yeah, quite a few. My father, my grandfather, Buddy Hackett, Jan Murray, a lot of great comedians."

360So this shouldn't be that different, just that instead of a church or synagogue, you're in a comedy club. "I'm in a ghost house. The Comedy Store has ghosts, so I felt like that would be the appropriate place to do this."

Will you be roasting any of those Comedy Store ghosts? "Wait. That's a good idea. Is Andrew Dice Clay still alive?"

Yes. I think so. "Then I guess he's off the hook. But I know it'll all be in good fun, and nobody will get hurt. I was nervous about it at first. But now that I've written some of it, who doesn't love a good Michael Jackson joke?"

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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