Comedy Central Roast Of Flavor Flav
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Comedy Central Roast Of Flavor Flav

Perhaps the strangest form of comedy is the roast. This time honored format has been around since the Friar’s club started the tradition back in the 1920’s. Basically, a person is subjected to every form of insult and degradation possible at the hands of friends and associates. The form came to television in the sixties when Dean Martin hosted as series of these events for his television show. Since television standards had to be maintained those roasts were greatly diluted from the behind the scenes ones the Friar’s club would hold. Television would once again be witness to roast when in 1998 the Comedy Central cable network made an agreement with the Friar’s Club. When that contract ended the network began to televise new roasts of popular celebrities. One of the most recent targets the former rapper and current ‘celebrity’ reality TV star, Flavor Flav. He first gained recognition back in the early eighties as a member of the rap group ‘Public Enemy’ but a whole new generation knows him now. Flav has been a center piece in what seems like most of the celebrity oriented reality series on VH1. he started out on their "Big Brother’ take off ‘The Surreal Life’ where he met actress ‘Brigitte Nielsen’. Their romance was covered in ‘Strange Love’ and when they broke up Flav went on to two seasons on ‘Flavor of Love’ where he emulated the ‘Bachelor’ by voting off young ladies from a group until he found the one for him. Even that series had its own spawn with ‘I Love New York’ based on one of the rejects from Flavor. Many of those rejected wound up on yet another series named ‘Flavor of Love Charm School’. Now the Comedy Central roast of Flav is available on DVD thanks to Comedy Central and their distributor, Paramount Home Entertainment.

Since a lot of the shows on Comedy Central is a bit adult they have to be heavily edited before airing. This means that a show like the roast under consideration here has a large percentage of beeps on the sound track to cover the objectionable words. One way they have found around this is to air the programs late at night uncensored. Here in New York City the cut off time is usually 1AM. Another way they have to bring the audience the unedited and uncut versions of their series is their DVD line. The DVD of Flav’s roast is completely uncensored and contains material not even attempted in the broadcast version. With his goofy, slight frame, gold teeth, horned Viking helmets and ever present oversized clock chained around his neck Flavor Flav is the perfect subject for a roast.

The roast was hosted by rapper Katt Williams who adds his own quips between introducing the numerous roasters. Typical of the format Flav sits center stage surrounded by those that will roast him. Each one in turn goes to the podium and in front of the live audience throws every imaginable insult at Flav and the others on the dais. Williams begins with a little film retrospective of Flav that he assures the audience cannot be remember by Flav. Finally Flav comes in flying on wires over the audience and takes his seat. Williams makes a brief speech warning that there will be gratuitous use of the ‘N’ word but looking at the people in attendance it stands for ‘Nobodies’.

The first roaster is Comedy Central’s go to guy, Greg Giraldo. He starts off attacking his fellow roasters stating that Williams is like afrosheen, white people have heard of him but no one is sure what he does. To Ice T he goes after him being older than most on the panel saying the first thing he bought with his rap money was his freedom. After going through all the guests he turns to Flav describing him as an ‘oily cadaver’. Next up is the actress Sommore. She says that there are so many gangster rappers there it is the first time security is protecting the audience from the performers. For his first season on Law & Order Ice T couldn’t break old habits and kept getting in the back of the squad car. When Jimmy Kimmel takes the stage things start to get moving. He is extremely comfortable with the roast format and gets right into it. He jokes that this is the first time Flav has ever spoken in a room filled with white people without being sworn in first. One joke by Kimmel included here caused some controversy when he said that Chris Benoit, convicted of killing his family, was a better father than Flav.

One of the original rappers Ice T takes center stage. He tells Flav that he has so many kinds that Chucky Cheese told him to move in. Like most of the others Ice T goes after the Flavor of Love girls in the audience stating that the reason Flav gave them all nicknames is so their testimony wouldn’t hold up in court. Comedy Central’s usual roast master Jeff Ross comes up. He tells Falv that he looks like Whoopie Goldberg and Gollum had an abortion. Ross wonders how it’s possible to embarrass a crack head wearing a Viking helmet. Flav looks so bad that starving children send him fifty cents a day. The show lags a bit when Carrot Top comes up. It really goes down with Flav’s ex girlfriend Brigitte Nielsen starts up. She doesn’t have the comic timing for a gig like this. The momentum starts to come back with Patton Oswalt who is well versed in this style of comedy. It goes into high gear with Snoop Dogg who begins telling everyone how high he is. Saving one of the better performances for last they bring on Lisa Lampanelli. Her stock in trade is insult humor often revolving around her preference for black men. She is obscene vulgar and extremely funny. It is a wonder how any of her act made it on the uncensored version of this roast. It all winds up with Flav getting some time to respond. While not as funny as those before him he does end on a high note.

Comedy Central provides more than just the uncensored version of this roast on the DVD. The bonus features include segments on both the pre and post show antics of the performers. There is also a Flav eye view of the backstage. This is funny but be warned it is adult humor. This is a perfect disc for a party with your friends just makes sure the kids are fast asleep.

Posted 01/23/08

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