When one thinks of roasts, those old commercials featuring Dean Martin come to mind which invariably speaks to the level of celebrities that were sensibly structured there from Bob Hope to George Burns to Frank Sinatra to Lucille Ball.
“The Roast Of David Hasselhoff” affects no such lofty ambitions, simply a need of comedy wrapped in the notion of a party.
Interestingly enough, the person with the most cache hosts the experience in the form of Seth McFarlane, the creative force behind “Family Guy”, “The Cleveland Show” and “American Dad”. McFarlane, as is apparent in person, enjoys this kind of public interaction as he took his big band show on the road similarly.
Getting a person like David Hasselhoff to sit and be counted for his sins is a balance between attacking aspects of life and career head on versus the ultimate publicity such an outing affords. Half the roasters are comedians while others are the best collection affordable.
Pamela Anderson, as evidenced by her attendance at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal last year, knows how to take a joke and likes to dole them out as well, even when many of the jokes involve her sex tape.
Hulk Hogan and George Hamilton are simply out of left field and probably did it for the payday which is understandable but the sheer tele-prompter reading moves it along, especially when Hulk looks over and says “Do I have to say this?”
The great delivery of the evening resided with Gilbert Gottfried. No matter what the guy says, even if it makes no sense, one cannot help but bust a gut because the sheer obviousness of the delivery is so absurd.
Comedians such as Jeffrey Ross and the late Greg Giraldo use it as a great springboard for vicious comedy with the people actually in the room which can probably be both a dream and a nightmare. Roasting works this way though, most of the time, it can come off as cheap laughs with a mean spirited edge. Sometimes it is just off-the-cuff for sanity’s sake.
The bonus features optimize an all-in one-night production schedule which ultimately shows great production efficiency. The Behind-The-Scenes shows the lead up with many of the comedians (specifically Lisa Lampanelli) figuring out their own approach to the material. The Red Carpet interviews using a Comedy Central interviewer doesn’t allow the material to shine since the man with the microphone is trying to one-up the roastees and the roasted which takes away from the function itself (if that is possible). The after-show responses take on the same progression allowing for not as much fun and frolic as might have been possible. Watching however, both on the red carpet and after the show, Hoff’s daughters talking and standing behind their old man is an interesting diatribe of celebrity but also speaks to a different perception of life lived.
“The Roast Of David Hasselhoff” knows what it is: fun mindless banter focused on the throttle of a trainwreck filmed with a certain masochistic vibe. Entertainment has evolved in this direction with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor allowing for a little bit of TMZ in us all. Out of 5, I give it a 1 1/2.