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Burned: The Oral F***ing History of the Comedy Central Roast

Lisa Lampanelli: I didn’t like it going kinder and gentler. I thought, This is going to be a ratings stinker. And it was. 
 
Joan Rivers: Let me just say this: Comedy is here to take the humor as far as it can go. There’s no such thing as a line. If you’re going to be offended, go watch The 700 Club. Have your laughs there. You know, Harry Truman, who I slept with, used to say, “If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.” We were on top of the stove when he said it.
 
A decade since the Leary roast in 2003, with roasting such a known quantity that Ross now hosts his own spin-off show, The Burn, on Comedy Central, where does the Roast go next? Who will step up for the tribute and the abuse? And will an increasingly unshockable and distracted public keep tuning in?
 
Anthony Jeselnik: I think that [for the next roast] they’re going to try to go back to the old tried-and-true, everybody-as-mean-as-possible thing. Their dream is to have George Clooney bring all his celebrity friends on and come do a roast. 
 
Doug Herzog: We ask Howard Stern every year and he says no. He loves the roasts, but he doesn’t want to do it. Then again, why do it if you’re Howard Stern? Someone else we’d love is Lindsay Lohan.
 
Jeff Ross: When I started doing these roasts, it was like telling people I speak Latin or I’m into jousting. It was antiquated and corny. But now roasts are turning into a national pastime. I have 16-year-old kids imitating me! People are roasting each other in their backyards, at bachelor parties, at frat parties. I think these roasts are like the World Series or the Super Bowl: There are good ones and bad ones, but people remember them forever. 

Want more comedians? Check out our interview with Tom Arnold and Jack Black Gets Roasted Alive.

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