Nowadays the Scarlet Letter seems to be "C" for conservatism as Comedy Central's latest roast turned out to be a euphemism for the incineration of conservative author Ann Coulter. The air was thick with duplicitous indignation and thinly veiled hatred disguised as jokes during the Rob Lowe roast, taped August 27, and aired September 4, 2016. But oddly, Lowe, the guest of honor, was not the butt of the majority of the katagelasticism-type jokes. In an unprecedented act, the mean-spirited hostility and worst scorn were directed towards guest speaker Coulter.
Speaker after speaker at the Salem witch trial, I mean roast, took light jabs at Lowe but walloped Coulter, hitting below the belt. SNL comedian Pete Davidson called Coulter a “racist c**t,” and ridiculed, ". . . If you’re here, who’s scaring the crows away from our crops?" Host, David Spade cruelly said, "I haven’t seen you laugh this hard since Trayvon Martin got shot," then joked, "Is Pete [Davidson] white? Is he black? Ann Coulter needs to know so she can decide if she hates him." Comedian Jeff Ross said, "How do I roast somebody from hell?" British comedian Jimmy Carr mocked that Coulter was "one of the most repugnant, hateful hatchet bitches alive,” then scoffed, “but it’s not too late to change, Ann — you could kill yourself." Rob Lowe, the guest of honor, showed no honor when he made a mockery of conservative values with his beyond mean-spirited remark, "A lot of people have asked why Ann Coulter is here. Because the right-to-lifers wanted everyone to see what an abortion looks like up close."
The insults weren’t limited to male comics, female comedian Nikki Glaser quipped, “Ann’s been called things like a racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, a white supremacist. … The only person you will ever make happy is the Mexican who digs your grave.” Glaser also said, “Ann Coulter has written 11 books — 12 if you count Mein Kampf.” Singer Jewel showed her contempt, saying, “I do want to say as a feminist that I can’t support everything that’s been said tonight, but as someone who hates Ann Coulter, I’m delighted.” Peyton Manning mocked, “Wow, I just realized that I'm not the only athlete up here tonight. As you all know, earlier this year, Ann Coulter won the Kentucky Derby.” The display of vile contempt for Coulter, and conservatives in general, was as subtle as a rectal examination by Shaquille O'Neal.
Watching a group of mostly champagne socialists, who decry about the evils of bullying but have no problem browbeating a conservative, makes me yearn for the good ol’ days of the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts. The jokes were clean and funny, but most importantly there was always an undertone of respect. Those ‘afternoon men’ (and women) were professionals who knew how to give jabs with and air of reverence.
When you compare the Martin Roasts with the Comedy Central, the former is the Rolls Royce of roasts while the latter is a foul-language dog-and-pony show. It was apparent that the other speakers at the Lowe roast were delighting in verbally assaulting Coulter—after every foul punch line the chattering classes acted like skeletons in a danse macabre.
Don't Hate The Player
A comedy roast is a game, and Coulter was playing—the others just played into their hatred of the player. Even the game itself, it seems, was rigged against Coulter. In an interview, the conservative writer stated she declined to use the Comedy Central jokes because they were "too blue and too mean." Could that give credence to her next assertion that the show was edited to make it appear her jokes bombed? And, to add a little fuel to the editing/hanging chad conspiracy fire, Lowe made the following joke (written long before Coulter’s set) "You know, Ann, after seeing your set tonight, I think we’ve all witnessed the first bombing that you can’t blame on a Muslim."
A joke writer assigned to Coulter, Tony Hinchcliffe, said in a post-show interview that Coulter was "a monster of a human being" and was "absolutely the worst human being I've ever worked with in my entire life." So, it would make sense that the people behind the scenes would want to make someone like Coulter look bad. Also, Hinchcliffe compared Coulter’s performance to a “gif of a train wreck, just over and over and over and over...” Ross claimed the show was edited to make Coulter look as best as possible but that she was "really bad."
There is a way to put the editing controversy to rest, and that is for the show to air the unedited clips of Coulter telling her jokes. I suspect, however, that the reason the show is not releasing the raw footage is that it would show their bias in the same way Katie Couric’s editing of her Second Amendment documentary was deceitful. If the show really wanted to make Coulter look her best, as Ross contends, they could have added canned laughter—it probably wouldn’t have been the first time. Whatever gain the show, network, or other speakers believe they received is merely a shallow Cadmean victory, and does nothing but tarnish the game in the long run.
How Far is Too Far
The Lowe roast was like having a canker sore, annoying. The jokes about Davidson’s father, a firefighter who died on 9/11, were tasteless. Spade joked, “I actually thought you [Davidson] were black, but I guess you just have your dad's ashy skin.” Lowe had a jab at Davidson, saying, "Your performance tonight was a fitting tribute to your dad because it was like watching the third plane hitting the World Trade Center." Carr quipped, “This is not the roast of Pete Davidson’s father, that was in 2001.” The camera panned to a shot of Davidson during these jokes, and he was always laughing or grinning. The joke, or perhaps I should say the person who delivered the joke, which seemed to get under Davidson’s skin, was from Coulter, who said, “I once thought Pete Davidson was just like Obama, a biracial goofball who ruined a once-beloved institution. But it turns out I was wrong. Pete’s not biracial.” Davidson mocked Coulter by sarcastically yelling, “Haha! Good one! Hahaha!”
Other jokes that made me cringe, Glaser comparing Ross to Hitler, “. . . You're bad at your art, and no one cared about you until you started roasting people.” When a few audience members jeered, Glaser scoffed, "Don’t be mad. At least I acknowledge the Holocaust; Ann doesn’t even think it happened." Carr made an offensive joke about a Catholic priest, and said, “Choosing between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is like choosing what film to watch on Flight United 93,” a reference to 9/11.
How could these brain-on-a-stick comedians be so insensitive? But worse, no one is calling them out on their cruel words. Has everyone become so desensitized to nasty and vulgar language? No. There is no shortage of folks ready to call out Donald Trump. So, what is it? It seems to be a case of consensus Gentium fallacy. Comedians have somehow convinced almost everyone that they can say anything because they are comedians. “You’re an abbreviated piece of nothing!” A comedian can say that to anyone and not get in trouble—they have carte blanche simply because they are under the umbrella of a comedian, and that’s troubling.
Throughout all the jabs, taunts, and sometimes-vicious attacks, Coulter remained cool as a cucumber. She did not grimace, and her smile stayed put, although at times forced. She was a good sport, and like a dead cat bounce she’ll remain popular with her fan base and might even gain some new fans (folks who didn’t know much about her but may want to read her articles and books. And, what they'll discover is that she’s not what the left portrays).
To all the folks basking in the glow of the hate-filled night towards Coulter, with their after-wit and windbag chatter about how badly she ‘bombed,’ here’s a challenge: go on Ann’s turf and debate her one-on-one on a political or social issue, and film it in front of a live audience; let’s see how well you do. Oh, and don’t worry, it won’t be edited—it won’t have to be.
Ask yourself this question: What did Ann Coulter do to deserve the wrath thrown her way? Are you satisfied with the answer? Is it okay to be hated, scorned, and falsely labeled simply for having and voicing conservative views? Of course not, so then why do the vast majority accept it? I guess most folks prefer to let sleeping dogs lie—one day, however, that dog is going to wake up and bite you.
To those of you wearing the Scarlet Letter C, my advice is not to cast pearls before swine—you see what happened to Coulter; don’t think it won’t happen to you.
The "Comedy Central Roast Of Rob Lowe: Everybody Hates Ann Coulter"
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