Judge Eric Profancik loves it when the fans hit the Shat.
"When did you go from Captain Kirk to Captain Crunch?"
It's a roast people, how stupid are you? Why are you reading this? Don't you know what the heck a roast is? No, it's not a piece of meat, you dolt. It's when you get a bunch of people together to celebrate and belittle somebody for a lifetime's worth of entertainment. Come on, you can't have been living under a rock your whole life. You've had to have heard of these things. Maybe I'll cut you some slack because they're not as popular as they were decades back, but roasts are a big deal. You get together, you party, you have fun, and you roast! We're talking big names that get these roasts. That's right; big names like the biggest name of them all, William Shatner! He's the latest in an impressive line of recipients of the legendary Comedy Central Roast. Shatner had the honor of following last year's recipient, Pamela Anderson. We're talking big ass names in the world of entertainment!
So we all know what a roast is, but how do you talk about a roast on DVD? It's not a simple thing because all these people do is tell the raunchiest, nastiest, dirtiest, most libelous jokes about the roastee. You don't want to spoil those jokes—because then what's the point of watching the roast? You watch it to see the recipient squirm as he gets humiliated by friends, coworkers, and people he doesn't even know.
William Shatner is notoriously famous, and yet he's done so very little in his life to earn accolades. I personally worship the man because he's Captain James Tiberius Kirk, and I would have gladly been a red shirt for him during his paintball Splaat Attack. He's a god in my circles. But if you're not a Trekkie, then what else is there? T.J. Hooker, Kingdom of the Spiders, Boston Legal, or maybe Incubus, that Esperanto movie? Certainly you'd never become a fan of the Shat for his work in Miss Congeniality or Free Enterprise—but you easily could for the latter. Regardless, Shatner is ripe for a roast simply for everything that he is—most notably his exceptionally odd fashion of acting and his take on "Rocket Man." Shatner is the perfect man to belittle and humiliate, and this Comedy Central Roast does him good.
The roast master for the evening is Jason Alexander (Seinfeld), a true fan of the Shat and a full-blooded Trekkie. He starts the evening off with a blistering attack against the man, and then he hands over the podium to a rather odd assortment of fellow actors, comedians you've never heard of, and Farrah Fawcett. The quality of zingers varies from person to person, with ferocious volleys from George Takei and Lisa Lampanelli, middling shots from Kevin Pollak and Nichelle Nichols, and a "what the heck is she doing up there?" moment from Farrah Fawcett.
When I first saw this on Comedy Central, I laughed my head off. It was crazy funny, with insults you don't normally see on television—even the frequent bleeps couldn't stop you from easily filling in the blanks. Watching it months ago, I instantly said that I must add this to my collection. This week, in having the opportunity to see it again and subsequently share these thoughts with you, I found the roast still quite funny but nowhere as shockingly funny as that first time. Pure comedy routines usually don't hold up to repeated viewings unless they are something extremely special, like Eddie Murphy's Delirious or Bill Cosby's Himself. Those are always funny every time you watch them, but I think this roast will diminish a bit after a viewing or two, and it won't be something you watch often. The DVD states it contains 20 additional minutes of footage, but nothing seemed new to me. Again, when I watched it on its first night of broadcast, I know it ran longer than an hour; but subsequent airings on Comedy Central were only an hour.
There's a little bit of padding on the DVD besides the roast. None of the bonus features is that good, and you'll probably never watch them more than once. They are: "Red Carpet Interviews" (9 minutes), "Behind-the-Scenes Footage" (4 minutes), "Making of the Roast" (2.5 minutes), Comedy Central Quickies: "Fart Joke" from The Colbert Report, "'Roids" from Drawn Together, and "Policetek 2000" from Reno 911!, and some preview trailers for Comedy Central Roast of Pamela Anderson, South Park Season 9, Reno 911!: Most Wanted, and Mind of Mencia Season 2. The most interesting of the lot is sadly the shortest, the "making of" piece. It taunts you with a fascinating look at how something like this is put together, but then it stops after just one segment. This really could have been a fascinating piece. For the quality of the transfers, both video (fullscreen) and audio (Dolby Digital 2.0) are quite acceptable for what this is. I didn't detect any errors in either, so you see and hear each joke fine and dandy.
While I love the Shat and found this definitely funny and historically noteworthy, the long-term rewatchability of this roast is limited. Unless you're a huge, huge Shatner fan, I think a simple rental will more than suffice. If you're weird like me, go ahead and buy it.
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