Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

April 20, 2014

What happened to celebrity roasting?

Keith Kappes
The Independent

ASHLAND — I was channel-surfing recently when I happened upon one of those late-night programs selling videos of old television shows.

This one caught my attention because it was for the old “Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts,” a show that ran for 10 years on NBC with some of the funniest insults ever uttered by human beings to each other.

I resisted the temptation to buy a DVD of all 54 episodes, but watching a few video clips brought to mind some roasts that I have heard — or used — at such events.

My grandmother could never understand how folks could talk and joke that way with each other and not be angry.

However, I did catch her smiling at something Ronald Reagan, then governor of California, said about his dark hair.

Here are some of my favorite “roast” comments from various sources:

Childhood friends of the honoree were invited, but couldn’t attend because most of them were in the Witness Protection Program.

The honoree’s parents had planned on a big family, but he was born first. Later, his photo appeared on a poster for Planned Parenthood.

A college professor was retiring when his dean observed that the old prof had done the work of three men — Larry, Moe and Curly.

Another honoree’s best friend said he would never forget the first time they met, although he had been trying to do so for 30 years.

A general said his brother-in-law who served under him didn’t know the meaning of the word “fear”…or of several other words for that matter.

An orchestra conductor was reflecting on his long, distinguished career when he surprised his roast audience by saying he should have been a stage coach driver instead of a maestro. That way he would have spent his career looking at only six horses’ butts.

KEITH KAPPES is publisher of the Morehead News, the Grayson Journal-Enquirer and the Olive Hill Times. He can be reached at kkappes@themoreheadnews.com.