A handful of comedians, trash-talk-show host, an ex-wrestler, and what felt like the entire cast of Baywatch came together Sunday night on the Sony Lot in Los Angeles to, yes, hassle the Hoff at the taping of Comedy Central’s semiannual celebrity roast. (The show will air August 15.) Alcoholism, incest, Germany, and Pamela Anderson’s VIPs (very intimate parts) were all fair game.
Pamela Anderson, who received the roast treatment five years ago, said she’d warned her Baywatch buddy to decline the gig. “I barely handled my roast and I will never be the same,” she said, wearing a tight black dress that became see-through under the stage lights. “David has always been able to laugh at himself. There’s plenty to beat him up about.” And yet, according to roast regular Lisa Lampanelli, he didn’t tell them anything was off limits — not the singing career, his die-hard German fans, or the loss of his once pristine physical form. Not even his issues with the drink. “A lot of times, we get a checklist of things we can’t talk about. He was like, ‘Whatever you want to say is fine by me.’ That’s cool and brave because these can be brutal. ”
To get in the zone, roast master Seth MacFarlane watched the infamous cheeseburger YouTube masterpiece “a thousand times.” (This was riffed on so many times in so many ways that the Taco Bell sponsorship seemed mismatched.) “It’s very hypnotic, and I learned it’s okay to be an alcoholic,” said the Family Guy creator. “He’s surprisingly one of the least egotistical guys I’ve ever met. He’s going to be a good sport. But if he weeps, it’ll be hilarious.”
If the man of the hour was nervous, he wasn’t showing it on the arrivals boardwalk. “I’m not too worried because I‘ve had so much thrown in my direction over the last five years,” said Hasselhoff, who was decked out in a shiny tux that Greg Giraldo said made him look like “Adam Lambert’s prom date.” “Tonight is a way to say, ‘Get over it. Let’s move on.’ My life is so good. I’m humbled at how many people turned out. I guess the whole world wants to see me fry, but remember the Hoff gets the last word.”
After posing for pictures with his two daughters and a giant statue of himself, the Hoff entered the soundstage belting out “Hooked on a Feeling” while surrounded by dancers in slutty St. Pauli Girl–esque outfits. He closed this bit with a conversation with KITT and a song written for the evening. “His wrap-up was really strong,” said comedian Jeffrey Ross, who did his segment in nothing but a black Speedo and a cropped black leather jacket. “We’d been making fun of his singing all night and then he sang and proved he could hit those notes.”
By the time this airs on Comedy Central, many of the best jokes will be trimmed down, bleeped, or cut completely. The at-home audience will also miss Jerry Springer’s first “final thought attempt,” Hoff and Giraldo’s onstage TelePrompTer editing, and George Hamilton’s fear of physical retaliation when he had to call Hulk Hogan gay a second time thanks to technical difficulties. Springer concluded, “It was very funny, very over-the-top, and very blue. I do not envy the guy who has to make that safe enough for TV.”