There’s a scene in the Joan Rivers documentary A Piece of Work in which she subjects herself to a roast. She’s doing it for the money, and she hates every single minute of it. What’s to like? It’s a horrible format: A person agrees to sit there and grimace while a bunch of comedians mercilessly crap on them, not even making sure to keep the jokes specific and funny, just going for the nastiest, crassest insults possible. We were reminded of this while watching The Situation “roast” Donald Trump for the Comedy Central Special, and thinking how the Donald may want to send the Jersey Shore’s Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino a car, a lifetime supply of xenadrine, or some other appropriate gift, to thank him for momentarily taking the heat off. The Situation thought he was there to roast the Donald, but one gets the distinct feeling just about everyone in the audience would rather be roasting The Situation.
The Situation’s performance is being described as a “bomb.” It is true that he made some horrible jokes and was roundly booed, but have you seen these roasts? That basically happens to everyone. (And in the annals of horrifying roast performances, never forget: Courtney Love.) Honestly, for a non-comedian who thinks he’s about a million times funnier, cleverer, and sexier than he really is, he did fine: He hired someone to write his jokes, started off okay, and then lost the audience when he began calling women ugly and bragging about how he bangs models all day with piles of money on the floor. (Roasts: One of the few places people let their class rage out of its “we’re all middle class” cage.) Not a good look, Mike. What is a good look, though, were all of the brilliant, disgusted reaction shots to The Situation’s performance, Ice-T’s in particular. And while we’re handing out watered-down compliments, do notice that The Situation, even when being booed, kept his cool: He wasn’t funny, but he was professional. Could have been a lot worse.