It’s hard to tell exactly why Comedy Central chose Bruce Willis for its latest roast. Glass — the third installment of the Unbreakable series — won’t be released until early 2019, his roles of late have been generally lackluster, and he’s not known as the type of guy who really needs to be taken down a peg. Despite all that, Willis’s Looper co-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt served as Roast Master for the event with Nikki Glaser, Jeff Ross, Edward Norton, Lil Rel Howery, Dennis Rodman, Martha Stewart, Cybill Shepherd, Dom Irrera, and Kevin Pollak filling out the dais. In the crowd were Willis’s family and a few familiar faces like Seth Green and David Hasselhoff. Perhaps the most devastating running gag of the night was the lack of higher-profile cohorts like M. Night Shyamalan and Quentin Tarantino. Nonetheless, the awkward ensemble took turns roasting each other and paying harsh tribute to the man of the hour.
Returning roast favorites Jeff Ross and Martha Stewart delivered the goods as always. Demi Moore made a worthwhile surprise appearance chock full of old dirt. Nikki Glaser came out swinging with some of the edgiest material of the night, but lost points for whispering “I’m sorry” to Willis after her set. Dom Irrera and Kevin Pollak brought an old-school feel to the event that leaves one pining for the days of Milton Berle and Don Rickles. Edward Norton and JGL showed up and did their jobs, but not much more. Lil Rel, Dennis Rodman, and Cybill Shepherd all would have benefited from a preshow Teleprompter 101 class.
Willis, from what could be gathered from his signature limited facial expression, was a good sport and ended the show by reminding everyone that nothing can keep him down because he’s still “Bruce Fucking Willis.” Below are the ten best jokes from the roast.
Nikki Glaser (to Martha Stewart): “I’m a huge fan and my mom is an even bigger fan. My mom has learned everything from Martha Stewart including cooking, cleaning, and withholding affection.”
Kevin Pollak: “You want to know how brilliant Ed Norton is? Ask him.”
Martha Stewart: “Local comedian Dom Irrera …”
Cybill Shepherd: “This is my first roast, and I have to say I am shocked. I’ve heard words here tonight that I’ve never heard before, like ‘Lil’ and ‘Rel.’
Martha Stewart: “If you had told me back in the ’90s that Dennis Rodman would be negotiating a nuclear arms agreement in 2018 I would have said, ‘Dennis Rodman is alive in 2018?’”
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: “What a career: The Fifth Element, The Sixth Sense, The Whole Nine Yards, 12 Monkeys, zero Oscars.”
Dennis Rodman (to Bruce Willis): “You keep making these fucking bombs. Guess what, so does Kim Jong-un. At least Kim is smart enough not to release them.”
Nikki Glaser: “Bruce has been very active with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which is where they make sick kids meet you so that dying doesn’t seem so terrible.”
Jeff Ross (to Willis): “I met Rumer, your daughter. I guess that’s the name your mom gives you when she’s not 100 percent sure who your father is.”
Demi Moore (to Willis): “I look at our marriage like The Sixth Sense: You were dead the whole time.”