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Hollywood’s pretty boy, James Franco, who has often been likened to James Dean, was chosen as the next “laughing stock” – so to speak – for Comedy Central’s celebrity roast. Who better than director, actor and comedian Seth Rogen, who started his career in the TV series Freaks and Geeks, to be the roast master? Debashine Thangevelo looks at what is in store for Franco and viewers…
WITH fame comes celebrity, scandal and stalkers. Not in that particular order, of course – and it doesn’t apply to everyone.
What’s commendable though, are those who aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves, even when their industry colleagues are taking those pot-shots, often aiming below the belt, but in jest.
We have already had heavyweights like Pamela Anderson, who prohibited jibes about her hepatitis C infection, Joan Rivers (barred jokes about daughter, Melissa) and Jay Leno, who decided his mother was off limits. David Hasselhoff and Charlie Sheen gave their roasters carte blanche and were good sports about it.
Even William Shatner had his time in the spotlight, a roast that was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Variety Special in 2008. And let’s not forget about Donald Trump’s toupee receiving an audience of its own.
For his roast, Franco took it all in good spirit, especially with Rogen, Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation), Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live), Jonah Hill (Moneyball, 21 Jump Street), actor-comedian Nick Kroll (The League), Natasha Leggero (Are You There, Chelsea?), Jeff Ross (The Sarah Silverman Program, Weeds) Andy Samberg (Saturday Night Live) and Sarah Silverman (The Sarah Silverman Program) pulling no punches when lampooning his (lack of) hosting skills at the Oscars, his questionable sexuality, movie roles and departure into writing.
Rogen had the audience in stitches when he said: “This dais is, literally, Hitler’s wet dream. It’s got Jews, gays and whatever Aziz is.”
His dig at Franco was: “James has acted alongside some amazing actors – Robert De Niro, Tommy Lee Jones. He once played opposite an unruly chimp with giant teeth, but it was worth it because Eat, Pray, Love turned out awesome.
“What? Is she here? She’s not here. Like she f**ing watches this bullsh*t.”
His former co-star Silverman didn’t go unscathed either. He said: “We worked together on Take This Waltz. She did full-frontal nudity in the movie. I always thought she was very liberal, but it turns out she is a giant Bush supporter.”
And she ended up taking Hill down several pegs. She joked: “Jonah actually gained 50 pounds (22kg) for his role in the new Martin Scorsese film because the producers wanted the character to be a Jonah Hill type.
“But seriously, you’ve had such a body transformation in the past couple of years. You have come a long way from just being Sonny and Cher’s daughter.”
Franco laughed: “I think this is truly my punishment for the Oscars. I agreed to do this roast because I wanted to do something I’ve never done before – something that has zero artistic value, something nobody will remember three months from now, something that’s offensive, homophobic and stars horrifically untalented people…”
Touché Franco! This pretty boy, who is unashamedly metrosexual, can certainly dish it out as well as he gets it. For the full serving of the marathon of ridicule, be sure to catch his roast.
• The Comedy Central Roast of James Franco airs on Comedy Central (DStv channel 122) at 9pm on Tuesday (Heritage Day), September 24.