The practice of insulting someone for the amusement of others is not a new worldly concept. Many of Shakespeare’s works are filled with satire, wit, and sarcasm used to mock a current world point of view. The Satirists during the Age of Reason used it to challenge religious beliefs, government, and immigration. From a group of old geezers exchanging quips around the backgammon board to school kids engaged in some bus stop trash talking, roasting people has been around for a long time.
Roasts were probably made most famous by The Friars Club in the early 1920’s. Previously founded as The Press Agents’ Association in 1904 as a means to monitor the New York theater scene, the Friars have arguably made “comedy roasts” a household term. The Friars Club roasts someone each year according to the motto, “We only the roast the ones we love.” The purpose of these roasts was to overwhelm the guest of honor with both offensive yet hilarious insults and heartwarming tributes from the Roast Master and special guest roasters.
During the 1960’s and 70’s, Dean Martin started sharing these private events on The Dean Martin Show. In 1998, Comedy Central picked up the torch by broadcasting The Friar’s Club Roasts through 2002, until they began airing roasts produced by Dennis Leary’s company, Apostle. Leary himself was the first to be roasted in this series. These of course led to other immensely popular Comedy Central Roasts of Pamela Anderson, William Shatner, and Flavor Flav among others.
The White House Correspondents’ Association dinner is another tradition dating back to 1920. Traditionally, the President of the United States attends the dinner and either performs in some sort of homemade video or live sketch mocking himself for the amusement of the National Press Club or allows himself to be roasted by a special guest comedian or performer. Most notable (and probably most infamous) of these roasts was by Stephen Colbert during the 2006 WHCD. While the rights to the footage are exclusive, clips of Colberts famous presidential roast can be seen here.
Currently, comedy roasts can be seen popping up everywhere from Comedy Central and MTV to radio shows and private corporate events. If you are planning a corporate or private event and would like your entertainment to be sophisticated and witty, then take your place in history by contacting us today!