The tone of "The Comedy Central Roast of James Franco," surprisingly, was one of bashful sincerity. Multiple times over the night, host Seth Rogen, roasters Nick Kroll, Jonah Hill, Sarah Silverman, Andy Samberg, Aziz Ansari, Natasha Leggero, Bill Hader, and the roastee himself, Franco, all apologized and professed their love for each other — usually right before the meanest joke in their arsenal. Here are the highlights.
The Best Hair
A tie between the perfect silver coif of Hader's "President of Hollywood" character and Jeff Ross's "Spring Breakers"-inspired cornrows.
The Best EntranceA tie between the rest of Ross's "Spring Breakers" ensemble — four bikini- and ski mask-clad women (his "nieces," said Ross on the red carpet) — and Franco rushing from the control room (where he was directing, naturally) to quickly finish a painting, grade a paper, get another degree, and grab a camera to film a documentary (his entrance onstage was the first scene).
The Best Nerd JokeAnsari, recalling the time a woman approached him in a bar hoping to sleep with a star, then turning away with, "Oops, sorry. I thought you were the main orc from 'The Lord of the Rings.'"
The Best 'Franco Squint' Joke
Kroll's "If at any point James fully opens his eyes tonight, there will be six more weeks of summer." Runner-up? Ross's "James Franco is half-Italian, half-asleep."
The Best Joke at the Expense of Someone Not OnstageRogen, on Franco's co-stars: "He once played opposite an unruly chimp with giant teeth, but it was worth it because 'Eat, Pray, Love' turned out awesome."
The Lowest Blow of the NightA tie (both from Ross, naturally) between his Oscar-hosting joke — "You and Anne Hathaway had the comedic chemistry of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman" — and when he told Franco's grandmother Mitzie she had "127 Hours" left of life. Franco later promised a well-earned whack from her walking stick.
The Second-Best Nerd Joke
Hader saying to Ross, "Lemme talk to you in your language," before launching into a terrifyingly accurate Jabba the Hutt.
The Best 'Franco Is (Not) Gay' JokeThe "Franco is gay" jokes flew hot and heavy, which led to Ansari's takedown of (most of) the dais: "So many gay jokes tonight about Franco. Apparently if you're clean, well-dressed, and mildly cultured, you're supergay now. Is that why the rest of you guys are so aggressively fat and dirty?"
The Best Joke About Franco's Multi-Hyphenated Status
Leggero: "James Franco, acting, teaching, directing, writing, producing, photography, soundtracks, editing — is there anything you can do?"
"The Comedy Central Roast of James Franco" airs Monday, 9/2 at 10 PM on Comedy Central.
- Arts & Entertainment
- James Franco
- Comedy Central
- Aziz Ansari
- Bill Hader
- Seth Rogen