Back in the early aughts, Comedy Central had a really good idea, as they so often do. They started the annual rite that is the Comedy Central roast, which features a variety of comedic heavyweights and random celebrities taking their shots at the roastee. I always imagined that the inspiration for these ceremonies were those classic Dean Martin-hosted roasts that have become a lot easier to get ahold of in the age of YouTube. The roasts that Martin often oversaw or participated in were the source of many personal, extremely raunchy jokes, and Comedy Central’s roasts have similarly gone for perverse, cutting humor over the last 16 years or so.
Today brings news, via Variety, that Rob Lowe will be the latest recipient of the roast treatment, and it’s honestly perfect timing. Lowe has enjoyed a healthy renaissance recently, finally backing up the excellent work he did as Sam Seaborn on The West Wing with his role as Chris on Parks & Recreation and his equally strong work on The Grinder. And that’s not even counting the estimable work he did in Steven Soderbergh‘s brilliant Behind the Candelabra. The timing is kinda perfect with the recent end of The Grinder, and there are plenty of very funny people who would line up to have their digs at Lowe, especially considering how he was seen in the 1980s.
This would put Lowe in estimable company with other past roast victims. The roasts began as Comedy Central hosting the NY Friars Club roasts starting in 1998 with Drew Carey, and went onto include Rob Reiner and Hugh Hefner. In 2003, the roast officially became the Comedy Central roast, which opened with Denis Leary as the first official roastee. Since then, the roast has hit the likes of Pamela Anderson, Justin Bieber, William Shatner, James Franco, and Republican frontrunner Donald Trump. Back in 2011, Charlie Sheen was the roasted one, so there is clear precedence for 1980s teen icons. Thankfully, Lowe has taken a far more healthy route and continued to create over many of the recent years, unlike Sheen.