The Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis may not air until July 29 but Collider had a front row seat to the taping of the show on Saturday night, and let’s just say that nothing was off limits on stage, be it the #MeToo movement or Bruce’s infamous hairline.
Thirty years after Die Hard swung into theaters via firehose, Willis has become a Hollywood legend, so it seemed only appropriate that he’d have some legendary peers to make fun of him, such as Cybill Shepherd, Martha Stewart, Dom Irrera, Kevin Pollak, Dennis Rodman and the Roastmaster General himself, Jeff Ross. The rest of the dais included Nikki Glaser, Lil Rel Howery and Edward Norton, who was the only one to write his own material. The three-time Oscar nominee used his cerebral set to joke about how he was slumming it by appearing on Comedy Central, as well as lament his Oscar loss to “the fucking insurance guy” J.K. Simmons and the fact that Quentin Tarantino has never called him. Willis’ ex-wife Demi Moore also made a successful surprise appearance, while the crowd included previous roastee David Hasselhoff, as well as the Schmoedown’s own Samm Levine and Rachel Cushing.
The evening started with a video package featuring Marcellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) warning Willis’ Pulp Fiction character not to let pride fuck with him at his own roast. “You’re a 63 year-old action star. That’s a hard fucking fact of life. If you think it gets better with age, it won’t. I’ve seen the movies you’ve made. You never had any pride. It’s time to get medieval on your ass.” That was followed by a cool title sequence that referenced a bunch of Willis’ movies such as Sin City, The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, The Fifth Element and 12 Monkeys, and featured the classic Die Hard line “we’ll get together, have a few laughs.”
Host duties fell to Willis’ Looper co-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who started the show off on the right note by joking about how Willis can play anything, “from an asshole cop, to an asshole ex-cop.” Most of the roasters poked fun of Willis’ chrome dome, while the actor’s questionable commitment to quality was a hot topic of discussion, as was Norton’s narcissism, Pollak’s stale impressions, Stewart’s stint in prison and Irrera’s general irrelevance.
Jeff Ross lived up to his reputation and delivered the best set of the night, followed by veteran roaster Nikki Glaser and surprise stand-out Martha Stewart. Norton, Pollak and Irrera were also quite good along with Cybill and Demi, though Lil Rel was the only guest not to use the teleprompter and accordingly, he came off rather unprepared, though he did say that his “TSmotherfuckin’A” line from Get Out was inspired by Willis’ famous catchphrase in Die Hard — which is not a Christmas movie according to Bruce. At least Dennis Rodman eventually saved Howery from being the laughingstock of the night. The former Bulls star had trouble reading the prompter and the constant stops-and-starts resulted in his set lacking any comic flow. I wish Comedy Central’s editors the best of luck with that performance, because Rodman really did die hard up there on stage.
Without further ado, here are the Top 25 Jokes (not direct quotes) from the #BruceWillisRoast. Tune into Comedy Central on July 29 at 10 p.m. to see the entire show. Yippee-ki-yay!
1. Jeff Ross: “Bruce, you look like Elmer Fudd if he’d hunted shitty scripts instead of wascally wabbits.”
2a. Kevin Pollak: “Wanna know how brilliant Ed Norton is? Ask him.”
2b. Dom Irrera: “Ed starred in Primal Fear, which is the feeling you get after fucking Courtney Love without a condom. He never became famous enough for her to have him murdered. That’s a shame.”
2c. Bruce Willis: “I love you Ed, but you have a rep of being hard to work with. You’ve rubbed more people the wrong way than Harvey Weinstein.”
2d. Nikki Glaser: “Ed, you look like a marionette became a boy, and then the boy became an asshole. Ed was so hot in Fight Club… when he was Brad Pitt.”
2e. Cybill Shepherd: “Ed, The first rule of Fight Club is to mention it at every audition. You were so good in American History X. If you made that movie today, you’d not only get an Oscar, you’d get a cabinet position in the White House.”
2f. Joseph Gordon-Levitt: “Who could forget Ed as The Incredible Hulk? The Avengers franchise, that’s who. Let’s give him a round of applause. I know Mark Ruffalo does every night.”
3a. Nikki Glaser: “Kevin Pollak does an amazing Robin Williams, I just wish he’d finish it. I mean, we’ve lost a lot of great ones to suicide, it’s time we lost some OK ones.”
3b. Jeff Ross: “You may wonder how Bruce stays so fit. It’s by throwing up after eating at Planet Hollywood. Anthony Bourdain ate there once and said it was one of the saddest times of his life. He was supposed to be here today, but he canceled.”
4. Joseph Gordon-Levitt: “Cybill, wow! That click-bait article was right! I really can’t believe what you look like now!”
5a. Cybill Shepherd: “I saw Nikki Glaser from behind and thought, she must be a model! Then she turned around and I thought, nope, she’s a comic!”
5b. Bruce Willis: “Nikki, you and Vince Vaughn were great in Wedding Crashers.”
6a. Martha Stewart: “Kevin Pollak, I see you’re still doing Jack Nicholson. You should buy some of my anti-aging cream and rub it vigorously into your act.”
6b. Bruce Willis: “Kevin Pollak has made more money doing Schwarzenegger than his maid.”
7a. Nikki Glaser: “Dom Irrera, you sleepy potato. How did you have a stroke on both sides of your face? You know guys, Dom still draws a crowd… with a crayon… at his assisted living facility.”
7b. Martha Stewart: “Dom, keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll be discovered… by your landlord… two weeks after you suffer a heart attack.”
8a. Kevin Pollak: “Whose idea was Bruce’s R&B album? His manager, and by manager, I mean cocaine. A Jeff Ross-size bag of cocaine.”
8b. Martha Stewart: “I’m a big fan of Bruce’s music. I play it all my parties… when it’s late and time for everyone to leave.”
9a. Jeff Ross: “Any fans of The Last Boy Scout here? Kevin Spacey called it the feel-good movie of the year!”
9b. Martha Stewart: “#MeToo shouldn’t just be what a guy says when his friend says he slept with Nikki.”
9c. Demi Moore: “I remember when Bruce got cast in Pulp Fiction. He went to Harvey Weinstein’s hotel one night and came back the next morning saying ‘I got the part!'”
10a. Joseph Gordon-Levitt: “Bruce, you were so good in The Sixth Sense. How did you pretend not to care while a 10-year-old acted circles around you? And I loved the twist at the end of The Sixth Sense, when Bruce goes back to making shitty movies.”
10b. Dennis Rodman: “Bruce has five daughters and no sons because God hates Bruce Willis movies. At least Kim Jong Un is smart enough not to release his bombs.”
10c. Cybill Shepherd: “The last time I saw Bruce Willis’ face was when I was shopping for DVDs at the gas station.”
10d. Demi Moore: “I was Bruce’s wife for the first three Die Hard movies. Which explains why the last two sucked.”