This week on Legends’ House – The guys roast Roddy Piper!
Previously on Legends’ House – They played a “How well do you know your roommates” game, and then Shawn Michaels came by and was as bored as the rest of us.
Get comfy, this is gonna be a long one.
Before we get started, I have to say that I am equal parts wary and excited about this episode. As a stand up comic, I have performed in a handful of roasts, and watched many more. That said, I typically hate them. In the writing sense, I’ve always found them to be a neat exercise to try out something different than I normally do, and to work out creative muscles that I wouldn’t typically use. Then again, they are almost ALWAYS the same. If you’ve seen a Comedy Central Roast (and this is less typical of the official, original Friar’s Club Roasts), you will have noticed a pattern. The roast-ee is always either “fat”, “gay”, or, if female, a “whore”. Rinse and repeat endlessly. For every Jeffrey Ross “Drew Carey is to comedy as Mariah Carey is …to comedy” brilliant line, there are literally hours of the same joke just twisted by adding a different name to it. And these are professional comics and joke writers. I’m frightened and semi-excited to see what these guys come up with.
Finkel says to Duggan, “Your buddy is coming.” Hacksaw immediately jumps up and starts pounding on the windows like an ape to show his excitement of Roddy returning. Roddy and Fink and Duggan all hug, and everyone seems genuinely happy that Roddy’s back. It’s cute. Roddy admits that he missed being in the house, but then immediately retreats on that, saying, “Now that I’m back, I don’t know why I missed it.” Roddy and Hacksaw head off to their room, and Roddy is showing Hacksaw his re-hair-ified chest, because that’s what roomies do, and then we flash back to the waxing scene. Neato.
Ashley is here! Hillbilly is tongue tied (or maybe that’s just how he always talks), as he tells her she is “smokingly good lookin today, young luh-girl.” And, yeah, she is. She tells the guys that they will be performing a roast – and then explains what that is. Basically, they’re going to do stand up comedy where the intent is to make fun of all the people on the panel (the roommates, in this case), but even more importantly, the guest of honor, which is Roddy. Roddy wants to “scissors paper rock” for it, but no. They have the rest of the day and tomorrow to write their jokes. Hillbilly lets us know again what a roast is, but also adds, “It’s supposed to be light humored”, which, yes and no. Roddy tells the guys to not be afraid of hurting his feelings. Hillbilly starts off early, saying “Roddy Piper is to sensitivity what Captain Hook is to masturbation.” Not horrendous, but it doesn’t really make sense. Isn’t Roddy overly sensitive? Maybe he meant that Captain Hook, in an effort to draw attention from his hook hand is always masturbating with his regular hand? I hadn’t read that in Peter Pan, but I also haven’t read Peter Pan. Anyway, all the guys loved it. Know your audience. Roddy sits opposite them and does his “I can’t believe it” thing with his head shake that he does in every situation, and Tony says, “Roddy, you’re safe with me. I can’t think of one thing.” Heh. Tony adds that when he was a kid, he used to get a “whoopin for doing that.” Performing stand up comedy? Pat reassures him that he will come up with something. Roddy suggests drinking heavily.
All the guys are writing their jokes. I have little to no faith any of them will be any good, but it’s neat to see. It would be even cooler if they sat around and did a roundtable (Roddy not included, of course), so we could hear the thought processes behind their jokes, and how they pitch new punchlines and bat around shit, but that’s asking way too much. I suppose you want the element of surprise in a roast. I guess I approve. Roddy points out how quiet the house is, and how everyone is taking this seriously. They show Mean Gene’s page, and I don’t really think there are any jokes on there. It’s impossible to read, though. I think I make out the words, “Up cunty”, which is hilarious, but it could also be “Up early”. Please, God, let it be “Up cunty.” Gene laughs at his joke pad. Hillbilly goes up to Roddy and discusses his game plan of doing five minutes on him and five minutes on “the other schmucks, I mean Legends”, which is a great plan. Tony is in the room struggling, and says his brain went dead. He then informs us of his ongoing struggle that makes this difficult for him – his mom told him to “make fun of (himself), not no one else”. And then Gene tells Roddy that he’s going to just destroy Roddy with the brutality of his jokes. I hope he says “Holy Balls!” I bet he does.
Next day (maybe), three guys walk in. One is Guy Torry, who introduces himself as the Roastmaster. I thought for a second he was the person who replaced Martin Lawrence as the host of Def Comedy Jam, but it turns out that was his brother Joe Torry, who I thought was the person who replaced Buck Showalter as the manager of the Yankees. Anyway, I’ve heard of him, at least tangentially. Dan Ahdoot and Ben Gleib are the other two guys, and they are here to offer assistance with the joke writing process. That kinda sucks in a way. I mean, it would probably be borderline unwatchable (I know) if they didn’t have pro comics help out with the framework and timing, but, it would be way more authentic and interesting if they just went out there with what they had. I love watching people bomb. Not saying they would, even though I think they would, but it’s just another level removed from reality that this show seems to so desparately want to veer away from at all costs, when it’s actually what I would think the core audience for this show would most want to see. Whatever, dead horse. This could still be interesting. Roddy and Guy will be going to a secret location to write his jokes, and the other two will stay at the house with the other guys.
Gene and Pat and the two comics are standing outside, and Gene says something not so funny, and the comics force laughter and say “The roast has begun!” And here we go, Gene starts off with a joke: “Hillbilly Jim said it was tough being a celebrity – he had a girl pounding on his door until 5am. Finally he got up and let her out.” Ok, I mean, that’s a joke, but this is my problem with roasts. First of all, that’s like, a joke that’s been done a million times. Secondly, that’s not even really taking on any aspect of Hillbilly’s personality. It’s just a “(insert name here) (insert insult here)” thing. But, I will say, I’ve seen HUNDREDS of people try to do standup without any jokes, so, in all seriousness, major fucking kudos to Gene for actually knowing what a joke is. One of the comics forces laughter at Gene’s joke as if he’s never heard that before, and reminds him to not be afraid to insult anyone. And then, I fucking crack up as Gene says, “The writers gave me two pages of notes, that I would say…were absolute garbage.” Gene, I take back all my negative cracks at you, for now. That was awesome and probably 100% true. And then, this is gonna hurt – the comics meet with Hacksaw. We get a glimpse of his legal pad, and he wrote so big that there are only like 9 lines of text (about four words apiece) that take up the entire sheet. This is going to be great. Hacksaw’s first joke, “You know Tony, he’s argued with everyone in the house, except one person, but the other day he got him. I walked by and he was arguing with the mirror.” One of the comics can’t even force a laugh, but says, “That’s cool.” I’m dying. The comic dude says that Hacksaw was good at knowing which jokes he thought were funny and which ones weren’t but if he takes their notes, he’s gonna be great up there. Oh, please please please don’t let Hacksaw take their notes.
And now it’s Pat’s turn, “When Piper was a little kid he used to play in the sandbox and the cat would bury him”. Me and the comedians sigh, but then Pat adds, “Because he’s cat poop and they bury their shit”. I fucking howl. I love that Pat thinks the reason no one laughed is because we didn’t get it, as the comedian guy says, “right, right right”. The comic rearranges the dumb joke for Pat to make it make more sense or whatever, and Pat says “I think that’s cool.” Now Jimmy’s up, and oh dear. “You know, we always have dinner here at the Legends’ House, but Piper refuses to eat with us unless we play his entrance music. You know (and then he hums it). The comic guy says that Jimmy’s jokes were very “insider”, and what he means by “insider”, is that you wouldn’t get them unless you were Jimmy. Oh my God, this is so great. Jimmy says another joke, and it’s just so fucking much of a non-joke. The comic guy (I’m sorry I don’t remember his name) basically re-writes Jimmy’s jokes for him, and Jimmy seems happy. Now off to Hillbilly Jim, and I can’t understand anything he says, and they only show him for three seconds anyway, as we get to the main event, Tony Atlas. He lets the other comic know that his momma told him not to make fun of other people, so this is this worst thing that he’s ever done. I somehow doubt that. Anyway, the comic guy tries to talk Tony into it, and Tony is basically refusing and telling his whole life story. The comic guy describes the writing session as “intense and dramatic”, and I’m sure it fucking would be. As much as I’d love to see Tony go up there and tell what he thinks are jokes, at this point I’d just tell him to paint a picture of Roddy as a clown and be done with it. He’s just not cut out for this at all. The comic guy finally looks at Tony’s pad, and says “This is not how you write comedy.” Well, geez, dick. Tony says that these are just notes, and how he’s going to do it, “like here, I’m going to come out and laugh”. The comic asks him to show him, and Tony obliges with his donkey laugh and says “That Piper’s the funniest man I know (laughing), as the comic looks into the camera with an amused yet frightened glance. Tony looks at him and says, “See? You’re laughin. Then I got em.” Comic guy says that most comics don’t laugh at the end of their own jokes, and Tony laughing at the beginning might confuse and frighten them. Next up is Finkel, and he delivers a joke that the comic guy doesn’t laugh at, but it’s actually not awful, compared to the other guys. Then he tells another one and it’s death. He’s basically refusing to be mean, and the comic says that Fink would be the biggest challenge. Whatever. You weren’t up there with Tony and the other guy.
We see Roddy and Guy walk into the secret location. I guess they’re at a comedy club, but it’s hard to tell. They’re in a dressing room/green room anyway. I’m guessing Guy wrote this one, “Hacksaw is so dumb, he was once considered the white Tony Atlas.” Roddy loves it but doesn’t want to hurt their feelings. Guy reminds him that he needs to not hold back at all, and Roddy tells us how brutal he can be. Guy has confidence in Roddy’s abilities, and Gene thinks there might actually be a fight.
The surprisingly small crowd files in, and the roast is starting. Guy introduces all the Legends. Hillbilly feels good about his chances in this. Roddy mentions again that he doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but if they are mean to him, he’ll hit back. And then, holy fuck, the Iron Sheik is there as a special guest. Tony describes him as a wonderful guy. Hillbilly Jim starts off, and says “brother” 150 times. They do the Comedy Central editing thing as he tells some not very good jokes, but cut to people in the crowd laughing and smiling, clearly at different things than what is actually being said. Gene makes a pretty funny joke about how poor Tony was growing up, and then one at Finkel’s expense. Then they cut to Pat and he is horrendous. Guy introduces the Iron Sheik by saying, “The Rock wanted to be here tonight, but was afraid the Iron Sheik was gonna smoke him.” Pretty good! I can’t understand what Sheik is saying, and neither can Pat or anyone else. Oh my God, this is so weird, as expected. Pat redeems himself by saying in voice over, “I laughed, he was on tonight. He had something.” Yeah, more than likely. They show Jimmy re-reading his notes, and he’s up next. He tells his jokes, and the editing team cuts in crickets between his lines. I mean, he’s absolutely terrible, but he’s really not much worse than the other guys. Wait, he just completely ruined a joke, so cricket away, editing team! Hacksaw steps up and makes a show of throwing away the stuff that the writers gave him, so this could be great. Sadly, it’s not, until Hacksaw tells us how “quick-witted” he is. Finkel goes up next and dies. I seriously cannot even imagine how wonderful and awful this whole thing would be if it weren’t considerably edited. Oh God, Tony is up next. He makes a joke about Roddy putting him in a headlock and something about squeezing a blackhead, and then jokes about how Roddy fucked his wife and Tony’s kids are actually Roddy’s illegitimate children. Pat tells us how great Tony did. And finally, Roddy goes up. Roddy’s tells jokes that he clearly didn’t write, but they’re still just ok. Either way, it’s decent enough, I guess. Just standard roast stuff. It’s over, and Gene thought it was incredible.
Back at the house, the guys walk in, and Roddy tells the guys that he is thankful that no one really went for the really hurtful stuff, and that he loves them. Yes, that is good. It wasn’t ever going to be all that funny, so may as well not just be mean for no reason. Roddy says that, with the roast being done, they all only have one and a half more days together(!), as they sit down for dinner. Pat comments that they all seem to be getting closer. Pat asks the group what they think they are supposed to be (within the context of the house). Hillbilly answers, “ourselves”. Which, yes. Pat says Hillbilly is himself, and that he (Pat) wants to be himself, but he feels trapped by his character sometimes. Tony says he doesn’t feel comfortable here, and is more relaxed at home. “If we were so relaxed, why do we get so angry over every little thing?”, asks Tony. “I haven’t gotten mad about anything”, answers Hillbilly. “See? There you go, you’re so defensive!” says Tony, completely serious, who throws his hands up. HA. Gene asks the table who feels like they’re walking on eggshells, Jimmy Hart says he isn’t, Duggan says he is, and then as Finkel hems and haws over his answer, he and Roddy get into a fight. Roddy hits Finkel on the shoulder and says, “Hey, this is for men. Quit being a fucking pussy and put your hand up yes or no.” Roddy then tells us that if you can’t take a stand, you deserve to be backhanded right out of the house. This is kind of out of nowhere and weird. Roddy seems genuinely pissed, as Finkel says he’s not walking on eggshells. Roddy says, “yeah, you fuckin are too!”. Pat reaches to restrain(!?) Fink, who really just wants to be around all the guys, and doesn’t seem to understand where the fuck Roddy is coming from. Gene jumps on the “I hate Finkel” train, and says that Finkel is walking on eggshells more than anyone. What a fucking weird argument to have. Roddy brings up the limo thing where Finkel sat in the most prestigious seat, from what seems like years ago, and he’s still pissed about it. Roddy tells Finkel to his face that he didn’t belong in that seat, and Finkel answers, “Yes sir.” Pat jumps in, agreeing with Roddy, and stops just short of saying that no one knows who Finkel is, but definitely teases that point. Basically, they hate Fink because he wasn’t a wrestler. And then, somehow, the argument is over, as Finkel reaches over and hugs Roddy. Um, no. Roddy was being a cock, and you should have hit him with a coconut. Pat starts talking and Roddy hilariously says, “Pat’s opening up, and sharing stuff that you normally shouldn’t.” Pat’s speech so far, consists of repeatedly saying how he wants to set the record straight, and how he doesn’t want to be phony, and it’s time to tell the truth about records being set straight and not succumbing to phoniness. Roddy has tears in his eyes, and I’m guessing Pat’s going to mention the gay thing. “I know I won’t be in the main event at Wrestlemania, I know I won’t be in Madison Square Garden, and this is my chance to say…HUHWAHHHH!”. Huh? Pat wants to be free and say who he is, but he says he’s holding it in right now. Is he not “out”? I thought it was kind of a known thing that he was gay, but I don’t know. I’m sure all the guys know. And then Pat says, “I’ll stop there, ok?” Gene is crying, Pat is crying, Jimmy hugs him from the back. Jimmy says that Pat is tip-toeing around it, but they all knew what he was talking about. So, I guess this whole speech is for our (the viewers’) benefit. Anyway, Pat goes to bed without “admitting” anything, and whatever. Gene voiceovers that he will be by Pat’s side and will “live with” whatever Pat wants to do. A strange choice of words, but I don’t think he was being malicious or bigoted. Jimmy is hopeful that Pat will finally finish his thought, because it’s so important to him. It’s just sad that Pat feels like he can’t be completely open about this for whatever reason, but I understand. It’s not like homosexuality is completely accepted even now, in 2014, but he lived through some seriously rough times in an industry where he probably really had to hide.
Tony and Jimmy are eating, and Tony is concerned about Jimmy. Apparently, one of Jimmy’s daughters died a year ago, and it’s still affecting him (obviously, but still). It hit Tony so hard he couldn’t eat any more. I’m not going to make fun of this. Jimmy feels that this experience is like having his family, and he breaks down. Tony runs over and hugs him as Jimmy cries. Tony says that Jimmy is now his hero, and Jimmy says that that dinner is what brought this all on. Anyway, this was the best episode yet, so for all of you who were bitching about my negativity, I got two words for ya…SEASON FINALE.