Jeff Ross can roast Madison in 10 minutes


Jeff Ross “speed roasts” members of the crowd Feb. 3 at Barrymore Theater

Jacob Ennis, Arts & Cultures Editor

From the moment Jeff Ross a.k.a. the Roastmaster took the stage at the Barrymore Theatre, to his last punch line, the crowd couldn’t stop laughing.

The Feb. 3 event included a roast of 94.1 WJJO’s “Biatch,” along with the state of Wisconsin and some celebrities not present. You may know the Biatch from her newscasts on the WJJO morning show, and if you’ve listened to her enough, you’ll understand how she got the name.

The show started off with Ross’ friend Tony Hinchcliffe taking the stage for 13 minutes and cracking some good Hollywood jokes.

After Hinchcliffe got the crowd going, the Biatch introduced Ross, who no more than a few seconds after his introduction, roasted her with even more heat than he gave Charlie Sheen. The look on her face was almost one of shock at the level of insults coming her way. Given her title, you’d think his comments wouldn’t be that surprising.

No subject is ever off limits to Ross. He is probably the only person who can insult the Packers and the Badgers in Madison and get away with it. Only he could say that the Packers get their name from the way that they play all season long and “pack up before the Super Bowl.”

From the moment Ross picked up his guitar to the end of the show, people randomly yelled out “Free Bird.” He tried, but there’s a reason he’s comedian and not a singer. Even though he only knew 11 words to the song, the crowd continued to yell out the song title throughout the night.

Ross would strum the chords while jabbing out various short roasts to celebrities that left us last year. From Steve Jobs to Joe Paterno, he gave everyone their moment, and bid that they “roast in peace.”

There were a few reactions from the crowd that were mixed, but Ross made it a point that you have to be able to take a joke. Though some of his insults were directed at recently passed celebrities, when in comedy, it’s “never too soon.”

Throughout the show he continuously engaged the crowd. He responded to random comments thrown out from people in the crowd, acknowledging latecomers and yelling at people recording him with their cell phones.

Toward the end of the show Ross called out to the audience for a few people that he could “speed roast.” Though he only called for a few people, about 14 were allowed on stage, including one obviously inebriated woman who was given some extra attention. The extra attention was earned by her swaying, giggling and the random phrases she blurted out.

The last two people to walk on stage for the speed roasts were two attractive women, but Ross, in Roastmaster fashion, stopped them to say that “two fives make a 10.”

The speed roasts continued for about 10 minutes with nonstop laughter from the crowd. Ross left the roasted guests humiliated yet humbled, and it was all in good fun.

During the last part of the show Ross called for someone to play piano for him while he read some comedic love poems. Mike Murray was the lucky guest and happened to be quite the pianist. He even has a station on YouTube called WiscoMurray.

One thing that is for certain is you should never record the show on your cell phone. A person in the front row was caught twice by Ross and the second time that the person was not-so-politely told to turn off his cell phone by the Roastmaster, it was done so in a way that made all insult-comics proud.

The Roastmaster continues his tour of roasting America throughout the month of March. Check out to see if he’s roasting a city near you. You just might get to be roasted by the master.

Ross has also co-written a movie script with producer Art Linson set to go into production this year. This movie, “The Comedian,” will star Robert De Niro and Kristen Wiig.

His first book, “I Only Roast the Ones I Love,” is also now available in paperback.