Toronto Diary
4 min

James Franco’s fabulously gay roast

10:00 — Yes. Yes, god dammit, this is being live-blogged. All right, some back story here: when they filmed the Comedy Central Roast of James Franco last week, reports leaked that there were more than a few gay jokes since Franco has famously flirted with queer culture. As a result, the internet cranked out another round of think pieces on whether or not gay jokes are still funny. The answer: yeah, if they’re done right. But for the sake of fairness, I’m gonna sit down on the couch with my puppy and a box of Pop-Tarts and watch this thing in earnest and blog about it. For this is the internet, and over-thinking is the name of the game.

[Image via Washington Post]

10:05 – Seth Rogen is our host for the night, and he’s perfectly adequate, although bitch needs to stop chuckling at his own jokes. If his material is any indication, we’re in for a wonderful night of jokes about how James Franco is an artist. And also kinda gay. And everyone else here is Jewish!

10:10 – And now for the obligatory look back on James Franco’s career. Maybe it’s just the way they cut it, but . . . yeah, he should probably dial back his sense of self-worth a notch or two. So far, the gay jokes have been okay, although Seth just pulled out a pretty decent crack about Franco with his hand inside The Rock. I don’t know why, but fisting holds a very special place in my heart. Golf clap for you, Rogen! I’m giving you a B.

10:13 – Nick Kroll is performing, but all I can think about is how annoying Jonah Hill’s laugh is and how Franco can’t open his eyes. He’s like Brock from Pokémon, if Brock was a terrible human being.

10:15 – No gay jokes from Nick Kroll. This was a wash. Funny, but a wash.

10:19 – Jonah Hill is up now. He is reminiscent of your friend’s annoying little brother you have to pretend you like.

10:26 – Everyone may be harping on the James Franco Roast for its use of gay jokes, but I think we should actually hate this for letting Jonah Hill think he’s funny or relevant.

10:30 – And now here’s Logo starlet Sarah Silverman to get the taste of unwarranted self-satisfaction out of our mouths. Yay, Sarah!

10:34 – Amy Poehler sightings: 1. Night made.

10:35 – Sarah Silverman had a bunch of gay jokes in her act, but you know what? They were funny. I literally laughed so hard, I started choking. Girl’s been a supporter of the gays long enough that she knows how to execute gay humour properly. And she even brought up Interior. Leather Bar! Sure, that movie was fucking awful, but still, she brought it up! Sarah gets an A.

10:45 – Bill Hader did some character work by portraying a living embodiment of Hollywood, by which I mean “an old Jewish guy in a tracksuit.” Like all of Hader’s characters, the execution itself was masterful, but the material stretched on a little longer than it should have. No actual gay jokes, but he did sort of bring up Stefon very briefly. Stefon was awesome, wasn’t he?

10:52 – Natasha Leggero, one of the few pure comedians, got in a decent gay joke, although I kinda feel like her stuff went pretty dark. Her gay joke basically just involved her saying she’d sexually please James Franco by letting a guy fuck him. C grade, I suppose.

10:55 – Andy Samberg is doing a meta bit. You can tell Aziz Ansari thinks something funny because his arm will awkwardly flail up and down, like a marionette being piloted by a drunk. 

10:59 – Andy officially wins the gay joke-off for not only having the most, but also the most oddly sexual ones. I’d almost believe that Franco topped Samberg, except who are we kidding? Franco’s a colossal bottom. Nice try, Samberg. A-.

11:06 – Aziz Ansari had the single best gay joke of the evening, in that he actually made fun of gay jokes. “So many gay jokes tonight about Franco. Apparently if you’re clean, well dressed and mildly cultured, you’re super gay now. Is that why the rest of you guys are so aggressively fat and dirty? You think if you read one book and take a shower, dicks are going to just fly into your face.” Congrats, Aziz! You win! A+.

11:17 – Jeff Ross is Comedy Central’s official roast master, so his set sticks pretty close to the formula. I’m not complaining. At least I didn’t have to suffer through another iteration of Hill’s masturbatory schtick. His gay jokes, like Leggero’s, were just okay, although I never want to think of an MMF threeway between him, his girlfriend and Franco. C+.

11:21 – And now James Franco gets a chance to show us the comedic chops that made films like Pineapple Express and Your Highness the cinematic masterpieces they are.

11:25 – I’m starting to think Franco and Rogen smoked the same strain of weed backstage, because every word out of their mouths is followed by stoner chuckles. Also, something about how Franco thinks he makes a beautiful drag queen. Are we sure Franco wasn’t secretly Serena Cha Cha this whole time?

11:30 – Oh hey, it’s finally fucking over. Weeeeeee. Now, let’s talk about those gay jokes, shall we? I understand that offence is in the eye of the beholder, but if the biggest threat to gay rights is a Comedy Central Roast, we’re not doing too badly for ourselves. And most importantly, I think we can all agree that no matter our orientation, or sex, or race, or gender, or heritage, Jonah Hill is an annoying douche.