It was called The Comedy Central Roast of James Franco, but, strangely enough, last night's barrage of insults felt more like a pile-on against Jonah Hill, Franco's long-time pal and This is the End co-star. Even Franco himself expressed his sympathy for Hill, who, to his credit, took it all like a champ. Which is what Academy Award nominees who hang out with Brad Pitt and Leonardo Dicaprio and make movies with Martin Scorsese do. It's not like he's Nick Kroll or Jeff Ross.
And that's the spirit captured throughout Comedy Central's often hilarious and frequently cold-blooded roast of the ubiquitous and enigmatic James Franco. As in all roasts of its kind, everyone in attendance got bombarded with joke after joke, all in good fun. The roasters included, in addition to Hill, Kroll, and Ross: Andy Samberg, Natasha Leggero, Sarah Silverman, Aziz Ansari, Bill Hader, and the roastmaster himself, Seth Rogen.
With Franco as the primary target, the roasters had plenty of ammunition, like the actor/director/poet/artist/scholar's reputation for pretentiousness, his myriad indie films that people don't even know exist, his infamous Oscar-hosting debacle alongside Anne Hathaway, and his early days playing the late James Dean in, yes, James Dean (2001). Some of his peers totally killed, namely the women, Leggero and Silverman. Samberg did his best Norm Macdonald impersonation, dropping a bunch of knowingly unfunny and anti-roast barbs (more complimentary than defamatory) to mixed results. Hader, meanwhile, donned a red tracksuit to play "The President of Hollywood," a creative bit that would've fit right at home on his former home, Saturday Night Live.
Just in case you missed all of the playful insensitivity live last night, here are the funniest jokes from The Comedy Central Roast of James Franco, broken down by each individual roaster, including the guest-of-honor himself.