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Roastin’ The GOAT

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Greetings From The Booth!

I finally played my first round of golf last Sunday, an early 18 at beautiful Blue Ridge Shadows, and when I got back home, was surprised to see that my wife had the Tom Brady Roast on TV. So, I grabbed a bite to eat, and sat down to see what this much-promoted and ballyhooed Netflix event was about.

I sat in open-mouthed wonder as one F-bomb followed another in a gratuitous machine-gun fire of profanity-laced “comedy.” Comedian Kevin Hart (who I generally like) was the host, as a steady stream of comedians, actors, and athletes took their turns firing jabs at “The GOAT.” It seemed that everyone who took the podium tried to out-do the previous celebrity with the number of F-bombs and sexual references. Brady’s longtime playing companion Rob Gronkowski, who has become a parody of himself, was the undercard, as a secondary “Gronk roast” took place during the event.

At one point, Will Ferrell came out on stage as Ron Burgundy, his famous 70’s newsman alter-ego. I thought, “ok, now we’re going to see some real comedy.” But even though his appearance was my favorite part of the roast, Ferrell/Burgundy couldn’t resist firing some F-bombs of his own. Even Bill Belichick got into the act. I kept waiting for Barney The Dinosaur to come out and use some of George Carlin’s “seven words you can’t say on television.”

I get it. It’s locker-room humor, and the event was all about roasting one of the greatest athletes of all time. But, when did comedy morph into a barrage of profanity? The Dean Martin Roasts from back in the day were hilarious, and didn’t rely on dirty language. Don Rickles was one of the great roasters and comedians of his day by just calling someone a “hockey puck.” Contemporary comedy greats like Bill Cosby, Steve Martin, and Sinbad didn’t rely on filth to be funny. Even edgy comedians like Eddie Murphy and the aforementioned Carlin, who used profanity in their acts, did so with strategic shock value. Quality, not quantity.

Tom Brady has since expressed regret for doing the roast, for the effect it had on his children and family. Too late, Tom. For better or worse, kids take their cues from celebrities and sports stars, and this event was filled with the wrong cues. I hope there are adults out there who didn’t let their children watch “The Tom Brady Roast, ” but in this day of social media and the internet, “highlights” from the evening are readily accessible.

Unfortunately. the Netflix GOAT-roast was the norm, not the exception, on today’s comedy landscape.

Until the next visit from The Booth, get outta here, ya hockey puck!



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