In 2000, Alan King, left, and Freddie Roman, right, ganged up on
After Comedy Central’s roast of James Franco on Sunday (a.k.a. the night Miley Cyrus went cray-cray at the MTV Video Music Awards, and ‘N Sync reunited), the honoree could sum it up only one way.
“It was pretty dirty up there,” Franco said backstage after the nearly three-hour-long taping. “I didn’t look at my grandma during some of the speeches.” Of course, he noted, she’s seen her grandson in “Sonny,” a film directed by Nicolas Cage in which Franco plays a male prostitute, so we’re guessing nothing makes the 91-year-old flinch anymore.
That didn’t stop the roasters from testing the boundaries.
Lampooning the jack-of-all-trades at the podium -- which was decorated with a “James Franco University” logo -- were Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Aziz Ansari, Sarah Silverman, Andy Samberg, Jeff Ross, Nick Kroll, Natasha Leggero and roast master Seth Rogen. And they delivered a set high on Oscar jabs, James Dean comparisons, fellatio-related wisecracks and gay ribs directed at Franco.
He took it all in stride. Most of it.
Asked afterward what was the worst of it all, Franco had a secure outlook.
“They’re just jokes.” Oh, but wait. There was one thing. “People bagging on ‘Spring Breakers’ — I think ‘Spring Breakers’ is one of the best movies this year. I would think that if I wasn’t in it, so I think that was wrong.”
The night also included some neck-whipping moments, like the Holocaust jokes in Rogen’s monologue: “The last time this many Jews were roasted it was in an oven made in Germany.” Also sure to cause some reaction, if they make it to air, are the two Trayvon Martin-themed jokes -- like one, from Ross, about Franco’s poorly received Academy Awards hosting duties: “Face it, Franco, you and Anne Hathaway had the comedic chemistry of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman.”
Franco, of course, had his time to respond, poking fun at those on stage and his own eccentricities, before closing with two final words: “Blow me.”
The roast airs on Comedy Central on Sept. 2.
Until then, here are some jabs to hold you over (the ones we could publish, anyway):
Rogen about Franco: “In all seriousness, he is a very hard-working actor. He once told me he worked for 36 hours straight, which I don’t believe -- the straight part, obviously.”
Silverman to Hill: “You’ve had such a body transformation in the last couple of years. You’ve come a long way from just being Sonny and Cher’s daughter.”
Ross about Hill: “Jonah almost couldn’t make it tonight because he had trouble finding a tuxedo that changes sizes every three hours. When Jonah’s agent told him that Quentin Tarantino wanted him to be in a spaghetti western, Jonah was like, ‘You had me at spaghetti.’”
Kroll about Franco: “If at any point James fully opens his eyes tonight, there will be six more weeks of summer.”
Hill about Hader: “Bill Hader was brilliant on ‘SNL,’ and when he left the show every single person was like, ‘What are you doing? You’re never ever going to work again.’ And what does my man Bill do? Boom, he books a T-Mobile commercial. Who’s laughing now, Lorne Michaels? My man Bill is. If that thing goes national, we could be talking like 10, 15 grand. This guy’s cashing checks from the fourth-largest mobile provider in the nation. I respect Bill because Sprint was coming after him hard, but he held out for that ... T Mobile money.”
Ansari: “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?”
Franco: “The joke’s on all of you. This is not a roast. This is my greatest, most elaborate art installation ever. I’m not the real guest of honor, these aren’t real comedians and we’re not even on a real network. What you’ve seen tonight was my brilliant opus to sequester an artistic visionary and subject him to the mindless incoherent trashings of talentless abnormalities. I call it Genius Unscathed, and this is my masterpiece”