Thursday, January 24, 2008

You Can't Say That About a Jewish Carpenter

These days it seems that everybody gets to have a roast that quickly gets turned around into a Comedy Central special. There was a time, not that long ago, when the likes of Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin were slinging the one liners at the Friar’s Club in New York and the guest of honor was just really “honored” to be there. Over time the roast has lost some of it luster and become more of a mainstream event. But even with the increased attention and subsequent television coverage there are still those that go out of their way to make fools of themselves, usually with disastrous results. Many of you may remember Ted Danson in 1993 appearing on stage in blackface while roasting Whoopi Goldberg. Well it turns out that people just can’t leave well enough alone…

Earlier this month, ESPN’s Dana Jacobson was one of the presenters chosen to roast the 4-letter Radio hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golick in Atlantic City. By most accounts, Ms. Jacobson was becoming intimate with a bottle Belvedere before she got up on stage and started to ramble a bit too much. Her “set” included an unfortunate “F-Jesus” in reference to Golik’s days as a footballer for the Irish of Notre Dame. Most of the details of the story are in The Atlantic City Press.

As a penalty for her behavior, she was suspended by ESPN for one week and to her credit she took responsibility and issued this apology,

"I am sorry. My remarks about Notre Dame were foolish and insensitive. I respect all religions and did not mean anything derogatory by my poorly chosen words. ...

"My actions at the roast were inappropriate and in no way represent who I am. I won't make excuses for my behavior, but I do hope I can be forgiven for such a poor lack of judgment."

Now onto the reason that this suspension and apology comes out on Tuesday, January 22 when she made the initial comments on Saturday, January 12: it turns out that ESPN probably wouldn’t have done anything other then editing out Jacobson’s “set” when they aired the roast later this month but the religious fanatics came out of the wood works and protested. They included the Catholic League. And now the 4-Letter’s response may not have been good enough. According to a report in the Detroit Free Press, Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, a Catholic rights group, said ESPN's response might be lacking, though, if Internet reports are true that her targets included Touchdown Jesus and Jesus.

Why is it that crazy fanatics can pull their kids out of school to march on Capitol Hill to protest abortion, saying that if you believe in Pro-Choice then you are a heathen and going straight to hell, but when the J-man comes up as a target of effigy then all of the sudden the world should stop and the person slinging the comments should be nailed to the cross? Humm…sounds like a double standard to me. If you want freedom of speech, fine, say whatever you want about whomever you want (excluding me of course). But if you want to keep your religious beliefs holy, keep them there quietly in your own house of worship.

Another note on this debacle of a roast was “headlining comedian” Eddie “I’m still a relevant angry black man” Griffin and his line: "I kind of know my career is over when I'm hired to roast two white guys I never (expletive) heard of." Perhaps ESPN should review the jokes before their read. Or better yet, let’s not “hire” people to do the roast; instead let’s try to find friends and family who actually know the guests of honor to sling the dirt. That way we could keep this debacle to 40 minutes (including the 20 minute musical set by a band that has also never heard of Mike and Mike).

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