Being a Roast Master for the Roast is a lot like being a ringmaster for a circus: You’re running the show, people are playing with fire, and there’s at least one elephant in the room. David Spade was up to the challenge for his friend and “Tommy Boy” co-star Rob Lowe. We chatted with the actor about harsh burns, dream roasters and how to recover after the main event.
Comedy Central: What did you anticipate would be the hardest part of being Roast Master?
David Spade: I think the hardest part was knowing that you’re going to be in the crossfire. It’s a big decision to jump into the same room with all those people because you know you’re going to get lit up. You don’t really know what people think of you. You go, “They’re probably going to make fun of me for being in Adam Sandler movies, or [because] I’m not tall.” You just don’t know how dastardly it gets.
Was there anyone whom you wish could have done it — either the dais or the Roast in general?
Well, I’d like to see someone like Kanye [West] get roasted. I think he’d be funny. Kylie Jenner — any of the Kardashians, actually. And Chris Rock would be good at roasting them.
Was there anything you did to prepare for the Roast?
I didn’t do anything other than try and keep the nerves down and enunciate the jokes and keep them clear. Because if you just get the joke out, it sells itself.
And basically just trying to smile when I get hit. They came up to me on a break and said, “They’re saying you’re not laughing hard enough at the jokes about you.” And I go, “Well, because I’m unhappy about it, I think is the thing.” I can’t go, “Oh, that’s awesome. My career is in Chris Farley’s casket.”
[Though] when I watched it played back, I laughed so hard at everything. I thought it was so good, I really have to say. All the comedians came loaded, and there were sharp jokes. I was jealous of a joke in every person’s set. Overall, I heard such good feedback.
Who had the most surprising performance? Was anybody meaner than you thought? Or not mean enough?
I have to say everyone across the board was meaner than I thought. But I think seeing sweet Jewel casually say horrifying jokes was a surprise. And Jewel and Peyton Manning get talked about more because no one expects anything from them. They’re just like, “Who are they? Why are they here?” If the comedians do OK, it’s expected, but I think it’s more shocking when you get them. It’s basically like your teacher yelling at you; you don’t see it coming.
What do you think Ann Coulter did after she left the Roast?
Other than cry for a half hour? I know she was rushing off to catch a flight, which was good timing because I would not want to be around anyone in that room. I remember at rehearsal I said, “Obviously none of the 10 of us are ever going to speak again.” Luckily, afterwards I was still friendly. I was worried that if anybody went too much at me that I would hold a grudge. And I don’t think I was holding a grudge against anyone else. Ann Coulter should definitely hold a grudge.
Watch David Spade roast Rob Lowe.