You know the book "The Perfect Storm"? I witnessed the perfect storm of craziness Sunday night: Courtney Love, Dennis Rodman, Tommy Lee, Andy Dick and Anna Nicole Smith, all within 35 feet of one another for Comedy Central's taping of the Pamela Anderson Celebrity Roast.
As you might remember from my column about the Shaq Roast three years ago, few things make me happier than a celebrity roast -- it's the last place on the planet where anything can be said about anybody without any repercussions. Although they're always entertaining on TV, they're 10-20 times more entertaining in person because Comedy Central has to edit out some of the more biting/obscene/outlandish comments. (The fact that HBO or Showtime hasn't launched a Celebrity Roast Series remains one of the great mysteries in life.) In person, you hear everything -- hepatitis B jokes, domestic violence jokes, at least 125 different jokes about Tommy Lee's anatomy, even Jeff Ross telling Courtney Love, "God, what happened? Even Kurt Cobain looks better than you!"
It was a vicious night from start to finish, kicked off by emcee Jimmy Kimmel announcing the names of Dick, Love, Rodman and Lee, then telling an inappropriate joke. Of course, Courtney ended up stealing the show, for better or worse -- interrupting comedians during their monologues, throwing shoes at people, spilling drinks, stumbling around, mauling Kimmel on the sofa, screaming "Clean and sober for 12 months" after every drug joke about her, crossing/uncrossing her legs like Sharon Stone in "Basic Instinct" for the people in the first few rows, pulling up her blouse for the crowd ... I mean, I can't adequately capture what happened. At one point, Tommy Lee was pouring himself champagne from Rodman's table, they looked at each other and both kind of shrugged. Imagine being so crazy that Dennis Rodman and Tommy Lee had to share a "Wow, she's nuts!'" moment about you?
One drawback about roasts: There are always 2-3 people who bomb, and at least 2-3 more people who end up going on waaaaaaaaaaaaay too long. For instance, an unprepared Eddie Griffin (the comedian/actor, not the basketball player) babbled incoherently for about 20 minutes, to the point the teleprompter was flashing in capital letters, "PLEASE WRAP IT UP!" (That was funny in itself -- when they edit the show, they should just show the teleprompter over his actual routine.) There was also a transvestite performer (dubbed "Pamela Manderson" by Ross) who bombed so badly that Jimmy immediately followed her routine with, "Don't worry, that's all going to be edited out of the show."
On the telecast the riff-raff gets cut out, but it's an endurance contest when you're there -- by the third hour, it's nearly impossible to make people laugh (that's why comedians never want to be the last act, because they know the crowd will be dead by that point). Still, they should be able to hone this into an excellent 90-minute show, so look out for it this Sunday (I'd say more, but I don't want to spoil the jokes for you).
And speaking of Comedy Central, Adam Carolla's new talk show, "Too Late with Adam Carolla" premieres Monday night at 11:30. Not only do I have three friends involved in this show (including the host), I've spent the last three years telling anyone who would listen (including all of my bosses at ESPN) that Carolla should have his own TV show. So I'm overwhelmingly, embarrassingly, almost comically biased here ... but nothing would make me happier than seeing this show take off over the next two months. (FYI: The first guest is Mark Zupan from "Murderball.") End of shameless plug.
Some other quickies on a Monday ...
• From Perry in Minnesota (responding to my 7/29 hockey column): "Eliminate the team in Minnesota? Are you mad? Did you know we sell out every game here. I mean EVERY game, the college games, even the high school hockey state tournament. Who else can claim that? Our men's and women's hockey teams from the U-of-M have been recent national champs. We like hockey more than any other state. They took our team once -- huge mistake."
You're absolutely right -- terrible job by me. In that paragraph of "teams that needed to be knocked out of the league," I was just throwing in every new team from the past few years and totally forgot that Minny was the one franchise that deserved to be there. In retrospect, I should have switched them with Carolina. Big mistake. In fact ...
• From my buddy JackO in Hartford: "You write a whole article about the NHL, including calling for the elimination or move of several franchises and yet you say nothing about the Carolina Hurricanes?????!!!! How about calling for them to be eliminated or, in the alternative, move back to Hartford? Can you do that? Can you throw me a freakin' bone???? Unbelievable!"
Again, absolutely right -- I blew that one, if only because I could have gotten a few Hartford jokes in. But that city loved the Mighty Whale and got totally screwed over by the owner, I should have mentioned that. Now they're stuck with UConn sports and the New Britain Rock Cats. Sad state of affairs.
• Quick follow-up to last week's two-part Anchorman/NBA column: There's an alternate movie out there called "Wake Up, Ron Burgundy" -- same premise, different plot. Apparently they shot two subplots (with the Panda/Zoo angle being the one used for the real movie), so the alternate movie replaces the Panda/Zoo angle with the other subplot. Also, the only place you can purchase the alternate DVD separately from the real DVD is Best Buy. So there you go.
• Finally, some exciting news: According to multiple Web sites, season one of "The White Shadow" is finally coming to DVD this November -- fantastic news, because I can finally throw out my worn-down VHS tapes from the mid-'80s. Here's a picture of the cover. The odds of this DVD selling surprisingly well, followed by a studio turning it into a crappy movie, have just been removed from the boards at Vegas.
Back on Wednesday with a new column.