Nearly five years after the last celebrity roast in 2019, the longest break since its origin with Comedy Central in 1998, Tom Brady produced a comedic masterpiece on May 5.

Comedy Central Celebrity Roasts took place nearly every year, sometimes twice a year, from 1998-2019, according to Comedy Central and they were raunchy in nature, leaving no stone unturned.

“The Greatest Roast of All Time: Tom Brady” was a clinic of comedic genius, making jokes about all of the sensitive topics in which people have been canceled, ousted and shamed for, but no one on-stage was left upset.

The three-hour long special was featured live on Netflix at the Kia Forum in Los Angeles, hosted by actor and comedian Kevin Hart. Over 20 celebrities roasted the greatest quarterback of all time and featured stars such as Kim Kardashian, Dana White, Bert Kreicher and Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy from “Anchorman.”

Despite the roast’s criticism from viewers and publications labeling the program “offensive,” Roastmaster General Jeff Ross, a long time host of Celebrity Roasts, was the only person to actually “offend” anyone on stage and it was none other than the roastee.

Ross joked about Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who allegedly had an incident at a massage parlor, to which Brady said, “Don’t say that sh*t again.” It could have all been a part of the act because Hart later roasts Brady for speaking up in Kraft’s defense.

The culture in America has become soft when it comes to comedy, but Brady’s roast set a precedent for entertainment to return to the freeform creative outlet it was before political correctness became a trend.

The term political correctness first appeared in Marxist-Leninist vocabulary following the Russian Revolution of 1917. At that time it was used to describe adherence to the policies and principles of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (that is, the party line), according to Britannica.

“There’s no such thing as too far. If it works, it’s funny. If it doesn’t work, it’s too far, it’s stupid. Really, there’s no such thing as ‘too far.’ You’re joining the politically correct when you use words like ‘too far.’ You don’t want to join the army of politically correct,” said Mel Brooks, a controversial, award-winning American actor, comedian, filmmaker, songwriter, and playwright, during an interview with Esquire Magazine in 2014.

Because Brady, a highly successful and prominent public figure, was so openly willing to be criticized on a public stage with virtually no limit, he set an example of humility and hubris.

Only a person so successful could have the means and gall to organize such an event about themselves, but it took a person of great integrity to provide a platform for the words people have become reluctant to say, similar to Elon Musk and his success with free speech on the social platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

According to Britannica, the comic artist’s purpose is to hold a mirror up to society to reflect its follies and vices, in the hope that they will, as a result, be mended.

The same could not be said for the response on social media with some public figures condemning the choice of jokes used during the roast. In particular, jokes about the death of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez were heavily criticized on social media when Hernandez’s fiancée Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez said the roast was “cruel.”

One twitter user responded by saying, “How do you think Odin Lloyd’s family feels?” The post received thousands of likes and was reposted thousands of times, but has since been deleted. Aaron Hernandez was convicted in the murder of Odin Lloyd and hung himself inside his cell on April 29, 2017, leaving the conviction overturned, according to CBS 8.

Many jokes revolved around Brady’s recent divorce from supermodel Gisele Bündchen as he sat with a smile on his face, occasionally holding up his drink to toast the roasters as they performed.

Again, there is no such thing as going too far and jokes are jokes. Jokes are making light of a bad situation. Isn’t that why people call it “making fun?” There aren’t any rules against making fun of someone and America is well-known for free speech.

If Brady or anyone else on stage felt offended, then defamation lawsuits would be filed the very next day between the stars. Everybody on the roast made money, so they aren’t upset about harmless jokes because comedy is not against the law, it’s a part of free speech.

Celebrity roasts have been quite successful and continue to be a tradition since originating in 1949 by the New York Friars Club, a private club in New York City, according to Internet Archive.

Being politically correct is suppressive of an American’s First Amendment right to free speech. If Brady’s roast had to factor in political correctness, then nearly every joke would have been rewritten.

Brady had the opportunity to respond to his roasters at the end of the program and didn’t hold back from telling any dirty jokes about the roasters, 9/11 or his former teammate’s untimely death.

Shock, awe and pulling at heartstrings are all aspects of entertainment. Horror movies, even some based on true stories, are not always bright and positive; documentaries aren’t always cute animals in nature; and comedy isn’t always slapstick. Comedy has genres, similar to how music does, and raunchy risqué roasts are one of those genres.

Sometimes, there’s nothing like a good joke to clear the tension in the air, or create some.

“There have been a lot of jokes tonight, but the truth is I miss the love of my life: football,” Brady said, in his closing monologue.



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