The traditionally brutal comedy “roast” format was broken briefly on Saturday night as would-be roaster Tom Arnold made a surprise and sentimental appearance at the insult-laden roast of his ex-wife, Roseanne Barr.
The taping in L.A. was for the next Comedy Central roast, scheduled to air this coming Sunday (Aug. 12). And a bevy of top stars and comedians let fly at the expense of the evening’s dishonoree.
But the celebrity appearance that’s making all the headlines is the appearance by Arnold, who was married to Roseanne during the period in her life when she was the most famous (and infamous) sitcom star on TV (starring in “Roseanne” on ABC) and also a star, along with Arnold, of the supermarket tabloids, which chronicled their every excessive exploit.
Accounts of Arnold’s appearance from journalists who were there indicate that Roseanne seemed genuinely surprised when he showed up (meaning that she might not have known about it beforehand, as you might expect). On the other hand, this account on TheWrap.com reports that Roseanne approved the Arnold appearance the night before, so she was in on in it.
“Largely departing from the typical roast format, most of Arnold’s comments toward Roseanne were positive and the pair even hugged after he stepped down from the dais,” wrote a correspondent for Yahoo.com here.
“We have not been in the same room for 18 years,” Arnold said, according to this L.A. Times story. “Is this really the best format to do this? Getting together with your ex at a roast?”
Later, Roseanne stuck with the “Roast” format in her remarks about Tom. “I’d really like to thank Tom for showing up,” she said. “It was very brave and he was very funny,” Roseanne said. “But Jesus Christ, how many jobs do I have to get that guy?!”
She also said, referring to her fanciful “candidacy” for president that she’s been talking about lately, “If I can bury my roiling, boiling ceaseless hatred for Tom Arnold maybe there is a chance for world peace!”
Meanwhile, Roseanne was roasted by Jeffrey Ross, who came to the roast costumed as Joe Paterno, Ellen Barkin (described in various accounts as a last-minute fill-in for Sharon Stone, who was previously announced but then backed out), Katey Sagal, Seth Green, Carrie Fisher, Gilbert Gottfried and others. Jane Lynch served as roast master.
“The Comedy Central Roast of Roseanne” premieres Sunday, Aug. 12, at 10/9c on Comedy Central.