Jeff Ross, the “Roastmaster General,” hosts and executive produces a new six-episode series of Historical Roasts on Netflix.
Ross is the butt of more jokes than anyone, living or dead, onstage throughout the series.
Make no mistake: All of the famous figures roasted in these half-hour roasts already had dearly departed from us years, if not centuries, ago. And most of the fun comes from seeing who portrays who and how from history. Of course, “the loudest and most annoying Jew” Gilbert Gottfried gets to play Adolf Hitler. And the celebrity uttering that line about Gottfried is Nikki Glaser as Kurt Cobain. Getting Fred Willard in your show in any capacity equals comedy gold, even more so when he’s playing God.
Rock star Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age plays rock “King” Elvis Presley. And Mindy Rickles impersonates her own father, Don Rickles, as a young man serving in the Navy during World War II, putting Ross in his place. “Sit over there. Eat a cookie. Figure out where it all went wrong. You’re roasting dead people. It’s over!”
But of all the inspired casting choices in these throwbacks from the first century BC to today, none quite inspires and delightfully surprises us so much as the inclusion of Jaleel White, our once and future Urkel, as not only the late great South African leader Nelson Mandela, but also as “the greatest,” Muhammad Ali.