Comedian Jeff Ross, the Roastmaster General himself, is returning to Boston on Friday, October 18, to roast his New England fans as only he can. Scheduled to perform at The Wilbur Theatre, Ross is fresh off of the Comedy Central Roast of James Franco and closing out the 2013 Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival with Dave Chappelle and Flight of the Conchords.
With season two under his belt of his hugely successful Comedy Central show, “The Burn”, Ross is currently wrapping up filming his role in the upcoming Miramax comedy The Wedding Ringer, which stars Kevin Hart, Josh Gad and Kaley Cuoco. “The Burn” finds Ross joined by a group of fellow comics to skewer the week’s hot topics and head into the field to take aim at public figures and current events. Ross, who has appeared in the last ten Comedy Central Roasts, was also one of the executive producers of the show, and when asked about the show, Ross said “My mission is clear. To rip the world a new as***le one crack at a time.”
Having performed on the Oddball Tour only last month in Mansfield, Massachusetts, Ross is very much looking forward to his return and took the time to chat with the Boston Comedy Scene Examiner on Friday about his October 18 performance.
BCSE: Hey Jeff, how are you?
JR: Good! Thanks for doing this.
BCSE: It's my pleasure. So tell me about The Wedding Ringer.
JR: I'm doing it right now; it's really fun. It will be a really, really funny movie - Kevin Hart, Josh Gad from The Book of Mormon, and Kaley [Cuoco] from The Big Bang Theory. I have a really juicy role and I probably shouldn't say too much, but I do get to sing a little bit in the movie.
BCSE: That's exciting.
JR: I know, I'm learning a new skill. The director, Jeremy Garelick, he thought of me for the role, and he did a lot of the writing on The Hangover, so the movie, I think, is going to be really funny. The script is great.
BCSE: Yeah, everything I keep seeing around production makes it look like a blast.
JR: Yeah, I had a blast. I'm really having a good time on this one. I don't get to do that stuff too much, so this one's a treat.
BCSE: That's awesome, congratulations on that.
JR: Thank you! Thanks Angie.
BCSE: Pardon the pun, but the burning question that's on everyone's mind - will we see a season three of The Burn?
JR: You know, I still don't know. I hope so, I think so - all signs point positive, but I haven't gotten the pickup yet.
BCSE: Well, hopefully it's a no-brainer and the go ahead and pick that up.
JR: Yeah, I really hope so. I love doing it, and the fans seem to enjoy hearing a weekly roast of whatever's going on in our lives. I really hope they make more.
BCSE: Yeah, your fan base is enormous.
JR; Thank you. Hopefully they'll come out to The Wilbur.
BCSE: Definitely. It was funny; I was thinking the other day how we actually have a Jeff Ross running for City Council here in Boston.
JR: I saw that! Is he a good guy? What's his story?
BCSE: I don't know too much about him, but I'd rather have you run for City Council.
JR: Well there's some jokes I've got to do when I get there, that's good.
BCSE: You should get campaign t-shirts made.
JR: Yeah, the real Jeff Ross.
BCSE: So in all of the roasting and burning that you do, have you ever had it backfire?
JR: Oh boy...you know, I've been pretty lucky. I'm really careful about vetting my subjects. You always want to roast somebody that volunteers and who is a really good sport. Every now and then when I try roasting the audience - which I'm going to do at The Wilbur and take volunteers - they take it very, very well. But every now and then I do get punched or slapped or kicked. So if you're reading this, and you've always wanted to get roasted or see a roast, I highly suggest you come and push your friends up on stage.
BCSE: Hell yeah, I'll be pushing myself up on stage.
JR: Oh, good! Bring the article - that'll be great! That'll be so funny during the speed roast.
BCSE: Definitely. So, aside from The Wedding Ringer, what other projects are you working on?
JR: Well, we just finished the James Franco Roast, so I got a little break after that. I went right into the Oddball Tour with Flight of the Conchords and we just finished that. I'm only finishing The Wedding Ringer this week, then I have some tour dates. After that, I don't know. I might just take a break and go to Italy or something.
BCSE: One of the big things that was going around Boston, given the proximity, was the Hartford show on the Oddball Tour. Having not been there I have to ask, was it just a disruptive audience or were they negative?
JR: They just weren't a great audience that night. Not to disparage the people of Hartford or anybody who came out to see the show, but there were enough goofballs in the audience that Dave just didn't want to plow through it. That's just his style. He's always sort of put his art ahead of commerce, and I really think that's what happened in Hartford. I went into his dressing room afterward and he just sort of shrugged it off as another day. So, it wasn't a big deal to the comedians that the press and the fans made out of it, really. We go on stage every night; Dave was back up in Pittsburgh the next night in front of 17,000 people crushing it - 20,000 in Chicago two nights later. That's one of the fun things about being a stand-up - you have a rough night on Thursday, you get right back on stage Friday.
BCSE: How was it throughout that tour to perform in the types of venues that were booked? I know here in Mansfield it was the outdoor arena.
JR: I have to tell you, the Mansfield audience might have been the best one of the tour for me. I really felt at home up there. I felt like the Massachusetts crowd, the Bostonians, needed a laugh. There was a lot of heavy crap that went on in Boston this year, and I just feel like they were waiting for it. I didn't want to get off stage. I was so happy at the end of the night when I realized I'm coming right back in a few weeks to do my own show. I've never been to The Wilbur. I went to college in Boston, so it's all working out really well.
BCSE: That's got to be really cool to be able to come back to a city that you've spent some time in.
JR: Oh, my goodness, it's insane. I feel very comfortable there; my college buddies usually show up and I know the lay of the land. I think the speed roast will be really personal and fun, and I can't wait to get back on stage up there.
Ross wrote his first book, “I Only Roast the Ones I Love: Busting Balls without Burning Bridges” by Simon Spotlight Entertainment, a division of Simon & Schuster, in 2010 and is now available in paperback. He continues to perform regularly for American men and women in uniform stationed all over the world. As a filmmaker, Jeff's directorial debut, Patriot Act: A Jeffrey Ross Home Movie nabbed the best feature film award at the Montreal Comedy Festival. The film is a funny and poignant documentary that captures Jeff's life changing experience entertaining U.S. troops stationed around Iraq.
Don't miss your chance to watch your friends get roasted by the greatest roastmaster of all time as Jeff Ross takes to the stage at Boston's The Wilbur Theatre on Friday, October 18 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $32 and can be purchased via Ticketmaster. The Wilbur is located at 246 Tremont Street in Boston.