Burning Desire


In the category of "Shows I Probably Shouldn't Like But Do," I offer you The Burn with Jeff Ross, a somewhat-new Comedy Central series. Mr. Ross is a stand-up comic who is often the only nugget of actual mirth on those Comedy Central roasts of people I care about so little, I don't really even want to watch them be insulted for an hour. Like equally-humorous traffic accidents, it's hard to turn away and I usually find myself TiVoing them mainly for Ross and/or Gilbert Gottfried.

The Burn bills itself as Ross and some colleagues "roasting" everyone and everything around them and I question the use of the word "roast." They're defining it apparently as any insult directed at anyone or anything. Jeff Ross saying one derogatory thing about one audience member's wardrobe is Jeff Ross "roasting" that audience member. Personally, I don't think it qualifies as a roast unless there's a dais and a central subject who is slandered by a procession of slanderers, supposedly as a demonstration of love and respect. (It used to be that a roast also had to have tuxedos, obvious edits and/or Red Buttons but those rules no longer seem to apply.)

Nevertheless, The Burn is a funny show loaded with material that comes at you with the Laugh-In guarantee: If you don't like this joke, you won't have long to wait for the next one. I find myself laughing at enough of 'em that I've Season-Passed it on my TiVo. I also like that what they do never (well, rarely) seems mean. Ross, being a pro at this kind of thing, delivers his barbs with a twinkle and a simultaneously self-deprecating manner that is sadly unseen in the amateur roaster. They also don't edit it out when as occasionally happens, someone "roasts" him back.

The show is done in Hollywood, which probably explains why the New York-based Mr. Gottfried is the announcer but only occasionally joins in on the belittling. Some of the comics who assist Ross aren't quite up to the tasks-at-hand and I wish they could arrange for Gilbert to be an on-camera participant each week. Even without him though, it's still worth tuning-in. If you haven't because it looks like something you probably shouldn't like, don't let that stop you. You hockey puck, you.