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Inside the Joan Rivers Roast

An audience report from the wonderfully dirty event

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Comedy Central’s Roast of Joan Rivers airs Aug. 9, but some of the best (and dirtiest) shenanigans from the July 26 taping will never make it to your television set. Thankfully, EW was in the audience to catch every bitch-slap, barb, and blooper.

Taking the punch (or slap)
”It’s gonna be a bloodbath,” roastmaster Kathy Griffin said to EW before the show, and she didn’t just mean for Rivers. ”Everybody [on the stage] has to take it, you know? I’m used to it. It’s kind of a miracle Oprah hasn’t just shot me at this point. So tonight’s gonna be easy.”

Rivers saw it coming
The guest of honor predicted her own comedic slaying: ”Age jokes, plastic-surgery jokes, why-your-husband-killed-himself jokes, dry-old-lady jokes.” And that’s pretty much what she got.

Is this thing on?
After Griffin finished her opening set, the show took a break. Rivers, her mic still live, fixed Griffin with a cold stare and muttered, ”Fake breasts.” She then went on an off-camera rant about Griffin’s ”best friend” Brooke Shields, and Shields’ teary eulogy for Michael Jackson, quipping, ”She hasn’t seen him since 1993 — when he was black!”

Can we do that #$%! joke again?
While reading his insults via the prompters, Tom Arnold tripped over the word ”anonymous” so many times, even he had to stop to take a shot at himself: ”And I’m in AA!”

Tough crowd
Unhappy with the audience’s apparently overly sensitive reaction to the outrageously blue humor, Rivers asked, ”Where are the gays?” The gays hooted, and she bit back, ”You’re not acting like gays, you’re acting like lesbians!”