Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Jeff Ross on the Art of Roasting - Comedy Style - and New 'Roast Battle' Series

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Jeff Ross on the Art of Roasting - Comedy Style - and New 'Roast Battle' Series

Article excerpt

Jeff Ross on the art of roasting - comedy style

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MONTREAL - Jeff Ross has an idea for how to resolve the contentious U.S. presidential election.

"I would love to see Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, two great minds, settle this not in a debate but in a roast battle," says the comedian, who knows a thing or two about roasts. He's been a major player in many of them, including celebrity TV roasts for Canadian-born entertainers such as Justin Bieber, William Shatner and Pamela Anderson.

The New Jersey native, long a mainstay at Montreal's Just for Laughs comedy festival, is back this year with "Jeff Ross Presents Roast Battle." The four-night, 16-comic tournament will be broadcast Thursday through Sunday at 10 p.m. E.T. on The Comedy Network and simulcast on Comedy Central in the U.S.

Ross road-tested the format in a tourney held last year in Montreal. This year, however, the hand-picked comedians -- including Toronto-native K. Trevor Wilson (Squirrelly Dan on CraveTV's "Letterkenny") -- are vying for a share in a $100,000 purse. "The money adds a little extra tension," says Ross.

Celebrity judges have also been added, including Kevin Hart, Whoopi Goldberg, Judd Apatow, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Rogen, Sarah Silverman, David Spade and Anthony Jeselnik.

The rules are fairly straightforward: four jokes/insults per round and anything is fair game. Original material only and each round must end in a hug.

Ross knows all about Trump, having roasted the Republican contender in a celebrity special in 2011.

"He's a good sport," says Ross. "He doesn't always show it but he always comes back for more."

Just don't assume Trump would crush Clinton in a roast battle.

"Women are very competitive in that world," he says. "Have you ever seen a woman lose an argument?"

In "Roast Battle," Wilson is one to watch, says Ross. He was the top Canadian last year, coming in third overall. "He's coming in with a bit of a swagger, which is fun to watch.

"He's also lovable," he adds. …

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