Roast Tom. No Turkey.

I like live TV.  Be it sports, news or comedy, I like the possibility of seeing something occur in real time, unvarnished, unexpected that will give me a momentary advantage on most of the world for being aware of something at least buzzworthy, if not historic.

So I’m still one of the Luddites that at least tries to watch shows like Saturday Night Live as often as possible live, from New York, not even on tape delay.  The way I did when it first premiered nearly a half-century ago, and at one time the only way one could have watched it before it was repeated.  Feel free to eye-roll me if you must, but heck, it at least allows me to pretend I’m still young and hip.

But I do know that those that actually can be described that way, along with other adjectives I’m not fully up to speed on (I’ve just learned what “rizz” is, which I’m sure is worthy of a couple of eye-rolls), are of the “Netflix and Chill” generation.  And while it’s not my default landing spot the way it may be for so many others, I’m at least aware of all they have to offer.

And what continues to amaze me is that their braintrust continues to invest in and reinvent ways to attract even folks like me, who would much rather watch live sports content than anything else.  Last night, they found a way to fuse sports, comedy and live television into a most satisfying and meme-worthy experience.  All by borrowing from a format that has its roots in banquet rooms and its more immediate history in that outdated world known as basic cable TV.

So yes, I watched THE GREATEST ROAST OF ALL TIME: THE ROAST OF TOM BRADY last night, live and in real time, mostly because it was a 5 pm start where I live and these days, that’s the time of day that I CAN stay awake.  Usually.  Thankfully, it provided me more than enough WTF moments to assure that I did.  Not to mention a lot of others in both entertainment and sports media.

Take the reaction of BOSTON.com’s Kevin Slane:

Leading up to Netflix’s roast of Tom Brady on Sunday night, there were a lot of unanswered questions. Which celebrities would show up to roast the G.O.A.T.? Would the panel of assembled comedians treat Brady with kid gloves, or would they unleash every weapon in their arsenal? And which of Brady’s former teammates would actually be funny?

As it turns out, “G.R.O.A.T (:) The Greatest Roast Of All Time: Tom Brady” was a surprisingly profane, no-holds-barred roast featuring one-liners that would get most people fired from their jobs.

Clocking in at just over three hours, the roast was filled to the brim with jokes about Brady, his divorce, his ex-wife’s new romance, his vanity, his awful business decisions, his complex relationship with Bill Belichick, and so much more.

USA TODAY’s Jim Reineking rattled off a few of the reasons while Slane was so upbeat:

Brady, the seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback, was the key figure getting roasted. However, his former head coach Bill Belichick and New England Patriots teammates also took their licks during the program.  Drew Bledsoe, Randy Moss, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Rodney Harrison, Willie McGinest, Matt Light and Nate Solder were among Brady’s former Patriots teammates in attendance. Patriots owner Robert Kraft and…Belichick also were present and took to the microphone to deliver messages to the to-be first-ballot Hall of Fame(r).

Here are (a couple of) best burns* (* that are safe to print in a family publication such as USA TODAY) from Sunday night’s “GROAT” on Netflix:

Julian Edelman, Patriots WR (2009-2020)

“Leonardo DiCaprio’s ex-girlfriend’s ex-husband.” — In one of a number of jokes referring to Brady’s ex-wife, fashion model Gisele Bündchen.

“Alex (Guerrero) is the snake oil salesman who turned Tom into a big (expletive) weirdo.” — On Brady’s “body coach” and business partner, who was in attendance for the roast.

Drew Bledsoe, Patriots QB (1993-2001)

“Can you please stay (expletive) retired? We’re sick of this (expletive).” — Speaking for most NFL fans.

Bill Belichick, Patriots head coach (2000-2023)

“I rescued a dog from a shelter and rescued Randy (Moss) from the Raiders. Sorry you didn’t get a ring. Not sorry enough to give you one of mine.” — Referring to the 2007 trade that sent Moss from AFC West doormat Oakland to title-contending New England.

“Ron Burgundy … the only member of the media I respect.”

“Not so easy running a team, is it Tom? Stick to American football.” — Referring to the English soccer team Birmingham City, which was relegated to a lower league in Brady’s first year as part-owner.

Robert Kraft, Patriots owner

“Vladimir Putin, if you’re watching, give me my (expletive) ring back.” — Kraft has long said that the Russian president stole his Super Bowl XXXIX ring.

Sports fans, particularly those who watched Apple TV+’s documentary DYNASTY, which told the story of the two decades plus of NFL domiance that the Patriots of Kraft, Belicheck and Brady forged, know exactly how acrimoniously coach and owner parted, let alone the rift and rivalry that resulted when Brady signed at age 43 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and earned his seventh Super Bowl title ring and proved he was capable of succeeding under someone else’s offense.

So when, in a moment fueled by the rampant availability of alcohol, emcee Kevin Hart was able to coax the three principles to come center stage and toast each other and their success, it was indeed a viral and unexpected moment.  Per PATRIOT WIRE’s Jordy McElroy:

The actor/comedian got the former duo to come together and put an end to the perceived beef behind the scenes. Before taking the shot, Kraft reiterated that Belichick was the greatest coach in NFL history.

“I want to say, this is the greatest coach in the history of the game that did what no one else has done. And having Tom Brady and him was the greatest honor the good Lord gave me,” said Kraft.

Hart then commented, “A black man made that happen.”

Yes, a black man, following the lead set by an extremely Caucasian former roast emcee with a penchant for alcohol, who turned what was one the domain of the New York Friars’ Clun into weekly TV when his DEAN MARTIN SHOW variety series began to decline.  And the lead set on numerous Comedy Central roasts in the oughts with Jeff Ross at the podium.  Ross was a presence last night as well, and proved he hasn’t lost his touch, as MMA JUNKIE’s Farah Hannoun chronicled:

UFC CEO Dana White,  BMF titleholder Max Holloway and bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley were targeted by… Ross, who burned them with a few roasts:

“What’s up, Dana? Look at this: Talk about a legend in the room. Pull back. I want to show he brought the whole cast of ‘Queer Eye.’ Dana, who are these guys? Are these guys – are they neutered? What the f*ck is going on here? The sign said ‘No pets,’ Dana. I love you, Dana. You’re like Michael Vick but with human beings.”

Later in the more than three-hour program…White got his chance with the microphone. He was introduced during a segment run by Tony Hinchcliffe, but was only given one minute to speak. That didn’t sit well with the UFC boss(:)

It pisses me off,” White said. “I flew all the way out here and you guys give me 60 seconds. My name is Dana. Is that not trans enough for you liberal f*cks?”

I did a spit take on that one.

And on a twilight that followed a particularly tepid SNL, with Dua Lipa valiantly trying to do double duty as host and musical talent but reminding the audience that she’s a musician first and foremost, this was all yet another reminder that while old school ways may still be viable, Netflix seems to have a remarkably good track record at finding ways to freshen things up and yes, even bring me into their tent enough to contribute to a subscription renewal.

And definitely don’t follow the lead that Dean Martin set.  After beginning its run with salutes to the likes of Ronald Reagan, Jack Benny and Johnny Carson, its later entries included hour-long salutes to Peter Marshall, Betty White, Suzanne Somers (a year into THREE’S COMPANY) and Mr. T (a few months into THE A-TEAM).  Don’t go that far down the list of worthy recipients.

But, hey Netflix, since you are in business with his sister company, maybe you could follow this up with a White of your own?

Until next time…

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