Comedy Roasts Throughout History

See some of the best roasts through history!

Christian Krauspeby Christian Krauspe

Comedy Central roasts have gotten bigger and more popular every year. But before Charlie Sheen, David Hasselhof and Donald Trump, and even before the famous Dean Martin roasts, people have been roasting one another for over a thousand years. 

We've done some digging and found some famous roasts you may not known that have happened. Take a look at some of the best roasts throughout the millennia. 


The Tide, Now with Shout!Roast of Sandra Day O’ Connor

Keeping with her hip, new-lady-on-the-block approach to the Supreme Court, Judge Sandra Day O’ Connor was the first woman with political office to agree to partake in a roast. While many of her conservative constituents were wary of her venture, the honorable Judge laughed off roasters jabs at her. Pundits recall such zingers as Don Rickle’s line, “Sandy is against Roe v. Wade so much that she has a door on her vagina that says “all are welcome.” Despite the topical humor, O’ Connor was able to take it all with strife, though many roasters were surprised to return home only to find loved friends and family relocated to Sing Sing Federal Penitentiary.


The SS Panzerguppen Abendessen Ziet Roast of Heinrich Himmler

Known for his warmth and gentle spirit, no one made a better roastee than SS head, Heinrich Himmler. Responsible for the most brutal division of Nazi storm troopers, Himmler had always been fond of jokes at his own expense. Noted one spectator, “When they made the jokes he just kept blinking… faster and faster. It was very odd behavior. But after the ritual sacrifice of a goat to the Norse Gods upon the Aryan alter, I think the comedians really hit their stride.” It should be noted that this roast was surprisingly vacant of Jewish comedians.


The Coca-Cola Bottling Company Presents the Roast of Fatty Arbuckle

Silent film icon and sexual assault enthusiast, Fatty Arbuckle was the talk of the town when he was roasted in 1925 in Hollywood, California. Depression era stars like, Bob Hope, Buster Keaton, and Charlie Chaplin were all in attendance for the grand event. They laughed the night away, punching women for not bringing their drinks fast enough and assaulting minorities for shits’n’giggles. Many remember Jack Warner’s favorite joke of the night, “Mr. Arbuckle loves women almost as much as he loves food, the only difference is he doesn’t beat food unconscious before he eats it!”


The Weight Watchers Roast of President William Taft

Famously tubby 27th President, William H. Taft, was roasted at the White House during his first term. The roasters included were the 350+ pound President’s former Yale buddies and political allies. It was catered by the Hersey’s chocolate company. The roast was stopped part way through due to Taft’s recurring heart palpitations. Several times while laughing, the President clutched at his chest in agony. Though all were relieved when Taft caught his breath after coughing up a turkey leg.


The Death to Christ Worshippers Association Roast of Roman Emperor Nero

Famously insane Julio-Claudian Roman emperor, Nero, was roasted by his fellow countrymen during a break at the gladiatorial games. Thousands of sick and poor Romans hoo-ed and haw-ed alongside their leader as he was jabbed-at by hot comedians of the era; such as Pegasus Silverman, Lavinius CK, and Patrocolus Oswalt. After the festivities were all over, Nero got the last laugh by hiring romans with the plague to work the funnel cake stand. And just to be safe, he threw some people to the lions.