Concert review: Jeffrey Ross at the Pabst Theater

By Kevin Kaber

In recent years, Comedy Central’s roast series has become one of the station’s most popular and memorable programs. From Pamela Anderson to Charlie Sheen, notorious celebrities have suffered an awful slew of roasts from numerous comics. Likely the most infamous of those comics, Jeffrey Ross, is now known as the Roastmaster General – a title only fitting for the most disrespectful.

Fellow comic Tony Hinchcliffe opened for Ross. Hinchcliffe, a small-statured man, couldn’t catch the crowd’s attention quite well. Remarking that his bodily features categorize the comedian as “gay as fuck,” Hinchcliffe’s set hardly swayed from frat-boy humor with plenty of gay jokes (“I look like I could take a clobbering of dicks”), pot stories and the occasional riff at audience members (many of whom heckled continuously).

After Hinchcliffe’s mediocre set, WLUM’s Kramp & Adler, who seemingly host every comedy show in the Milwaukee area, introduced Ross. Ross entered with an extreme mop-top that nearly reached his shoulders, and immediately proclaimed that Adler works for 102.1, and weighs 1002.1 pounds. And so the deprecation began.

Immediately, Ross began taking shots at Milwaukee, the Pabst and Wisconsin in general. Like other visitors from Southern California, Ross was upset about the weather, but he was even more astounded by the amount of overweight Milwaukeeans (“Mil-walk-ee? No one walks here” and “I ordered a brat and they asked, ‘Would you like a brat with your brat?’”). Ross was also excited about the Pabst’s history, asking where Lincoln got shot and proclaiming that Francis Scott Key received oral sex in the balcony (“…and the rockets’ red glare!”).

“I’m here to put the sin in Wisconsin,” Ross piped. “It took me four hours to think of that.”

The raunchy comic went on with a number of written jokes – some of which appeared on Comedy Central specials and others that were fairly recent. Among them, stabs at Steve Jobs (“He was thinner than the iPad 2,” among others) and Don Cornelius’s “electric sui-slide.” It wasn’t long until Ross did what so many fans solely knew him for.

Asking for volunteers to be roasted, a gaggle of fans instantly rushed to the stage. “This is the ugliest group of people I’ve ever seen,” Ross said. The Roastmaster went down the line, giving each member a piece of his mind. Among them, a Native American who stood in front of a man wearing a long sleeve American Flag denim shirt (“Watch out, he’s the enemy! Hoo-ah-hoo-ha Hoo-ah-hoo-ha,” Ross chanted) and a peculiarly drunk woman that wouldn’t stop her high-pitched giggling (Ross asked her, “How much do you charge to haunt the Pabst?” but later realized that she was “like the Forrest Gump of un-fuckable prostitutes.”) At least no one took him too seriously, although Ross often found himself being feebly kicked and slapped.

Ross ended his set by asking crowd members to play piano while he recited some poems. Though one man began playing what he called “Ambien in C-minor,” a young woman stole the stage. Ross more or less asked her anything that would make any feminist cringe, and offered to show her his “Bronze Fonz.” After exiting to the lobby for a meet and greet, Ross escaped without any harassment charges.

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