The Telefile
<i>The Roast of James Franco</i>: Grading the Roasters

Comedy Central netted a big fish for its annual celebrity roast when they got James Franco interested in being mocked and ridiculed by his famous friends -- like Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill -- on national television. But the night itself turned out to be a mixed bag, with some of the roasters killing it and others seeming to hold themselves back, not wanting to piss off their pal. Here's our roaster report card from a B-level Roast of an A-list star.

Seth Rogen
Best Line: "Speaking of 140 characters no one gives a shit about, Bill Hader is here."
Worst Line: "I always thought [Sarah] was very liberal, but it turns out she's actually a giant bush supporter."
Best Franco Dig: "I know why I'm here. Because whenever you do something without me, it sucks."
Overall Grade: C. Too nervous and cautious by half, Rogen seemed genuinely confused by his and Franco's presence at this event and said as much several times during his hosting gig. Too many times, to be honest. Dude, if you really didn't want to do this, you shouldn't have said "Yes."

Nick Kroll
Best Line: "What does this other guy look like that you're the face of the operation? I assume he's like a sweaty Orthodox Jew eating a pastrami sandwich."
Worst Line: "Andy Samberg is here. Or as I like to call him: better looking, more successful me."
Best Franco Dig: "James always has that look of 'Oh man, how did this perfect amount of facial hair end up on my face?"
Overall Grade: B-. Kroll's set ran on the short side, but at least he injected more 'tude into the proceedings than the reluctant host. If Comedy Central ever decides to roast a League cast member, Kroll has to be the emcee.

Jonah Hill
Best Line: "What does my man Bill do? He goes ahead and books himself a T-Mobile commercial. Whose laughing now, Lorne Michaels?"
Worst Line: "Every little girl dreams of being a 50-year-old single stand-up comedian with no romantic prospects on the horizon."
Best Franco Dig: "He got into Yale just like everybody else. He got really, really famous and just kind of asked a person from Yale if he could go there. Just like everybody else."
Overall Grade: C+. He started off strong with that great T-Mobile riff at the expense of Hader, but the rest of the material was mostly lukewarm.

Sarah Silverman
Best Line: "What is this -- the Comedy Central Audit of James Franco"?
Worst Line: "You have such a body transformation in the past couple years. You've come a long way from just being Sonny and Cher's daughter."
Best Franco Dig: "I don't think James is necessarily gay or straight -- I think he literally can't open his eyes enough to see who he's fucking."
Overall Grade: B. Silverman can do this kind of thing in her sleep… which she sort of did. Fortunately, her one-liners were sharp enough to overcome here slightly dull delivery.

Bill Hader
Best Line: "I put you on a movie poster and I said, 'Deal with it.' And then I put Barbara Streisand on the poster and the world said, 'No.'"
Worst Line: "Like Enterprise Rental Car on Christmas Day, I do not have a vehicle for me."
Best Franco Dig: "You overcame a crippling childhood affliction known as 'Dumbface.'"
Overall Grade: A-. Essentially validating Rogen's comic critique of him, Hader opted to perform his set not as himself, but as a character -- the President of Hollywood to be specific. Honestly, it was a bit of a cheat considering that everyone else showed up prepared to insult Franco in their own skins, but the Prez proved to be a pretty hysterical creation totally worthy of his creator's former digs on Rock Center's Studio 8H. Best of all, Hader owns the character rather than Lorne Michaels.

Natasha Leggero
Best Line: "Andy's comedy group is called the Lonely Island. Which is how each of his teeth feel."
Worst Line: "Bill Hader, you are this generation's Phil Hartman. Hopefully."
Best Franco Dig: "At first I wasn't sure why James would do this roast and then I saw Spring Breakers and I was like, oh, he'll do anything."
Overall Grade: D. Mainly there to assist Silverman in keeping the roast from turning into a total sausage fest, Leggero's unfamiliarity with any of the other people on the dais showed in the mostly cheap and derivative gags she directed their way. We wished we had taken Aziz's advice and fast-forwarded through her set.

Andy Samberg
Best Line: "Hey Aziz, what's it like to have a unique perspective on what it means to be American you bag of shit!"
Worst Line: "It's like at Boston Market in here, 'cause I'm roasting all these Kenny Rogers' chickens."
Best Franco Dig: "I don't go down to your job and knock James Franco's dick out of my mouth. You never take me anywhere, James!"
Overall Grade: C. Samberg admirably attempted a self-aware, heavily ironic take on the duties of a roaster, but it mostly landed with a thud. Maybe it would have worked a little better with a backbeat. Or a Justine Timberlake cameo.

Aziz Ansari
Best Line: "The funniest part of This is the End to me is that if James actually had that party, I don't think I would have been invited."
Worst Line: N/A. Pretty much every line in his set was killer.
Best Franco Dig: "Franco, I don't know you that well, but I'm glad you had me here and later tonight I'm looking forward to you coming up here and doing what you do best: being mildly funny doing material Seth Rogen has written for you."
Overall Grade: A. By far the evening's standout roaster, Aziz blew everyone else off that dais with great put-down after great put-down. This may have been his first Roast, but he aced it like a pro.

Jeff Ross
Best Line: "It made me realize how funny Kevin James is."
Worst Line: "Did they pass out smoothies that taste like Judd Apatow's asshole?"
Best Franco Dig: "Does Ryan Gosling ever call you, start laughing and then hang up?"
Overall Grade: B-. Shunted to the sidelines by Rogen's elevation to host, Comedy Central's designated Roast emcee was visibly the most comfortable with the format. Too bad his material was only so-so.

James Franco
Best Line: "Sure you're buddies with Brad Pitt and Channing Tatum, but I was your first handsome friend."
Worst Line: "It reminded me of the time on the set of Pineapple Express where Seth Rogen tried to rape me."
Best Franco Dig: "I was a genius at the Oscars. That was experimental tuxedo sleep art."
Overall Grade: B. The night's guest of honor struck back at his tormentors, but didn't draw much blood. He was far better making fun of himself; that "experimental tuxedo sleep art" line is by far the best explanation we've heard for his Oscar hosting train wreck.

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