Last night’s Roast of Rob Lowe on Comedy Central was misleadingly titled. The event actually turned out to be a stealth roast of incongruous participant and noted hate-gargoyle, Ann Coulter. The conservative pundit is someone who believes that women should not be allowed to vote and that Mexicans are more dangerous than ISIS, so of course a roomful of comedians and also Jewel (?) would have ample ammunition to take her down. In an M. Night Shyamalan-worthy twist, however, Coulter refused to let anyone else be the one to embarrass her the most, and ultimately played herself.
For most of the night, Coulter suffered in silence as the jokes about her politics and presumed dearth of willing sexual partners piled up. Instead of the standard roast pose of smiling along with the jokes to show you’re a good sport, though, Coulter’s face is frozen most of the time in a grimace-y rictus. By the end of it, viewers might almost feel bad for her. Almost. Before that possibility can be fully explored, the author is given her turn to address the other roasters on the dais–and goes down in molten-hot flames.
After an accurate introduction from David Spade, describing what’s to follow as “a real treat for fans of hate-watching,” Ann Coulter makes every effort to remain the Harry Potter villain of this panel. Her opening gambit is to “admit” she is only at the event to shamelessly plug her new book about how Donald Trump is awesome. As a visual aid, she actually places a hardcover copy of the book atop the podium, cover out, perhaps hoping the cynical transparency of this self-serving mission will win cool points from someone. It does not, and things only get worse from here. It’s as though she started off a race by tripping over a hurdle and then got both feet caught in separate bear traps that she places on the track for some reason.
Speaking in the voice of an old cartoon dowager saying “Well, I never!” Coulter goes through a series of tasteless jokes completely devoid of any poise or comic timing. (The number of times she stutters or steps over her own punchline is fascinating.) She makes a joke about David Spade that is almost clever in premise if it didn’t rely on a racial slur interpretation of the comedian’s last name, or reinforce the divisiveness of the presidential candidate about whom she just wrote a book. She gets tepid applause from the crowd for some jokes, along with a lot of audible boos, and many reaction shots of the audience members pointedly not laughing. The comedians onstage express their disapproval silently for the most part, save for the notable exception of Pete Davidson, who fake-laughs and yells out ‘Good one,” unable to pretend a joke about him isn’t both offensive and offensively unfunny.
Worsening the chances of Coulter moving on to a career as a comedian with terrifying political views, two of the roast’s writers confirm that she wrote her own material. Comedians Mike Lawrence and Earl Skakel made a Facebook Live video describing the jokes they offered Coulter. Instead of trusting the counsel of professionals, she said “I got this,” and engineered the train wreck her haters hoped for. Ah, hubris.
Watch the Facebook Live video below.