Roast of Tom Brady epitomized what comedy should be, nothing was off-limits

In today’s societal climate, it’s rare to see an entire group of people completely ignore the “rules” set forth by the outrage mob to create true comedy. But that’s exactly what made “Greatest Roast of All-Time: Tom Brady” one of the best American comedy events in the past five years. 

Was the show clunky at times? It was. Were there some terrible performances? There were. Would it have been more enjoyable without slogging along for three-plus hours? Maybe. 

Yes, it was long. But the results of doing the show live made the grind worth it. Why? Because perpetually-offended producers in Hollywood or at Netflix didn’t have a chance to edit out the “offensive jokes” that no-doubt riled up the “I have a great sense of humor, but that kind of humor just isn’t funny” crowd. 


To be fair to that group, I didn’t see all that much backlash from the event. Granted, it’s a Netflix special and should pick up steam as it sits on the platform. Live events aren’t what they used to be, so there’s still time. 

Perhaps, though, this is a signal that American society is returning to its best form. The one where people understand jokes for what they are: jokes. At its very core, comedy is meant to be offensive. 

Even the played-out “my mother-in-law is a monster” bits are rooted in making someone the butt of the joke. 

But the “Roast of Tom Brady” went far deeper than that. There were jokes about murder, suicide, gay people, transgender people, black people, white people, Jewish people, democrats, republicans, mentally-challenged people … no one was spared. And we all laughed. That’s a good thing. We need more of it. 

“The Roast of Tom Brady” might have brought comedy back to American society.

Tony Hinchcliffe, Jeff Ross and Nikki Glaser speak onstage during G.R.O.A.T The Greatest Roast Of All Time: Tom Brady for the Netflix is a Joke Festival at The Kia Forum on May 05, 2024 in Inglewood, California. (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Netflix)

One of the most important acts of the night came from a comedian named Tony Hinchcliffe. I must admit, I was not familiar with him prior to the roast. But he went on that stage on Sunday night with zero fear and the results speak for themselves. 

Some of his one-liners were legendary – even if you can’t tell them at your corporate job this week. If you do, you probably have to whisper, and you must really, really trust your co-worker. 

He came out of the gate firing, starting with one of the most common themes of the night: Kevin Hart is short. Another played-out bit, but you have to play the hits at these things. But Hinchcliffe managed to weave in Aaron Hernandez’ suicide into a Kevin Hart height joke. 

“All night, [Kevin Hart] has been using the stool that Aaron Hernandez kicked out from under himself.” 

Again, I had no predispositions about Hinchcliffe. But I immediately realized this guy wasn’t here to mess around or worry about people’s feelings. 

“Tom Brady is a Patriot, which is surprising since he looks like a Confederate Fag.” 

Turns out, he was just warming up. 

“Jeff [Ross] is so Jewish, he only watches football for the coin toss.” 

Then, he took aim at DEI with a joke directed at a relatively-unknown comedienne named Sam Jay. 

“Sam Jay is here, an obese, African-American, lesbian … by having her here, Netflix checked a lot of boxes.” 

There are too many good jokes to write them all out, but here’s a supercut of his set.

In a strange twist, it was Julian Edelman who brought some of the most offensive material to the Tom Brady Roast.

Gronk, Julian Edelman and Sean O'Malley

Rob Gronkowski, Sean O’Malley and Julian Edelman attend the G.R.O.A.T The Greatest Roast Of All Time: Tom Brady afterparty for the Netflix is a Joke Festival at The Kia Forum on May 05, 2024 in Inglewood, California. (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Netflix)

Of course, the comedians brought the comedy and brought the offensive material. Jeff Ross came out in an O.J. Simpson jersey and said he had just visited Aaron Hernandez in hell. 

Nikki Glaser said that Rob Gronkowski puts “the ‘Downs’ in touchdowns … the ‘special’ in special teams … [and] the ‘tard’ in Rob Gronkowski is retarded.”

They were both great, but they also did their jobs as comedians. The real surprise came when Brady’s former teammate, Edelman, hit the stage. I was not prepared for where he was going to go with his roast. 

“Everyone always asks me how big Gronk’s d— is,” Edelman began one of his jokes. “Don’t get me wrong, it gets the job done. But there was this other Patriots tight end…” he continued before taking a long pause. 

“Now, he was HUNG,” Edelman concluded to gasps from the crowd, a reference to Aaron Hernandez hanging himself in prison. Dark! But, admittedly, a very funny joke. 

Then, there was his joke about Jeff Ross that really struck me. It was one of those “can he really say that?!” moments. That’s when I realized that comedy was back, baby. 

“Fun fact, Jeff and I are both Jewish. The difference is I’m the kind of Jew that makes people say ‘oh, you’re Jewish?’” Edelman began, again before taking a long pause. 

“Jeff Ross is the kind of Jew that makes people want to join Hamas.”

Even Tom Brady wasn’t afraid to “go there” during the Roast. 

Tom Brady poses on red carpet

Tom Brady was the star of the show at the Netflix Is A Joke Fest, “The Greatest Roast Of All Time: Tom Brady.” (Monica Schipper)

As all roasts do, the event concluded with Tom Brady getting a chance to defend himself from taking the heat for three hours. He had some good zingers in there, but the one that really showed that no one on this panel cared about getting canceled was his brilliant 9/11 joke. 

I can’t believe I just wrote that Tom Brady had a “brilliant 9/11 joke.” If that doesn’t tell you that comedy is back, I don’t know what does. 

“Like the rest of America, I’ll always remember where I was that fateful day in September 2001, when tragically…” Brady started, as the entire crowd sat tensely wondering where he was going. 

“Those two Jets slammed into Drew Bledsoe.” 

Fate in humanity and American society restored! There were too many great jokes to list all of them, and some of them were extremely “offensive.” Of course, I don’t mean that I was offended, rather that those who make a living by being offended probably were offended. 


But, screw them. A funny joke is a funny joke. They’re not going to take that away from us. Thank you to Tom Brady and the cast of characters at the roast Sunday night for reminding us of America’s greatest export: comedy. 

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