Last night Comedy Central held its annual roast, with David Hasselhoff this year’s victim, err, honoree. A host of celebrities (or is it “celebrities” – some are marginally known comedians) paid tribute to The Hoff, including Pam Anderson, Whitney Cummings, George Hamilton (uh, random), Gilbert Gottfried, Lisa Lampanelli and “Family Guy’s” Seth Macfarlane.
I will admit that I’ve never quite understood the whole “roast” thing – it seems like a competition to say meaner and dirtier things about the so-called honoree, and sometimes by people who barely know him. I can’t remember roaster Hulk Hogan and the Hoff ever appearing together before.
But what really seems off about this roast is that Hasselhoff has had so many serious and disturbing problems in recent years. The father of two is an admitted alcoholic who was accused of violent behavior toward his ex-wife when they got divorced four years ago and who has struggled to stay on the wagon. Is this really something we should be making light of?
Perhaps most disturbing, the roasters last night made lots of comments about that thoroughly messed up YouTube video that was released three years ago, in which a clearly off-the-wagon Hasselhoff is shown on the floor, shirtless, trying to eat a hamburger.
His daughter, Taylor Ann, filmed the video in an apparent attempt to get Hasselhoff to stop drinking by showing how awful he acted when intoxicated. She was heard behind the camera saying, “Tell me you are going to stop,” over and over. Not exactly funny stuff, but the roasters repeatedly referenced the clip, making it sound like just another chapter between “Baywatch” and “America’s Got Talent” in Hasselhoff’s long and weird career.
But it wasn’t. Hasselhoff didn’t seem to give up drinking – there have been repeated reports over the last year of his binges, though his reps continue to deny it. And doesn’t his mere presence at a roast put him in danger of falling off the wagon, with the adult beverages presumably flowing around him?
I think his friends at the roast could have been of greater help trying to get him help rather than milking his problems for humor. It just doesn’t seem very funny to laugh at a video where a daughter is crying out to her father to get help.