Comedy Central has confirmed it will next “roast” James Franco—a decision that, as with past roastees like David Hasselhoff and Charlie Sheen, again raises the question of whether it’s possible to satirize a living self-parody. The opportunity for such philosophical explorations into the depths of persona and Lisa Lampanelli’s vagina obviously interested James Franco, who made the announcement himself via Instagram video: “Hey y’all wassup, I’m gonna get roasted on Comedy Central. Be sure to check it out. They wanted me to tell you that. All right,” Franco mumbled, his studied detachment a subtextual nod to the artificial construct that is the roast’s illusion of artistic community. “Ha ha,” he laughed mirthlessly, a daring reflection of the audience.
After allowing Franco’s announcement to linger—the ensuing silence inviting questions of whether this was itself the intended lampooning of James Franco—the network confirmed that, no, there would also be an actual roast airing September 2, to be immediately followed by James Franco’s documentary about James Franco, Francophrenia, in a self-reflexive double feature. Though the lineup for the roast has yet to be released, it will presumably feature James Franco being ruthlessly teased by a procession of James Francos, who will read to James Franco various abstract phrases drawn from the plays of Eugène Ionesco and the movies of River Phoenix, while Franco slowly shakes his head to and fro to convey the dizzying absurdity of life. Roastmaster shall be the ghost of William Faulkner, contacted by séance, who will mockingly suggest James Franco is gay.