The upcoming Comedy Central Roast Of Roseanne promises to have plenty of material suggesting that she is overweight, weds impulsively, and suffers from personality disorders, but network tolerance for that sort of controversy-baiting “shock” humor only goes so far. Jeffrey Ross found this out when he strayed from those mutually agreed-upon subjects to get in a dig at fellow roaster Seth Green, who answered the question of what Seth Green was doing there by being revealed as a prop for Ross’ jokes about the Aurora shooting. “Congratulations,” Ross said to Green, according to Entertainment Weekly. “This is actually a really big night for you. You haven’t gotten this much attention since you shot all those people in Aurora.” After the joke was “met with a resounding ohhhhh,” Ross doubled down, saying, “I’m kidding! You’re not like James Holmes. At least he’s doing something in a movie theater that people remember.”
That punchline was reportedly answered by “continuing sounds of mouth-gaped shock, along with a mix of boo’s and a scattering of slow applause” from those who couldn't believe Ross had dared to impugn Mars Needs Moms like that, and also the whole mass killing thing. And much like the conversation lazily, halfheartedly prompted by Dane Cook's recent sort-of-joke, Ross' gag sparked a lot of talk about whether he had "crossed the line"—and Roseanne and even Ross himself immediately declared that, yes, he did. But while Ross and Roseanne also argued that crossing the line is what comedy is all about (particularly at roasts, such as the precedent set by Gilbert Gottfried just after 9/11), Comedy Central isn't taking the chance, cutting the joke from the August 12 broadcast so that no one will hear it, ever. Potentially further testing national sensitivities, Ross' other bit of topical tomfoolery—in which he arrived to the dais dressed as Joe Paterno, flanked by two football players wearing towels—presumably will remain in the show, as will the ongoing tragedy of Tom Arnold.