Comedian Jeffery Ross acknowledged that his recent joke regarding the mass shooting last month in Aurora, Colo. “crossed a line.”
He cracked the joke during Comedy Central’s Roast of Roseanne, which was taped this weekend and airs Aug. 12. The joke is expected to be edited out before it airs.
Ross reportedly entered the show dressed as Jerry Sandusky, the ex-Penn State assistant football coach who was convicted of sexually abusing young boys, accompanied by two shirtless boys wearing football helmets.
The shocking choice in wardrobe paled in comparison to when he suggested that actor Seth Green’s red hair resembled the dyed hair donned by James Holmes, the alleged movie theater massacre gunman.
“Seth, congratulations. This is actually a great night for you,” Ross reportedly said. “You haven’t gotten this much attention since you shot all those people in Aurora. … I’m kidding. You are not like James Holmes. At least he did something in a movie theater that people remember!”
The audience’s gasps ensued shortly after, followed by half-hearted applause from some of the 600 invited guests at the Hollywood Palladium, according to reports.
When asked about the joke, Ross admitted he went too far with that one.
“Yes, I crossed a line, and that is what the roasts are about,” he was quoted as saying. “That’s what Roseanne is about — unapologetic comedy. If I had held back, I would have done her a disservice.”
He also said that comedians are apologizing a lot these days, and that it scares him when he starts second-guessing himself.
More racy humor can be expected in Ross’s new series, The Burn, premiering on Aug. 14.
“I really want my new show to be a safe haven for comedians, I feel like bad taste is not a crime,” Ross said. “There should be a place in this country for comedians to say whatever comes to their heads.”
Fellow comedian Dane Cook was also under fire for jokes about the Colorado shooting.