August 7, 2012 8:13 AM EST
Aurora Shooting Joke Gets Cut from Comedy Central Roast of Roseanne Barr
Shock comic Jeffrey Ross's ill-timed joke about the Aurora, Colo., shooting at the Comedy Central Roast of Roseanne Barr will be censored from the show's official broadcast on Aug. 12 after receiving widespread criticism, says Comedy Central producer Jonas Larsen.
According to a report Monday from NBC, guests at the Comedy Central Roast on Saturday received Ross's now-infamous a joke comparing fellow comedian Seth Green to Aurora shooter James Holmes with "an audible gasp, followed by awkward applause."
"Seth, congratulations. This is actually a great night for you," said Ross. "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!"
While Ross later admitted that he "crossed a line" with his joke, he defended it as in keeping with the shock-value spirit of the roast. "That is what the roasts are about," said Ross. "That's what Roseanne is about -- unapologetic comedy. If I had held back, I would have done her a disservice."
"I think that this particular roast -- in these particular times we are in -- it is important to exercise freedom of speech," added Ross. "Comedians are apologizing a lot. I am not saying that is right or wrong. But it scares me when I start second-guessing myself. So I wanted to put it out there and remind people what America is about -- and on some level, what the roasts are about."
Ross stated in an interview with The Huffington Post in February that comedians have an obligation "to not hold back." "Do you want me to apologize after every joke?" said Ross. "If it doesn't offend somebody it's probably not a joke. It's probably an observation that's not funny. It's gotta offend somebody somewhere."
Ross also got mixed notices earlier in the night when he arrived on the red carpet dressed as the recently deceased Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, accompanied by two young men wearing only football helmets and towels.
After the taping, roast honoree Roseanne Barr responded to Ross's joke, saying that it "crossed the line." "But comedy is about moving the line... And where is the line in a country that has freedom of speech? Maybe there isn't one," Barr said.
Ross wasn't the only comedian to cross the line, though. Just one week after the slaughter in Aurora, Dane Cook joked, "So I heard that the guy came into the theater about 25 minutes into the movie. And I don't know if you've seen the movie, but the movie is pretty much a piece of crap... Yeah, spoiler alert. And I know that if none of that would have happened, I'm pretty sure that somebody in that theater, about 25 minutes in, realizing it was a piece of crap, probably was like, 'Ugh f-king shoot me.'"
The next day, Cook took to Twitter to apologize for his "bad judgment call."
View the slideshow to see photos of other comedians who crossed the line with their jokes.