The September 13, 2016, edition of NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross features an interview with comic and "Roastmaster General" Jeff Ross, who produces and hosts Comedy Central's celebrity roasts and others.
During a line of questioning about changing audiences in an age of trigger warnings, Ross insists that more people want to be roasted at his shows and even volunteer to be insulted on stage in a room full of strangers. He then recalls a young musician who volunteered at a show in Austin, Texas. Who was this bold soul? None other than Denver's own Kalyn Heffernan of hip-hop group Wheelchair Sports Camp.
Listen here. The bits about Heffernan and company start around the 21:20 mark.
The encounter between Ross and Heffernan turned out to be spur-of-the-moment, since it happened at SXSW, and the hip-hop artist says she didn't volunteer to go on stage to be "normalized," as Ross says. Instead, she didn't actually know who Ross was or what "roasting" meant, but she was game for a random experience, and she "had a blast."
"After Jeff's standup, he started asking for women, ugly people, disabled people to come up on stage," Heffernan says. "Of course I was the only visibly disabled person in the audience, and my boyfriends egged me on."
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It turns out that being roasted by a comic isn't unfamiliar to Heffernan. "[It] is really just signing up to lose a rap battle," she says. "I would gladly volunteer if I knew what being roasted meant, because I love losing rap battles!"
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Heffernan's random encounters with comedians continued after the roast. "After the show, Jeff, Doug Benson and our crew became friends in the alley," she says. "Oh, SXSW."
We're pretty sure that next time there's a roast going on, Heffernan could handle the MC duties.
Wheelchair Sports Camp celebrates its NO BIG DEAL album release at Ophelia's on September 22, 2016.