Aurora Theater Shooting

Jeffrey Ross's Aurora theater shooting joke won't be aired by Comedy Central

Update: Earlier this morning, we posted about comic Jeffrey Ross making an Aurora theater shooting joke at a Comedy Central roast of onetime Denver resident Roseanne Barr; see our earlier coverage below.

We noted that Ross hasn't apologized for the gags, and he still hasn't. But he's now admitting he may have gone too far with the material, which won't air as part of the event's broadcast.

According to a just-published NBC News item, Ross says he "crossed a line" with the joke, in which he likened actor Seth Green to accused shooter James Holmes. However, he defended doing so by saying, "that is what the roasts are about. 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," he went on. "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."

It won't be what the roast broadcast is about, however. The show's producer, Jonas Larsen, told NBC that the jokes won't be included in the Comedy Central's airing of the happening, slated for August 12.

Here's our previous coverage.

Original post, 5:46 a.m. August 6: We appear to have already reached the no-apologies stage when it comes to jokes about the Aurora theater shooting -- at least in comedian Jeffrey Ross's opinion. After stand-up Dane Cook delivered an onstage gag about the massacre days afterward, he tweeted an apology. But no such mea culpa was shared by Ross after comparing actor Seth Green to accused assassin James Holmes at the taping of a Comedy Central roast targeting former Denverite Roseanne Barr.

Moreover, the press paid more attention to Ross's costume for the evening -- he dressed as the late Penn State football coach and alleged pedophile protector Joe Paterno -- than for his lines about Aurora.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Ross aimed his theater attack barbs at actor Seth Green, whose red hair he likened to Holmes's bizarre dye job. "Congratulations," he told Green. "This is actually a really big night for you. You haven't gotten this much attention since you shot all those people in Aurora."

Following some oooohs from the crowd, Ross reportedly came back with this: "I'm kidding! You're not like James Holmes. At least he's doing something in a movie theater that people remember."

Afterward, Ross took to Twitter, but not for an I'm-sorry. Instead, he offered this....

...and this....

Granted, Ross's shtick is to be purposefully offensive -- and in not backing down, he's at least being consistent. In a previous interview with the Huffington Post, Ross dismissed post-joke apologies by saying it "would be a real state of affairs in this country, if comedians started putting a filter on our brains."

No word if the loved ones of shooting victims concur -- or if this attempted witticism will make the final broadcast, which is slated to air on August 12.

More from our Aurora Theater Shooting archive: "James Holmes inspires Holmies fan groups: Real phenomenon or media overreaction?"

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts