Jeff Ross is one of my best buddies. I love the guy. You know what that means, right? It means I’ll be dead soon.
Sorry. I had to make that easy, sleazy, joke. Once again, low hanging fruit is still fruit. There are a lot of great jokes to be made at Jeff’s expense, and the great thing is that no one will laugh at them as hard as he will. Jeff Ross loves to laugh. He also loves to make people laugh. He’s also got a big giant heart. He’s so much more than ‘the Roastmaster’, which don’t get me wrong is good work if you can get it, but he’s growing beyond that into one of the best stand-ups working in the business today. His act is so strong, so loose and yet so polished. He’s a veteran with a lot of decades in, and has matured in the way that only the really great comics can mature. Slowly, and often sadly.
As many know he’s had a lot of loss in his life. These last few years he’s lost everything but weight. (Sorry. I don’t know what’s come over me? Forgive me.) Seriously, Jeff has had a lot of loss recently, and actually his whole life. He lost his parents young, he was 14 when his mother died of Leukemia and he was ony 19 when his dad passed. He’s lost a lot of close friends, but he found out early on that he would never really be alone because he had not only a love for the world of comedy, but he was damn good at it. Anyone that knows Jeff knows how much he cherishes show business. How much he adores other comedians, reveres the past, and has a soft spot for the new acts coming up. The way I see it Jeff Ross is the perfect link between the old school comics of his pal Buddy Hackett, and Don Rickles, and the new modern comics like Chappelle, Sara Silverman, Louis C.K., Chris Rock and Jim Carrey. I will also tell you that he’s one guy that all the comics love as well. All ages. He’s the person in comedy I go to when I need to talk real. I know a lot of people feel that way about him. He just, as I said, has a huge heart. It could be from all the pain and loss he’s had in his life, or he could just be a damn good Jew. Who knows? The way he treats new guys he meets is so interesting. I have to think he’s passing on the way these old fuckers treated him.
So yeah, Jeff’s standup has grown a lot as a result of the last few years and the audience reaps the rewards. Not only has his material matured, so has his whole act. He really is so much more than ‘The Roasmaster.’ Don’t get me wrong he still brings up a gaggle of volunteers from the audience most nights and does a segment he calls ‘speed roasting’ that’s not only hilarious, but stupefying to watch wondering how he does it. How his mind moves that quick? It’s truly so wild, and fabulously fluid some nights you wonder if any of the audience volunteers are ‘plants’, but they’re not. He’s just that damn fast.
Yet there are long stretches of the act, that have some really deep and measured routines. His piece on his dog sticks out to me, and as far as just jerk-back laughter funny he does an 8-10 minutes on the Queen of England, that is a world class bit, intended to be funny as hell, offensive, and at the same time, very loving.
His other act identity, which I enjoy so much is as part of Bumping Mics. It’s truly my number one most favorite thing to watch in stand-up right now. He and Dave Attell are Abbott and Costello on really good weed. Lots of weed. Maye some mushrooms as well. It’s a classic comedy routine. I refer to it as Comedy-Jazz. You can see three great episodes of them doing it on their titular Netflix series ‘Bumbing Mics’, but if you ever have the chance to see them live you have to go, no questions asked. I go just to get my reps of hard laughter in whenever I can. Nothing makes me laugh harder than these two guys together. There’s an energy there that makes me so happy.
Jeff is currently touring the country. Sometimes by himself, sometimes with Dave Atell, and often with Dave Chappelle. Treat yourself to seeing him live. He’s a legend. He’s our Rickles or Hackett, or, better yet, he’s our Jeff Ross.
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