This year’s festival is happening hot on the heels of a series of comedy-based scandals: Michelle Wolf coming under fire for her jokes about Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Roseanne Barr getting her show cancelled because of a blantantly racist tweet, Samantha Bee supposedly “crossing the line” on hers. Do incidents like those make Ross worry that he might inadvertently say the “wrong thing” and get in some “trouble” of his own?
“When I see that Comedy Central is behind this, I know that I’m protected,” he says. “They always stick up for comics. And I feel like it’s part of our responsibility not to hold back. If other people aren’t censoring us and we start censoring ourselves, then I don’t think I’d want to be a comedian. The only reason I love being a comic is that I get to say what I want.”
Since he was a kid growing up in Springfield, New Jersey, Ross says he was always proud to live in a country where you could “make fun of anything,” including the president of the United States. And despite Donald Trump’s seeming refusal to laugh at himself in public, Ross knows a different side of the president. “When I tell a joke about Donald Trump, most of the jokes he would laugh at,” he says from experience.
“I’ve roasted you twice for charity and you’ve always been a good sport and even called me afterwards to tell me how much fun you had,” he wrote in a recent article for The Daily Beast, urging Trump to reconsider his decision to skip the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner.