Comedian Ross leaves no member of audience uninsulted at Borgata

By Scott Cronick

From The Press of Atlantic City, Sunday, June 08, 2008

Why did Jeffrey Ross wait so long? That's the only question that can be posed after Ross made his New Jersey stand-up debut Saturday night at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.

The comedian, actor and writer, best known for his roastmaster duties on Comedy Central roasts of Flavor Flav, Pam Anderson and others, was brilliantly funny.

Ross, who last appeared in Atlantic City as the host of ESPN's "Mike & Mike Show" at the House of Blues earlier this year, showed he can do much more than insult people, although he did some of that, too.

In fact, that's what made Ross' show so funny. His ability to rip into people is certainly in a class with Don Rickles, but he also is a stellar stand-up comic. Combine the two abilities and you have one great performer.

Ross, who greeted the crowd by telling them he never performed in New Jersey before because he "never felt ready," was certainly on top of his game Saturday.

The insults were in abundance as he picked on crowd members, particularly regarding their clothing choices.

"Thanks for wearing your good flip-flops," he told one young male audience member. "Jesus Christ had better footwear than you."

Holding a gold microphone and wearing a black leather suit with shiny gold snakeskin boots, the Newark native clearly felt at home, especially when offering some Jersey jokes.

"Borgata is an old French word," he said. "It means three ---ing hours on the Garden State Parkway. Jersey is tough. At 10 I had to learn to breathe through my eyes." With a friendly crowd full of friends and family for his homecoming, Ross tackled subjects ranging from high school to airport security to politics.

"I was elected in my senior class the most likely to fart during sit-ups," he said.

"They confiscated my cigar cutter. What am I going to do, circumcise the passengers?"

Of course, most of Ross' best material was raunchy, littered with words that had a few Borgata players walking out. Once in a while, he kept it relatively clean.

On a porn actress asking him out: "She said, 'I'm working on Tuesday and Wednesday. How about we go out Thursday?' I was like, 'How about Monday?'"

Most comics absolutely bomb when they get involved in audience participation, but Ross is the rare comic who actually makes it work. Toward the end of the show, the comedian brought two volunteer musicians to accompany him while he read ridiculous poems. Ross found gold in "Larry the tollbooth guy," whom Ross guessed was a "food critic for High Times magazine."

Hefty with a neon blue sweatshirt and matching argyle socks, the talented, bald pianist helped Ross end the night with a bang, resulting in a standing ovation.

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