June 18, 2019

The Wrong Way to Roast Anne Frank

“Sure, you can poke fun at Anne Frank. But it may be a mistake to do so by joking about Hitler’s testicles.

That’s the approach that comedian Jeff Ross takes in the “Anne Frank” episode of his new Netflix series “Historical Roasts,” in which historical figures take the stage in order to be lampooned by their peers. Abraham Lincoln, played by Bob Saget, gets roasted by Jerron Horton’s Frederick Douglass and Yamaneika Saunders’s Harriet Tubman; James Adomian’s Freddie Mercury gets ridiculed by, among others, Nikki Glazer’s Kurt Cobain and Fortune Feimster’s Princess Diana.

It’s a premise designed to offend. But the series’s boldest move might be having Frank, played by Ruth Feinstein (“Crashing,” “I Feel Pretty”), take the hot seat in front of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Jon Lovitz), Don Rickles (Mindy Rickles, his daughter) and Adolf Hitler (Gilbert Gottfried). Ross, who hosts, makes a point of expressing his admiration for Frank. “I only kid the ones I love, and Anne Frank is close to my heart,” he says. “I read her diary, and it made me cry.”

“With Anne Frank, it seemed like too many people were forgetting her story,” Ross told EW. “In order to never forget, you have to be enlightened to what happened.””

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