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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Viewers can learn fascinating facts about the lives of historical figures while they're being mocked: Abraham Lincoln was a champion wrestler! Curiosity dominates as a theme of this series, and those interested in history will be entertained.
Positive Role Models
Some "historical figures" have important points to make, such as Harriet Tubman's statement that important black people in history like Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth often don't get the credit they deserve. Many of the people taken on in this show are admirable -- Anne Frank, Abraham Lincoln -- but others are villains of history: Adolf Hitler.
Violence & Scariness
Jokes sometimes circle around violence, such as a sequence in which John Wilkes Booth describes how he "blows Abraham Lincoln's brains out."
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Jokes can veer very rude, as when Mary Todd Lincoln says that the underwear of her time was so difficult to remove that it was easier "if we just sucked their c--ks." She then goes on to talk about how women would then save ejaculate "in a cheesecloth" to "bake into biscuits in the morning" to make "the Cinnabons of their time." Other jokes mention Grindr, "all the guys" Freddie Mercury "jerked off," the (unfounded) rumor that Princess Diana performed oral sex in the limousine in which she died, and so on.
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Cursing is frequent: "f--k," "f--king," "damn," "bitch," "c--k," "a--hole," "hell," "ass," "s--t," "motherf--ker," "hell." John Wilkes Booth gives Abraham Lincoln the middle finger.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Jokes can touch on substance abuse, like a scene in which Mary Todd Lincoln snorts Xanax, stating smilingly that it "hits you faster" that way.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Historical Roasts is a comedy series in which celebrities dressed as important people from the past make fun of other historical figures in a mock roast format. Though viewers may learn quite a bit about the people featured on the show -- which may spark curiosity to know more -- the humor is quite mature, even more so than similar show Drunk History. Language is frequent: "f--k," "f--king," "damn," "bitch," "c--k," "a--hole," "hell," "ass," "s--t," "motherf--ker," and "hell" all make appearances. Jokes often touch on drinking/drugs and sex, for example, a former First Lady who swigs from a liquor bottle and gulps down/chews on/snorts Xanax. Jokes may mention real historical violence and sensitive topics too: the assassinations of Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr., slavery, and the Holocaust are all fodder for humor.
Is It Any Good?
In a post-Drunk History era in which wringing comedy from olden times seems natural, pillorying public figures from the past sounds brilliant, but this show's mostly a swing and a miss. Part of the problem is the selection of historical luminaries being roasted: most people can laugh freely at Adolf Hitler, but working up a head of snark over Anne Frank, Abraham Lincoln, and Freddie Mercury isn't as easy. The roster of guest stars host Jeffrey Ross pulls for Historical Roasts is sparkling -- Seth Green as David Bowie, John Stamos as John Wilkes Booth, and Jaleel White as Muhammad Ali are highlights -- but the jokes they're given just don't land hard or often enough. What are you going to make fun of about Lincoln? His beard? His portrait on the penny? Ross and company do their level best, cracking wise about the Underground Railroad, Civil War-era dysentery, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter but they scare up mild laughs at best.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.