Comedy Central films Roast of Donald Trump, with one rule: don’t talk about his money

The Trump Timeline

Sources linked at end of page.


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Donald Trump is joined by Larry King, Snoop Dogg, and a stage of comedians to film the Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump. The writers were given one rule leading up to today: don’t talk about his money.

Celebrities roasted by Comedy Central are always asked to provide a short list of subjects that the writers should consider “off limits.” Trump keeps his list shorter than most stars who came before him.

Trump’s one rule was “don’t say I have less money than I say I do.” His kids were fair game. His wife was fair game. And I remember one of my jokes was about his casino business failing, and I could feel that hurt coming off of him. He didn’t like that joke, and I told a joke about people being glad he has cancer… I called him a douchebag to his face, and that wasn’t as harsh as saying “you don’t know how to run a casino.”

Anthony Jeselnik

The rule included not mentioning his bankruptcies. Before taping, Trump’s executive assistant Rhona Graff also requested that no one at Comedy Central or on stage call him anything other than “Mr. Trump.”

During the show, Trump tells the audience that he’s donating his check from Comedy Central to charity. He doesn’t mention that it’s going to his charity.

“Now I know what you’re thinking,” Trump had told the crowd, “Mr. Trump, Sir, why would you ever do this roast? Honestly, it was worth it, because it’s all going to charity.”

But when he said the word, “charity,” he pointed at himself.

“I noticed it the minute he did it,” James said…

Trump has claimed Comedy Central paid him $1 million for the roast. The network declined to comment on the terms, saying they were confidential. Others associated with the event said the number was closer to $400,000. The year of the roast, Comedy Central gave that amount to the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which spent money on things like a $10,000 portrait of Trump. The foundation lacks the certification to solicit money from the public.

“Yes, Trump did say it was for charity, he said it in the press, and he said it his rebuttal in the roast himself,” Alterman said. “But he never said what charity it was for.”


Both links below tell more stories about the behind-the-scenes action before and during filming. For example, Trump doesn’t seem to know what a punchline is, and he doesn’t smile or laugh after any joke until someone explains that reacting will give him more time on screen.

External Sources

The Hollywood Reporter / Yahoo (Archived)

HuffPost (Archived)

Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty via Insider

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