Comedian Jeff Ross recently went to jail and it was quite a learning experience for him. Jeff Ross is known as ‘The Roastmaster General.’ He has roasted big names such as Donald Trump, Pamela Anderson, Justin Bieber and Charlie Sheen on Comedy Central’s Roast franchise.
He wasn’t in for drunk driving or possession, he didn’t beat his wife or murder anyone, he went to jail to do a show.
Jeff got the opportunity to visit a maximum-security jail in Texas and according to his blog entry it was an “..intense and rare experience.”
When he was first granted permission for the show at the Brazos County Jail he was simply looking for something different and new, but it didn’t turn out exactly as he thought it would. He was looking for a new way to entertain himself and his fans, but it also gave him a glimpse inside the broken U.S. prison system.
“We say we’re a free country but we lock up more people than anywhere else on Earth. Almost two MILLION American children have a parent locked up right now. We have more jails and prisons in America than colleges and universities.”Jeff Ross wrote an act specifically geared towards the inmates with jokes such as, “I bet some of you are locked up for possession of less marijuana than I have in my lungs right now.” He did jokes and then even invited people to volunteer for a speed-roasting, with no restrictions. Despite being nervous he did a stellar show for all of them.
His show was so popular on the male side of the jail that he was even invited to cross over and do a show on the women’s side. It was an impromptu show that he carried off with success. He treated the women as women instead of merely inmates and numbers and they reciprocated with laughter.
His show was a roaring success with both the inmates and staff. A few weeks later he received a message from Wayne Dicky, the jail administrator, that moral had never been higher. It seems that his visit had an impact, if even for a short time, he made a difference in the lives of these people.
Not everyone deserves to be there, for many it’s simply a matter of not having anywhere else to go, no place to get help. For those people it seems that once you are inside the walls, they are stuck, they don’t know where else to go, so even when released they find their way back in.
“It’s really scary inside those walls. Young first offenders get thrown in for something small and non-violent, but once they’re dropped into a den of hardened criminals it’s hard to stay clean. You almost have to become a criminal to live amongst them.”