"I encourage anyone who wants to test the thickness of their skin to come up for 15 seconds and feel the pain," says insult comedian Jeffrey Ross, who will be speed-roasting volunteers as part of his act at Helium Comedy Club (2031 Sansom) on Thursday and Friday night.
Ross has never played in town, but the Newark, N.J., native, best known from his work on Comedy Central celebrity roasts, told us that he was looking forward to performing in the city in which two of his favorite films, "Rocky" and "Philadelphia," were filmed. "I think in insults," says Ross, who's written a book called I Only Roast the Ones I Love.
When we asked if anything was off limits, he said: "I try not to call the owner of the comedy club's wife a c---, or say that the food at the club causes diarrhea, but that's about it. AIDS, the Holocaust, cancer - that's all funny."
We asked if he plans to be in the hot seat himself anytime soon, and he questioned how that would go, since "I'm the funniest one."
Ross, a black belt in karate, was the first contestant voted off "Dancing with the Stars" a few seasons back, but looks back on the experience fondly. "I lost a lot of weight on the show," he said. "My dignity alone weighed at least five pounds." Tickets for Thursday and Friday's shows are available at Helium's site.