Have you ever seen a roast on Comedy Central? The “roasted” individual typically sits in a throne-like chair on a raised platform, as comedians take turns making fun of him (and of each other) in front of a live audience. The guest of honor then has the opportunity to rebut the merciless put-downs that have been hurled at him throughout the event.
In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought it might be fun to put the holiday itself on the dais. Over the years, comedians have certainly viewed Turkey Day as fair game, and the Internet is a veritable cornucopia of their insults. So, if you will, please imagine a plump turkey (possibly wearing a Pilgrim hat and holding an “Eat Chicken” sign) on a stage, gobbling graciously as it is lambasted.
- Johnny Carson: “Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often.”
- David Letterman: “Thanksgiving is the day when you turn to another family member and say, ‘How long has Mom been drinking like this?’ My mom, after six Bloody Marys, looks at the turkey and goes, ‘Here, kitty, kitty.’”
- Jay Leno: “Thanksgiving: when the Indians said, ‘Well, this has been fun, but we know you have a long voyage back to England.’”
- Jon Stewart: “I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.”
- Dylan Brody: “You know that just before that first Thanksgiving dinner there was one wise, old Native American woman saying, ‘Don’t feed them. If you feed them, they’ll never leave.’”
- Roseanne Barr: “Here I am 5 o’clock in the morning stuffing breadcrumbs up a dead bird’s butt.”
- Kevin James: “Thanksgiving, man. Not a good day to be my pants.”
Unlike the ordinary “roastee,” a holiday cannot defend itself. Yet many eloquent individuals have, in effect, told the aforementioned comics to shut their pie holes:
- H. U. Westermayer: “The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.”
- Robert C. Linter: “Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day.”
- Edward Sandford Martin: “Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.”
- Wilbur D. Nesbit: “Forever on Thanksgiving Day / The heart will find the pathway home.”
Stick a fork in me, I’m done.