Comedian Jeff Ross talks show, Penn State

August, 28, 2012
8/28/12
2:00
PM ET
Insult comic Jeff Ross claims he played nose guard and center for the Jonathan Dayton High School Bulldogs in Springfield, N.J.

Ross, 46, also claims he was called for illegal use of the hands often because of techniques learned as a black belt in karate.

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Jason LaVeris/Getty ImagesInsult comic Jeff Ross has a new show on Comedy Central.
"I had a lot of gumption and true grit," Ross said. "No, I'm serious here."

It's hard to say whether he's telling the truth. But insult comics today need a lot of gumption and true grit with today's politically correct world.

"It's up to comedians to shine the light on what's wrong in the world," said Ross, a graduate of Boston University's College of Communication, "and we don't want things swept under the rug."

And that's the emphasis of Ross' new weekly show on Comedy Central, "The Burn", at 10:30 p.m. on Tuesdays.

"We make fun of everything and that's what people expect," Ross said. "There has to be a safe haven for bawdy humor."

Ross, nicknamed "The Roast Master General," came under fire a few weeks ago at the "Roast for Roseanne Barr" for wearing a Joe Paterno outfit while standing next to two shirtless young men in football helmets with towels wrapped around their waists. He also has made jokes about Usain Bolt, Lance Armstrong and the Olympics.

"Athletes tend to have less of a sense of humor than most people," Ross said. "They are heroes to so many. That might be part of it. When I wore that Penn State uniform, I told people that the letter 'P' was for the people who could take a joke."

And Ross said he won't change a thing.

"Life is short. You have to be able to laugh at our pain or we never move on," he said. "Humor that is edgy is never squeaky clean."

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