Prior to the taping, Ross walked the red carpet dressed as late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. He was joined by two young boys wearing nothing but football helmets and towels around their waists. (See the photo here.) Paterno died a few months after he was fired as part of a scandal involving his former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who was charged with more than 50 sex crimes against young boys dating back to 1994.
Ross, who remained dressed as Paterno sans the boys by his side, opened up the ceremony by looking at actor Seth Green and saying, "Congratulations. This is actually a really big night for you. You haven't gotten this much attention since you shot all those people in Aurora," according to Entertainment Weekly. Green, who is a redhead, shares a superficial resemblance to James Holmes, a man accused of shooting an auditorium full of patrons watching The Dark Knight Rises. After a negative reaction by the audience, Ross continued by saying, "I'm kidding! You're not like James Holmes. At least he's doing something in a movie theater that people remember."
Backstage, Barr commented on Ross' remarks saying, "That crossed the line ... But comedy is about moving the line... And where is the line in a country that has freedom of speech? Maybe there isn't one."
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Comedy Central plans to edit out the joke before the edited version of the roast airs Sunday at 10/9c.