This is what you call a good week for comedian Jeffrey Ross. Yesterday, he wrapped the pilot for the WB's new Gong Show. "Everywhere I go, my mechanic is a contortionist, and my doorman wants to do his Dustin Hoffman impression," he cracks. "This is what made Chuck Barris move to France!" And tonight, he plays a cocky comic who drops dead on CSI (9 pm/ET): "I've died many times onstage," he says, "but never where I actually had to go head first into the floor." Lucky for us, Ross lived to face another heckler.
TV Guide Online: Gilbert Gottfried and Bobcat Goldthwait also guest star on tonight's CSI. Why were you the most qualified to play the corpse?
Jeffrey Ross: They didn't have to use makeup for me. (Laughing) To be honest with you, I had nightmares because I played a headliner in Vegas, and they used my real headshot. I kind of saw my own death for the whole week of filming.
Ross: It was great. Those [CSI] people work so hard, it was like visiting people at the hospital they were just so happy to have comics on the set! I had an open mic between takes. (Laughing) Now I've got the acting bug. TVGO: So what happens if CSI: Miami calls you next season? It's no secret that there's a rivalry between the two shows.
Ross: Well, originally when I auditioned, I thought it was for a spin-off, CSI: Poughkeepsie. (Laughing) But I was, coincidentally, in Miami that same week, so I was feeling a lot of love for them both. TVGO: Right. You were in Miami filming a scene in the upcoming Farrelly Brothers movie Stuck on You. I notice that you play "Security Guard," which is a role you've also had on Greg the Bunny and in National Security. Aren't you afraid of being typecast?
Ross: (Laughing) The funny thing is, I couldn't look less like a security guard. The only place I could ever be intimidating enough would be, like, at Lady Foot Locker. And I don't mean that to be a slam on women. My dad was a kosher caterer. I just don't see myself in the tough-guy roles. TVGO: But you are famous for your tough-guy toasts at the annual Friars Club roasts. How do you keep people from kicking your ass?
Ross: The best rule of thumb is to only roast the ones you love. If you notice, I always throw on some sugar, sort of compliment them at the same time. As soon as you go after people you hate, then they're gonna hate you back. TVGO: So you've never had a problem?
Ross: Penny Marshall is the only one who's ever gotten mad at me. I said something to the effect that I couldn't remember whether she played Lenny or Squiggy. (Laughing) But it wasn't like I started it. She came after me first! TVGO: When it's your time to be roasted, who are you most afraid to see at the mic?
Ross: You know, Jimmy Kimmel was one of the people who helped talk me into hosting The Gong Show, and I think he did it just so he'd have something to make fun of, finally. Up until now, I've been like Teflon. (Laughing)