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?
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.
TVGO: But lying on a morgue table with a little smirk on your face is fun, right?
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.
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?
(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?
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?
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?
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)