SATURDAY

I remember being kind of shocked as a teen when I saw that National Lampoon had included Bob Hope in a list of the era’s biggest celebrity assholes. Lovable ol’ Ski Slope Nose? The man who’d brought joy to so many soldiers over the years? The star of Ooh-La-La, It’s Bob Hope’s Fun Birthday Spectacular From Paris Bicentennial? OK, maybe they had a point. But seriously, how dare a snarky magazine that had employed such actual big-time assholes as PJ O’Rourke and John Hughes call Hope names? Jeffrey Ross, the reigning Roastmaster General of American comedy, can relate. He’s got a heart the size of the Persian Gulf, and he gets billed as the “Meanest Man in Comedy.” Ross originally thought that Hope was “the corniest thing on Earth.” However, his opinion of the comedian changed after he read a bio and learned all about Hope’s USO performances. After being challenged by Drew Carey, Ross put his money where his dirty mouth was and headed over to Afghanistan and Iraq to provide the troops some much-needed laughs. It proved to be an inspiration for the comic. Ross made a home movie of his tour, titled Patriot Act, and it turned out well. In fact, it beat out The Aristocrats—in which Ross also appears—for top awards at the Montreal Comedy Festival. Most people hear only Ross’ venomous stuff: He once remarked, “How is it that, after all these years, Courtney Love looks worse than Kurt Cobain?” at Pam Anderson’s recent Comedy Central roast, with Love in attendance. But they may not know that almost every dollar Ross makes at the roasts goes to charity. Is he an asshole? Maybe so. But if he is, then he is the Mother Teresa of assholes. Ross performs at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St. NW. $30. (301) 808-6900. (David Dunlap Jr.)