EXCLUSIVE: Netflix is going old-school, ordering six episodes of Historical Roasts, a half-hour comedy series from Comedy Central roast star Jeff Ross and OBB Pictures. The project stems from the popular live Los Angeles comedy club show that has been running since 2014. OBB (Kevin Hart’s Cold as Balls) optioned rights to the show and then secured the deal with Netflix which beat out multiple bidders. Production begins this fall and the show launches next year.
Each episode will bring together A-list comedians in period-appropriate garb and character to roast historical figures. No word on the roastees yet, but the live shows have featured everyone from Abraham Lincoln and Jimmy Hendrix to Michael Jackson and William Shakespeare.
“People always ask me who my dream roast would be — this concept allows me to finally roast them all. Plus, I’ll be learning a lot along the way,” said Ross, who anchors Comedy Central’s roast franchise (Bruce Willis was the latest roastee) as well as the network’s Jeff Ross Presents Roast Battle, now in its third season. “The possibilities are as long as mankind itself. Everyone from Moses to Tupac can be in the hot seat. This is one more giant step in the global roasting movement.”
Ross and OBB previously teamed on the latter’s go90 mockumentary series The Fifth Quarter. OBB’s Cold as Balls on Lionsgate’s Laugh Out Loud, meanwhile, a sports interview show toplined by Hart, recently launched its second season.
OBB president and CEO Michael D. Ratner is abaord to direct and executive produce Historical Roasts with Scott Ratner, Eric D. Cohen, Ross and Thruline Entertainment’s Amy Zvi. Co-EPs are Ross’ collaborator and head writer Frank Sebastiano; OBB’s Miranda Sherman and Kfir Goldberg; AJ Tesler; and the live show’s creators Eddie Furth, Ryan Pigg and Samee Junio.
“We couldn’t be happier to be creating Historical Roasts as a Netflix original series,” Michael D. Ratner said. “As we continue to expand and diversify our portfolio at OBB, it’s our mission to create incredible opportunities for both new and established talent. We look forward to showing the world our cast in these insane roles as we roast some of the most iconic people to ever live. Our motto here is certainly ‘it’s never too soon.’ ”
Ross is repped by WME and Thruline. Michael D. Ratner and OBB are repped by UTA, 3 Arts Entertainment and Hansen Jacobson.