When Comedy Isn't Funny

There's political incorrectness in comedy sometimes, and then there are times where the comic so crosses the line that you have to wonder, what were they thinking?

Generally, when something horrific happens, especially to more than one person, that affects us as a nation, you don't use that event to score cheap laughs.

Somehow, comics Jeff Ross and Dane Cook missed that memo.

Ross, who usually is the star of Comedy Central's roasts of various actors and other comics, drew criticism Sunday night when he dressed up as the late Penn State coach Joe Paterno with two teens wearing nothing but towels and football helmets, obviously referring to the Jerry Sandusky scandal, as part of the taping of the roast for Roseanne Barr.

As cringeworthy as that was, Ross later reportedly drew boos when he made comments onstage comparing actor Seth Green to Colorado shooter James Holmes, because the two of them have bright red hair.

Since the roasts are usually heavily edited before they are broadcast, viewers will likely see neither of those segments, though Ross wore the Penn State gear during the broadcast.

Cook, one of my least favorite comedians long before this (you kind of have to be funny to be a stand-up comic, after all), issued an apology over the weekend when he also made a joke about the Aurora shootings, which took place during a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises." Cook did so as part of his act at a comedy club, which wasn't televised.

I won't repeat the "joke" here; I'll just wonder if Cook has any common sense at all. If so, he should probably go back to stealing jokes from Louis CK.

It's not that I don't enjoy humor that's edgy, and comedians ranging from Lenny Bruce to Chris Rock have made their living at pushing the line as a means of social commentary. But the smart ones know what is going too far. It's the hacks that think you can make a laugh out of anything.

MONDAY'S BEST BETS: As the Olympics continue on NBC and its cable affiliates, ABC has "Bachelor Pad" from 8-10 p.m., followed by "Glass House."

On cable, ABC Family has "Secret Life of an American Teenager" and "Bunheads" from 8-10 p.m. TNT airs new episodes of "The Closer" and "Perception" from 9-11 p.m., while SyFy does the same with "Warehouse 13" and "Alphas."