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Tom Brady Roast: Netflix Comedy Exec on Removing Kardashian Boos and What’s Next



Nothing is off limits. That’s what makes it must-see television and, in this case, must-see live television,” says Robbie Praw, vp stand-up and comedy formats at Netflix.

The vice president of stand-up and comedy formats at Netflix is riding high after the Roast of Tom Brady, a live special that was two years in the making that he considers a huge success.

The three-hour live special, which landed right in the middle of the Netflix Is a Joke comedy festival, notched more than 2 million viewers and generated heaps of press coverage (including many stories on this very website). Praw sees landing Brady for the roast as a great example that, in the wake of the special’s success, opens the door for pretty much anyone to take the hot seat going forward

Despite the overwhelming success of the Brady roast, Praw — the former Just for Laughs programmer who has been with Netflix since 2016 — isn’t ready to talk about plans to run the same play again. Instead, Praw is focused on scoring points with his kids and snapping a photo with Clayton Kershaw and Mookie Betts as he makes his way to a stand-up night with the Los Angeles Dodgers that marks one of the few remaining Netflix Is a Joke events.

Read on for more from Praw about the Roast, editing out the boos for Kim Kardashian and why nothing was off-limits for the Brady special.

How did the Brady roast come together? Was getting Brady easy? Did he hesitate at all before saying yes? Was he originally who you went out for?

The Roast came in as a package with Tom Brady already attached. It was Jeff Ross and Casey Patterson who brought it in with Tom attached as a producer. This was over two years ago. Of course, Tom unretired so we had to put it on ice for a bit.

Brady was a good sport, taking heat on everything from his marriage to NFL scandals. Was he given a heads up on any of the material or was it all fair game?

I wasn’t in the middle of those conversations, but I don’t think so. You could tell by the look on everyone’s faces — even the comedians were surprised by what the other comedians were saying, or the other football players. Generally, on a Roast, you’re not giving the heads up. But he knew that people were going to come at him pretty hard. He’s been quite a student of the roasts, so he knew what to expect.

Were any jokes off limits?

Not that I’m aware of.

What was the reaction from Brady and his camp afterward?

Positive! It was very clear that it was a very special night, both in the football world and in the comedy world, and the mood after the show was pretty jubilant.

Brady seemed a bit uncomfortable with some of the jokes about Gisele Bündchen. Was there any discussion about scaling those back beforehand?

There was no discussion like that beforehand.

How did you get Bill Belichick?

Booking these types of things is hard. We ask, re-ask, and then eventually it all just came together. As we went through the booking process, the various parties started to realize how special the night was about to be. In the end, we got everyone that we thought was integral in roasting Tom.

It’s noteworthy that Belichick and Robert Kraft seemingly put their tiff behind them during this event. Were you worried about any lingering tension prior to the event?

No. That entire moment was a surprise on the show. Kudos to Kevin Hart for pulling them both together. My focus was on our members getting one of the funniest shows they’ve ever seen; it wasn’t on those relationships. I’m from Canada and a hockey fan — not a football fan — so I was focused on the comedy of the night.

It was announced during the show that Brady donated to the foundations of all of his former teammates as a thank you to get them to show up. Were they paid as well?

Kardashian didn’t ask for the booing to be removed?


What about the decision to leave in the Tony Hinchcliffe joke that’s being called sexist?

This is a roast, nothing is off limits and we believe in creative freedom for this type of thing.

Why did you decide to keep the joke focused on the Patriots owner’s 2019 scandal in the special?

It’s the same thing. This is a roast. Nothing is off limits. That’s what makes it must-see television and, in this case, must-see live television.

Who do you think popped most from the special? Whose set made you laugh most? Were you scouting for who should get their own special?

I didn’t view it as a scouting opportunity, but Nikki Glaser was exceptional — and so many other people were as well. But I also think the way Kevin Hart set the tone of the show was a real contributing reason of why it’s been such a smash hit.

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