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Tom Brady Roast Producer on Getting Bill Belichick, Kim Kardashian vs. Drunk Hecklers and ‘Unprecedented’ Live Arena Setting

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17,000 fans. The reunion of an American football dynasty and the coach no one expected to show. Televised live around the world while the reputation of a man considered “the greatest of all time” sits in the hands of savage comedians and one-time foes. What could go wrong?

But here we are, just days after Tom Brady took to the stage at the Kia Forum in Los Angeles for Sunday’s “The Greatest Roast of All Time,” and the walls are still standing. For decades roast comedy has been a beloved national tradition, once shepherded on TV by Comedy Central. It was a show that often targeted Hollywood legends or zeitgeist icons. It took the willingness of Brady, who holds a record 7 Super Bowl rings, to reinvigorate the format for streaming under host Kevin Hart. And not just any roast, which would typically be shot on a Hollywood backlot and edited ahead of its premiere. This was live and uncensored, broadcast to Netflix’s global subscribers.

“Why would he do this?” many, many people in the industry remarked to Variety in the weeks leading up to the roast, which served as the marquee event of the Netflix is a Joke comedy festival. The fearlessness of a quarterback aside, the answer is likely Casey Patterson. Brady tapped the seasoned live events producer to mark his first big post-retirement appearance, along with roast veteran Jeff Ross and his own label 199 Productions.

Patterson served for years as the architect behind Viacom-branded live events, introducing the first gender-neutral acting prize at the MTV Movie and TV Awards and lighting up New York with “One Night Only” specials honoring Alec Baldwin and Eddie Murphy. In recent years, Patterson has earned a reputation as go-to for specials surrounding meaningful cultural institutions. She brought Aaron Sorkin and “The West Wing” back for a 2020 Max reunion special that benefited When We All Vote, and in 2022 landed Daniel Radcliffe and company for the one-of-a-kind Harry Potter reunion “Return to Hogwarts.”

“The stakes were high here. Doing a roast live and in an arena, when more than half the dais are not professional comedians? It was the best kind of dangerous. I think viewers could feel that anything could happen, and it did — over and over again,” Patterson said. In 48 hours on platform, the Brady roast has dominated social media trending topics and hit number one on Netflix’s most viewed on the app in the United States.

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