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The Rebrand (Roast) of Tom Brady

By Mckayla White on June 10, 2024

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A screen grab of Tom Brady as he was speaking during his Roast.

Admit it or not, everyone makes fun of people. Whether it’s in a loving and humbling way or an I hate you, and you irk my soul type of way. 

This is precisely why roasts are so popular, and the most recent roast victim was the one and only Tom Brady.

Tom Brady, a retired American football player, beloved by many, hated by some, and respected by almost everyone, was the subject of a Netflix roast last month. Having recently retired, entering the New England Patriots Hall of Fame, and starting a very lucrative reporting job this coming season. That leaves the question: 

Why would Brady put himself through a roast? I mean, he didn’t look very pleased during it, and he even went as far as to tell a comedian not to “say that shit again” in the middle of a set. Brady has also been open about regretting the roast, so why did he and his team think the roast was a good idea? Obviously because of the PR and marketing opportunities.

History of Roasts

Laughing at others and roasting people has been around for a long time.

Comedy roasts date back to 1949 when the New York Friars Clubs held a Maurice Chevalier roast. While that was one of the first roasts to gain popularity, roasts have likely been around much longer. Imitation comedy has existed since the beginning, and imitation comedy plays a large role in roasts, whether someone is being imitated or made fun of. 

The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts brought the concept to the everyday person and quickly gained popularity. Some notable roastees were Betty White, Frank Sinatra, and Muhammad Ali.

But when most people think about roasts, they think about the iconic Comedy Central celebrity roasts. With roastees from Donald Trump to Justin Bieber, Comedy Central has done them all. But the Comedy Central Roasts have been losing momentum as time goes on, which is exactly why we have seen a switch to Netflix.

We all know Netflix is, well, Netflix, and the target demographic of roasts in general, but more specifically, the Brady Roast has Netflix subscriptions. With cable and Comedy Central dying, Netflix saw an opportunity and went for it. This, of course, paid off, as the Brady Roast accumulated over two million live viewers and was one of the top-watched Netflix shows that week.

That said, it is important to note that, as of recent years, roasts have not been the most popular and are relatively new to Netflix. The last notable celebrity roast on Netflix was the Jonas Brothers in 2021, but it failed to bring back the genre as a whole. 

The Roast of Tom Brady may be what the roast world needed to revive it. 

The Roast of Tom Brady

If you didn’t see the roast, you have definitely heard about it, whether that be through a meme about one of the comedians’ very bad jobs (I’m looking at you, Bert and Tom), a comedian’s great job (everyone bow down to the queen of roasts: Nikki Glaser), or Tom Brady’s weird reactions. 

The roast featured comedians, athletes, and weird celebrity appearances. Overall, it was okay. Some people loved it, and some hated it, but everyone can agree that the guests could’ve done better. 

As per the roast setup, Brady had an opportunity to roast at the end, and he had some pretty good jokes. But I want to focus on his reaction, both during and after. 

During the roast, Brady had some odd reactions. According to comedian Tony Hinchcliffe, when he made a joke about Brady’s shoes, Brady threatened to shove one up his ass. Brady could’ve been joking very easily, but the internet seems convinced that Brady’s feelings were hurt. Brady’s facial expressions have also caused conversations with some people saying it looked like Brady wanted to cry. Brady promptly left the venue after the roast while the other guests went to the after-party. This has made people suspect that Brady did not know what he was getting into and was hurt by the jokes. Brady has since done multiple interviews about regretting the experience because it hurt the people he loved.

Being the victim of a roast must be a jarring experience. Even if you know what you are getting yourself into, it still hurts unless you are used to it. But Tom Brady did ask for this. 

Why Tom Brady Did the Roast

Brady claims he thought the roast was a good idea because he likes joking around and was reminded of locker room banter. He even said in an interview that he loved when the jokes were about him. While that is likely true, other factors are probably at play, specifically preparing for his new job, reputation, and rebrand. 

Like most retired athletes, Brady is becoming a sports reporter. Brady can be seen as a lead game analyst on Fox Sports this coming football season, reportedly getting paid $375 million over the next ten years. 

While Brady is a beloved football legend, he does not have the best reputation. Often described as arrogant, selfish, and generally unlikable, his reputation and, more specifically, his personality, which is really what reporting is all about, are huge issues. Allegedly, Fox Sports were concerned about their new (and expensive) TV personality and wanted Brady to appear more human and relatable.

Another theory that aligns with the former is that Brady and his team wanted to get all the bad stuff out of the way. We have all heard the rumours. Brady is a bad guy who solicited prostitution from a masseuse with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, which, for the record, is the only joke that Brady undeniably got upset over, and a bad player who would do anything to win like deflate footballs.

You can say a lot about Tom Brady; some of it is good, but a lot is bad, which is precisely why this theory checks out. Brady wanted to skip the hazing of reporting by getting all of the jokes out of the way and, in some sense, gain power over them by taking them on willingly. This way, he can start his new reporting career with a clean slate while also bringing himself back into the spotlight shortly before his new gig. 

As we already discussed, Brady regrets the roast for the hurt it caused his kids. While I do believe that is true, I would also be lying if I said I didn’t think it was convenient that Brady is trying to win over the public and now gets to play the concerned dad card. It was especially considering his joke about Kim Kardashian’s children, saying she was scared to go to the roast, not because of the jokes, but because her children were at home with Kanye West. A joke like that doesn’t exactly say loving father to me, but who knows, maybe Brady did a 180 between the roast and his press interviews, or perhaps it’s just his family that is off limits, which once again plays into the bad reputation. Even roaster Nikki Glaser felt it was suspicious that Brady, surrounded by a team of professionals, did not recognize what he was getting into. 

The only real reason people do roasts is for PR and marketing purposes. Brady is no longer an active member of the NFL and is taking on a whole new identity. When rebrands happen, PR and marketing play a huge role in ensuring the rebrand is successful, and the public likes it. This is BBrady’srebrand, and he got the PR and marketing through the roast to ensure its success.

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