Roasted: Sheriff Stassi sits on the hot seat at We Are The Difference's Celebrity Roast

PETER SILAS PASQUA ppasqua@postsouth.com
Comedian John Morgan, left, serves as emcee at We Are The Difference's Second Annual Celebrity Roast honoring Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi on Thursday evening. 
POST SOUTH PHOTO/Peter Silas Pasqua

PLAQUEMINE – Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi was the honored quest at We Are The Difference's Second Annual Celebrity Roast June 27 at the Carl F. Grant Civic Center.

"These roasts are not about the nicer things," roastmaster, comedian and emcee John Morgan said. "They about the truth of the individual that we sit in the hot seat."

A roast is an event, almost exclusively in the United States, in which an individual is subjected to a public presentation of comedic insults, praise, outlandish true and untrue stories, and heartwarming tributes, the implication being that the "roastee" is able to take the jokes in good humor and not as serious criticism or insult, and therefore, show his or her good nature.

"You never know who our next victim will be," We Are The Difference president Rhonda Harrell said. "It is usually somebody that the public knows which makes it a lot more fun. And someone that doesn't mind being poked fun at. They have to have a good sense of humor.

"It brings the community together and is something fun to do in Iberville Parish. People are very leery about poking fun at him because he is still in office. They seem to be a little nervous."

It is seen by some as a great honor to be roasted, as the individual is surrounded by friends, fans, and well-wishers, who can receive some of the same treatment as well during the course of the evening.

"He was chubby but was always a child that would try and listen," City of Plaquemine Board of Selectman Ralph Stassi said of his son.

The party and presentation itself are both referred to as a "roast." The host of the event is called the "roastmaster." Anyone who is honored in such a way is said to have been "roasted."

"I hope he finds a million more ideas just like the ones he has already had," Morgan said. "He has good people working behind him so remain loyal to him. It is those that hold the honor of policing the gun post that make a difference in a community. We are rising, growing and becoming because people like this serve."

One year after taking office, Stassi has 150 people working in the Sheriff's Office.

"In a couple days, it will be one year I am your sheriff," Stassi said. "It has been a fun, hard working one year but we are not going to stop."

With the theme of "A Cajun Night at the Oscars," only one dared sit at the head table on a stage lined with south Louisiana cooking utensils and a handcuffed crawfish, across the hot seat from the roastee.

"He has been doing it for 30 years and the parish is lucky to have him as our sheriff," Iberville Parish Assessor's Office deputy Clint Seneca said.

Dinner consisted of sherry glazed chicken, sensation salad, Cajun-style green beans, dirty rice and a dessert bar.

"When you run for sheriff of Iberville Parish, it has nothing to do with what you look like," Morgan said. "I wish this sheriff the best."

Stassi performed in the Iberville Community Theatre's production of "Red Velvet Cake Wars" in late 2012.

"I was proud to come over here and take whatever abuse I had coming," Stassi said. "I have a big, good family and they all worked hard.

"I want to be a working sheriff – not a cooking sheriff."