Between 1998 and 2002, Comedy Central produced and televised the annual roasts of the New York Friars' Club. After the original five-year agreement expired, the network began producing their own roasts in the same spirit. The first, featuring roastee Denis Leary (and produced by Leary's production company, Apostle), aired on August 10, 2003. The roast was the most watched program in the channel's history, excluding episodes of South Park.
Some roastees have stated that certain topics are off-limits; for instance, Pamela Anderson had the topic of her Hepatitis C infection as off limits, and William Shatner requested the comics not mention his late wife's drowning in his pool. Others however have had no limits on the topics - David Hasselhoff was one example, and according to Lisa Lampanelli (as per her Twitter feed), Donald Trump was another.