No contest: While the season premiere of "Two and a Half Men" was nearly as mean as Comedy Central's roast of Charlie Sheen, it wasn't nearly as funny.
Sure, there was that Zune joke. Kudos to Chuck Lorre and company for getting in a jab at that obscure flop of an iPod challenger.
But a lineup of guest stars — including Jeri Ryan, Tricia Helfer, Jenny McCarthy, Martin Mull and Jenna Elfman and Thomas Gibson as an unhappily married Dharma and Greg — were tepid at best, and only a pop-in by John Stamos as a Charlie Harper pal who once got a little too zealous during a ménage à trois with Charlie paid off with any cleverness (all the more so because Stamos had once been rumored to be contending for the job to replace Sheen on "Men").
And there was that just plain mean opening, in which we learned that Charlie Harper went to Paris, married his stalker Rose, cheated on her and then "fell" in front of a speeding subway, where he exploded like a "balloon of meat." Hence the closed coffin.
But while Harper's (and Sheen's) remains weren't shown, the humor was scabrous: His mom tried to sell his house (during the funeral), his nephew expressed hunger after hearing about the balloon of meat and his various exes talked about the various diseases he'd given them.
Laughs mostly came from jokes about the size of new star Ashton Kutcher's junk, the repeated nudity of Kutcher and some fart jokes by Angus T. Jones, the "and a half" man.
As for Kutcher as heartbroken billionaire Walden Schmidt, he was okay, though there were several instances where it looked like he was having a hard time not laughing. And that was disturbing because it showed a lack of professionalism and, more important, because what was happening in the scenes wasn't that funny.
The bad news: the season premiere is a two parter, concluding next week. The good news: that means you're only a half hour away from being able to stop caring about "Two and a Half Men," just like you didn't before Sheen got fired.
Not only were the roast references to Charlie Sheen on "Two and a Half Men" funnier than the episode of "Two and a Half Men," but even the roast references to Ashton Kutcher were funnier than Ashton Kutcher himself was on "Two and a Half Men."
For instance, 80-year-old roaster William Shatner on Kutcher: "I went to high school with his wife."
And "Last Comic Standing" alum Amy Schumer, on what Charlie Sheen has in common with Bruce Willis: "You were big in the '80s, and now your old slot is being filled by Ashton Kutcher."
There was no lack of good jokes thrown at honoree Sheen, either, which is no small feat when you consider how many of the good Charlie Sheen jokes were already used by late night hosts this year.
A few roast favorites:
Jon Lovitz on Sheen: "He's nothing like the character he plays on TMZ."
Lovitz again: "How much coke can Charlie Sheen do? Enough to kill two and a half men."
Jeffrey Ross, the "Roastmaster General," who came dressed as Muammar Gaddafi, to Sheen: "You're the black sheep of a family responsible for three 'Mighty Duck' movies."
And a Ross two-fer about Sheen and the Hiltons: "Charlie Sheen's nostrils are so snotty and full of coke that he calls them the Hilton sisters."
Finally, unlike during most of his years on "Two and a Half Men," Sheen himself also got in several funny quips, at the expense of his roasters.
Sheen said he asked that Shatner be invited because he needed clean urine, even if "I had to wring it out of a diaper"; he told Amy Schumer, "They know me on Mars … they don't even know you in this room"; and he saved his sharpest, and most awkwardly true, comment for himself, pointing to his chest and saying, "In here burns an internal fire … I just have to remember to keep it away from the crack pipe."
By the way, Steve-O really did break his nose on his second attempt at running face-first into Mike Tyson's fist. See photo evidence at right.