Comedy Central roasts Justin Bieber

Burning Bieber proves to be hilarious, though vulgar

justinroast
The Spectrum

Justin Bieber – the pop star who is just as well known for his antics as for his music – asked to be roasted on Comedy Central.

He likely didn’t realize the events that ensued would include a choir of faithful Beliebers, Snoop Dogg smoking on stage and an appearance by character Ron Burgundy from the film Anchorman.

The Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber aired Monday. The special featured 10 guests varying from comedian Jeff Ross – a staple in Comedy Central roasts – to Snoop Dogg and Shaquille O’Neil. The diverse cast provided laughs for viewers, but also had a level of shock value and vulgarity that was surprising to some.

“Some of the jokes, like the one about how [Bieber] had to avoid a coat hanger, took it too far,” said Mia Angeli, a junior biochemistry major. “But the rest of them were funny – it was all in good fun.”

Kevin Hart hosted the roast. His fiery energy kept the show moving forward effortlessly. His bits were on point no matter to whom they were directed and his ability to improvise came in handy as the show progressed. Hart is a longtime friend of the singer, like many of the people on stage.

The show began with an introduction to Bieber – how he was discovered at age 12 and experienced a whirlwind of popularity, fortune and media attention. In the last couple years, Bieber has been in the news not for his music but for his adolescent rebellion including public indecency and egging his neighbor’s home.

His recent reckless behavior provided the perfect material for the night’s guests, who didn’t hesitate to hit Bieber where it hurt. The group made references to his former relationship with Selena Gomez, his sometimes-erratic fan base, his “gangster” persona and his absent father.

Bieber took the insults well, only shaking his head at a few personal blows given by those on stage who weren’t close to him, like comedian Natasha Leggero.

Bieber wasn’t the only one under fire. Everyone on stage was fair game, and some heavy mud slinging went down. Hart’s height was constantly called out, with a line from Leggero: “Kevin, you are everywhere. He is going to be in the next season of Game of Thrones. He is going to play Peter Dinklage’s shadow.”

Hannibal Buress took shots at long-time roast attendee Jeff Ross when he said, “Jeff Ross, you’re the only person on this dais making 95 percent of your yearly income tonight.”

Though most of the fire was harmless, Snoop Dogg and Hart did not agree with each other on stage. Snoop Dogg opened his Bieber bit talking about how much fun he had backstage. His jokes were vulgar, even going as far as to say to Bieber, “You have released so many horrible and unwatchable videos that you should change your name to Vanilla ISIS.”

This line clearly bothered Hart, but it wasn’t until Snoop Dogg dropped the n-word a few too many times that Hart exploded. The two went back and forth for a while but Hart let the rapper finish, only to degrade him once his time at the podium was over.

Bieber himself had a shot at redemption, perhaps having the best line of the night: “What do you get when you give a teenager $200 million? A bunch of has-beens calling you a lesbian for two hours.”

While it was mostly good-spirited fun and comedy, the artist took the opportunity to speak about his behavior over the last few years. He publically apologized and hoped his fans and music community at large could forgive him for his actions. His speech seemed sincere and took a moment away from all the jokes to focus on the fact that Bieber acknowledges he’s messed up in the past.

But his level of sincerity is up to viewers to decide.

“I don’t think he meant it. I don’t trust anything on reality TV,” said Devashish Agarwal, a freshman computer science major. “I think it was all PR to make him look good.”

Regardless of whether Bieber learned his lesson through the roast, celebrities had fun slinging playful insults at the successful 21-year-old who isn’t likely to leave the limelight anytime soon.

Tori Roseman is the senior arts editor and can be reached at tori.roseman@ubspectrum.com