It's an age-old, and admittedly odd, tradition: A famous person gathers together a room full of friends, celebrity fans and some of the funniest stand-up comics working today — and then invites them to say the most horrible things imaginable about him or her in front of a crowded room and TV cameras. The history of professional roasts dates back to the Fifties, when the private organization known as the Friars Club gave its male members — women were not allowed in until 1988 — the chance to put on tuxedos and take low-blow pot shots at other comedians. It was all in the name of affectionate (if incredibly aggressive) fun, with the Friars' friendly-fire tradition eventually making its way to cable in 1998. Then Comedy Central began producing their own take-no-prisoners celebrations in 2003, and the channel has shouldered the responsibility of broadcasting cultural icons getting ripped to shreds ever since.
As Justin Bieber prepares to join the ranks of the roasted on March 14th (the network will air the event on March 30th), we look back at the complete roster of Comedy Central's insult-athons, ranked from worst to best. Warning: None of these are for the faint of heart or easily offended. All of them, however, feature comics taking the gloves off and hitting way below the belt. With friends like these….