Remember: He asked for this. Justin Bieber made no bones about his desire to be roasted in a public forum for months – an odd choice for a guy who is fried by the tabloid press with startling regularity. But truly, who can understand all the mysteries of the Biebs? So per request, Comedy Central delivered with a star-studded bash for the pop singer-cum-enfant-terrible — emphasis on the “bash” — and finally aired the results last night.
Although most people associate roasts with colleagues and loved ones taking a cherished pal down a peg or two, all done in good fun, Bieber was upbraided by a motley crew of familiar faces, all with their knives out and their tongues sharp. The beleaguered Canadian probably doesn’t spend the majority of his off-time hanging with the likes of Jeff Ross, Hannibal Buress, Natasha Leggero, Snoop Dogg, Shaquille O’Neal, Will Ferrell or Martha Stewart, which means that the network essentially hired a bunch of famous strangers to say mean things to someone (and occasionally each other) that they don’t really know, all as part of a televised event. Once again: the kid insisted on this.
So did it hurt? You better Beliebe it did. Here are some of the night’s funniest, did-they-actually-just-say-that?! lines.
1. Kevin Hart: “He’s got a perfume called Girlfriend. That’s not gangster, Justin!”
Roastmaster Kevin Hart took great pleasure in enumerating the many ways in which Bieber is not a gangster, from nearly getting punched by Orlando Bloom to throwing eggs as retaliation against a particularly unfriendly neighbor — but all he really needed to do was remind us of Bieber’s perfume line. (He also has a scent called “Someday,” Kevin. We can’t make this stuff up.)
2. Pete Davidson: “Soul Plane was the worst experience of my life involving a plane.”
The newbie Saturday Night Live star made this crack mere seconds after reminding the audience that his firefighter father died on 9/11. Immediately after that joke, a cameraman panned to an audience member who appeared to be actually crying. He probably should have saved his tears for this one.
3. Ludacris: “You’re not tough, Justin. I’m here to let you know, man. I know you’ve been on Ellen 14 times. You act so much like a pussy on the show, Ellen tried to eat you.”
Kevin Hart gave this joke a standing ovation.
4. Natasha Leggero: “Kevin has a Napoleon complex. Kevin, Napoleon was the leader of France. Ludacris, France is in Europe. Justin, Europe’s a continent. Shaq, a continent is not a free breakfast.”
The comedienne managed to knock down three whole roasters and the roastee in less than a minute, with a nifty historical lesson thrown in for good measure. Cue Rudy clap.
5. Natasha Leggero: “Justin, Selena Gomez had to fuck you. She is literally the least lucky Selena in all of entertainment history.”
Leggero’s entire set was so biting, so sharp, and so painful that Kevin Hart requested an extra ovation for her after she was already back in the relative safety of her cushy chair. Bieber might not have actually cried during his roast (at least, that we know of), but we’re betting that Leggero’s zingers are the ones that will haunt him once the rest of his wounds have healed.
6. Shaquille O’Neal: “Last year you were ranked the fifth most hated person of all time. Kim Jong-un didn’t even score that low, and he uses your music to fuckin’ torture people.”
Shaq used research for this jab.
7. Chris D’Elia: “Kevin is a good guy, and of course he’s here because he can’t say no to anything. Last week, he hosted an ISIS beheading video on Reddit.”
Hart’s number one takeaway from D’Elia’s set? Not any lingering resentment towards the comedian, but nothing short of abject horror. “Goddammit, Chris, that was dark!,” Hart screamed afterwards, and everyone looked on in mostly dazed agreement.
8. Chris D’Elia: “You look like Sisqo fucked Peter Pan and then got cast on Orange Is the New Black.“
It’s so nice that Sisqo was there in spirit.
9. Martha Stewart: “I taught Snoop that the most important thing in business is diversification. Besides his music, he’s produced a porn movie. And, by the way, Natasha, you were great in that. I guess tonight’s the second time you’ve worked with five black guys.”
Martha Stewart was in jail, and don’t you ever forget it.
10. Jeff Ross: “Selena Gomez wanted to be here, but she’s dating men now.”
11. Jeff Ross: “If Anne Frank heard your music, she would’ve Uber’d to Auschwitz.”
Rampant historical inaccuracies aside, this just might be the best dig centered on that bizarre “Anne Frank would have been a Belieber” kerfuffle ever issued. (It’s also one of the very few Ross jabs fit for print.)
12. Snoop Dogg: “You have released so many horrible and unwatchable videos, you should change your name to Vanilla ISIS.”
This is not a joke about ISIS. This is a joke about Vanilla Ice, and is thus deeply appropriate for a roast mocking Justin Bieber.
13. Hannibal Buress: “I hate your music more than Bill Cosby hates my comedy.”
As the night’s last official roaster, it only seemed right that comedian Buress could issue the night’s only true mic drop.
14. Ron Burgundy (aka Will Ferrell): “I don’t have a lot of time, alright? I’m currently over at Stage 24, hosting SpikeTV’s Your Mother’s A Fat Bitch Award Show. Some real clever writing, great energy over there.”
This will sound like a joke, but it’s not: Snoop Dogg laughed so hard at this joke from Will-Ferrell-as-Ron-Burgundy that he actually choked out some of his vape smoke and very nearly keeled over.
15. Justin Bieber: “What do you get when you give a teenager two hundred million dollars? A bunch of has-beens calling you a lesbian for two hours.”
The night belonged to Bieber, and when it came time to dish out his own digs, the apparently burgeoning stand-up comedian utilized a variety of joke-telling techniques, but this was his very best. (Later, he promised to never appear on anyone’s else roast, so at least have that to not look forward to.)