The Best and Worst of The Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber

Comedy Central Roast Justin Bieber
Kevin Mazur/Comedy Central
Comedy Central Roast Justin Bieber

Hoo boy. Well, The Comedy Roast of Justin Bieber aired last night. It was two hours long, and had a half-hour pre-show leading into it. Kevin Hart was the roastmaster, and a number of comedians and famous people who had people write jokes for them gave Bieber what felt like Setting 3 of 9 on the toaster on your kitchen countertop. We scraped up some of the better moments, the not-so-great-moments, and the total snoozers.

The Good

The Height Difference Between Shaq and Kevin Hart. Sometimes it really is the little things in life. (Okay, that was a cheap shot. Sorry.) But every time the two were in the same shot, or Pete Davidson joked about Hart being Shaq’s penis, comedy gold was struck.

Random Audience Celebrity Sightings. There has to be some story behind Kate Walsh’s attendance. Is she a Belieber?

Pete Davidson in General. Thank god for young Pete Davidson. The best part of SNL‘s Weekend Update delivered a cutting set that ended in the best 9/11 joke that has ever been told, and could only be told by a guy who lost his father on that day: “Two people from Soul Plane are up here. Snoop, Kevin: Soul Plane was the worst experience of my life involving a plane.”

Natasha Leggero in General. Maybe because most everyone else was so damn boring, Leggero’s actual venom towards the Biebs tasted quite sweet: “Time flies when you’re a piece of s—.”

Hannibal Buress in General. One gets the sense he couldn’t be bothered to use the largest weapons in his arsenal for Bieber, which is appropriate given the absurdity of roasting a 21-year-old, and because what Buress did use was withering enough. (Best description of Jeff Ross ever uttered: “Like every ‘Before’ picture ever.”)

Shaq Had a Good Line. The giant whose arm budded off, starfish-style, into Kevin Hart was mostly mumbly, but commenting on Bieber’s Jesus calf tattoo with “Why you gotta bring Jesus into your mess? That man has suffered enough” was aces. Good job, Shaq Roast Writer. See also Ludacris’ “I feel bad kicking you when you’re down, but since you want to be a black man, you better get used to it.”

Ron Burgundy. Yes, Will Ferrell came out in resplendent Burgundy, and it was worth it just for him flicking a lit cigarette at Bieber. Even better, he damned the Biebs using only cold hard facts in that suave anchorman voice, confirming what Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have been telling us for years: It’s funny ’cause it’s true.

The Bad

Bieber’s Entrance. Bieber descends from the rafters with angel wings, “falls,” gives terrible “possibly concussed” performance. Please stick to singing and dancing, Biebs. Or, actually, go into acting. This generation needs its From Justin to Kelly.

All the Homophobic/Transphobic/Sexist Jokes. This comes up just about every roast, it seems, and others have waxed loquacious on the issue. Can we really not find ways to be funny other than saying Bieber throws like a girl and enjoys anal sex? Have we really not evolved past that, as a species?

Did You Guys Know Martha Stewart Went to Prison? We get it. We’ve all watched Orange Is the New Black. On the plus side, Bieber looked exactly like any kid would look if grandma had too much wine at Thanksgiving and started talking about her days in a bordello in Amsterdam.

Dave Chappelle in the Audience But Not on the Dais. Bieber joked about calling Kevin Hart to ask for Chappelle’s number during the search for a host, and Chappelle’s stand-up-and-shrug reaction was one of the highlights.

The Last 45 Seconds of Bieber’s Speech. You had been doing so well, Justin. A great observation about Ludacris resembling Mr. Potatohead (he’s totally right), saying Kevin Hart was basically doing everything Martin Lawrence did “but s—tier”… And then he got all sort-of sincere and fakely earnest about apologizing to people for being kind of a jag (to put it mildly), and they brought out a monkey and pretended it was the one he abandoned in Germany, and you could practically hear the monkey’s thoughts: “So it’s come to this, has it?”

The Boring

Chris D’Elia. Had a tumbleweed rolled across the stage during his set, it would have been more exciting.