Entertainment

Justin Bieber roast promises to torch young singer's ego

By Bill Harris, Special to Postmedia Network

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No matter what your level of sensitivity is, there's a broadcast version of the Roast of Justin Bieber to suit your needs.

You know how profane these modern celebrity roasts can be. And profanity aside, just in terms of eyebrow-raising content, the roasters tend to specialize in competitively crossing lines.

So here's what you need to know about the Roast of Justin Bieber, Canada:

The broadcast debut is Monday, March 30, on the Comedy Network (the same night as it debuts on channel-of-origin Comedy Central in the U.S.). But that version will be censored, meaning the Comedy Network will “bleep” all the naughtiest words.

However, if you watch the encore broadcast the following weekend, Saturday, April 4, on the Comedy Network, that version will NOT be censored. So if you're of the belief that the swearing is a big part of what makes these things funny, then don't be bothered by the bleeps on Monday; your day shall come.

There definitely is a tonal difference to the current era of celebrity roasts, which originate on a cable channel, and the old Dean Martin celebrity roasts, which aired on a broadcast network, NBC, throughout the 1970s and into the early 1980s.

Obviously there was no swearing allowed on network TV back then. Many of the roasters may have been drunk and/or on drugs, but there still was no swearing. In the modern era, it's hard to imagine one of these things without the profanity.

Another big difference is that in the age of widespread entertainment media as well as social media, we just know so much about these things before they even air. The Bieber roast was taped back on March 14, and all of the best lines have been reported and repeated everywhere.

Heck, we even know what's going to get cut. Jokes about Paul Walker – one of the stars of The Fast and the Furious films, who died in a car crash in November 2013 – were deemed inappropriate and will be edited out.

However, this is the kind of stuff that likely still will be part of the TV show:

From host, a.k.a. roast master, Kevin Hart: “Justin’s Canadian. He’s actually considered American, because no Canadian has ever been this much of an a--hole.”

From Ludacris: "Justin Bieber wants to be black so bad, he's actually seen Kevin Hart's movies in theatres."

From Chris D'Elia: “I’m proud of you. You are literally a guy who has it all, except for respect, love, friends, good parents and a Grammy.”

From Ron Burgundy, a.k.a. Will Ferrell: “This kid has spunk, moxie and a few other STDs.”

From Jeffrey Ross: "The name Bieber has become so offensive, the Washington Redskins think you should change it.”

And perhaps my favourite quip, also from Ross: “You are the King Joffrey of pop."

You have to watch Game of Thrones to get it, but if you do, man, that's a good one.

Actually, it was Hannibal Buress who perhaps had the most accurate appraisal of the soiree. He called the roast "an extremely transparent attempt (for Bieber) to be more likable in the public eye."

Buress then added his punchline, “I hope it doesn't work." But that first part was bang on, right? Why else would Bieber volunteer for this abuse?

Justin Bieber is only 21 years old. He has many acts left in his life and career, whether he remains in the public eye or not.

It's unfortunate that he has gone through the highly stereotypical phase of being a kid who gets rich and famous, and can't seem to handle it emotionally. It isn't the first time it has happened to an overwhelmed youngster, and it certainly won't be the last time.

Bieber says he's trying to turn it around. And who knows? Maybe the best path to the future is being roasted about your past.

Just remember: Censored roast on Monday, uncensored roast the following weekend, on Saturday. I don't want your sensibilities to get roasted unless you want them to be.

Twitter: @billharris_tv

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca


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