Article by Madison Gabor | esPResso Committee Member
On March 30, Comedy Central broadcasted its highly anticipated roast of Justin Bieber.
After Bieber’s recent history of bad decisions, including speeding violations and physical altercations with a photographer in 2014, he’s finally publicly apologized for his actions and explained his intention to change. Celebrity roast specials are aired once or twice a year on Comedy Central and are used to poke fun at the honoree. In particular, the roasts aim to help the celebrities realize the wrongs they have done but also shine a more positive image on them for the viewers.
Bieber was roasted by 10 different people: Hannibal Burres, Chris D’elia, Shaquille O’Neil, Pete Davidson, Snoop Dog, Ludacris, Martha Stewart, Natasha Leggero and Jeffery Ross with Kevin Hart as the host or roast master. Each had an opportunity to criticize everything Bieber has done in the past few years, as well as mention the good things about the singer, such as how successful he has become or how they were proud of him for taking steps in the right direction.
The hashtag #BieberRoast was trending worldwide and Bieber himself even used it before the show by tweeting “The #BieberRoast starts now on @ComedyCentral !! 🙂 I’m screwed. Lol” and after the show tweeting “Thanks #BieberRoast.” No Justin, thank you.
As the youngest person to be roasted on the network’s show, 21-year-old Bieber took all of the jokes fairly well and was humble about the situation. The roast was the network’s third most watched roast with about 4.4 million viewers.
At the end of the show, Bieber got a chance to roast himself and then apologized for all his wrong doings. According to The Washington Post, Bieber said, “I was thrown in (to show business) at the age of 12, and there was no getting ready for this life.” The singer also said that he is “looking forward to being someone who everyone can smile at.” Bieber genuinely wanted to show the audience that he is trying to change his life for the better.
Many celebrities tweeted positive comments about the singer after the roast. Comedian Erik Griffin tweeted, “You owned it, rocked it, hilarious, humble. I loved it.” Doug Benson, another notable comedian, also tweeted, “Easily one of the most enjoyable roasts I’ve ever seen. I even kinda like Justin now. Kinda. #BieberRoast.”
Comedy Central benefited greatly from this earned social media buzz. According to Variety.com, “The Justin Bieber roast ranked No. 1 [on social media] among all shows on television that Monday with over 1.3 million mentions and more than 40 roast-related trending topics worldwide. Nearly 2 million people generated over 3 million posts, comments, likes and shares regarding the roast of Justin Bieber, aka #BieberRoast.”
It may be too soon to tell, but hopefully the roast will help Bieber’s quest to mend his reputation. After getting his past transgressions out in the open and apologizing in front of millions of viewers, it is clear that he is ready to move on from his rebellious teen life and get back to making music. In my opinion, participating in the roast was a strategic decision that will fall in Bieber’s favor and possibly aid in his reputation makeover.