Comedy Central’s roast of Justin Bieber finally aired Monday night, featuring Kevin Hart, Hannibal Buress, Martha Stewart, Shaq, Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy, and some monkey that wasn’t really the one Bieber abandoned in Germany in 2013. All were there to fuel the narrative that if we just burn Justin badly enough, he’ll rise from the ashes as an adult instead of a millionaire baby that commits petty crimes, and Scooter Braun surely thanks them for their service.
The entire event felt like a show trial, but one where the suspect was guaranteed to be acquitted. This isn’t to say there wasn’t the occasional searing line. Saturday Night Live’s Pete Davidson took aim at Bieber’s deadbeat father, saying, “I lost my dad on 9/11, and I always regretted growing up without a dad, until I met your dad, Justin. Now I’m glad mine’s dead.” As harsh as that line was, the ostensible purpose of the Comedy Central Roast is to give comedians the chance to work out their nastiest material—the Friars Club events they evolved from were all about finding the best way to sell the meanest jokes about the most untouchable subjects.
The surprise hit of the night, though, was Martha Stewart, who showed up to change people’s lives for the better, and certainly succeeded:
It feels like she may have gotten someone else to write her jokes, and that’s a Good Thing.