Bieber's drag-racing arrest in Miami was catnip for TV's talk-show jokers

By Nate Jones
January 24, 2014 11:00 AM
Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty

Justin Bieber‘s arrest Thursday for DUI and drag-racing was irresistible fodder for TV’s late-night talk-show hosts.

The combination of Bieber’s alleged antics (blocking off a residential block in Miami beach to drag-race a rented Lamborghini) and public persona (not quite universally loved) was the equivalent of a slow pitch up the middle for our nation’s monologists, and with a full workday to brainstorm their barbs, they did not disappoint.


Conan O’Brien kicked off the night with a CGI-assisted sketch showing an unrepentant Bieber flossing with hundreds during his court hearing, before triumphantly lighting the money on fire. Coco’s monologue also got in a controversial prison-rape joke: “The police report described [Bieber] as 5-foot-9 and 140 pounds – or as his cellmate put it, just right.”

Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Jimmy Kimmel, the late-night host most fascinated with social media, devoted his Bieber monologue to the Twitter despair suffered by Beliebers in the wake of their idol’s arrest. “Now even criminals in jail get to meet Justin, while we’re still here,” one heartbroken fan noted. “No one’s talking about the real victims here,” Kimmel quipped, “the people who aren’t in jail meeting Justin Bieber.”

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

Jay Leno led his segment with a misdirected joke about Bieber being America’s “number-one domestic terrorist.” A car enthusiast, Leno reserved the bulk of his mockery for the details of Bieber’s arrest (“Justin was caught going 60 m.p.h. in a Lamborghini – it’s called second gear, try it some time”) before segueing into a joke about America’s second-most-favorite Canadian to make fun of: “Bieber told police he had consumed alcohol, smoked marijuana, and taken some prescription drugs. Or as Toronto mayor Rob Ford calls that, a light snack.”

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Jimmy Fallon, true to his reputation as the “friendly” late-night host, started off slowly with an innocent crack about Bieber’s young age: “The only race car he had ever been in before was his own bed.” But he soon unleashed the zingers, mocking Bieber’s egg-throwing scandal (“They’re saying he can get up to two years of being his own neighbor”) as well as his less-than-perfect complexion in that infamous mug shot (“I don’t know if I’m looking at a mug shot or a Proactiv commercial”).

His crankier counterpart, David Letterman, saved his jokes for the very end of his monologue: “The cops put out an all-points-Bieber they pulled him over and found two cartons of concealed eggs.” Like his old rival Jay, Letterman got in a Rob Ford joke as well: “The mayor of Toronto said, ‘What is he, on crack?'”

Of course, there’s at least one person who thinks this isn’t funny at all: Mackenzie Phillips says we should all stop laughing at young Bieber.

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