“Saturday Night Live” isn’t generally used as an outlet for things the celebrity guests need to get off their chests, unless they’re urging you to fight the real enemy. But if there’s one thing to take away from Justin Bieber’s debut hosting gig on the classic sketch comedy show, it’s this: yes, the pop heartthrob smoked weed. And he’s sorry.
The comment came as part of the recurring “The Miley Cyrus Show” skit, during which Bieber suited as the head of Cyrus’s fan club. The Biebz mocked himself first with the character, before adding, “I also heard he got busted for smoking weed and he’s really sorry about it and people make mistakes and he’s never gonna do it again.”
Talk about a mouthful. A move to appease a younger crowd, i.e. his fans? Probably. But well-played, Bieber.
The sketch was but one in a handful of comedic turns by the singer. In his opening monologue, Bieber both seduced and educated, taking time to honor both Valentine’s Day and Black History Month as part of February. He got a little help from cast member Kenan Thompson, but struggled through the history bits (“Did you know that black folks invented the Kwanzaa?”). By sketch’s end, it appeared he would be taking home Whoopi Goldberg. No, seriously. She was there.
He was also part of “The Californians,” a soap opera/California resident skewering, playing a skateboarder who has run away from home (and, kind of ironically, seems like a major stoner). And as one half of an abstinence-loving couple attending the Booker T. Washington Valentine’s Day Dance, the latter featuring Jay Pharoah’s hilarious Principal Frye role.
In one sketch, Bieber played himself, flanked by a score of “professional body doubles,” also known as basically “SNL”‘s entire cast. Mad ups to Bobby Moynihan’s dance moves and whatever Aidy Bryant was doing, as well as Kate McKinnon’s Ellen DeGeneres. The segment was also one of many times of the night during which the singer vocalized a few lyrics from one of his songs, often sending a few members of the audience into fits of excited screaming.
Throughout the evening, he showed off an Austrian accent, was unable to keep from breaking character while getting mocked by Taran Killam’s Eddie character, and pulled off a “Grease” throwback. And forget Selena — after a seductive Valentine’s Day message from Justin himself, Bieber and Hillary Clinton are the new OTP.
His live performances featured two selections from his new “Believe Acoustic” record, the first an acoustic guitar-accompanied rendition of “As Long As You Love Me.” If you’ve never had Justin Bieber stare directly into your soul, fret not, as you’ll have plenty of chances watching back. He even takes on Big Sean’s verse in the song, because the night just wouldn’t be complete without him informing all of us that we’re his hallelujah.
Song number two was the highlight, the piano ballad “Nothing Like Us.” His microphone dropping slowly from the ceiling, Bieber showed his earnest side in a song that many say references his relationship, or lack thereof, with Selena Gomez. One of his best songs yet as an artist, Bieber delivered the lyrics with surprising restraint. Won’t be surprised if this ends up being a single.
But maybe we’ll get a song about Hillary before that happens. I can only dream.