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Commentary: Timberlake, James Franco Roast make entertainment headlines

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Andy Samberg, left, and James Franco on the set of ‘The Comedy Central Roast of James Franco.’ Credit: Courtesy of Facebook

Andy Samberg, left, and James Franco on the set of ‘The Comedy Central Roast of James Franco.’ Credit: Courtesy of Facebook

This is part of a weekly series called “Pop Opinions” where The Lantern offers its take on the week’s pop culture news.

Franco gets roasted

For years, celebrities have been facing the music and sitting on the Comedy Central stage to be “roasted” — because in today’s society, there’s nothing more hilarious than pointing out each other’s flaws, especially when they seem to have it all. But when it was announced James Franco would be the next to be roasted, I wondered how it was possible to make fun of such a well-rounded and talented man. Apparently, all you need is a handful of the world’s funniest actors and it can be done.

“The Comedy Central Roast of James Franco,” which starred some of Franco’s closest friends as his roasters, including Seth Rogen, Bill Hader, Jonah Hill, Nick Kroll and Aziz Ansari, aired Monday and caused quite a buzz — about 3.1 million viewers and 334,000 tweets, according to the Los Angeles Times, to give you an idea.

As one of the most witty and entertaining roasts I’ve ever seen, Monday’s show held a plethora of genius jokes and one-liners at Franco’s expense, but there were a couple roasters who stood out among the rest.

The one who stole the show: Jonah Hill. 

It was made clear early that no part of Franco’s life was off limits — from bombing at the Oscars, to his sexuality, to his books and paintings. And Hill, who went up toward the beginning of the night, had no trouble taking stabs at each of those.

“Everyone is going to make fun of James for the Oscars, it’s so obvious. Everyone was like, ‘James was dead up there.’ But that was Anne Hathaway’s fault. I mean, f— her for trying, like, at all,” Hill said.

However, Hill’s best joke was against fellow roaster Bill Hader and his departure from “Saturday Night Live,” saying what most fans of Hader have been wanting to.

“When he left SNL, every single person was like, ‘What are you doing? You’re never going to work again. Like ever,’” Hill said. “What does Bill do? Boom. He books himself a T-Mobile commercial. Who’s laughing now (creator and producer of SNL) Lorne Michaels? My man Bill is. This guy is cashing checks from the fourth largest mobile provider in the nation.”

The most underrated roaster: Andy Samberg. 

Although usually uproarious, the concept of these roasts is foul. Foul and hurtful. And I can only imagine that most celebrities put themselves through the sting of these shows to prove they can laugh at themselves. Which is a fair reason, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not uncommon for it to get out of hand. This is why Samberg’s roast was my favorite of the night. Essentially making fun of roasts, Samberg took the stage and used his time to, more or less, compliment everyone.

“My good friend Aziz Ansari is here. Aziz’s parents are from India and he’s from South Carolina,” Samberg said. “Hey, Aziz. What’s it like to have a unique perspective on what it means to be American, you bag of s—?”

The former SNL cast member also resorted to making fun of himself.

“Here’s one: Nick Kroll, Seth Rogen and Bill Hader walk into a bar. They’re there to pick me up because I’m an alcoholic who can’t manage my feelings. Nailed you f—ers. Suck a butt,” he said.

Although surprising to the audience and to me at first, Samberg dismantled the typical roast form, making his somewhat parody of the show extremely refreshing and I commend him for it.

JT wants to be a villain

With all the rumors surrounding the Batman movies and who will play what role, one of today’s biggest stars decided to get in on it as well.

In a recent interview on New York radio station Fresh 102.7, actor and musician Justin Timberlake said he wouldn’t mind playing the bad guy, the Riddler from the Batman franchise to be exact.

“I’ll tell you the villain I want to play more than anything — because I grew up loving Batman — funnily enough, is the Riddler,” Timberlake said in the interview. “The Riddler is my favorite villain. The Riddler was like a sociopath. He was proper crazy. So if I’m gonna play crazy, I wanna play proper crazy.”

And now that Timberlake has worked alongside Ben Affleck, who has been casted as Batman in the upcoming Batman versus Superman movie, it seems as though he wouldn’t mind doing so again.

“I think he’s an extreme talent, so he could surprise a lot of people,” he said.

Just not as his sidekick, or any good guy for that matter.

“I ain’t playin’ Robin. I have no aspiration to ever be a superhero in a movie,” he added.

Who can blame him? Villains are more interesting, and I’m guessing a lot more fun to play. Besides, it’d be a different role for Timberlake and one I’d be interested in seeing him play.

With Timberlake’s popularity and his acting resume, see “SNL,” “Friends With Benefits” and “The Social Network,” he wouldn’t be too shabby, or surprising, of a choice to star in a “Batman” film, and now that he’s voiced his desire to play a villain, it could be even more likely.

However, if cast as the Riddler, JT would have some big shoes to fill, following Jim Carrey’s Riddler performance in “Batman Forever” (1995).

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