2017 Roasties: The Nominees Are… by Verbal Violence | Jul 17, 2017 In a city overflowing with award shows, it’s time to hand out the only hardware that truly matters. It’s time for the third annual Roastie Awards. The awards this season are bigger and better than ever, as the ballot has been expanded to a record-setting eleven categories. The ballot features a lot of familiar faces – two-time Battler of the Year Keith Carey leads the way with seven nominations (giving him a total of 15 in his illustrious battle career) and Doug Fager follows close behind with six. But beyond the usual suspects, the ballot also features a lot of newcomers, as 25 different battlers are looking to take home a (metaphorical, until the budget increases) trophy for the first time. Private ballots will be going out today to almost 100 highly respected members of the Roast Battle community, and winners will be announced on July 31. With all that being said, let’s check out the nominees! Undercard of the Year 2015 Winner: Liz Stewart vs. Leah Knauer 2016 Winner: Joe Dosch vs. Earl Skakel The nominees are… Sarah Keller vs. Lindsey Jennings Leah Lamarr vs. Nicole Becannon The Virzi Triplets vs. The Wave Carmen Morales vs. John-Michael Bond Alex Duong vs. Esther Ku Joe Eurell vs. Haiti There’s a lot of fresh Roastie blood here. Sarah Keller earns her first nomination (but not the only one she’ll walk away with this year) for her killer battle with Lindsey Jennings last August. Another clash between first-time Roastie nominees followed in September, as Leah Lamarr and Nicole Becannon tore the house down. The November battle between The Wave and the Virzi Triplets was noteworthy for its innovativeness and an absolute all-timer of a joke (more on that later), and what it lacked in competitiveness it more than made up for in pure entertainment value. January’s fight between Carmen Morales and John-Michael Bond is made even more impressive when you consider that it was the first-ever battle for both of them. Longtime Roast Battle veteran Alex Duong earns a long overdue first nomination for his room-rocking battle with Esther Ku in March, and we round out the nominations with one of the hottest fights in recent memory as Joe Eurell and Haiti proved that you don’t have to be able to speak clearly (Joe) or even speak English (Haiti) to have an all-time classic battle. Rookie of the Year 2015 Winner: Olivia Grace 2016 Winner: Dan Nolan The nominees are… John-Michael Bond (3-1) Logan Guntzelman (3-0) Lonnie Johnson (4-4) David Lucas (3-0) Jacob Trimmer (5-2) Bryan Vokey (4-1) As you can see from the past winners, this category has been pretty effective in predicting new battle stars. Olivia Grace and Dan Nolan have risen to very prominent levels on the show, but they started in undercards on Tuesday nights like everyone on this list. John-Michael Bond has delivered three incredible performances in four battles and earns his second nomination of the night for it. Logan Guntzelman and David Lucas were both pretty selective in taking fights, as they both only stepped in the ring three times. However, neither one took a loss and both blew the room up each time (albeit with VERY different battle styles). Lonnie Johnson was the workhorse of the group, taking eight battles and splitting the results. It’s at this point that we have to give a special honorary mention shout out to Eric Abbenante, who also had a fine rookie season and went 4-4, but barely missed the nominations list. Jacob Trimmer might be the smart money pick thanks to a 5-2 record and main event win over Greg Roque, but he’s certainly got some fierce competition. That competition closes with Bryan Vokey, who just last Tuesday finally took his first loss. Even with the defeat, his resume remains impressive. Rebuttal of the Year 2015 Winner: Pat Barker – “That was two jokes… you handled that like a true Boston comic, it was a marathon and it ended in a bombing.” (vs. Toby Muresianu) 2016 Winner: Pat Barker – “You’re right Keith, my baby did die before it was born. Which means that me and your father have spent the exact same amount of time with our children.” (vs. Keith Carey) Pat Barker – “The funny thing is, my wife had a miscarriage in 2014, but Connor’s girlfriend had one in 2012. Which means that even your dead kids are just opening acts for mine.” (vs. Connor McSpadden) Nicole Becannon – “Great, a hot girl calling me ugly. If this were any more like high school Madison would be blowing her teacher for a B-.” (vs. Madison Sinclair) Keith Carey – “It’s true, my mom got gangbanged, because unlike Tom she knows how to entertain a crowd.” (vs. Tom Goss) Doug Fager – “My brother did die of food poisoning. Just not the long, slow food poisoning Zac’s dying from.” (vs. Zac Amico) Leah Kayajanian – “Yeah, I guess I do look pretty manly. Then again, anyone does when they’re standing next to you.” (vs. Connor McSpadden) Jay Light – “Kevin is right, my ex is an actress who tried standup comedy, and dating her was great training for this battle because I’m amazing at wrecking unfunny pussies.” (vs. Kevin McNamara) Eli Sairs – “You just hate religious talk because you can’t stand to hear the phrase ‘The Last Supper.’” (vs. Keith Carey) Omid Singh – “No, but you look like you just ate all of mom’s spaghetti.” (vs. FLO, after the Saudi Prince made an 8 Mile joke and FLO asked “is he here? Is Eminem here?”) Jacob Trimmer – “True, my ancestors did spend too much time in ovens. But Joe didn’t spend enough time in his mom’s oven.” (vs. Joe Eurell) Anna Valenzuela – “I am 34 years old. If you want to know how old Heather is, just count the rings around her neck.” (vs. Heather Marulli) Pat Barker has long been one of the best in the Belly Room at playing the rebuttal game, and his two consecutive wins in this category prove it. His latest reversal on a miscarriage joke helped him score a big win in January, but was it enough to secure the three-peat for Rebuttal of the Year? Rising battle star Nicole Becannon makes her second appearance of the night, and frankly could’ve been nominated once more in this category alone. This rebuttal was the highlight of a dominant performance over Madison Sinclair a few weeks back. This year’s two most nominated battlers check in here, as Keith Carey scores his first 2017 nomination for a short, simple knockout punch against Tom Goss back in December, and Doug Fager’s haymaker vs. Zac Amico in May earns him his first nomination of the evening as well. Former Roast Battle Champion Leah Kayajanian jumps in the mix with her rebuttal on Connor McSpadden, while Jay Light’s recent bludgeoning of Kevin McNamara was punctuated by this counter-strike. New York battler Eli Sairs makes his Roastie debut here – considering this particular award only takes into account Belly Room jokes, it’s all the more impressive since he’s only fought there once. Omid Singh’s walkoff homer against FLO was the most unorthodox rebuttal on the list, but also the only one that ended the battle immediately and was punctuated by a mic drop. We close the list with two Rookie of the Year nominees, as 2017’s Jacob Trimmer and 2016’s Anna Valenzuela both delivered heavy counter punches in winning efforts. Judge of the Year 2015 Winner: The Sklar Brothers 2016 Winner: Mike Lawrence Tony Hinchcliffe Mike Lawrence Chris Redd Jeff Ross Sklar Brothers Tony Hinchcliffe is nominated for a third straight year, but can he finally pull off the victory this time? Last year’s winner Mike Lawrence has been even more active at the judge’s table this year after moving from New York to LA, but he’ll face a big challenge from newcomer Chris Redd, who absolutely steals the show every time he judges. Jeff Ross, astonishingly, has never been nominated in this category. His judging this year has been funnier than ever before, and he now does it every single week. Rounding out the category are the 2015 winners, the Sklar Brothers. They don’t judge as often as they used to, but still deliver hilarious performances every time they do. Craziest Moment of the Year 2016 Winner: Doug Fager takes down Tony Hinchcliffe Tony Bartolone’s entrance vs. Doug Fager Alex Hooper plays a character vs. Pat Barker David Lucas destroys Corey Feldman Dennis Rodman crashes a battle The Breastfeeding Act-Out Eli Sairs calls out the West Coast In the category that debuted last year, we try to take a look at all the things that happened that can’t simply be defined as “great battles” or “great jokes”. All the extracurricular stuff that makes Roast Battle the most unpredictable show on Earth. This year, we settle on six moments that made everyone in the crowd say “holy shit”. First off, Tony Bartolone’s entrance vs. Doug Fager. While Tony’s entrances have been largely hit-or-miss (and have skewed mostly to the “miss” side), this one was flawless. It involved a ghost that represented Doug’s dead brother, a weird character with a paper mache head, lighting cues, and Tony making it rain from inside a trashcan. With this one, Tony set the bar for all future entrances. Alex Hooper attempted to clear that bar a couple of months later in his title match with Pat Barker. Dressed in a sparkly and furry red unitard with a glow-in-the-dark tail, Alex entered to a laser light show and delivered a Molly-fueled dance routine before performing the whole battle as a bizarre character and throwing Barker off thoroughly en route to picking up the W. It was such a crazy performance that it overshadowed earlier in the night, when Rookie of the Year nominee David Lucas made his battle debut and absolutely decimated former child star Corey Feldman in the process. Celebrities showing up in the VIP section is nothing new at Roast Battle, but having them walk on stage unprovoked certainly is. Dennis Rodman took some time out of his schedule between hang-out sessions with Kim Jong-Un and showed up to the Comedy Store. He took the stage and rambled unintelligibly for what felt like hours, completely derailing the first battle of the night. Our final two nominees are perhaps the most infamous Wave act-out of all time (with an assist to pornstar-turned-battler Silvia Saige), and the call-out that started it all, as Eli Sairs won the New York title and issued a challenge to the West Coast scene, igniting a coast war that still rages today. Upset of the Year 2016 Winner: Toby Muresianu over Keith Carey Nicole Becannon over Dan Nolan Frank Castillo Wins Season Two FLO over Jay Light The Virzi Triplets over The Wave Jeanne Whitney over Doug Fager Another award that debuted in 2016, Biggest Upset is designed to honor the battler who overcame the odds and pulled off a win nobody thought possible. Nicole Becannon is now a Roast Battle superstar, but at the time she beat her ex-boyfriend Dan Nolan, she was a heavy underdog. Speaking of underdogs, Frank Castillo pulled off the ultimate Cinderella run by winning season two of the TV tournament. None of his battles individually seemed like they had particularly long odds, but if Vegas was laying numbers on the tournament beforehand, you could’ve made SERIOUS money taking Frank over that field. FLO showed up as an unheard-of battle rapper and pulled off a win over battle legend Jay Light, an upset made even more impressive by the fact that he hasn’t won since. And nobody – and I mean NOBODY – thought the Virzi Triplets had a chance in hell against The Wave. The Triplets had had one uneventful battle before, taking a loss to Casey Moran, but looked like completely different guys as they beat the hell out of not one, not two, but THREE Comedy Store Paid Regulars. Finally, the list is capped off by Jeanne Whitney putting a sudden end to Doug Fager’s hot streak. After his win over Zac Amico in the highly-hyped New York vs. Los Angeles card, Doug walked into the Jeanne Whitney buzzsaw and took the loss. Three Round Battle of the Year 2015 Winner: Keith Carey vs. Connor McSpadden 2016 Winner: Pat Barker vs. Keith Carey Doug Fager vs. Tony Bartolone Leah Kayajanian vs. Jonathan Rowell Pat Barker vs. Connor McSpadden Pat Barker vs. Doug Fager Eli Sairs vs. Keith Carey Keith Carey vs. Connor McSpadden This award used to be titled simply “Battle of the Year”, but as three-rounders become somewhat of a dying art form and tons of great five-joke fights go down every year, the need for differentiation became apparent. Doug Fager and Tony Bartolone’s aforementioned fight was one of the few battles where the comics were able to follow a great intro and deliver strong material throughout. Leah Kayajanian and Jonathan Rowell took advantage of great friendship chemistry, a hot crowd fueled by season two announcements, and Jeff Ross’ decision to join The Wave for one night only. They delivered one of the finest back-and-forth fights the Belly Room has ever seen. One of last year’s winners, Pat Barker, delivered two classic fights in about six weeks earlier this year. First, his battle with Connor McSpadden featured a ton of vicious jokes, a song, and a come-from-behind win. Shortly after that, Pat and Doug put on a battle that was so good that all the judges agreed that it should be the first ever “double win”. Although the Committee didn’t abide by that and the official result was a draw, both battlers were treated to a 30-second standing ovation after the second overtime and before the extended “burnout” third OT. That battle might’ve been the leader in the clubhouse until Keith Carey showed up and did Keith Carey things. First, his cross-country war with Eli Sairs made for one of the most entertaining fights in recent memory. Then, only a week later, Keith and Connor reprised their 2015 Battle of the Year… and TOPPED it. Keith vs. Connor remains the only battle that’s ever gone down in two separate three-round iterations, but can it win the Battle of the Year title in two different seasons? We will find out. Five Joke Battle of the Year Robin Tran vs. Keith Carey Jamar Neighbors vs. Joe Dosch Omid Singh vs. Dan Nolan Jamar Neighbors vs. Keith Carey Kim Congdon vs. Dan Nolan Jeanne Whitney vs. Doug Fager The debut of the Five Joke Battle category starts off where the previous category ended – with Keith Carey. His battle with Robin Tran last September punched both of their tickets to a Comedy Central appearance in November, and featured four jokes that were in consideration for the “Joke of the Year” nominations. Jamar Neighbors and Joe Dosch yielded similar results in terms of television, and showed that Jamar was way more than just a member of The Wave. Keith and Jamar would also go head-to-head with one another in April, as they delivered a fight for the ages (while both shirtless because, well, why not). Dan Nolan became an expert of the five-joke battle, delivering absolute classics against both Omid Singh and Kim Congdon that were as good as any three-round fight he’s ever done. Finally, the Upset of the Year candidate resurfaces, as the Jeanne Whitney vs. Doug Fager battle earns a nomination in a second category. TV Battle of the Year Mike Lawrence vs. Ralphie May Earl Skakel vs. Sarah Tiana Anna Valenzuela vs. Keith Carey Frank Castillo vs. Jay Light Todd Barry vs. Olivia Grace Yamaneika Saunders vs. Kurt Metzger Another category that wasn’t necessitated until this year, TV Battle honors the best battle to go down on Comedy Central. Mike Lawrence vs. Ralphie May certainly garnered the most viral fame and was perhaps the most memorable, but Earl Skakel vs. Sarah Tiana in the tournament semifinals was a lot more competitive. Anna Valenzuela vs. Keith Carey was the biggest standout fight from the LA prelims, while 2015 Battle of the Year nominee Frank Castillo vs. Jay Light was reprised in the one-round format as the bar-setting battle for the Season Two tournament. Todd Barry earns his first Roastie nomination for his tournament battle with Olivia Grace, which just might be his greatest career accomplishment to date. Similarly, Kurt Metzger can now add a Roastie nomination to last year’s Emmy nomination, as his battle with Yamaneika Saunders stole the show during the first night of the season two tournament. Joke of the Year 2015 Winner: Pat Barker – “I can’t wait until you kill yourself. I want to read your suicide note; mainly because it’ll come in a delicious cookie and have my lucky numbers on the back.” (vs. Alex Duong) 2016 Winner: Dan Nolan – “When Pat lost his child to a miscarriage, there was nothing funny about it. Which is how Pat knew he was the father.” (vs. Pat Barker) Joe Dosch – “Black people have had such a bad year, Jamar’s mother had to cook her crack over a candlelight vigil.” (vs. Jamar Neighbors) Doug Fager – “Pat recently baby-proofed his apartment. It’s just a bunch of signs that say, ‘If Hungry, Do Not Eat Baby!’” (vs. Pat Barker) Sarah Keller – “What can I say about Lindsey that hasn’t already been said? Except, maybe, ‘I’m proud of you.’” (vs. Lindsey Jennings) Caesar Lizardo – “Mark, you’re loud, obnoxious, short, chubby, hairy, big nosed, hunchbacked, unfunny, unbookable, unlikeable, creepy, rapey, Armenian. Kill yourself. I just gave you 13 reasons why.” (vs. Mark Stevens) Connor McSpadden – “Pat’s wife had a miscarriage. When the baby died, Pat bought a small tombstone for it and a large Tombstone with pepperoni for himself.” (vs. Pat Barker) Toby Muresianu – “Jail prepared Dan for his stand-up career, because he’s used to taking shits in the middle of the room with one person watching.” (vs. Dan Nolan) Dan Nolan – “Lindsey’s pussy is so big you get a free t-shirt if you can eat it in one sitting.” (vs. Lindsey Jennings) Jeff Sewing – “Jay, I really appreciate how you’ve been framing me as the whiter guy in the battle. But you’re a rich kid that grew up in the south. Your family crest is probably a black guy hanging from… another black guy.” (vs. Jay Light) Robin Tran – “On 9/11, Keith missed a flight that crashed into the World Trade Center. Which means he’s personally responsible for killing the two people that took his seat.” (vs. Keith Carey) Virzi Triplets – “The Wave should be called The Hurricane. The bigger they get, the more they fuck over Haiti.” (vs. The Wave) Narrowing this list down to ten was nearly impossible. To start, every single Roast Report for the last twelve months was scoured over. From there, the list was narrowed down to about 120 jokes before a small committee each independently voted on their favorites. There were so many incredible jokes this year that didn’t make the cut, so if your favorite burn of the year didn’t end up here, we’re sorry. We get it. In addition to these ten, another ten or so were especially difficult cuts, a list that included familiar names like Keith Carey and Kim Congdon, but also newer battlers like Katrina Davis and Alfred Konuwa. In the end, these are your nominees. Joe Dosch’s candlelight vigil joke was the best-written joke in a battle Jamar was able to control with energy. Doug Fager’s third round closer against Pat Barker was one of the first to attack his impending fatherhood, while Connor McSpadden treaded on more familiar miscarriage territory. Hey, it won Dan Nolan a Roastie in this category last year. Speaking of Dan Nolan, he had three jokes in serious contention here, but his brilliant pussy joke against Lindsey Jennings takes the cake. Sarah Keller also got in a particularly ruthless joke against Lindsey as part of their Undercard of the Year nominated battle. Caesar Lizardo took an innovative approach to roasting Mark Stevens, and the risk paid off with one of the biggest crowd reactions the room has seen. Toby Muresianu’s joke on Dan Nolan was the highlight of his dominating victory, and the same can be said for Jeff Sewing’s insane closer against Jay Light. Robin Tran pulled off a difficult task and found a new way to call Keith Carey fat, while the Virzi Triplets shocked the world by beating The Wave and hitting this absolute home run right at the top of the battle. Battler of the Year 2015 Winner: Keith Carey 2016 Winner: Keith Carey Pat Barker (3-1-2) Keith Carey (5-7) Frank Castillo (5-3) Kim Congdon (5-0) Alex Duong (3-1) Doug Fager (3-2-1) Alex Hooper (4-3) Connor McSpadden (3-4-1) Eli Sairs (3-0) Omid Singh (6-1) Will Keith make it a three-peat and take home the top award for a third straight year? This could be his toughest vote yet. Keith’s strength has never been in his record, but rather in his stacked resume of classic battles. He added several more legendary fights to that resume this year, but his 5-7 record (and only 2-6 in the Belly Room) may make winning again an uphill climb. Pat Barker put up a 3-1-2 record and put up two Battle of the Year nominations in the process, while Kim Congdon ran off a perfect 5-0 record en route to being the current top ranked battler. As for Frank Castillo, I guess we’ll find out how much weight the voters give the TV tournament versus the Tuesday night fights. After starting the voting period 0-3, Frank ran the table and took him five straight Comedy Central wins, a big trophy, and 25 grand. Alex Duong gets a well-deserved first Battler of the Year nomination after three consecutive big wins, and Doug Fager earns his sixth nomination on the evening after racking up a couple of classic battles and a winning record. Alex Hooper spent the majority of the voting period as the Los Angeles champion and managed to win a couple television battles. Connor McSpadden’s 3-4-1 record isn’t overly impressive, but he secured his nomination with the epic Keith Carey rematch. Eli Sairs only gets credit for a 3-0 record here, as his only battles that count towards Roasties were his TV match with Scott Chaplain, New York battle against Hooper, and his Belly Room brawl with Keith. Still, in those three fights, he accomplished enough to get a (potentially) controversial nomination here. Rounding out the list is Omid Singh, who steered clear of big three-round main events this season and focused on running up a great record in 3-5 joke single-rounders. His only loss on the year came on Comedy Central against Toby Muresianu, who is somewhat conspicuous by his absence on this list after a solid year. I guess the bottom line, as with Joke of the Year, is that Roast Battle has grown to a point where deserving people are going to just miss the cut sometimes. But don’t worry – the new Roasties season starts August 1. Plenty of time to start racking up nominations for next year’s awards. In the meantime, we stand two weeks away from this year’s ceremony. Who will win? Find out on July 31!