It’s been another great year for Roast Battle, as the show rang in its fifth birthday in style – with a third season on Comedy Central, a brand new podcast, and a book. We cap off the five year celebration by handing out some hardware. The 2018 Roasties are here to reward excellence shown in the Belly Room over the last 12 months. Let’s just get right into it.
In the category of Undercard of the Year, the winner is…
Dan Nolan vs. Zach Stein!
We open with our closest vote of the entire ballot, as Dan Nolan and Zach Stein edge out Armando Torres and Ashley Johnson in winning Undercard of the Year. For Nolan, it’s his third career Roastie (he took home the wins in Joke of the Year and Rookie of the Year in 2016), while Stein wins his first Roastie on his first nomination. Their May battle proved to be one of the hottest fights we had all year, as both battlers mixed perfectly written jokes with consistent off-the-cuff retorts en route to a nearly perfect clash.
In the category of Rookie of the Year, the winner is…
For the second straight category, Ashley Johnson earns a lot of support but ultimately comes up just short, this time in a loss to Brian McDaniel. McDaniel racked up a textbook rookie season – debuted right after the voting period began, ran his way through several undercard victories (five in a row to be exact), then jumped up a level and delivered a great performance against an established veteran in Joe Eurell. McDaniel shows no signs of slowing down, having already battled NYC vet Sean Finnerty in his sophomore season. Look for McDaniel to continue to climb the Roast Battle ladder in 2019 and beyond.
In the category of Rebuttal of the Year, the winner is…
“You know Keith, it doesn’t even hurt my feelings that you don’t think I’m attractive and that you wouldn’t fuck me, because sticks and stones would break my bones but Keith would fucking crush me.”
After leading the way with five nominations this year, Nicole Becannon takes home her first ever Roastie award for this savage comeback in her December classic with Keith Carey. This was another category decided by only one vote, as Becannon edged out Dan Nolan for the W. Becannon has quickly become one of the best in the Belly Room at utilizing rebuttals, and perhaps none turned the tide harder than this first-round knockout punch.
In the category of Upset of the Year, the winner is…
You know, it’s pretty amazing that the losingest battler in history (Keith Carey, with a staggering 18 losses) could go into every battle as a heavy favorite. Yet, that’s what happens due to his track record of excellent performances. This year, his defeat at the hands of Nat Baimel was particularly noteworthy – partially because of Carey’s stature as a two-time Battler of the Year, but also because this was the only fight Baimel had in the entire 12 months (his post-fight callout of Connor McSpadden has gone unanswered). Baimel, like Carey, has a long history of taking tough losses while putting up good performances, but he got the W this time – both in the battle and the Roastie category.
In the category of Three Round Battle of the Year, the winner is…
Jamar Neighbors vs. Nicole Becannon!
The year of Nicole Becannon continues, as her two nominations in this category thoroughly dominated the voting. Her title match with Jamar Neighbors garnered 43 percent of the vote, which is impressive enough… until you see that her battle with Keith Carey came in a close second at 39 percent, meaning that she grabbed a whopping 82 percent of the total votes in this category. In the end, Carey is denied a sixth career Roastie award, as Becannon’s recent fight with Neighbors edges it out. In a show where title matches have historically been pretty disappointing, this standout battle set fire to the Belly Room. The end result is the second Roastie of the evening for Nicole Becannon.
In the category of Five Joke Battle of the Year, the winner is…
Joe Eurell vs. Robin Tran!
The debate as to whether or not this May clash is the Best Battle Ever is wide open, but there was little doubt of one thing – it was definitely the Best Five Joke Battle of the past year. Eurell and Tran take a commanding 45 percent of the vote on their way to a victory here, marking the third career Roastie award for Robin and the second for Joe. Their fight, which was filled with carefully crafted jokes and hard hitting rebuttals, earned a standing ovation from the crowd in attendance. Now it has earned a place in Roastie history.
In the category of Joke of the Year, the winner is…
“You know, when I was ten years old, the state took me away from my mother, and I haven’t seen her in 21 years. So, like Robin, both our mothers want their sons back.”
Eurell’s closing punch helped seal the Tran battle as an all-time classic, and here it earns him a second Roastie win on the evening. After another close vote that had Eurell edging out Doug Fager and his Beauty and the Beast joke by a single vote, the voters were very clear; long storytelling jokes are in. They’re very difficult to pull off but Joe Eurell did so flawlessly here, as the audience waited for every word of his overtime haymaker. The second Roastie win caps a hell of a year for the Celtic Cripple.
In the category of Battler of the Year, the winner is…
And the year of Nicole Becannon finishes emphatically, as she controls an unbelievable 62 percent of the vote in the category. It’s the most dominant win in any category in Roastie history, and really speaks to just how much audiences (and in this case, other comics) love what she’s doing on stage. Her year was nearly flawless, as she ran through Greg Roque, Keith Carey, Tony Bartolone, Jeff Sewing, and Toby Muresianu before dropping the belt to Jamar Neighbors in the Three Round Battle of the Year, and her peers have now given her the ultimate prize – the Battler of the Year Roastie, her third trophy of the night.