Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time. It’s time to celebrate the best of the best in verbal violence and the standout moments from the Belly Room over the last 12 months. It’s time for the 2019 Roastie Awards! The votes are in and the battle community has spoken. Here’s what they had to say.
In the category of Undercard of the Year, the winner is…
Sarah Lawrence vs. Alice Hamilton!
In years past, this award has been dominated by experienced battlers who took a break from main events to do a three-joke exhibition. Past winners include Roast Battle legends like Earl Skakel, Joe Dosch, Joe Eurell, and Dan Nolan. This year, however, the hardware goes to a woman making her battle debut (Lawrence) and her fellow rookie opponent (Hamilton). This was a loaded category with a very close vote, but at the end of the day this electric bout from May edges out the Dylan Sullivan vs. Lou Misiano battle and the all-out Swedish war from Best of the Belly Room II. It’s the first Roastie award for both of these comics, but probably not the last if their joke-writing in this fight is any indication.
In the category of Rookie of the Year, the winner is…
And just like that, Alice Hamilton takes home two awards in her rookie season. In another close vote, Hamilton edges out Deirdre Devlin and Digits as the premier first-year fighter in the league. Past winners of this award have gone on to become Battle superstars, so it’ll be interesting to see how Hamilton continues to grow on the Belly Room stage. Her sophomore year is already off to a great start, as she pulled out a win over Mia Mars last week. With victories in the first two categories this year, Hamilton becomes only the eighth person to ever win multiple Roastie awards in a single year.
In the category of Rebuttal of the Year, the winner is…
“I know, you could’ve really used those stem cells, huh?”
For the third time in five years, Pat Barker takes home the Roastie for Rebuttal of the Year after this quip blew the roof off against Joe Eurell. There were definitely more intricate and better written comebacks this year (including some in this very battle), but this was the one that resonated most with audiences and it earns Barker a sixth career Roastie as a result.
In the category of Most Improved Battler, the winner is…
After three pretty close votes to kick us off, we have our first blowout. Tom Whalen takes a staggering 53% of the vote, beating out all of the other five nominees combined. After starting out his battle career at 3-2, Whalen really stepped his game up en route to a 5-1 year that had him in the discussion for a Battler of the Year nomination. Instead, he takes home the first ever Most Improved award as he looks to continue his ascent over the next 12 months.
In the category of Main Event Battle of the Year, the winner is…
Alex Duong vs. Toby Muresianu!
It’s been a pretty good last year for Alex Duong and Toby Muresianu. Both men got married – Duong last August and Muresianu this July. And right in the middle, they put on an absolute classic in the Belly Room, a battle that is widely regarded as the greatest Title Match in the show’s history. At a time when three-round battles are becoming increasingly rare, these two showed that those battles, when done correctly, are just on a whole different level than an amazing one-rounder. The battle began with Muresianu dominating and Duong clawing his way back in before edging it out in a thrilling double overtime and being crowned the new Roast Battle champ – a perfect blend of expertly written jokes and real tension due to the high stakes. Duong took home the victory that night, but today both are honored with a Roastie award for a near-perfect battle.
In the category of TV Battle of the Year, the winner is…
Nicole Becannon vs. Joe Eurell!
These two combined for an eye-popping five Roasties last year, and they add to their totals with this honor for their Comedy Central Digital clash. With 44% of the vote, we see our second largest margin of victory this year as the community speaks loud and clear in favor of these two battle-tested vets. When Becannon and Eurell stepped (or rolled) on stage at the Fonda Theater, nobody knew what to expect. What we got was a classic clash that one year and 300,000 views later still stands out as the best fight of the season.
In the category of Joke of the Year, the winner is…
“I want to do something to make this battle fair, get rid of any potential judges bias. [Zach opens his shirt, spits on his nipple, then rubs the spit all over it] There, now I’m as gross as Heather.”
In the closest vote of the entire process, Zach Stein barely edges out five-time Roastie award winner Keith Carey and takes home the Joke of the Year trophy. Stein’s joke was a high-risk, high-reward tightrope act – a perfect combination of hilarious and absolutely disgusting, a joke that will live in all of our memories forever no matter how hard we try to make it leave. As we enter year seven of the show and it becomes increasingly difficult to find new approaches, we must applaud Stein for taking a risk unlike one we’ve ever seen before. The result is a well-deserved Roastie award.
In the category of Battler of the Year, the winner is…
It was a magical year for Duong, and he caps it off with the ultimate Roastie award. In a year that saw him win a battle on Comedy Central, win two battles in Tulsa, one more in Phoenix, and two in the Belly Room (including the epic title match), Duong really outshined the competition and proved that his name belongs with the all-time greats in the sport. While he’s been a staple of the battle community for years, this was definitely the break-through season where he ascended to a new level, and now he is officially recognized as the best in the game over the last 12 months.