by Tony Bartolone

On the heels of the second presidential debate, we’re revving up for a runaway night of big bad battles. As we saw this past Sunday, a subdued Trump is much more horrifying than a frisky Trump. Perhaps he was having cocaine withdrawals, or maybe his handlers are trying desperately to present a presidential candidate and not a sideshow circus clown. The vaginal claw was going head-to-head with Goldman Sach’s favorite speaker, Shcillary Rotten Clinton. This debate didn’t exactly grab me. It was absolutely humorless. I know that presidential debates aren’t necessarily the place for dick jokes – despite what we saw with the Republican Primaries – but it would be to the candidates’ benefit to at least show signs of a pulse. If it wasn’t for Trump constantly pacing all over the room, we couldn’t even be sure these two weren’t classic Conan cardboard cutouts. It was basically the worst Roast Battle I’ve ever seen. It’s good to be back in the Belly Room and out of the political midfield. Let’s meet our judges!

This week we got a dais jam-packed with veteran Roast Battle arbitrators. We have the Sklar Brothers, who in addition to making a living hosting sports shows, are well studied in the art of Roast Battle. Pound-for-pound, punchline-for-punchline, the Sklars are two of the best judges to ever sit atop the Belly Room on a Tuesday night. Then we have The Cocky Killer, The Snide Sniper, The Roast Whisperer, Roastradamus himself, The Golden Pony, Tony Hinchcliffe. Love him or hate him, Hinchcliffe always comes with the razor-sharp, rapid-fire, target-tight bangers. And finally, we have a man who has roasted the police, male and female prisoners in a maximum security penitentiary and pussy-pinching enthusiast/current Republican candidate for president of these United States of America, Donald Trump. He is The Chris Kyle of Comedy, The Sultan of Smack, The King of Zing, The Insult Incinerator, The Trash Talk Terminator, The Roastmaster General, Jeff Ross. Watch Jeff Roasts The Cops on Comedy Central now.

Our first bloodbath is black on sorta black crime. Podcaster Courtney Banks faces off against Mel’s Diner’s own Jasmin Leigh.

Jasmin Leigh worked at an urban comedy club called the Comedy Union, and the only thing urban about Courtney Banks is her outtfitters. Jasmin is a clown at kid’s parties. It’s really ironic that between these two, Jasmin is the one who performs in whiteface. Courtney has a good podcast called Hot Chicks Aren’t Funny, and not since Einstein has somebody done more to prove a virtually unprovable theory. She had an impressive and eventful first battle against tonight’s main event contender, Lindsey Jennings. While Jennings has rocketed to main event status, Banks’ battles since then have been lass than satisfying, unless you find somebody getting slaughtered in overall weak battles satisfying. Honestly, Courtney Banks has a certain quality necessary to be an entertaining trainwreck. In her own words:

“I’m a dumb, drunk bitch.” 

However, she either has to embrace the bomb and go hard on the antics or step it the fuck up. I’m excited to see Jasmin step into the staged circle. It’s excited to see a gay black woman potentially disappoint three marginalized minorities at once. We last saw Jasmin in the Belly Room hallway screaming at the now infamous Jennifer Gable for missing their battle and getting them bumped. We’ll see if these women warriors can live up to the hype tonight. Shouldn’t be hard as there is literally no hype for this battle.

Our second battle pits Tommy “Roach” Lucero vs. Randy “No Known Nickname” Villarba.

I genuinely know nothing about these nothings. Here we see them animated, which may be why I’m missing them. I guess they only perform in cartoon form, and I don’t frequent Toon Town mics. It could be because they don’t get out enough. Maybe I don’t get out enough. Maybe LA is just a big, crazy, sprawling city overflowing with talent where it’s absolutely impossible to know everybody who claims to do comedy. All I can say: you’ve got the ball, so score, motherfuckers! When you’re a Roast Battle star you can do anything, so grab this battle by the pussy and be somebody.

Our next battle is another labia laden fist fight as we see Black Snake Charmer Mona Shaikh take on 420 Friend Dinah Leffert.

Mona looks like the Middle East version of Dinah. I’m no expert on the Middle East, but it’s safe to say if Mona goes down she’s taking Dinah with her. Mona is from Pakistan, but as a comic she doesn’t pack the stands. I have not actually seen her live, but she actually has one of the better, albeit very short, online stand up clips I’ve seen from undercard battlers. Dinah can hold her own as a comic, so this has potential to be good battle. They were scheduled on a previous show, but in true stoner fashion Dinah was late and they got bumped. Note to wannabe Battlers: this is the dopest show in LA, and on television for that matter. Show up early or they will bump your lazy ass. I’m excited to see these two battle each other as well as sexist age discrimination in the entertainment industry.

Next, we have Dave Nieker tussling with Brent Duncan.

Dave looks like he practices a sect of orthodox Judaism that involves unleavened doughnuts. He’s a Hasidic Chew. He’s also lactose intolerant, but he looks like he’s Islamic intolerant (Look out, Mona!). Brent Duncan looks to be a legit-ass comic, but the only video I could find on YouTube was him doing improv. Despite it being the butt of every other joke in the LA stand up scene, I actually like improv. But watching it on YouTube was like watching a porno where the pornstars keep all their clothes on. You’d much rather be there live, and even then there’s no guarantee it wouldn’t make you sick. This kinda shit is one step above slam poetry, which we’ll get to later. His opponent has had some less than memorable battles, but Nieker is a good writer and a competent comic. Between Brent’s improv clip and Dave doing comedy in Chicago, this should be great as long as an impromptu game of “Zip, Zap, Zop!” doesn’t break out and ruin our night.

Then, in a lowly-anticipated undercard, Richie Gaines locks up with Michael Schirtzer.

I feel like this is the battle of a predatory blue-collar doucher vs. a pretentious ivy league doucher. Women watch out, these two are single and ready to commit sexual assault. Richie has been tearing up the Roast Battle stage with his shady eyes set on a main event. This Bill Burr wannabe may really come into his own and decimate Schirtzer. Check out this excerpt from

“I am a slam poet and standup comic. I’ve worked on political campaigns. I was once referred to as a “scholar-activist” and I like the way that sounds.”

I had to reread this a few times, looking for any trace of irony or self-awareness. There is none. This is real. If you have the guts, there’s even a “Slam Poetry” tab on his website. If you click on it, you’re a stronger soul than I. The tab I did click on was labeled “Jiu Jitsu” which is disappointingly a bunch of pics of him standing next to guys who look like they can easily murder him their bare hands. That’s right, Michael Sirtzer is a white slam poet/scholar-activist/jiu jitsu something/standup comic. Look, Lindsey Jennings has got shit for being a rapper/model/comedian, but this is way worse. What, just because she has vagina, she can’t do multiple things? At least she does all those things. It’s 2016. We’re about to have a woman president, goddamnit. Let’s stop career shaming women who are really bad at their jobs and horrifying for society at large.

Which brings us to our Main Event. Former junkie Dan Nolan seeks to assist Suicide Girl Lindsey Jennings.

This looks like a battle between a methhead and the girlfriend he’s turning out to support his drug habit. In reality, Lindsey wouldn’t be caught dead dating Dan. Actually, from the looks of Dan, she might be caught dead with and because of him. What I’m saying is Dan looks like a psychopathic serial killer and he might murder Lindsey Jennings in cold blood as result of his mental illness, drug use and sexual frustration. At least she’d leave a colorful corpse. If you want to hear something as intensely passive aggressive as Sunday’s debate, check out the episode of Hot Chicks Aren’t Funny with Lindsey Jennings. There’s sound problems at about 35 minutes, but it’s worth it to hear Lindsey handle Courtney’s condescension with the kind of verbal jiu jitsu Schirtzer thinks he can pull off physically. Also, Lindsey didn’t even blame her microphone, which actually was not working. In the interest of equal time, I’m obligated to tell you to check out the Dan Nolan episode of HCAF too.

This is the most excited I’ve been for a battle in a while. Dan has been one of my favorite joke writers since the first time I saw him battle, and Lindsey has been one of my favorite performers since the first time I saw her do a tongue job on the back of Courtney Banks’ throat. These two are, bar none, two of the most entertaining battlers in the game today. Dan has way more experience, but Lindsey has much more to prove. This will be a goddamn slobberknocker. I honestly don’t know what people got against Lindsey. I mean, I get it, her look is obnoxious and she’s a bit of a noob, but she’s been outperforming people with years more experience (you know who you are). And that is probably the real reason people hate her. She’s got something that can’t be taught. And mark my words, she’ll make it on TV before most of her haters. After all this hype she’d better crush tonight or I’m gonna look like fucking idiot. Let’s see what our competitors have to say about each other:

“Lindsey is a tattoo model and rapper who sells topless pictures of herself on Snapchat and just lost her job and her apartment. So get ready for a bunch of a generic ‘smelly pussy’ jokes.”
-Dan Nolan

“I told Dan I’d fuck him if he won, so we both have a lot to lose.”
-Lindsey Jennings

Roast Battle remains the most unpredictable show in the City of Angels, and the critics of Roast Battle claim the show spreads ignorance and hate. Or at least, that the spectacle normalizes or glorifies these concepts. It actually does the opposite. It’s the Roman Coliseum of comedy. A church for the fearless freaks and a slaughterhouse for the uninitiated. The show is the closest thing we have to The Purge. The difference is, and I hope you liberal cunts are listening, this is just a show. Nobody actually gets hurt. It seems dangerous and it’s genuinely exciting, but it in reality all this verbal violence is merely some weird mutation of a bunch of ancient fags sharing their poetry. This is art. True and inarguable. I’ve seen a lot dumb, boring, fake shit in the LA comedy scene. But Roast Battle is a beacon of hope. A bright light in a city of bitter darkness. A beautiful swan song for American democracy. Social justice warriors may be the heroes we deserve, but not the ones we need right now. So will we hunt them and see that they can take it. Because Roast Battle is the proving ground. The broken-hearted orgy for the sexually frustrated and death defying high wire act for adrenaline addicts. This is show is my show, this show your show. From Coach Tea’s sound drops to the All-Negro Wave, this show was made for you and me.

Follow @RoastBattle on Twitter for all the latest updates, check out our Instagram and Facebook pages for the latest pictures from the impeccable Troy Conrad, and watch live on Periscope at 11 PM PST every Tuesday if you can’t catch the verbal violence in person. Thank you for reading, and thanks as always to our sponsor SpeedWeed.

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