by Keith Carey, photos by Troy Conrad

I’ve written before about how Roast Battle is a constantly
evolving organism, and Tuesday night proved that the current iteration is
finally finding its footing and starting to thrive. The dynamic of the audience
has shifted a bit, a change brought about by the show’s high-profile television
exposure and a limited pool of comics in the back thanks to some fire code
shenanigans, and several recent fight nights have found battlers struggling to
connect with the crowd. But this week, the whole room was wired and ready for
blood, even through a daunting seven battles.

First up, Dave Hatch goes toe to toe with Keith Reza!

Hatch is up first. He’s a Roast Battle virgin, which can be
a blessing or a curse, and it’s a little hard to tell if he’s nervous or
excited, although the answer is probably a little bit of both. Reza takes the
stage next, carrying himself with a calm, almost bored demeanor that reads as
quiet confidence as the bell rings.

“Every day Keith struggles with Aspergers. And chili

“I like Dave. When he does stand-up everybody says he’s
white trash, but he’s more like white recyclables.”

“Keith’s last comedy special was titled You Can Hardly Tell
when it should have been titled It’s Blatantly Obvious.”

“Dave’s girlfriend told me his underwear drawer is called Skid Row.”

“Keith is very sensitive about the word retard, so we never
say it around him. We just spell it.”

“Dave kind of reminds me of my ex-girlfriend, and by that I
mean after tonight I won’t be thinking about him again.”

Both comics have some modest pops. Keith Reza’s skid
row/underwear joke is rhythmically a little strange and throws the room for a
loop, leading to a decisive victory by Mr. Hatch.

Next up, Kujo Johnston snatches an overtime victory from
Manny Ortiz! These two old friends come ready to cut deep. Kujo is less
experienced in the ring, but has jokes that are as smart as they are cruel.

“Manny claims his domestic violence charge was actually
self-defense. Basically it came down to him defending his future happiness
against his pregnant girlfriend.”

“The only thing lower than Kujo’s self-esteem are the track marks between his toes.”

“Manny has a child he named Odysseus, which is oddly
appropriate since neither of them plan on seeing each other for 20 years.”

“In the 1980’s film Cujo, a St. Bernard put his nose in a
hole and got rabies. Kujo put his nose in a hole and got HPV.”

“Manny’s been called a hack and a joke thief by every comic
that doesn’t know he’s a barely-literate joke thief.”

“Kujo and I are Eskimo brothers, which means we both banged
the same chick at some point in time. The only reason he’s upset about this is
that his mom won’t stop calling me back.”

“Kujo’s potential father-in-law was shot to death for being
an abuser. Which goes to show that girls really go for guys that are like their

“Manny’s tried to fuck more comics than bringer shows and
just like every other shitty comic he’s never been able to make anybody come.”

Manny drops a few solid hits, but unfortunately can’t
maintain the energy, while Kujo’s jokes are more consistent. Even though Kujo
takes the win, the crowd is feeling both of them, but ultimately sides with
Kujo after multiple rounds of voting and one very concerning moment where Tony
Hinchcliffe reveals he doesn’t know how you get HPV. The crowd is lively as we move into a redemption battle
between Lou Vahram and Ashton Swinford.

Ashton bounds to the stage with a buoyant energy that makes
it hard not to love her. Her effervescent vibe stands in stark contrast to
Lou’s hangdog expression, as though he is preemptively embarrassed about the
fight to come. Lou is a nice guy with a bit of an awkward streak, and within
the scene has a reputation somewhere between “lovable underdog” and
“human punching bag.” He’s showed promise, but his last battle was a
disaster of hubris and poor decision-making. Many of us wince as the battle
gets underway.

“Well, I have some good news and bad news. Good news, Lou
took two girls’ virginity in a month. Bad news, now he’s banned from Chuck E.

“Words can’t describe how gorgeous Ashton is. But numbers
can. She’s a 6.”

“Lou’s mom died seven years ago. But that hasn’t stopped him
from fucking her.”

“Ashton was hit by a drunk driver. It’s the only time she
knew what crushing feels like.”

“Lou’s girlfriend slit her wrist. Just so he could have a
hole small enough to fuck.”

“Ashton just got engaged to a guy she met two months ago.
Which is just code for ‘acting isn’t working out.’”

Lou redeems himself. His first joke is not only one of the
most clever misdirects I’ve seen in the ring, as well as a potential “Joke
of the Year” nominee, but also is delivered with a sense of glee I’ve
never seen out of him onstage. That positive energy carries him through the
battle as he lands three punches in a row while Ashton, despite her best
efforts, struggles with being out-written and out-charmed. Lou takes a decisive
win, and the crowd chants his name. You can tell watching him that he is
genuinely touched. Well done, Vahram, you made good. Don’t get cocky, get

Marking the halfway point of the night is a bout between
Tony Asar and Josh Michaels!

Josh Michaels has a timid confidence about him. He seems a
bit pulled back, but in the same way that a coiled snake seems docile until it
snaps. Tony Asar comes up to a song boosting his hometown of Pomona, a fact
that amuses Moses quite a bit. The bell rings and the gloves come off.

“Tony works in security, which is ironic because it’s the
one thing he can’t give his family.”

“Josh the kind of guy to read you poetry before he rapes

“Tony was adopted. You should treat comedy like you parents
treated you and abandon it.”

“Josh is half Mexican. The only thing brown about you is
your nose.”

“Tony literally gives black people a bad name. He named his
son King, after his great-grandfather, King Kong.”

“Josh is a talented magician. Even his father’s love is an

“Josh isn’t pale. He’s just too dirty of a Mexican to wash
the jizz off.”

“Tony’s a Snapchat whore. The only thing he abuses more than
social media is social security.”

Both battlers have some decent barbs, although the hits are
a bit mild compared to what is to follow. Tony puts up a valiant effort, but is
overtaken by Josh’s heavy-hitting overtime joke. Josh is victorious, and the
night plugs along.

After a brief stand-up intermission, we resume combat with
Tim Groeschel and Seth Woodward!

Seth Woodward takes the stage first. Seth’s track record at
battle is a bit spotty, but all it takes to break a bad streak is one good
fight, as we’ve already learned tonight from Lou Vahram. Tim Groeschel lumbers
up next, an intimidating presence both comedically and physically. After some
banter with the judges, these two come out swinging.

“Tim works for an oil company because he saves money
lubricating his fat folds.”

“Seth was recently diagnosed as schizophrenic. They knew
something was up when he was hearing laughs on stage.”

“I might be schizophrenic but you look like multiple

“Seth used to be
fat in the same way the police used to shoot
black people.”

“Tim’s a skinhead with the beard of a civil war general.
He’d be leader of the KKK if they had bedsheets big enough.”

“Earl and I get our pillowcases at the same Target. Seth’s
really into tentacle porn, which makes sense because he’s a hairy slimer who
looks like he just eats girls’ underwear.”

“Tim does work with the homeless by having a food bank in
his beard.”

“Jesus, Seth, you looks like one of Jeff Dunham’s puppets
without the jokes.”

“Yeah, of you.”

Overall, the fight is fine. A few of the jokes don’t land,
and Seth makes a bold attempt at a closing counter-attack that unfortunately
doesn’t pan out and ends the battle on an awkward note. However, the jokes that
do connect get a rise out of the crowd, and the vibe is good as Tim nabs the W.

Up next is the fight of the night, a special extended
undercard between Joe Dosch and Jamar Neighbors!

Joe Dosch takes the stage first, adopting his trademark
battle stance of “world’s gayest teapot.” As he is introduced, a
mysterious fog begins to fill the room.

“It’s getting a little faggy in here. Excuse me,
foggy.” – Olivia Grace

“That’s big talk coming from the ghost of a Japanese
clown.” – Joe Dosch

The crowd goes nuts. Joe’s greatest strength is his lack of
hesitation in firing back at the judges, Earl, and even the crowd. Despite his
effeminate posturing and baby face, Joe is absolutely bulletproof in the ring.

Jamar is introduced and emerges from the fog wearing an MF
Doom mask and some sort of bedazzled poncho.

“You look like you’re wearing Rick Ross’ Christmas tree
skirt.” – Josh Adam Meyers

Jamar has an uncanny ability to seize control of the room
with only a look. These are two titans of Roast Battle and the crowd is on the
edge of their seats as the fight begins.

“Black people have had such a bad year, Jamar’s mother
had to cook her crack over a candlelight vigil.”

“Joe told me his mom’s going through chemo. I didn’t
believe him until the bitch slid into my DM’s asking me where I got my hair

“Joe got his second movie credit in ‘Keanu’ and his
first in the Looney Tunes they can’t show anymore.”

“Nigga, you look like something Seth McFarlane would
doodle on a napkin.”

“Jamar actually cried after Orlando, because that’s 49
more men who couldn’t have been his father.”

“This nigga’s still talking about Orlando ’cause he’s
mad they shot up his home club.”

“The difference between me and Jamar is I can’t give
blood and he got his bike stolen by one.”

“Joe’s sittin’ out there with his hand on his hip,
looking like the impatient guy at the glory hole.”

“Jamar was in a movie and still lives on a couch. It’s
like he got success and cut it with baking soda.”

“Word on the street is Joe Dosch’s asshole’s so deep,
he farted at a poetry lounge and everybody snapped their fingers.”

Every joke hits. Jamar in particular impresses, coming off he heels of a tough loss to Corey Charron, with impeccable writing that lives
up to his legendary swagger. Joe’s jokes are cerebral and still brutal, setting
an important example to up-and-coming battlers that you can (and should) skip
past the low hanging fruit and find your own unique voice in the ring. Both
battlers are commended, but ultimately Jamar is declared the victor of what I’m
officially calling the best undercard battle I’ve ever seen.

Then the Wave rises from the bench and makes a declaration:
After years of silence, they will be stepping into the ring to battle the Virzi
Triplets. After a scuffle onstage, the Triplets go to plan, while the Wave
returns to duty. Based on the Wave’s strength and the lackluster performance by
the Triplets in their first outing, I predict an easy win for the Wave, but let
me say this on the record: Once the Triplets are destroyed, the Mean Boys
(Connor McSpadden, Joe Dosch, and myself) have next dibs on the Wave. Winner
gets to adopt Haiti!

Finishing out the night is a main event between Madison
Sinclair and Quentin Moscaritolo.

Quentin and Madison are both rising stars on the Roast
Battle scene. Madison arrives onstage and takes a bit of heat for her recent
comments in the blog stating that she is “a better writer than most men.” To
her credit, she doubles down on the sentiment, much to the chagrin of the
insecure comics in the back and to the delight of those – like me – who enjoy the
art of antagonism. Anybody who finds themselves bothered by a declaration of
arrogance in the context of what is essentially a rap battle without the rhymes
needs to have their head examined. Calm down, kids, we’re all having fun here.

Quentin comes out moments later in a purple Jeb Bush
sweater, and carries himself with all the confidence it takes to wear a purple
Jeb Bush sweater. They size each other up, the judges take some shots, and JeffRoss reminds the audience for the hundredth time that it is, in fact, Olivia
Grace’s birthday.

“I love that every time I tell a joke that bombs, you tell
them it’s my birthday so they don’t get mad at me.” – Olivia Grace

“It’s Olivia’s birthday, everybody!” – Jeff Ross

With that, the battle is underway!

“You look like Rob Zombie presents a Chili’s waitress.”

“Quentin’s cystic acne is so bad that if a girl ever sat on
his face, his face would squirt first.”

“If you say Madison’s name three times in the mirror, she
appears and asks you to subscribe to her YouTube channel.”

“Quentin, I think it’s ironic that you look like Tom from
MySpace because every woman that meets you immediately sees you as a friend.”

“Madison is a 23-year old Lebanese woman. So her biological
clock isn’t ticking, but that thing on her chest sure is.”

“I am Middle-Eastern but you’re the one who bombs the most
and is the most suicidal so (inaudible muttering). Quentin recently found out
his mom fucks his dad with a strap-on. How does it feel to know your mom uses
her dick more than you?”

“Quentin thinks it’s his cool that his parents call him
their roommate because it means that they respect you. But if they respected
you, they’d still call you their son.”

“Quentin, you look like a giant tampon, which is fitting
because you’ve only been in one pussy and then she threw you away and replaced
you for someone who looks exactly like you.”

“Quentin, I was surprised to find out you suffer with
depression. You always look so happy dancing in front of those car

“Madison is a strong, independent woman who don’t need no

“Seriously, though, you can’t sing, you can’t act, you’re
barely funny. She’s like if 20-year old Madonna was 50-year old Madonna.”

“Nobody works harder to pay her rent than Madison’s dad.”

“Quentin’s suicide notes are like the “50 Shades of Grey”
novels; they come in a trilogy, they’re anticlimactic, and they always get his
mom off.”

“You might recognize Madison from her role in Twilight as
Kristen Stewart’s cunt double.”

“Quentin had to leave college and get checked into a mental
institution because he jumped out of a two story building. He literally dropped
out of college.”

“I have a fake tooth. Madison has fake tits. The only
difference is my tooth doesn’t get me spots at the Improv.”

“Quentin’s leaving us in a few weeks to find success in New
York. I really think he’s going to do it because the buildings are much taller

“Madison keeps men at a distance. The only men in her life
are old, green, and come from her dad’s bank account.”

All three rounds prove to be strong for Quentin. Madison
starts off with promise, but unfortunately starts to unravel in round 2 before
pretty much crumbling in the final round. The issue seems to be one of
delivery, as many of her jokes are great on paper, but fall flat in her
execution. A combination of awkward delivery, jumbled words, and some early
technical issues help to put her in a coffin, but the nails are driven in
handily by Quentin. His jokes are mean, clever, and he avoids the easy route of
multiple slut jokes. There’s nothing inherently wrong with slut jokes – as
you’ll find out on October 25th when I battle Kim Congdon – but it is
refreshing to see a female-on-male fight that doesn’t lean on them exclusively,
or in Quentin’s case, at all. 

Quentin has a powerful night, delivering well
enough to maintain the energy built up by Joe and Jamar, and even shows
uncommon sportsmanship by offering Madison a double-or-nothing Round 3 after he
sweeps the first two rounds. His victory is decisive and well-earned. None of
this is meant to disparage Madison. While she didn’t really show up to fight
this week, she has showed promise in the past, and I look forward to the day
that her skill onstage matches her bluster offstage, a day that I feel will
come sooner rather than later.

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 11:30 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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