by Tony Bartolone, photos by Troy Conrad

It’s another packed night of battles in the legendary Belly Room. We’re hot on the heels of Jeff Ross Presents Roast Battle II: War of the Words. See the second part of the Los Angeles Roast Battle Regionals this Sunday night on Comedy Central. Today, Donald Trump will be sworn into office, and nobody knows what the future will hold. But on the same day, Comedy Central will start filming 15 men, women, and whatever Zac Amico is laying it all on the line to be the Champ. They cannot silence us, so they cannot defeat us. Whatever! Let’s get to the battles…

In our first match of the night, undefeated Bryan Vokey takes on undefeated Bruce Gray in what is arguably the best undercard of the night. Bruce takes the lead and starts off strong:

“Bryan looks like he could be on the cover of Tony Hawk: Pro Tweeker.”

“Bruce looks like he roofies women to get in their pantries.”

“Bryan has resting “I molest people” face.”

“Bruce’s dad is a professional Bull rider, explains Bruce’s six tits and four stomachs.”

“Bryan’s mom died of a very rare form of brain cancer called my son’s a failure.”

Bruce fumbles the delivery setting Bryan to easily snatch the match, as he also takes the opportunity for an ad-libbed dig.

“Sounds like he had brain cancer when he said that. Bruce is so racist he asked me to go to the zoo with him and took me to a Clippers game.”

Bryan’s last joke hits and gets the win in a well-fought feud. These two had one of the better battles of the night, even though they were put on first before even any stand up or audience warm up of any kind. The crowd was a bit cold and not yet full, but these two still had a solid fight in spite of having to take the bullet. Which is more than I can say for the next – I won’t even call it a battle – heated conversation.

Maria Delgado steps into the comedy thunderdome to fight Barbie Dahl. These two middle-aged women go to work on each other with all the fury of soggy, white bread. If you watch the Periscope without sound it looks like two women apathetically recalling the results of the Bachelor. Even though their – I won’t even call them jokes – declarative statements about each other are bland, obvious and unoriginal, the crowd gives them a little love here and there. A truly forgettable, superfluous experience. The biggest laugh of the match is when Tony Hinchcliffe shows up and called Barbie Dahl a Cabbage Patch Kid. Low hanging fruit seems more like a gourmet dessert after a lame duck of a meal. Too bad Christmas just passed, because these two should’ve asked Santa for some stage presence. After an ambivalent crowd vote, Brian Moses mercifully declares it a draw. The real loser in this match up: everybody who watched it.

Mike Lawrence and Mo Mandel join Tony Hinchcliffe to round out the judges’ row. Jeff Ross decides to stick with The Wave again after having so much fun getting physical last week.

Things really get kicked up a notch with this next battle, seeing Eric Abbenante pummel Kevin McNamara. Watching this war of wits was like watching the nerd subplot in Can’t Hardly Wait. Brian Moses asks why they’re battling?

“I mean Kevin’s made money in acting, in truck driving, but not in comedy because he only gets paid to deliver other people’s material.” – Eric Abbenante

“I always wanted to meet a Make-A-Wish kid who beat the odds.” – Kevin McNamara

Both their pre-roast lines hit and it looks to be a promising battle.

“They look like two different types of shitty step dad.” – Mike Lawrence

And with that, Eric starts things off and maintains control throughout.

“Kevin’s dead-beat dad might as well be his agent, because neither gave him a callback.”

“When Eric was born his mother could’ve taken a tip from the Nazi’s and put that bun back in another oven.”

“Kevin’s a terrible actor. Everyone says ‘break a leg’ to him because that’s the only way he’ll end up in a cast.”

“Eric looks like he goes to rape survivor meetings to scout the defense.”

“Kevin’s dad actually held Kevin at birth before leaving him forever, just the first audition he didn’t make the cut.”

“Eric’s grandfather killed himself before Eric was born. You may call it suicide, but I call it foresight.”

Kevin flubs his Holocaust joke, and there’s no telling how hard it might’ve hit if he hadn’t. But not sure it would even matter.  Eric’s second joke gets a huge pop, and Kevin’s jokes get some laughs too, but he can’t touch Eric.

“It’s like an after school special about like a guy who gets cut from the baseball team and beats a wolfboy.” – Jeff Ross

“He [Kevin] beat you [Eric] in every other part of life, and this is why I fucking love Roast Battle. He wanted it, but you fucking needed it. Eric looks like he masturbates to the Malcolm in the Middle theme.” – Mike Lawrence

“It’s Captain America at the beginning of the movie and then after the serum.” – Mo Mandel

After the judges have a field day, Eric is the clear-cut winner in this satisfying battle. I have to admit it is highly enjoyable watching this wimpy weirdo beat up on a chiseled jock. It’s the kind of catharsis that comes from having sex with a really hot stripper or watching a Revenge of the Nerds marathon. It is just a feel-good moment in the life of people who were suicidal in high school.

We continue in the vein of weird losers with Kyle Gridley attempting to end Lou Vahram’s hot streak. Lou has an awkward entrance coming out to Rob $tone’s “Chill Bill” which is a pretty cool song for kicking back and smoking weed with friends. But don’t pick a song with whistling in it for a Roast Battle entrance. It’s like if you want to come out to Guns N’ Roses and you choose the song “Patience.” Pick a something with a pulse. It’s commendable to do an entrance because it is a risk, and this show is the place for these kind shenanigans. So I definitely want to encourage people to keep taking those risks. So kudos Lou, and better luck next time. Kyle steps forward to take the first shot and the battle is underway.

“When Lou chokes a girl the only person who comes is a cop.”

“You might recognize Kyle from his role in Fight Club. He played the bag of fat from the liposuction clinic.”

“Lou keeps a lot of pictures of his dead mom because he too poor for a Brazzers account.”

“My mom may have died of breast cancer, but at least she was the right gender to grow tits.”

“Sometimes Lou threatens to kill himself and the sad part is that if he does, we’re gonna have to remember him.”

“Kyle’s dad used to beat the shit out of him. So at least somebody in his family knows how to land a punch.”

Lou dominates from beginning to end. However, despite Lou’s last joke, Kyle does land some punches and has a respectable showing. Lou continues his underdog hot streak with some major consideration for the committee when setting the rankings.

Next up, Kelsey Cook takes on Dave Neal. Kelsey had a decent first battle, but nothing particularly memorable. The battle starts off fine, with at least some attempts at burns in the pre-roast banter. Kelsey’s line hit pretty hard, but Dave’s was one of those insults that sounds mean, but really is more of just a factual statement.

“Dave told me he was hard to write roast jokes about, which I thought was sweet. Like he doesn’t know he’s a piece of shit.” – Kelsey Cook

“I’m just surprised she didn’t call it off like she did with her fiancé.” – Dave Neal

“That’s not a joke on Kelsey, it’s a joke on her fiancé. That’s a woman empowerment moment.” – Mike Lawrence

If the night’s undercards have a theme it is unfulfilled potential. And this underwhelming battle is a perfect example of that. Kelsey has obviously mastered timing, mugging and proves she can write a decent joke. That’s why it’s weird that this battle peaked after her first joke.

“Dave Neal… That’s what your uncle always said before he made you blow him.” – Kelsey Cook

That is the highlight of the battle, and it is all in Kelsey’s pitch perfect delivery. Dave isn’t embarrassingly bad, he is just mediocre and so is this battle. When Lou Vahram and Eric Abbenante are standouts of the night over people who’ve actually made money doing comedy, something’s not quite right. So a note to battlers: step it the fuck up. Write more interesting jokes. Dig deeper, work harder. Put on a fuckin’ show.

“It looks like the cult leader and the first person he lured in.” – Mo Mandel

After the judges have their way with these two, the crowd declares Kelsey the winner and we’re on to the next one.

Joe McAvoy does hand-to-hand combat with Nick Lauber. It is revealed that Nick has a birth defect and his right hand is freakishly small. Perhaps he accepted this battle after being emboldened by our newly elected tiny-hand president. Joe bizarrely does practically the same jokes he did for his last battle without even mentioning the dude’s shrunken appendage. Luckily, the judges are there to pick up the slack.

“That’s the part on Tinder that the girls don’t see in the head shot.” – Mo Mandel

“He should put his dick in that hand.” – Earl Skakel

“He just professionally holds the hands of parents who’ve lost children.” – Mike Lawrence

Nick has one good joke on Joe:

“Joe’s the only white guy who police arrested first and figured out why later.”

This is a joke Joe said against Nick, followed by a joke he did in his first battle back in late November:

“Nick is a Republican. He went back to his home state of Indiana to campaign for Donald Trump, thinking he would get a job in Donald Trump’s administration. Donald Trump tweeted, “Nick, I got enough losers. I don’t need you.”

“Jeremy voted for Donald Trump. He thought was doing America a favor. After the election, he sent his resume to Donald Trump so he can be in the administration. Donald Trump twittered, “I got enough losers. I don’t need you, Jeremy.”

Joe is the first person to plagiarize himself. I love Joe as much as the next guy, but write a new joke. It’s not hard to write his jokes. They’re all just small paragraphs of plain libel. Joe takes the match after a close decision, and Nick skips out on the hug prompting disapproving boos from the crowd. He’s the second person in the history of Roast Battle to walk out on the hug, and also the second one named Nick.

In our next bout, Logan Guntzelman tries to hate crime Matt Lgrande. Matt looks like a gay teenager who got beaten transitioning in to the step dad that did the beating. And Logan looks like the USA Network’s hit show, “Mrs. Robot.” 

It’s really uncanny.

“Guys call Logan a butterface because she’s always down to take it in the butt or face.”

“Since Trump won I don’t know if Matt’s going to move to Canada, but I know his hairline definitely is.”

“I’m gay, but I think if we turn the lights off, Logan and I would definitely be able to fuck because I’ve always had a thing for Brad Garrett.”

“Matt’s parents sent Matt to gay-conversion camp. They don’t hate gays, they just wanted Matt out of the house.”

“Logan’s favorite position in bed is the Dutch oven.”

“The only club they’ll Matt headline is the Dallas Buyer’s Club.”

It’s a really strong battle capping off the marathon of undercards. Matt’s last joke bites it, while Logan’s last joke gets huge reaction securing her the win. And finally, it’s on to our first Main Event.

Nat Baimel goes one round with Nicole Becannon. These two are about ten years apart, but look exactly the same age. Regardless of age, these are two of the best joke writers in the game. Once Nat and Nicole are both onstage, Mike Lawrence digs in:

“This looks like a battle between former All That cast members.” – Mike Lawrence

Nat claims first joke and gets things going.

“Nicole looks like the world’s youngest lunch lady.”

“Nat claims he teaches Alzheimer’s patients, but I’m pretty sure they’re regular people and he’s just that forgettable.”

“Good one, Ronda Drowsy. Nicole’s on Prozac. Her eye isn’t lazy, it’s just too depressed to move.”

“When Nat’s dad died of colon cancer he decided to follow in his footsteps by constantly shitting the bed.”

“Yeah, my dad died of cancer, so unlike you he actually developed material that kills.”

“Nat’s been an unsuccessful comic for ten years, I’m pretty sure we’re gonna have to throw your failure a bar mitzvah.”

“Nicole is like the air mattress she lost her virginity on: lumpy, uncomfortable and gets deflated after being used by guys with no other options.”

“No one ever thought Nat would even lose his virginity because twinkly Peter Pan over her looks like he never-never lands pussy.”

“Nicole can’t keep a job, she’s been fired more than the gun she’ll eventually put under her chins.”

“Nat doesn’t drink caffeine, he takes his cream straight in the asshole.”

There was an accidental sound drop that interrupted Nicole’s Peter Pan joke, so Jeff Ross gives her another joke:

“Nat looks like a hot dog that can talk.”

Nicole’s joke hits, but it’s too little, too late as Nat gets his first ever win by judges decision. 

It’s a fun battle leading into a magnificent main event: baby-faced Connor McSpadden going punch-for-punch with dad-faced Pat Barker.

In classic Jeff Ross fashion he demands the crowd give it up for Boon because it’s his/her birthday. As Connor makes his way onstage, Boon is looking at him like Pat looks at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Connor offers him/her a kiss because it’s his/her birthday, and Boon prances over and plants a peck on his cheek. 

There’s no other way say it, it was adorable. Then Jeff breaks the news:

“By the way, Connor, I’m sorry, it’s not really his birthday.” – Jeff Ross

“So now I gotta tell my girlfriend I got HIV for nothing?” – Connor McSpadden

Moses asks Connor why he’s battling Pat:

“Pat’s a great writer, he’s actually writing full time. He quit stand up, before his knees could do it for him.” – Connor McSpadden

Pat comes out draped in a Verbal Violence t-shirt currently available for sale at www.verbalviolence.tv/shop.

“Just so you know, if Boon comes anywhere near me I’m calling the fucking police.” – Pat Barker

“Dude, it’s his fucking birthday.” – Jeff Ross

Pat then lists the reasons he wanted to battle Connor:

“Connor’s a fun person to roast. He was molested as a kid, he let a girl fuck him with a strap on, his dad is in Kiss tribute band and he use to be a hip hop producer, so who doesn’t want to battle against assistant Coach Tea?”  – Pat Barker

After Connor makes a short plug for his dad’s band, Pat’s jumps on first joke and kicks off the match.

“Connor look like the worst player in the WNBA.”

“Pat’s wife had a miscarriage. When the baby died he bought a small tombstone for it and a large tombstone with peperoni for himself.”

“Thank you, every bad guy in every ‘Mighty Ducks’ movie. Connor’s dad isn’t the only one in a tribute band, you may know Connor as the lead singer for Twink-182.”

“You know, Pat’s wife is a lot like Kiss. No one likes her when she takes the make up off.”

“In all seriousness, Connor asked me before the battle to not identify his molester here tonight and I won’t, I won’t. That secret is just like your career, it will never leave this room.”

“Pat’s from Pennsylvania. Check out his new show, “I’ll Never Have a Sonny in Philadelphia.”

Both battlers have some hard shots and great counters, and the crowd throws it right back with cheers of approval. In a unanimous judges’ decision Connor takes the first round.  Pat chooses to defer and Connor kicks off the second.

“Pat told me that he plays softball and he hates musical comedy, so in honor of that I’ve prepared a little song:
Take Pat out of the ball game, Pat is breathing too loud
Hide all the peanuts and Cracker Jacks, he’ll choke to death if he sleeps on his back
As he shoots, shoots, shoots only blanks and he thinks he’ll create a life
But then one dead baby falls out of his dumb fat wife
That baby is outta here! Going, going, gone to purgatory.”

“You know, Connor’s making a lot of fat jokes, but I can understand a guy who got fucked with a strap on being concerned with girth.”

“Connor is great writer, but he looks like his best work is forging his mom’s name on permission slips.”

“Connor’s girlfriend is a much more successful comedian that him, but don’t worry, if that strap on story proves anything, it’s that he has no problem opening for women.”

In an incredible turn of events, Mike Lawrence and Connor McSpadden get into a between-round spat.

“I think once you do the song, that has to be the series finale on ‘your wife can’t have kids’ jokes. So if the third round is just that, (Jewish sound for disgust).” – Mike Lawrence

“I got bad news for you.” – Connor McSpadden

“That’s what the doctor said.” – Mike Lawrence (in a weird character voice)

“Can we all agree that this character is funnier than regular Mike Lawrence?” – Connor McSpadden

“Can we all agree there’s no such thing as regular Mike Lawrence?” – Mike Lawrence

“You’re my favorite super hero, LipoThor.” – Connor McSpadden

The “Battle! Battle! Battle!” chants erupt from the blood-thirsty crowd.

“You should be Neil Patrick embarrassed about that.” – Mike Lawrence

“You look like you roofie girls and make them watch Dune.” – Connor McSpadden

“I like that you became me in that joke by avoiding all eye contact.” – Mike Lawrence

Connor mumbles something about his hands, presumably in reference to Mike’s sweaty palms. After it falls flat, The Champ proclaims:

“I won. Pat.” – Mike Lawrence

Pat and Connor each have one vote from the judges. It’s looking like it could possibly be a short battle. Tony Hinchcliffe gives Connor props for his gutsy song, but breaks the tie in favor of Pat and we’re going to a third round. Jeff Ross decrees that Connor start off the final round.

“Pat’s wife is pregnant again. They conceived using artificial insemination because even his sperm swim with their shirts on.”

“The funny thing is my wife had a miscarriage in 2015, but Connor’s girlfriend had one in 2012. Which means even your dead kids are just opening acts for mine.”

“Pat’s got a little bit of a spare tire, it goes with the bike he was gonna give his dead kid.”

“Connor is very cocky, he’s got his head so far up his own ass he can see the jizz his molester left in there.”

“A lot of people don’t know, but Pat’s baby was also molested… by rats in the dumpster. Here’s the tragic thing, they actually could’ve saved Pat’s baby, but he was using the forceps to get the last Pringle.”

“Thank you every kid from every Sunny D commercial. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t assume that you drink Sunny D, it’s just that between the molesting and the strap on, it would be the only D that you haven’t taken.”

Chants of “Battle! Battle! Battle!” ring out as people jump to their feet and give these battlers a standing ovation. Tony Hinchcliffe, who cast the deciding vote for Pat in round two, gives the first vote to Connor for round three. Mo Mandel and Mike Lawrence give their respect to Connor, but their vote to Pat. The Roast Master makes it official and Brian Moses raises Pat Barker’s hand in victory.

This was one of the greatest battles in a while, and there are great ones every week. So good work Pat, you deserve it. And good work Connor, even though you didn’t get it, you deserve it too.

This Friday, filming begins on Jeff Ross Presents: Roast Battle II: War of the Words. Keep watching the regionals this Sunday on Comedy Central, and the four night main event will air on January 26th – 29th on Comedy Central. And we’ll see you back in the Belly Room Tuesday, January 31st.

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. 

If you live in Los Angeles, get your tickets now to see the upcoming tapings of Roast Battle II: War of the Words, which will take place at the old House of Blues – right across the street from the Comedy Store – on January 20th, 22nd, 24th, and 29th.

Thank you for reading, and thanks as always to our sponsor SpeedWeed.

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