by Pat Barker
See that picture up there? The one of David Deery, Roast Battle winner? It’s the only one that exists. That’s because Deery has stepped in the ring four times and only come out victorious once. His record of one win, one loss, and two ties doesn’t exactly jump off the paper, but if you’ve been in attendance for any of those battles you know he’s just as dangerous as anyone in the league. Deery was a subject of much debate when the rankings returned in early April. Despite a winless record (0-1-1 at the time), Deery debuted at #35. An insane debut ended in a tie with Sarah Keller, and in his subsequent battle he was awarded the win on a split decision with Ramsey Badawi, but demanded to win unanimously in an overtime that he promptly lost. Quickly, Deery had developed his character: The Best Battler Who’s Never Won. That lasted a few months – after another tie (this time with Lindsey Jennings), Deery finally got in the W column with a dominant win over the 7-3 Dan Nolan. Tomorrow night, Deery brings his quirky character, unassuming persona, and murderous jokes back to the ring against Toby Muresianu as he looks for a second straight win.
Why do you battle?
My first day moving to LA, I just got off a flight from Europe. I’m half dead and my friend is like, “fuck sleep. You gotta see Roast Battle. You’re gonna love it.” And I get there, and Earl was spewing ignorance. And there was this goofy white dude, with a group called the All Negro Wave. And it was packed and everyone was chanting, like it was a World Cup soccer match. And this fat guy was on stage destroying it with the most ignorant shit, and I was like, “yes indeed, you know me too well my friend, I do love this.” It felt like the most genuine comedy experience I had ever felt. There’s a moment in Steve Martin’s book where he talks about the crowd spontaneously carrying him out of the club and it showed him what comedy could be. Comedy’s not just a guy telling jokes, it’s a bunch of people experiencing something amazing. Together. With the Wave and the comics in the back and Earl and the whole thing wrapped into one, That’s Roast Battle for me. It’s my Steve Martin being carried moment.
What’s your favorite battle that you’ve ever been a part of?
Ramsey Badawi was amazing. It embodied so much that I love about comedy. I’m a Jew and he’s an Arab. That’s dope. It happened literally the night after the Brussels terror attack and the Roast battle guys were already planning before the attack on doing an All ISIS Wave, and regardless of the attacks and all the feelings they did it, which in my opinion is pretty brave. And it hit hard. So that was dope. We slapped up racism and fundamental religious ideology. We’re saints, really. And of course, that was the battle I won but elected to go to overtime just to hype up the crowd. By the way, fuck Ramsey. I should have won that battle.
What is the greatest joke anyone has used against you?
It was from Tony Hinchcliffe when he was judging the battle between me and Dan Nolan. I’m not exactly sure of the wording but it went something like,
“I can’t believe you guys both work at pizza places. You’re too talented for that. I wanna get you both work in this town. (Then he paused just long enough to make everyone feel like he was being genuine) so I’m gonna order two large pepperoni pizzas.”
Killed me. I loved it.
What is the most underappreciated joke you’ve ever told? One that didn’t work nearly as well as you expected.
It was the one that lost me the Ramsey battle in OT. “Ramsey’s parents are traditional Muslims. They don’t have Facebook but they do have a book made from a gay mans face.” It got a decent response from the crowd but Michael Kosta didn’t understand it and started asking me to explain it and suddenly everyone turned on me and let me tell you something right now, Michael Kosta is Stand Up Batman on Twitter. Maybe. Anyway. The joke was obvious to me. Muslims (not all, I get it, it’s a joke, much like your homophobic religion) hate gays and if you can make a book out of leather I thought you could skin a gay man and make a gay mans face bound book, which homophobic Muslim people (not all, but let’s face it, most) would love. So that’s it, no Facebook but a book made from a gay mans face. Maybe it’s just bad wording.
Should any topic be off limits?
Mustache jokes. Glasses. Nerd jokes. Jokes about how my wife has a thing for Chris D’elia. But in all seriousness I’m not that cool with people using the word faggot out in the open like that. I just feel like that’s my little baby that I only bring out when I’m driving alone and someone doesn’t use a turn signal.
Who are your favorite people to watch on nights where you’re not battling?
Jamar Neighbors. End of discussion.
What was your favorite Wave moment?
There’s so many. But during my battle with Ramsey I hit a joke and the All Isis Wave water boarded Jeremiah Watkins. Like, put his head in a t shirt, pulled it tight, leaned him back and dumped an entire bottle of water on his face. It was crazy and happened right next to me. I loved it. Made me wanna apply for a job at Guantanamo Bay. Of course, the time both Earl and Jamar pulled down their pants, tucked their dicks back, took off their shirts and danced around for like five minutes while everyone went insane was also pretty fun. Fuck. Jamar is so good.
You decide to retire, but not before doing three more battles. Who are the opponents?
Whoever’s got the joke that could cure whatever disease is making me only do three last battles. Right now my vision board has pictures of Keith Carey, Omid Singh, and Michael Kosta. And how great would it be to get to go against Brian Moses? It would be a religious experience. I would do the best parting the Red Sea joke you’ve ever heard.
If you could witness a Roast Battle between any two comics ever, who would you pick?
How about Paul Mooney vs Daniel Tosh.
If we can’t have that how about house hater Earl Skakel and David Duke vs Brian Moses and the All Negro Wave.
I’d like to see two comics battle each other pretending to be two different comics, like, Alex Hooper pretending to be Gilbert Gottfried vs Tom Goss pretending to be Jeff Ross.
Describe the process of preparing for battle.
I stress out until my fear of looking like a hack in front of people I respect takes over, I write a few shitty jokes, tell them to friends and when the friends don’t laugh I start stressing out which starts the process all over. Come the night of the battle whatever shitty jokes I have I memorize and try my best to shove those shitty jokes down the audience’s throat with the confidence of someone deserving to be the comic that I hope to someday become. Roast Battle is kind of out if my wheel well, but I like to push myself, plus it’s the Lord’s work calling people faggot.