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by Dan Nolan

It seemed like all hell broke loose when Roast Battle left the Belly Room for a single Tuesday while taping shows on the road for Comedy Central, but we’re back
with a double serving of comedy combat for this week set to keep hate alive in
these uncertain times. Before this Wednesday’s taping under the Comedy Store’s roof – the last of the Road to Roast Battle prelim shows – we’re back to true form: a whole mess of battles from
both pros and newbies, capped by our first ever East Coast/West Coast matchup in the headliner slot.

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For our judges panel
this evening, we’ve got a hot lineup beginning with Allen Strickland Williams, a
fixture of the Los Angeles eastside’s comedy scene with a Conan credit to
boot. Pete Holmes returns to the Belly Room in anticipation of the debut of his new HBO one-hour special, “Faces and Sounds,” on December 3rd. Lastly,
the great Ari Shaffir is finally back home at the Comedy Store after an
extended absence throughout most of 2016, during which his Comedy Central series
“This is Not Happening” has exploded in popularity.

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Starting things off is our evening’s only Roast Battle virginity swap, with the cherubic Zachary Stein hoping to shoot the eye out of homeless
magician Tim Hanlon. Despite their inexperience in the ring, these two are
very promising based on their presence in the LA open mic scene. Tim’s got a
strong social media presence, and his laid-back, dry delivery will pair well
against Zach’s smug, rich-kid cuntiness. 
Both these guys are great joke writers, so it’ll be exciting to see what
happens in the ring.

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While they may not seem familiar to Belly Room regulars or
newer fans of the show, these next two actually have battled before. Jon Schabl
has a main event win on record from the early days of the Report over Scott Kidd nearly two years ago. Steph Tolev has apparently
competed and won in a Canadian knockoff version of this show at the end of last
year. This battle is effectively a debut from two opponents who both sport somewhat dubious wins, but I have a feeling we’re really in for a
treat.

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I’m assuming the guy on the left is Nick Buda. It is at least a Nick Buda. We have no
mutual Facebook friends, but his profile does contain pictures of him at the
Comedy Store, so we’ll call that a credit. His opponent James Welsh actually
has done the show before with a not-particularly-memorable debut a few months back
against Bill Murray’s nephew that didn’t manage to get captured in
photos. With, again, no apparent mutual friends and the added issue of
having a far more common name that makes him impossible to track down, here
instead is a photo of some white people from the most likely James Welsh profile I could find. It could be any one of the three people in this picture. Who knows!

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Following that, Parker Searfoss and Rusty Haynes both return to the ring after prolonged absences. These Southern transplants to the LA scene have both been away for too long to give
any good guess on how the battle might go, but based on their standup and previous fight experience, you can expect a good time.

Keeping up the transplant tradition is this battle between recent darling of the ring Valerie Tosi and newbie from North Carolina Jason Webb. These two met while performing on the comedy festival circuit, where they apparently developed enough of a sibling rivalry-esque relationship that they decided to go public and take their squabble to the Roast Battle. This tussle ought to turn out terriffically.

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Our next matchup is one to really get excited about. Lonnie Johnson
had one of the more memorable undercard debuts of this past year and is making
a much-anticipated return tonight against fellow Inland Empire comic, Ezekiel
Echevarria. Ezekiel has been a regular at the semi-sanctioned Temecula “Roast
Wars” show, so his debut in the Belly Room is not a true virginity sacrifice, making him a potentially worthy opponent for for the 1-0 Lonnie Johnson. 

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Whose dick does Richie Gaines have to suck to get a main
event? Now touting a 4-0 record with memorable undercard wins against other
up-and-coming battlers, this will be Richie’s second consecutive clash against
an opponent with previous three-round experience, though he himself has not yet
had the opportunity to prove he can write more than four great jokes at a time.
Nick Petrillo has had the opposite problem: struggling to recapture his early
success after having shot to top billing from a single undercard victory in
December of last year which he immediately followed up with an absolute blowout
in two rounds against Tim Groeschel that earned him high praise from none other than Dave
Chappelle. Since then, Nick’s been on a downward trend that culminated in an
awkward moment two weeks ago when he rebuffed the post-fight hug from
Robbie Goodwin after a tough undercard defeat. With much at stake for both
battlers, this could easily be one to remember. 

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In our final fight of the evening, New York’s JP McDade
makes his Belly Room debut against our own Jay Light in a coast-to-coast clash
sure to set the room on fire. This match is the golden spike in our
transcontinental railroad of hatred as east and west finally unite to battle
for supremacy. JP McDade was runner-up in this year’s Roastmasters Invitational
top 16 tournament at The Stand in New York. Jay Light has the home field
advantage and has been on nothing short of a killing spree lately, with his only
recent loss coming at the hands of still-reigning champ Alex Hooper. It’s another packed fight card for a Tuesday night in the
Belly Room, with the show’s second season taping only a day away, anticipation
and tension is at an all time high. Let’s roast!

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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