Holy shit! Here at Roast Battle, we know how to end a year with a bang, and tonight’s going to be explosive. We have the first-ever “Best of Belly Room” battles featuring Roast Battle’s greatest and meanest. These are the crème de crème of battlers, the OGs, the most feared competitors in the game. We have three 5-joke fights and one 3-round battle for the Belly Room title. The judges tonight have an extremely difficult job, as everyone battling is evenly matched, and it will certainly be hard to decide a winner.
Judging tonight, we have Roast Battle alumna and newest writer on Impractical Jokers, Kim Congdon. Kim is an absolute beast in the ring, and since moving to NY she has become a feared judge. Her quick wit and deep understanding of the roast battle format make her an amazing judge. Next to her in the VIP section, we have another Roast Battle favorite, the big daddy himself, Earl Skakel. Earl has had a tumultuous road with Roast Battle but got his start as the fan favorite “House Hater.” Earl is not afraid to say anything, and he has been with Roast Battle since the beginning, giving him an inside perspective. Next up is the creator of the now-defunct Roastmasters in New York, Luis J. Gomez. Like Kim and Earl, Luis doesn’t pull any punches, his comments in the VIP section always bring the room to a roar. Combine that with his years of experience hosting Roastmasters, and we’ve got another killer judge. Rounding out our confirmed judges is Leonard Robinson. Leonard is most known for Nick Cannon’s Wild N’ Out, but has a slew of TV credits too long to list. While those are our confirmed judges of the evening, given the magnitude of awesomeness of this event, I expect there to be a few surprise judges popping in, as no one will want to miss this!
Let’s get to the battles. First up, we have season two champion Frank Castillo vs. season three phenom Alex Duong. After capturing the hearts of America as the ultimate Cinderella story, Frank has taken a step back from the roast ring. He hasn’t one-on-one battled since the TV taping nearly two years ago. Frank is a feared competitor, he beat out 15 of the greatest roast battlers in the world to win season two. While he’s been out of the ring for a while, he knows what it takes to win, and he’s had plenty of time to reignite the fire that won him the golden gloves. Frank’s unique style paired with his likability and great off-the-cuff comebacks make him a great battler. He’s facing internet sensation Alex Duong, whose battle against Robin Tran (also battling tonight) went viral and earned him the win in one of the greatest battles of all time. Alex had a rocky start in his battling career, having some epic wins followed by some disastrous missteps, but like a true Asian, he studied and learned the craft and is now an unstoppable force of hilarious cruelty. Alex has been battling consistently over the last couple of years, so he’s in fighting shape, but perhaps Frank’s long rest has given him a new thirst for blood. I anticipate a lot of hilarious, interesting twists on race-related jokes, as both of these men are known for their unique approaches. I can’t choose who I’d favor, but I expect an explosive start to the night.
Next up we have everyone’s ghostwriter Doug Fager (#fuckfager) vs. season two and three’s Keith Carey. Doug is the only person battling tonight without a Roast Battle TV credit, and that should say something about how amazingly talented this man is. He has written for fighters on every season of Roast Battle, and has consistently been nominated for “Joke of the Year” and/or “Battle of the Year” by the Roasties since their inception. Doug is one of the best joke writers out there, he has the ability to take a good joke and flip it on its head to become an incredible joke, that even the best comedians don’t see him coming. He’s a master of the “Fager fake out,” where you think you see where a joke is going, and then all of a sudden you’re in a completely different place, a little scared, but mostly excited. (Probably how a lot of Doug’s dates go too.) Doug doesn’t just rely on his joke writing ability, as some great battlers do, he’s also willing to take great risks and be theatrical, which we saw in his battle against Alex Hooper when he went into a minutes-long, Beauty and the Beast soliloquy, which went down as one of the greatest moments in Roast Battle history. Doug’s sharp pen, paired with his casual confidence and willingness to take risks make him one of the most intimidating battlers in the game. He’s facing mean boy Keith Carey. Keith might be the most fun battler to watch on stage. No one has more fun on that stage or is more willing to laugh at themselves than Keith. He’s not just a good sport though, he’s a beast as a writer and has penned several “Joke of the Year” jokes, as well as being nominated for “Battler of the Year” several times. Keith combines a unique take with niche references that, if you get them, make his jokes absolute fucking fire. Keith has battled more than any other person, and the fact that he’s still pumping out solid gold after literally hundreds of bangers is an impressive feat. Keith isn’t afraid to take risks, most notably when he battled Connor McSpadden naked on season three. His likability, fearsome writing ability paired with a willingness to do anything for a laugh make him a phenomenal battler. This is anyone’s fight and these two men will certainly go down in history as two of the greatest, regardless of who wins tonight.
Next up is our only all-woman battle, featuring season three legends Robin Tran and Nicole Becannon. Both of these talented ladies lent their wit to the writer’s room of the new Netflix original series Historical Roasts, where they both shined and were highly regarded by their co-workers. Robin Tran lost to Alex Duong in the aforementioned season three battle, which earned her international acclaim. While she lost on TV, she’s had several belly room battles that were dubbed the greatest of all time. I know, how can there be several greatest of all time? Well, she earned the greatest of all time, and then topped herself over and over again, resetting the standard for greatest. Robin’s battle against Joe Eurell ended in a standing ovation by the entire Belly Room that went on for several minutes. Robin’s quiet confidence, which has been steadily increasing lately (rightfully so) make her side comments some of the best in the game. There’s something extra evil about a seemingly sweet person saying the most atrocious things. Robin has been on a tear lately, and her newfound confidence combined with her already legendary writing ability make her a nearly unstoppable force. I say “nearly” because she’s taking on Roast Battle darling Nicole Becannon. Nicole is a beast. Plain and simple. She exploded onto the scene and quickly made her way to the top, even earning the title as Belly Room champion. Nicole is one of the best writers in the game, she has the enviable ability to find the inanest fact about a person and turn it into the cruelest of jokes. It’s nearly impossible to anticipate what she’s going to say, because she never goes for the low-hanging fruit. Nicole is an absolute badass, she pairs a killer writing ability with an ease on stage that most don’t have. Robin’s nervous energy will be a stark contrast to Nicole’s collected, almost sniper-like delivery. Nicole is like a sleeper cell, you won’t know how hard she kills until it’s too late. I foresee this being one of the best battles of the night, if not the year. There aren’t two more likable people in Roast Battle than these ladies, so tonight will come down to who has the better jokes.
The last fight of the night is a title match featuring current belly room champion and human embodiment of saltines, Toby Muresianu vs. former champion Leah Kayajanian. Toby has held the title longer than anyone in history, for good reason. Toby is an incredible joke writer. His surgeon-like precision makes his jokes short and vicious, which is perfect for the brief attention span of the Roast Battle audience. Toby’s reign of terror was briefly stopped by Nicole, but he quickly regained the title after an impressive win against Jamar Neighbors. Toby is regarded as one of the hardest opponents because of his generic white guy-ness and a relatively unremarkable life. (By Roast Battle standards, as he’s never been molested, attempted suicide, or anything else that many of our battlers have faced.) It’s a wonder where the hilarity comes from with such a normal life, but he’s found it. Toby is facing the first ever female belly room champion Leah Kayajanian. Leah is a living legend, she’s one of the only battlers with her own theme song. Leah has likability on her side, and the ability to write jokes that would make even Toby feel emotions. Leah is one of the nicest people off stage, on-stage she’s a stone-cold bitch, in the best way. She’s unapologetic, never shies away from a joke and has the roast joke structure down to a science. She has one of the best records of any battler, and is among the most feared in the game. She has more bodies in her wake than Toby does in his trunk. Leah has the ability to say the worst things imaginable with a smile on her face, and we love it. Not only is she an incredible joke writer, but she is an amazing performer. While Roast Battle is often called “the joke writers showcase” as the sport evolves, audiences are demanding battlers be both great writers and great performers. Leah has been both since day one. She knows how to land a joke and she knows how to savor the moments. This will be an amazing battle filled with legendary jokes and is certain to go down in roast history. This is the longest report in history, but these battlers deserve it. Tonight is going to be one we tell our children about for generations.
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