by Dan Nolan

Tearing through the dog days of summer, Roast Battle returns
tonight with an explosive lineup of mostly show-favorites out for blood. Our
VIP panel for the evening is an absolute hands-down dream team consisting of
what may be the actual Mount Rushmore of judges.

Roastmaster Jeff Ross has been back a while now, staying in
LA to edit his upcoming standup special at the border fence. Mike Lawrence,
last year’s winner of both the “Best Judge” Roastie award and season one
championship trophy. And rounding things out is a room favorite and main-stay
of our dais, Netflix’s own Tony Hinchcliffe, making possibly his final
appearance before embarking on a breakneck 20-city standup tour across America
for all of August. 

First up this evening is a Roast Battle virginity-swap
between first-timers Jennifer Vally and Jonathan David.

We never seem short on fresh faces at Roast Battle, even
fresh faces as old as these. The show continues to grow and attract new talent,
or – failing that – people who can write three sentences that vaguely resemble roast
jokes. The accessibility of Roast Battle to all comers has brought upon us some
of the best and worst roast writers out there. Which will it be for these two
geriatric jousters? Who will win? Will it be funny at all? Do I already know it
will be really bad because I saw them run their jokes a few days ago but I’d
rather not be a complete asshole about it? Is this paragraph a severely watered
down second-draft of a much, much meaner preview? Find out tonight!

Next up, Josh Michaels and Quinton Alston are on cleanup
duty to hopefully restore the room.

Both regulars at the now-defunct Temecula Roast Wars show,
experience is on their side and should translate to a quality fight. Each has
turned in entertaining performances in the past and tonight should be no
different. What else can I say?

For our third undercard matchup of the evening, we’ll see
Lonnie Johnson to face off against Jacob Trimmer.

With almost-identical records (Lonnie: 4-3; Jacob: 4-2) both
fighters have consistently put in top-notch undercards that make them easy
contenders for “Rookie of the Year” nominations in this year’s Roastie Awards,
but both are yet to deliver a heavyweight main event. As the field has expanded
and the show has continued to grow, it’s been harder and harder for newer
talent to move out of the undercards as the upper-echelon old-guard has grown
more selective about their opponents. The classic three-rounder is becoming an
endangered species, but if one-rounders are the future of Roast Battle, then
these are certainly two of our best.

Next up is the long-awaited return of Canada’s finest, Rena Hundert
against another highly-rated rookie of the one-rounders, Bryan Vokey.

Rena’s been out of the game for a while, long enough to be
removed from the rankings for inactivity, but her undefeated 4-0 record
includes two classic main event wins against two of Roast Battle’s baddest
bitches, Anna Valenzuela and Jeanne Whitney. Vokey’s 4-0 as well, with a win
over rising Roast Battle superstar Nicole Becannon. He’s also one of a select
few fighters whose bouts are fun to watch for the in-between moments for his
confidence, presence, and off-the-cuff rebuttals that have leveled crowds and
opponents alike in clashes past. 

In the first of two five-joke main events, Rachel Mac takes
on Jonathan Rowell.

Jonathan Rowell may have the most misleading record in the
game. Despite almost exclusively taking losses, they’ve always come at the
hands of our most experienced fighters in classic close-call contests. Rachel
Mac is another top contender for Rookie of the Year, after an explosive debut that
was followed up with a series of room-wrecking returns that resulted in a
respectable winning record. On paper she’s got the edge, but the insiders know
Jonathan’s nothing near a slouch, and this could easily be a high point on an
already incredible fight night.

Finally, closing us out is on of the most anticipated
matchups in recent memory between Jay Light and Kevin McNamara.

After a testy exchange two weeks back between Jay from the
judges’ stand and Kevin onstage following an overtime bomb against John-Michael
Bond, we wound up with a classic impromptu dick-measuring contest that brings
us to tonight. There’s no mistake to be made that Kevin is the clear underdog
here. Jay’s been a part of this show since almost the very beginning. An
employee of the club it calls home, a competitor on both seasons of it’s TV
iteration, and a favorite of the Roastmaster himself. He books the battles, edits
the blog, and runs the live stream, so for Kevin to call him out took balls.
Especially considering he had just bombed real bad only moments earlier. But
the crowd was quickly caught up in the chaos and forgot that fact almost
instantly because this is a show that fucking loves underdogs. And balls. And
Kevin’s no slouch. It’s not inconceivable he could pull a win tonight. He’s
turned out mostly quality one-rounders at a breakneck pace for months.  Yes, he once got a win when said he was
5-0 but was actually 3-2 because he lost to a moth (and Eric
Abbenante). Yes, he’s been accused by other battlers of plagiarism. Yes, he’s
been doing comedy for less than a year. Yes, the crowd will be actively rooting
against him because he’s an odd mix of uncomfortably awkward and over-confident
on stage and his opponent is a beloved fixture of the Roast Battle community
who he should be honored to get the time of day from…. Where was I going with
this? Oh, yeah. This show fucking loves underdogs.

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 10:30 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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