by Pat Barker
Welcome to Five on Five, a new biweekly Verbal Violence
column where we ask five different battlers to give us their top five list on a
particular subject. The first few issues will center around a simple question:
What are the top five roast jokes ever used against you?
I figure for the maiden voyage of this column, I might as well
kick it off. After 18 battles and roughly 160 total jokes used against me, I’ve
heard a little bit of everything. I’m proud to have a very difficult fight card
that features a lot of big names, which means the majority of those 160 jokes
have ranged from “good” to “holy shit, that was fucking incredible” With apologies
to Alex Duong, Frank Castillo, Omid Singh, Leah Kayajanian, Alex Hooper, Connor
McSpadden, Jay Light, and all the other greats I’ve faced who didn’t quite make
this list, here are my top five (presented in chronological order)…
“Pat did comedy for ten years, then moved here and never
performs. He’s the only person Hollywood broke on the flight over.” – Toby Muresianu
First things first – this joke didn’t really hit super hard with the crowd.
Toby landed every punch he threw in this battle, and in the audience’s eyes this
was more of a grazing blow. But not to me. At the time I had settled into a good non-comedy
day job and wasn’t getting on stage much and I had deep anger towards myself about it.
Toby gathered that from our pre-battle meeting and managed to land this shot.
It’s still the most hurtful thing I’ve ever heard in a battle (and I’ve heard a
lot of awful shit).
“When Pat lost his child to a miscarriage last year, there
was nothing funny about it. Which is how Pat knew he was the father.” – Dan Nolan
The 2016 Roastie winner for Joke of the Year. Everything
about it is perfect. It was the first miscarriage joke anyone ever hit me with,
long before they became watered down and the crowd started becoming desensitized to them. It hit like a ton of bricks, and he saved
it for last. It was like a walkoff home run. I had my last joke, but already
knew I’d lost. As a comic I respect the savagery of this joke, but as a man I
respect the fact that Dan went to lengths to make sure it still erred on the
side of tastefulness, making sure not to mention my wife in the process. Kudos
to Dan for this killer.
“Pat’s father died of a heart attack. He would’ve survived,
but Pat made the ambulance stop at Arby’s.” – Keith Carey
There’s a tricky line to toe in Roast Battle, one where the
crowd wants you to address vicious topics but not do it too viciously.
Something has to be more funny than it is mean, but even that feels like oversimplifying
it. There’s a very small sweet spot to hit, and Keith hit it here. By luring
the crowd in with the promise of a deeply personal attack and then shifting
into an absurd fat joke, Keith set the room on fire. This is my favorite joke
from my favorite ever battle, and it holds a special place in my heart. (Side
note: not to fact check this joke, but I actually made them stop at a Wendy’s. We tried Chick-Fil-A first but in the panic over my dad I forgot it was Sunday.)
“Pat just lost his job at HBO writing for Bill Simmons. He
finally got an hour from HBO, and it was to clean out his desk.” – Robin Tran
This one was the perfect combination of hurtful and clever,
and it was on national television. I had literally lost my dream job eight days
before the taping, when word spread that HBO had canceled Any Given Wednesday,
the show I was writing on. Fortunately, I was able to immediately focus on my
battle on Comedy Central. Unfortunately, Robin was not about to let me forget about
it. And then, in the aftermath of the battle, when my wounds started to heal
again, Comedy Central made my sad face a fucking meme in anticipation of our
battle airing. This joke was like the gift that kept on giving me anxiety.
“Pat recently baby-proofed his apartment. It’s just a bunch
of signs that say ‘IF HUNGRY, DO NOT EAT BABY.’” – Doug Fager
This is just the funniest fucking thing I’ve ever heard.
Holy shit. In the days after our classic triple-overtime thriller back in
February, I must have thought about this joke and laughed out loud at least 20
times. My mom watched on Periscope and called me to tell me that she also
couldn’t stop laughing at it. Doug dropped a total haymaker that made his
opponent and his opponent’s mom laugh uncontrollably for a week. Very, very
“Joe smokes so much he has a colostomy dime bag.”
– Albert Escobedo
This joke was my favorite of the battle because I love weed,
and I usually do get ten dollar increments. So, A for Accuracy. And he wrote it
“Joe is a lot like Dane Cook. He’s not very funny
but it’s amusing when he spazzes out.” – Greg Roque
One of my favorite people, Greg Roque, is comparing me to a
headliner, from a fun roast battle, what’s not to love?
“Joe’s stutter is so fucking bad, he sounds like
Stephen Hawking got his finger stuck on the M key.” – Greg Roque
Again, my friend Greg is comparing me to an allegedly
brilliant (albeit British) scientist.
“If you can’t see Joe on stage, you can see him on
Hollywood Boulevard as Cripple Me Elmo.” – Ryan Broems
This joke is simply perfect, and I don’t really know why. It’s
better than his great, but too wordy, Cheeto joke. Y’all should look it up.
“Joe’s legs look like they were drawn by Joe’s hands.”
– Will Couch
This joke is the best joke, given that I used to be a very
avid painter. Because of its symmetry is why I’ve never challenged the loss,
even though it was ruled a tie that night. Not to sound hyperbolic, but I don’t
think anyone will be able to top that joke in my book.
“Jay looks like he’s really excited to tell us about the new
features of Windows 95.” – Frank Castillo
Frank and I basically taught each other how to write
strong roast jokes while we lived together, and this one is pretty close to a
masterwork: short, pointed, and spot-on.
“Jay, I really appreciate how you’ve been framing me
as the whiter guy in the battle. But you’re a rich kid who grew up in the
south. Your family crest is probably a black guy hanging from…another black
guy.” – Jeff Sewing
Jeff’s jokes all packed wallops, but this one hit
harder than all of them. As much as I hate it, bringing your opponent’s family
into the mix, it tends to work – especially when your family is from the deep
“Jay’s girlfriend dumped him because of the old
saying – ‘if you love someone, set them free. And if you’re pretending to love
someone because you think they can get you better spots at the Comedy Store and
then realize you were wrong, dump their ass.’” – Pat Barker
Pat’s jokes insulted my ability to be a good boyfriend
while also calling my ex-girlfriend’s motives for dating me into question. You
want to know how to get under my skin? Hit me with some deep psychological shit
“I’m not saying Jay’s racist, but every time he sees
his lips in the mirror he calls the police.” – Keith Carey
Keith’s joke is the one I use as my go-to whenever I
run roast jokes at shows before a battle. It is the perfect blend of mean and
funny, plus it’s got the racial element to it that rarely fails at Roast
“Jay, my grandparents love your comedy… but that’s
because they think you’re Billy Big Mouth Bass.” – Doug Fager
Doug is such an out-of-the-box roast joke writer,
and I’ve always loved his work in the ring. Anyone who manages to make me feel
bad for being loved by the elderly is a true pro of the form.
likes his women like he likes his heroin: black and off the street.” -Eric
Eric Carter was one of the original heels of Roast
Battle, and I think it’s unfortunate that he never really relished playing that
role and hasn’t battled in such a long time, because his battles were always so
entertaining, and he’s such a great guy I wish he were around more. As my third
opponent, this is the joke he opened with and it was the first time (in my
opinion) that anyone actually landed a good joke on me. It’s layered in a
beautiful way that defines me as a character which I don’t think had really
happened yet at that point, and it was the very first of a lot of great heroin
jokes about me so it holds a special place in my heart.
“Wow, that joke really bombed. Maybe you
should go back to roasting spoons.” -Connor McSpadden
This may be on its own the single most devastating
joke I’ve been hit with in my almost 20 battles. It was just so perfectly timed
and concisely written. My Connor McSpadden battle was my first loss and I
learned so much from it. I always think I’d like to rematch him some day,
because I’ve gotten so much better at battling since then, until I remember: so
“Dan looks like he’d die of starvation if
Spaghetti-O’s are discontinued.” – Tom Goss
Probably my first exposure to Roast Battle, before
I’d ever seen the actual show, was seeing Tom Goss one night run jokes for his
battle with Matt Cole at the Sunday night Belly Room open mic. Tom is
definitely in my all-time top five of the show’s joke writers because of the
way his burns are so abstract and goofy at the same time as just being dead on
accurate and specific.
“Wow, another fat joke. Leave it to a
heroin addict to overdose on one topic.” – Pat Barker
One thing that marks a really great battler is
being able to strategize specifically based on your opponent’s writing style,
and after only six battles, Pat was calling me out on my proclivity for the
“low hanging fruit” jokes. I pride myself on being able to write some
of the best broad, or “obvious,” jokes whether it’s fat shaming, slut
shaming, or good old fashioned racism, and Pat was smart enough to hold this
joke until the third round knowing that even though I’d already done a lot of
jokes about his weight, there were still plenty more to come.
“Dan regrets getting his brother addicted
to heroin, because that’s one less family member to steal from.” -Toby
Far and away, the most thorough all-around
shellacking I ever received was at the hands of Toby Muresineau, so much so
that it’s hard to pick just one joke from him for this list. Just about every
line was so specific, personal and well researched. I don’t realistically hold
any blame for my brother’s heroin addiction but I carry a lot of guilt for
fostering it through the weird, mutually destructive co-dependent relationship
we had, and what I love most about this show is the opportunity to take the
darkest and most shameful bits of our past and turn them into laughter through
comedic alchemy. Toby Muresineau is maybe the best among us at that.
pussy has seen so many damaged men it’s registered as a service animal.” –
is everything I love in a roast joke. It’s economical, accurate, and a fun play
on words. At the time I was actively trying not to date a dumpster fire of a
man. When it hit me I stepped out of the way and motioned for the wave to come
on stage. Love it.
not saying Anna’s desperate but I did see her in front of a Home Depot in a
wedding dress.” – Keith Carey
and I are really close so he has seen some of my darkest lonely times. Plus the
imagery is so funny. I instantly saw myself wearing a huge 80’s wedding
look like you apply your make up with the broom you rode in on.” – Alex Duong
a straight forward looks like joke but I laughed my ass off at it. Maybe
because I had spent so much time on my make up that day.
mom was never pregnant, her pussy just had a rat infestation.” – Alex Duong
parents take a lot of heat for being dead, and probably in hell (with the fun
people). When the joke swung back around on me, I was super impressed.
recently broke up with a jew and clearly she got his nose in the divorce.” –
that joke doesn’t sound familiar, it’s because you aren’t a swamp monster from
Temecula, CA. I had told Keith I stopped dating a dude on the way to the now
dead “Roast Wars” show. He turned it into a super funny joke on the way there!
It really cracked me up. If you’d like to know who won that battle, ask Keith.
I’m sure he’ll answer you openly and honestly without a single bad thing to say
about the barn-tards of Temecula.