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Roast Battle is not afraid of you.

The most offensive comedy room on the planet doesn’t stop in the face of anything, especially not a murder at its front door. From the show’s first moments – host Brian Moses stepping onto the stage to be grinded on by a gay Asian guy to the throb of The Weeknd’s “The Hills” – to the final barbs tossed out by the judges, nobody should be surprised that the show goes on, strategically shocking jokes and all.

The crowd, eager to watch the night’s bouts, howls as Moses and lead House Hater Earl Skakel trade quips on last week’s shooting.

“Get ready, I’m gonna milk that for at least three weeks!” – Hater Earl

Moses, a gleam in his eye, reminds us why we’re all here – to watch some nobodies insult each other – then introduces the night’s inaugural undercard: Eric Bustamante versus Michael Arden.

Eric strides onto the stage first, followed by Michael, who is brought out to the angsty wailings of Radiohead’s “Creep”. Michael tells the crowd he decided to roast Eric because he’s used to roasting his minority friends instead of his white ones.

“Don’t ever apologize for having too many white friends.” – Hater Earl

The round begins with Michael attempting a Lamar Odom joke that is as topical as it is unfunny. Eric capitalized:

“Michael is called the Human Centipede of comedy because every time on stage he just eats shit.”
“Honestly bro, your hairline is like your humor, nowhere to be found.”
“Michael is even shorter than the bus he molests kids on.”
“Eric has a rescue dog. I think that’s very noble of him. I also think it makes sense since nobody knows where either of them come from, but they’re probably the product of inbreeding.”
“The last time you fucked pussy was when you forgot to feed your cats.”

Michael tries one more joke that falls flat, while Eric closes out strong:

“When Michael climbs in bed to molest children, he’s the little spoon.”

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Somehow, Michael isn’t the person most upset about his lackluster showing:

“You didn’t do your race proud tonight.” – Hater Earl

Eric wins handily. Moses clears the stage for the next undercard. This bout is groundbreaking, featuring Roast Battle’s first transgender performer: Robin Tran.

“Listen, I’ve seen her, I’ve certainly fucked worse.” – Hater Earl

However, Moses introduces her opponent Tim Groeschel first.

“She doesn’t look convincing. Still transitioning!” – Jason Sklar
“I’m slightly nervous tonight. This is an Asian transgendered chick in the most offensive room in the world. I feel like this is a sting operation from Salon.com.” – Tim

With Tim settled in, Moses brings out his competition and riles up the room:

“It takes a lot of balls to do this, and this person said ‘fuck those balls’ and did it anyway. Folks, Robin Tran!” – Moses

“Alright! Paul Bunyan vs. the railroad builder!” – Theo Von
“Something tells me that railroad was transcontinental.” – Hater Pat

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The stage is set and the battlers primed. Coach Tea rings the bell and the potential controversy begins:

“Robin’s audience feels the same way as her girlfriend – she was better as a dude.”
“Tim’s an alcoholic. 12 steps is a program he’ll never join and a  distance he’ll never run.”
“Tim’s been single his whole life. The closest he’s come to having a girlfriend was when he kidnapped Princess Peach.”
“I still wouldn’t fuck you.”
“I don’t care. No one wants to fuck you.”
“He’s less ZZ Top, more ZZ Bottom.” – Jason Sklar
“Tim looks like Jesus ate all the fish and bread he made.”

Moses calls for last joke. Tim, in a moment of confusion, blanks. The room turns immediately, booing him into oblivion as Coach Tea plays a dial tone. The single Sklarbro offers up a joke instead:

“You guys are more similar than you think – she knows what it’s like to have an ugly beard too.”

Robin remains ice-cold as she spits out her final joke:

“When Tim’s not doing comedy, he’s out bullying Popeye.”

The crowd hands Robin the obvious win as the two competitors awkwardly embrace. Moses, brimming with glee, brings on the final undercard: Brendan Woodruff versus Seth Woodward.

“Where’s the other Home Improvement kid?” – Hater Omid

A fight between two white guys with bad eyesight and iffy fashion sense may seem like an odd note to close on after such a riotous undercard, but the battlers rise to the occasion with some of the smartest jokes we’ve heard all night.

“Even though Seth’s lost over 200 lbs, he puts on his pants just like everyone else: one loose skin fold at a time.”
“Brendan dated a lady with a kid. He must have really wanted to fuck that kid.”
“Seth was a model as a kid. He was on the only milk carton that said “Don’t Bother.”“
"Brendan’s dry humor is proof that even an unmoist vagina can queef.”
“They say you are what you eat, which is why Seth has the sex appeal of a can of Spam.”
“Brendan’s like a bad Uber driver. Often he’s late, and sometimes he rapes you.”
“I recently had an abcess removed from my throat. Seth was an abcess removed from his mother’s vagina.”

Seth’s jokes all hit, while Brendan gets stuck with one failed bit too many. The crowd calls it for Seth.

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The judges settle in while the intermission performers do their thing. Tony Hinchcliffe, subbing in for his mentor Jeff Ross, glowers at the room from the far side of the panel. Grace Helbig looks completely enthralled with everything that’s happening, her mouth agape for seemingly the entire night.

“This is the most fun cult I’ve ever been at!” – Grace Helbig

Rick Glassman taps away at his phone, readying himself for a flurry of social media activity. Comedy’s godfather Dom Irrera simply sits, stoically watching the proceedings.

Moses introduces the judges, then the Wave and Haters, including everyone’s favorite well-hung racist:

“If you haven’t seen my dick pic, you ain’t important enough for me to show it to you!” – Hater Earl

Alex enters the ring first, flanked by seemingly every other Asian guy in the building:

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“I wondered what happened to the Jabbawockeez.” – Moses

Tom comes out in as close as he’ll ever be to fighting shape, showing off his karate skills with a slew of OC comics decked out in Asian attire:

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“They really do all look alike!” – Hater Pat

“Tom, you’ve been in the psych ward, you tried to kill yourself a couple times, you’re very overweight. How are you?” – Moses
“I’m good! I’m impressed you know all my credits.” – Tom Goss

The battlers offer up explanations for how they got paired up, though Tony’s not buying it:

“Let’s be honest. This guy ordered Chinese delivery, and the other guy showed up late with his food.” – Tony Hinchcliffe

Moses goes over the rules for all the newbies, then the bell rings. Round 1 is underway:

“Tom has resting ‘I will rape you’ face.”
“Alex has resting duck face.”
“Asians may all look alike, but you look like every guy who’s been catfished.”
“Alex is in a long-distance relationship, but nothing’s more long-distance than his forhead.”
“Tom got jumped by a bunch of Mexicans. They wanted the candy inside of him.”
“Alex has been in multiple car accidents, which proves the old stereotype: women are terrible drivers.”

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A rip-roaring Round 1 indeed. Tony gives his vote to Alex.

“Clearly he’s been getting sets in at the Rice House.” – Tony Hinchcliffe

Grace is so overwhelmed, she literally can’t even. 

"Congratulations, we gave Grace an orgasm!“ – Moses

Rick is already acting wily, complimenting Tom on the resting duck face comeback while showing disdain for the forehead joke.

"I don’t get the forehead thing…your hair is dope.”- Rick Glassman

Rick gives it to Tom, and Grace decides to vote for Tom because of his shoes. This infuriates the crowd, making poor Grace cower behind her fellow judges. But the show goes on, and Alex chooses to go second in Round 2. Tom gets the fight going:

“Alex invented a new sex move. It’s called two in the pink, one in the chink.”
“Alex plays a lot of baskeball, or as his friends call it, juke the gook.”
“Alex acts on a lot of kids shows because they need a Charlie in the chocolate factory.”
“Alex was on the show Dexter, which explains why his material is hacked to death.”
“Alex was on 90210, which is also the number of iPods he had to make before he could come to America.”

Alex retorts in style:

“Tom grew up playing hockey. It’s also how his Mom fed him his antidepressants.”
“He spent his teen years in and out of the psych ward. Now he just spends his time at In-n-Out.”
“Why do you look like every side effect that can happen, has happened?”
“You look like you got left hanging upside down.”
“The only reason your family loves you is because you remind them of the sack of potatoes that kept them alive during the depression.”

This round in particular makes the Wave go absolutely bonkers, coming out for nearly every joke.

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“Did you guys take the crack you’re supposed to be selling on the corner?” – Moses
“Why doesn’t this guy have a shirt on? Can’t we get him some kind of 2014 Seattle Seahawks jersey?” – Tony
“I hear he was wearing a hoodie last week!” – Earl

Grace, knowing better this time, defers her vote for later. Rick gives it to Alex and demands that they show some teeth in the third round:

“Make me think you guys don’t like each other, because I’m not buying it.” – Rick Glassman

Tony gives it to Alex as well. Moses turns to get Dom’s opinion:

“What about #38 on Comedy Central’s funniest people list?”
“38?
"Weren’t you?
"Fuck, I wish. I was 79.
"Who was in front of you?
"Cedric the Entertainer
"Cedric the Entertainer?”
“Well, you know, I only do stand-up, but he entertains, he has people over to the house…”

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The room loses it. Once everyone regains their composure, Dom finally throws his opinion into the ring:

“I’m not saying I’m old, but I was at Pearl Harbor, and I’ll never forgive ya.” – Dom Irrera

Even the Haters can appreciate Alex’s fine work:

“That was a good round. Props to an Asian for finally fighting back against Godzilla.” – Hater Pat

With the stage set for Round 3, Moses hollers “LET’S ROAST!” and the fighters snap to attention.

“Alex, you keep talking about my weight. You’re just jealous that after we napalmed your family they turned into Rice Krispies.”
“Tom is a part of the OC clique, or as we call it in LA, the Overrated Cunts.”
“Alex looks up to Paul Walker. Not his acting, just his ability to merge onto a freeway.”
“Tom wants to get into acting…like he doesn’t want to kill himself every day”
“Alex usually takes the bullet at shows. But that’s just because he’s trying to follow the Vietnamese tradition of getting shot in the head.”
“You can catch Tom this fall shooting up a school near you.”
“Alex was on the gong show. Not the television show, that’s just what they call it when Vietnam vets beat him with a stick.”
“Tom coaches a girl’s lacrosse team. It’s a great gig considering they don’t know he’s there.”

The judges thought the round was a bit uglier and messier than the two before:

“I would have rather lost in Round 2 than won in Round 3.” – Rick Glassman
“I think the two of you are both morons for backloading your worst jokes.” – Tony Hinchcliffe

Not really wanting to pick a winner after a fairly lackluster showing, Rick and Tony combine forces with a bold suggestion: an all-improv final round, where the battlers spit insults tit-for-tat until there’s an obvious winner. Moses rolls with it and declares that the boys battle until blood is shed – proverbially speaking, of course.

“Alex is on the path to success, but not his success. He’s just laying the train tracks down for someone with actual talent.”
“After this show I hope you find the tracks leading you to a successful suicide.”
“You’re just mad because when you tried to kill yourself, you got caught in iPhone factory netting.”

Tom’s comeback hits hard, leaving Alex scrambling to try and save his chances in the round:

“Why don’t you come down to the iPhone factory and we’ll show you how not to be a pussy?”
“The pussy app would be something you designed!”
“I may have invented a pussy app on my phone but you look like you won’t be getting pussy anywhere.”
“Pussy Anywhere is your mom’s name.”
“And you look like her number 1 customer.”
"Yeah, I fucked your mom!”

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Moses returns to the stage to stop the slaughter. The judges all agree, it was basically neck and neck until the iPhone factory joke, when Tom was able to capitalize on Alex’s floundering riffing skills. Tony, Rick, and a finally coherent Grace unanimously select Tom as the winner.

Moses comes to the stage to send the still-bubbling crowd off into the night. Me? I’ve got some fake leaves to sweep up.

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post by Jay Light, photos by Troy Conrad

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