photos by Troy Conrad
There’s a definite air of expectation as people fill the Belly Room. The lineup has sent ripples of excitement through the Roast Battle community, and with all the industry heavy hitters away at Just For Laughs in Montreal, there’s no pressure to impress the TV suits and we can be the grubby little monsters we were born to be. The crowd tonight is set to be rewarded with a master class in the best Roast Battle has to offer.
The battles begin with the only undercard of the night between Ashley Johnson and Victor Martinez. Both of these unique-looking gentlemen take it on the chin from the judges right out of the gate.
“I didn’t know rabbis could be Juggalos.” – The Sklar Brothers
“It’s like an extra from Sons of Anarchy versus an extra from Orange is the New Black.” – Mike Lawrence
Both battlers take a beating before the bell finally rings and they turn on each other:
“Victor’s trying to lose weight, but the only footrace he’s ever been in is with diabetes. And the doctor thinks he’s going to lose at least one of those races.”
“Very funny, Cuck Dynasty. Ashley’s parents started adopting after he was born, because loving fucking orphans is easier, you ugly creep.”
“Good story, Rachel Mad-Cow. What is your weight loss goal, to one day be in shape enough to run out on your family?”
“Ashley looks like the only cokehead drug dealer in Game of Thrones.”
“It’s true. All I’m saying, Victor, is you’re so fat, you don’t just get food stamps. You get food posters.”
“Ashley looks like he’d pillage your house after raping you.”
Ashley and Victor don’t have the strongest battle, and many of their jokes fail to connect. A couple of quality pops give Ashley the slight edge. However, the energy in the room stays high even as the judges lovingly tear them apart. Roast Battle has a unique way of riding the line between supportive, friendly ribbing and outright bullying, and tonight is a perfect example of that as Ashley takes the win and we move into the gauntlet of main events.
Next up, Pat Barker and Jamar Neighbors deliver an all-time classic battle!
Pat gets brought to the stage first and is celebrated for both being a new father and the number one contender for the Roast Battle title belt. Will he head to New York and snag the hardware from Eli Sairs? Only time will tell. Jamar rushes the stage with a machine gun and a headband, a look that I am now calling “Rambo: First Crip.”
“Jamar’s been on Comedy Central, NBC, and whichever ESPN channel airs those dogfighting tournaments.”
“Pat’s from Philadelphia. That’s where I saw him first. Rocky was beating him up in a freezer.”
“Thank you, DMX-tra chromosome.”
“You’re welcome, Conor McNuggets.”
“Jamar was in a Sprite commercial this year. It’s the only time he’s ever gotten to spend thirty seconds with his pop.”
“Pat’s wife had a stillborn baby…”
The crowd groans and mutters with nervousness over what will come next.
“Uh-oh. Of course he had a stillborn, this nigga look like he cum mayonnaise.”
“Thank you, old school racist propaganda cartoon. You guys, Jamar has a Jim Crow smile. That’s when your two front teeth are separate but equal.”
“This fat nigga went on To Catch A Predator for the free milk and cookies.”
“You’ll have to forgive Jamar’s obsession with my dad-bod. This is the most time he’s ever spent around a father figure. Jamar had a complicated childbirth. He got smacked upside the head by a crack dealer’s dick while his mom was crowning.”
“Pat has his father’s eyes. His father’s dead. He has dead eyes. He has Bill Cosby ‘I just raped somebody’ eyes.”
“Thank you, Daffy Duck with his beak shot off.”
“You’re welcome, Fat Barker.”
“Jamar is LA through and through. He was born in Compton, but he looks like he spent the last 30 years in the La Brea Tar Pits.”
“Yo, I met Pat’s wife…I met Pat’s fat wife at Jeff Ross’ party. I knew she was fat ’cause she was in the corner fanning herself with a Pringle.”
The crowd is breathless from laughter by the time the dust begins to settle. Nobody really cares who wins or loses, every joke was pretty much a masterpiece. The judges praise the amount of quick rebuttals, the fun both competitors are having, and the sheer evil of point-blank calling a dude’s wife fat. They push it to overtime, and Jamar strikes first, with a bizarre joke that slowly builds steam as the audience realizes how weirdly accurate it is:
“Pat’s shaped like the enchanted closet from Beauty & the Beast.”
“Jamar never wears a shirt, but I get it. His family has a very complicated history with cotton.”
“It’s not THAT complicated.” – Moses
The judges split, but ultimately Pat takes down the victory. This battle was electric in a way few are, and in this reporter’s opinion will go up in the rafters as one of the best fights we’ve ever had.
After a quick Wave waltz to the Beauty & the Beast theme song – seriously, Google that closet thing, it really does look like Pat – we get into some East Coast/West Coast beef as Kerryn Feehan steps up to Alex Duong.
There’s a fun bit of banter beforehand as Cort McCown and the Sklars debate how long it would take to adequately dick Kerryn down, while Mike Lawrence predicts the battle will be underwhelming compared to Pat & Jamar. These two set out to prove the newly crowned Autistic Thunder 2.0 wrong as the bell rings:
“Speaking of trans, Alex, you make ladyboys look like regular boys.”
“Kerryn may look like a slutty Jeff Dunham puppet. But if you look deep into her eyes…she’ll let you cum in them.”
“Good one, Margaret Chode. Alex told me what kind of Asian he was, but whatever, I don’t care as long as my dry cleaning is here.”
“Thank you, Audrey Hep-burns when you pee. You look like the only mermaid that gave up her tits to walk on land.”
“Alex got engaged to another Asian because his dick looks bigger when you squint.”
“Tough talk coming from someone who can’t cum unless they’re inside a broken marriage. Kerryn’s the only comic who has the face and the body of the Greyhound she tours the country in. I’m kidding, she doesn’t tour.”
“Oh, you gook. I mean goof! Fuck, slipped up. Alex’s dick is so small, he couldn’t get herpes if he tried.”
“That’s a good dick joke coming from someone who has to suck a lot of them to get called an unfunny girl. It’s ironic that my family laid the train tracks for this country when Kerryn’s been ran through by more black men than the Underground Railroad.”
“It’s surprising that Asians are so good at math when their faces are two-dimensional.”
“We’re both in AA but Kerryn still smokes weed. She’d be sober but everybody keeps rolling blunts on her chest.”
Kerryn has a hard time translating her style to the Belly Room. She has a flippant, casual delivery that sells some of her early jokes very well, but unfortunately starts to falter later in the fight. Alex delivers confident, layered jokes with multiple punches. His broken marriage/greyhound/touring combo, in particular, is an impressive little piece of verbal gymnastics. He takes a well-earned win as the battles roll forward.
The night’s penultimate bout is arguably a career-best from both of the fighters involved, as Leah Kayajanian sinks her claws into Omid Singh!
Leah takes the stage first, and admits to not understanding a classic bit of Roast Battle sexual harassment:
“Would you let the Wave smash?”-Moses
“I didn’t know what that meant for the longest time. But, still, totally yes!” – Leah Kayajanian
“I’ve battled a bunch of straight white dudes, so what’s one more?” – Omid Singh
“Leah’s from Oklaho-my GOD, that’s a huge nose!”
“Omid looks like somebody put Frank Castillo in a microwave and set it to ‘Sinister.’”
“Leah looks like her pussy is making the same face as her face.”
“Omid’s mom actually left Iran because they made her cover her face. But then Omid was born and she was like, ‘Oh, I get it.’”
“Leah used to have a wild side. But then she saw a dermatologist and got that shit lasered off.”
“Thank you, dentist who took a month off to find himself. Omid’s so sleazy his 72 virgins have probably all done butt stuff.”
“Leah plays softball, obviously. She likes playing center field because it gives her the most room to graze. You goat bitch.”
“Omid’s a Sikh. I don’t know what that is, but gross.”
“I know you look like a bird, but don’t regurgitate these jokes. You might recognize Leah from ‘Jurassic Park’ when she killed Newman in that Jeep.”
“Hey, Omid, why do I feel like you’re losing your hair from a lifetime of walking through doorway beads?”
“Leah is a woman. The only way we know that is because her jokes aren’t as good as mine.”
“Omid’s so hairy that he broke up with his girlfriend months ago and his ex-girlfriend still finds his pubes on her tongue.”
“That was still the nicest a Muslim’s ever been to a woman.” – Mike Lawrence
The judges praise both of the combatants for their impressive writing. It’s hard to disagree. These are the strongest jokes I’ve seen from both of these comics. While Leah ultimately gets the W, the real winner here is the audience. Yes, I’m aware that’s a shitty cliché but god damn it, sometimes it’s true.
In our main event, the evil android Toby Muresianu sets his sights on a victory against Alex Hooper!
“Toby’s shirt is somehow too small and too big at the same time.” – Cort McCown
“You look like you’re both auditioning to be the villain for Season 3 of ‘True Detective.’” – Mike Lawrence
You’ve gotta love the juxtaposition of the most and least charismatic battlers in the show’s history. Toby comes up with some calm, collected shit-talk about Alex’s loss of the title belt, while Alex comes out wearing some classic Alex Hooper bullshit and wielding a pug who looks absolutely terrified of him. Us too, little pup, us too. And with that, we’re off to the races:
“What do you call a vegetarian from Boston with two degrees who works for an internet TV show? Toby, your Uber driver.”
“You looks like they tried to shock the gay INTO you.”
“Coming from the guy who looks like he murdered his personality. Toby is currently dating a lovely lady. They met in a women’s self-defense class.”
“Alex adopted his pug from Korea. He’s so ugly, he had to get a mail-order pet.”
“Toby volunteered for Hilary Clinton, because while opposites attract, so do stone-faced cunts.”
“Alex doesn’t sleep in the same bed as his girlfriend. But a lot of other guys do.”
“The first time I saw Alex I thought, ‘Who left Robin Williams’ body out in the sun?’”
“Alex got arrested for running an illegal comedy show. To this day he can’t come within a hundred yards of a punchline.”
“Alex made a shirtless calendar, in case anyone wants to have the worst year of their life.”
“The first time you look at Toby you think he’s skinny. The second time you look at Toby you realize he’s fat. Nobody has ever looked at Toby a third time.”
“Toby’s what happens when you leave an unfunny glass of milk in the sun for 30 years.”
“People say Toby’s a robot, but that’s ridiculous. People have sex with robots.”
“You look like the emoji for skin cancer.”
“Thank you, human safety manual. Toby is a web developer. Every time he talks to a woman, a web develops around her pussy.”
“Alex likes to make up names for other comics because he can’t make a name for himself.”
“Toby’s a true Boston patriot. Red cheeks, white privilege, and he blew a priest in a Catholic church.”
“Alex is a great writer. After he lost his belt in New York, he wrote a list of 200 excuses. The last time someone choked that hard in New York, they made ‘I Can’t Breathe’ shirts.”
“Toby, if you like this next joke, please stand there devoid of any emotion.”
As Alex launches into his final joke, Coach Tea begins playing Debussy’s classic lullaby “Clair de Lune”.
“Very few people know this, but Toby almost wasn’t here with us today. See, Toby was a breach baby, and when he came out of the womb he wasn’t breathing. Doctors did everything they could, but he just laid there, lifeless. His mother was crying. His father was praying. For those few minutes, the entire Earth seemed to stand still, and the only thing that mattered was keeping baby Toby alive. And then, after 6 excruciating minutes, he coughed and began to cry. Everybody cried. It was a beautiful, emotional moment that allowed Toby to be with us today. So if I could time travel to any point in history I would go to that hospital room. To that moment. And pronounce him dead at 5 minutes, 30 seconds.”
I truly hate Alex for making me transcribe that joke. It’s neck and neck the whole way through. Toby comes out strong in round one, but Alex closes the gap with a dominant second round. In the end, it’s down to the wire as Alex whips out an experimental closing joke. It’s a great idea, and a noble attempt, but the punchline doesn’t quite connect as hard as it needs to if it’s to justify the set-up, and Toby narrowly snags a win, furthering his near unkillable status. So closes one of the most epic nights in recent Roast Battle history. Come out every Tuesday night and see why people won’t shut the fuck up about this show.
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.