by Tony Bartolone

Welcome back to the no-holds-barred comedy cage match in the belly of the beast! Every week audiences pack themselves into the back door of the Comedy Store to witness a war of wits, a tussle of the lingual muscle, a blow-for-blow, punch-for-punchline Belly Room brawl, a brutal bloodbath of verbal motherfuckin’ violence. This week, we’ve got the most bang you’ll ever get for your buck. We’re serving up a gut-busting buffet of battles. In an unprecedented eight fight card, we will be treated a wild variety of styles that will leave bodies in piles and the crowd rolling in the aisles. I’m pumped, I’m psyched, I’m jacked. Let’s meet our judges!

First and foremost, we have one of the most established comedians working today, Steve Byrne. Last year, every entertainment outlet was talking about how shows like Fresh Off the Boat and Dr. Ken changed the landscape of American television, and gave Asian actors leading roles in sitcoms. These shows were heralded as groundbreaking. Meanwhile, Sullivan & Son premiered over four years ago, and starred an Asian actor in a non-stereotypical lead role. That actor was comedy’s own Steve Byrne. Working audience warm up on that very same show (among many others) was our second judge, Gary Cannon. Audience warm up is great gig held by Comedy Store royalty such as Don Barris and, you got it, Brody Stevens. If Gary is anything like those two, we’re in for a crazy good time. Rounding out the judgmental bunch is Roast Battle’s beloved Earl Skakel. Skakel has made a name for himself both as battler and our House Hater. Tonight will be the first night he joins the judges on the dais. Now his hate will not be just for laughs, it will actually help decide the contests. Congrats on the promotion, Earl.

Our first undercard pits Kevin “Eric” McCarthy against Alex “Nothing” Kojfman.

I honestly don’t know anything about these two rookies, but Facebook confirms they are comedians who live in Los Angeles. Kevin looks an uncle that you really like growing up, but when you get older you realize he’s way too friendly with your sister. I don’t know if he’s always had the mustache or if he went into a cocoon in his mid-to-late twenties and emerged a full-on creep. Alex has a podcast about movies, books, and some TV shows. Networking Alert! Be sure to bother him trying to get booked while he’s getting ready for his battle. That’s probably the best time to ask. Will Kevin knock that goofy smile off Alex’s face or will Alex bare his teeth and his claws in the ring?

Our next battle throws Kayla Bernadette to Victor Martinez Jr. like a piece of raw steak to a wild animal.

I’m not sure what Martinez is getting ready fight in his photo, besides adult onset diabetes. I’ve seen Victor crash and burn in a spectacularly unspectacular battle, but I’m less familiar with Kayla. The most I know about her is that she dated Dan Nolan. It’s not a glamorous job, but somebody had to replace his heroin addiction. If roast jokes are sexually transmitted she’ll be one hell of a contender. This will be the battle of Legs vs. Lard.

The third match of the night – and we’re not even halfway done – sees Brandon Brickz squaring off against Eric Abbenante.

I couldn’t find a great photo of Eric, but I did find this one of him doing a show with Doug Fager’s dead brother. Both of these dudes have low-quality stand-up videos on YouTube. I’m not sure why you would post a video of yourself bombing at an open mic – looking at you, Eric – but let’s hope they can step it up for the grand stage of Roast Battle. Brandon has done this before, but was decimated at the hands of Wub Savell. Who can forget this banger from their match up?

“You must get your fat fucking genes from your great, great fat fucking grandfather who was so fucking fat he had to buy two tickets to ride the Underground Railroad.”

That battle was well over a year ago, so I think Brandon has had sufficient time to lick his wounds. And his plates.

In our fourth undercard, we kick things up a notch with Ali Macofsky making her return to the Belly Room to face white privilege personified, Jake Adams.

Ali has battled before, back in the Wild West days of Roast Battle when she was underage. She put on a show-stopping performance and won that battle before being banished from the Comedy Store due to the dumb alcohol laws in this state. However, she just turned 21 and is thirsty for blood. Tonight, she’ll be battling blue blood Jake Adams. Jake was living on easy street until his father was arrested, presumably for unlawfully shutting down a ski slope in an ’80s movie. These are both strong comics who had strong words for each other when I asked them about their battle.

“Ali’s a friend. I once thought I got her pregnant, but it turns out she just has horrible posture.”
-Jake Adams

“Jake didn’t write any of his own jokes for the battle so he has nothing to lose. But he will lose.”
-Ali Macofsky

We’re all excited to see these to young, attractive white people beat the shit out of each other.

For our fifth undercard we see Danielle “Price is Right” Perez attempting to take down Heather “Price of Beef” Marulli.

Danielle had some buzz about a year ago when she was a contestant on the Price is Right. She even won something: a brand new, top-of-the-line treadmill. The only thing is, she has no feet. That’s right, they gave a girl with severed legs a fucking treadmill. This will be Danielle’s first battle, but Heather’s no newbie. Heather’s first battle was a big hit when she straight up castrated Ernie Stone by outing him as one of her sexual conquests. She was then herself castrated by Mike Schmidt in her second battle. She’s back on the warpath with something to prove. I imagine she’s battling Danielle because she’s confused about what meals on wheels is. Let’s see what these women have to say about each other:

“I’m excited to see Heather do what she does best: bomb in a room full of her peers.”
-Danielle Perez

“I’m just here to see if I can win the treadmill she clearly isn’t using.”
-Heather Marulli

This undercard is handi-capable of becoming a classic.

Next up, we have ladykiller Mark “The Shark” Stevens taking on Albert “The Streak” Escobedo.

Albert looks like if ET was an illegal alien from Mexico. He looks like a Mextra-terrestrial. Both these battlers are undefeated. Mark has gone 3-0 against all female fighters, and Albert has one of the best records in Roast Battle with an infuriating yet impressive 5-0. Stevens has his work cut out for him if he is to beat this charming, bald anomaly. This will be a proving ground for both of these charming dirtbags. When I asked them about their bout, they replied with intense statements of bravado:

“Albert’s been called unbreakable. I am his breaking point.”
-Mark Stevens

“I’m looking forward to breaking Mark’s winning streak. He’s beaten only women, but I will be the first one to beat a bitch.”
-Albert Escobedo

We can’t wait to find out if Mark the Shark is all bark, or if he can bite and devour Escobedo like a delicious al pastor taco.

Our eighth and final undercard of the night brings two of my favorite comics together in a battle of the sexes: Cornell Reid vs. Barbara Gray.

It will be an absolute blast seeing the chillest dude whoever chilled, Cornell Reid, exchange insults with the carrot-topped crusher, Barbara Gray. Everybody can take out your notepads and find your seats. Welcome to charm school. You just can’t help but fall in love with these two loveable idiots. Offstage, they are two of the coolest people in the world, and onstage they’re just plain irresistible.

I want to go on record as saying these are some of my favorite undercards ever put together. But wait! There’s still a monster main event.

In tonight’s main event, “The Asperger’s Assassin” Toby Muresianu attempts to continue his hot streak by focusing his laser scope on “The Stepdad of Comedy” David Deery.

We see Toby making a low rent version of a Steve-Jobs-style presentation in this photo. It’s no wonder he was a software engineer; his precision in the ring is unparalleled. He has body-bagged Keith Carey, Doug Fager and most recently, Dan Nolan. David Deery’s most recent battle gave him his first victory, also over Dan Nolan. Deery has made Roast Battle history, being the only battler to make it to main events without a single win. This loveable underdog might just have the key to kill Muresianu. It’s going to be an uphill battle for pizza deliveryman Deery. If he loses in fifteen minutes or less, your pizza is free. The way Toby has been battling lately, he might make short work of DD. There is always a possibility for a Cinderella story, or in this case a mozzarella story. Can the cheese-slinging pie jockey topple the T-1000? Or will Toby just explode into that silvery liquid shit and reform unfazed? Perhaps, we will finally see the nanotechnology promised to us by James Cameron so many years ago. One thing is for sure, you don’t want to miss this!

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 11:30 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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