The crowd is ready for some insults, bringing rowdy energy out of the gate as Moses introduces the Chantmaster Josh Meyrowitz and the night’s four judges: Ian Abramson, Megan Gailey, Alex Edelman, and Rick Glassman. Rick, however, isn’t quite satisfied:
“Before we get too deep, and I apologize, I feel this is a little quiet…we’re gonna have to go ahead and turn this bad boy up to D’ELEVEN, BABY!” – Rick Glassman
“That sounded so badass and so Jewish at the same time. ‘Excuse me, it’s not loud enough? Could we get a little volume? I don’t wanna have to hurt my throat.'” – Alex Edelman
Moses introduces our first battle between some boys from Seattle who competed on “Roast Beef”, the Pacific Northwest’s outpost of this comedy blood sport. Mike Masliotti and Billy Anderson take the stage, and Mike opts to take the first swing.
“Billy actually recently moved here from Seattle, which you can tell by his casual lesbian style. He’s from the South, though, which you can tell by his casually rotting teeth.”
“Fair enough, every guy who sold me weed in high school. Mike just got out of a relationship recently. It’s kind of a bummer, but just like his hair and every paying job, he couldn’t keep her around, so…”
“That’s a good one, grown-up Sour Patch Kid. I don’t know how Billy pulled it off, he’s both fat and thin. His body style can best be described as spilled mayonnaise.”
“That’s an alright one, System of a Down syndrome, I’ll give you that. You’re not allowed to call me fat, you’re only skinny ‘cuz you can’t afford to eat!”
Billy’s retort does okay, but he seems a little on the ropes. He comes back with a proper joke:
“You can’t see it, but Mike actually has a lot of tattoos he’s really proud of. He has them in place of a personality. They’re actually mostly sentimental. He has them all over his body. He actually sat down with his mom, on her deathbed, and she made him promise he would get a new tattoo every time he gave a girl HPV, so…”
“That’s a nice one, Billy DeGeneres. I’m not gonna say Billy is unaware, but it actually took him three days to find his dead roommate. Deep cut. And they share a room!”
“My roommate did kill herself. She didn’t leave a note, they just found her listening to his podcast and put it together, so…”
Although Mike’s jokes hit harder at the top of the battle, Billy’s final comeback about his roommate’s suicide – I guess the correct term would be ex-roommate – is an absolute banger and turns the tide in his favor. The judges begin with critiques…
“I wasn’t wowed by either of you.” – Rick Glassman
“You know it’s a vicious battle when the crowd oohs at someone calling somebody else a Sour Patch Kid.” – Alex Edelman
…then seamlessly transition into figuring out how Billy’s ex-roommate killed herself. Moses puts the kibosh on it before the discussion gets too dark.
“This isn’t 13 Reasons Why…she hung herself in the kitchen and the butler didn’t do it. They’re from Seattle. That’s what they do.” – Moses
Billy wins the audience vote, the comeback fresh in everyone’s minds, and walks away with his first victory on the LA stage.
Moses introduces the next battlers, “the Big Dick Assassin” Zach Stein and his Detroit compatriot Diego Attanasio. These two take the stage with low energy. A man in the front row keeps commenting on how much he hates the San Jose Sharks tee Diego has chosen to wear. Rick Glassman keeps making Vietnam War references. Things seem off from the get-go with this one, and that sense of unease never lets up, especially after Josh Meyrowitz gets a chant of “SAD BATTLE!” rippling through the room.
“Everybody knows Zach has sex with prostitutes. Sorry, I said that wrong – pays off the women that he rapes.”
“That’s the last time I let you crash on my couch. Diego is a bald, unemployed immigrant who lives in his parents’ basement. In other words, his best quality is being an immigrant.”
“Thanks, fetal alcohol syndrome Richie Rich. Zach’s look is very daytime television. Like, he would be great in a soap opera when they interrupt with news of sexual assault.”
“Diego was mildly successful in LA comedy, but he threw it all away to follow a girl. Isn’t that sweet? They both caused each other to leave. He’s a stalker.”
Both of these jokes get blank stares from almost everyone in the room, except for Willie Hunter, who stumbles up from the Wave’s section laughing and dropping forks and spoons out of his sleeves. As Jamar Neighbors picks up every bit of dropped silverware, the crowd begins to come alive, unable to help themselves as they laugh at the absurdity of what’s happening on stage.
“We could actually use those for Zach’s apartment. Zach, you dead-eyed narcissist. I just…ugh. What could I say about you that…”
“Take it easy!” – Alex Edelman
“You want the saddest? Alright. Most people think Zach is a racist just by looking at him. But to be fair, Zach would pay to disrespect a hooker of any race.”
Diego’s joke starts out promising, then peters out. Willie drops more spoons.
“That is true, I would pay for that. But it has been nice to abuse a Hispanic for free.”
“Nobody’s winning this battle!” – Josh Meyrowitz
“Well, let’s see this not change your mind! This guy is a real free spirit hippie. No job to hold him down, goes wherever the winds take him. Just so long as those winds are gonna end up back in his parents’ basement.”
The only sounds in the room after this final attempt are Coach T’s beats and the clanging of spoons falling out of the leg of Willie’s pants. This battle started out with promise, but as it became obvious that the jokes were all too one-note, things took a turn.
“I wanna give it to the forks that got dropped on the floor.” – Alex Edelman
“You guys both kept talking about hookers, and it’s like, you don’t have any money.” – Megan Gailey
“It’s like Sophie’s Choice, and I’m just gonna kill myself on this one.” – Ian Abramson
A chant for “FORKS!” begins, and the silverware wind up taking the audience vote in a walk. Welcome to the most unpredictable show in comedy, folks.
The final undercard competitors are brought to the stage: Josh Waldron and Madison Sinclair. Josh gets an early edge from Megan and Alex, Rick pre-emptively votes for the spoons, and Ian Abramson? Well, he’s finally excited to watch one of tonight’s battles. And with good reason; this one turns out to be a slugfest.
“Josh looks like a samurai who’s only battled his own sexuality.”
“Madison says she’s not a slut, but you can unlock her iPhone by putting jizz on your thumb and putting it on the home button.”
“He knows that ‘cuz his thumbs are always covered in jizz. It’s not easy battle Josh. He doesn’t have any skeletons in his closet. I mean, how could he? There’s no room for the both of them in there.”
“Madison has two goats that eat a lot of garbage, so to save money she just feeds them her material.”
“Right, I’m bombing right now, Josh. If you guys don’t know Josh, he’s like a weird cross between that friend you never wanna hang out with, and that guy you never wanna be friends with.”
“Yeah, that was a real good one. I will never have sex with Madison, and I’m okay with that. Because I had a threesome with a hot girl and a fat girl, so it was like having sex with Madison’s present and future.”
Now that’s what I call a battle! Jokes so strong they make the Wave come out, in-the-moment performances, and energy that doesn’t bum out the room.
“I do like watching two Britney Spears backup dancers fight. It’s like, which one’s gonna get to eat her old pussy at the end of the night?” – Megan Gailey
“First good battle!” – Alex Edelman
The judges throw their weight behind Josh off the strength of his opener, and the audience follows suit.
Now that the crowd knows what a good battle looks like, it’s time to get into the evening’s tournament matches. First up: Guam Felix versus Galina Rivina. The firing squad seems too shell-shocked by the visual mismatch between these two to offer up much in the way of predictions.
“You’re Russian? I thought you were Hispanic. We learn new things about ourselves and our racism every day.” – Megan Gailey
“He is named Guam? Alright!” – Ian Abramson
After a little more xenophobia, we finally get to the jokes.
“Guam used to be a DJ, but now he just turns tables to better reach his food.”
“Thank you, Beauty and the Yeast Infection.”
“You’re welcome, Kim Jong Ew.”
“Galina’s name in Russian means mermaid, and that explains the fishy smell below her waist.”
“Guam looks like the target market for a strip club’s afternoon shift.”
“Thank you Bor-hood-rat. Galina’s the only girl from Russia who doesn’t play chess, because she has no chest.”
“Guam’s father used to be a postman who forgot to teach his son delivery.”
“Galina was so poor in Russia she had to do porn. It was called 2 Cups, 1 Cup Of Soup.”
“I dunno what takes more of a toll on Guam: his kidney failure or his regular failure.”
“Galina actually shit herself during a job interview so they would know she had experience in waste management.”
“It’s no wonder Guam looks like a bad video game character. He’s got three children who can’t wait to pull the plug.”
“Galina is a Russian gold digger. She said she’d marry anyone who makes a lot of bread. Like rye, wheat, and hummus.”
Guam’s final joke plays to almost total silence. Even he knows what went wrong.
“Oh man, fuck that joke!” – Guam
Guam knows he lost, but he remains a good sport about the inevitable decision from the judges.
“Galina, I thought you were really funny. I’ve shit my pants a lot of places. That means you’re a fun bitch!” – Megan Gailey
“This was like the beginning of Rocky 4. The Russian with the knockout. I’m terrified of you.” – Alex Edelman
Rick praises Guam for his “waste management” joke, but ultimately gives his vote to Galina, earning her the majority decision we all figured she’d receive after Guam fell victim to diminishing returns.
Finally, Nicole Becannon and Tony Bartolone take the stage. The last battle of the night is already hotly anticipated as one of the closest matchups in the early rounds of the tournament.
“I like that in this PC culture, we’re in a place where a homeless man can yell obscenities at a woman, and it’s celebrated.” – Rick Glassman
“You beat Keith Carey? What do you have against fat white men?” – Alex Edelman
Nicole seems to have more fans among the audience than Tony does, but Tony appears unfazed by this. He’s opted to ditch his usual theatrics to focus on the writing, and takes the opportunity to tell the first joke with a grin on his face.
“Before attempting suicide, Nicole Googled ‘painless ways to die.’ I guess Google was like, ‘start with the eyes.'”
Nicole absorbs the joke with almost icy confidence.
“I’m dead in the eyes. It’s true. I failed at overdosing on pills, which is why I’m so impressed with you. Being a fat homeless failure must be the hardest pill to swallow.”
The comeback gets a massive pop. A lesser battler would let this send them to the ropes, but Tony soldiers on.
“Nicole lost her virginity to a heroin addict on an air mattress. She could actually feel her self-esteem being deflated.”
“Tony’s an insomniac, but you don’t need to sleep when your whole life is a fucking nightmare.”
“You look like a Muppet Baby that became a whore.”
Tony gets what may be the biggest laugh of the entire night here, earning applause from the judges’ panel and Moses in the corner. Nicole props her leg up on the stool, staying in the moment.
“I’m not a whore, I’m a people pleaser.”
“I’ve heard different stories.”
“Tony once went down on a woman with no legs. He tried to just eat her pussy but couldn’t stop there.”
“Nicole worked on the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland. She was a skipper. Or at least that’s what they wrote on her headshot when they were casting princesses.”
The crowd’s reaction is a little halfhearted, so Tony emphasizes what he means by swiping left.
The wordplay clicks and the crowd is satisfied. Nicole, however, has entered full-on Terminator mode.
“I get it. It’s so hard to escape a conversation with Tony his dad did it by fucking dying.”
Before Tony begins the apparent comeback, Moses calls for last joke. Tony pauses and opts to switch gears.
“Gerard Butler once told Nicole she has pretty eyes. Say what you want about Gerard Butler, but the man deserves an Oscar!”
The gambit appears to have worked. Nicole seems flustered for the first time all night, sighing and scratching her head. She puts a hand on her hip and digs in, sounding emotional as she begins to talk once more:
“Y’know, all these things are true. I get called ugly a lot. I’m very depressed. I lost my virginity to a heroin addict, he dumped me. But why do you look like you ate my feelings?”
Slam dunk. The risks both of these battlers took elevated the battle to a level unseen in 2018. Tony and Nicole both earn well-deserved praise from the judges, and Tony’s “Muppet Baby whore” joke is lauded as the best joke of the night.
“I would love to see you guys each battle the utensils.” – Rick Glassman
Yet, despite the fight being neck-and-neck, Nicole’s final reversal earns her a unanimous vote from the judges. Her hand is raised in victory and she advances to the next round. Another night down. We’ll see you as the tournament continues next week.
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 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.