It’s hot as hell in the Belly Room, electric with energy and excitement over the new year and new bloodshed. The judges take their seats. We have season two favorite Joe Dosch, Mike Lawrence, and the Roastmaster General, Jeff Ross.
Nate Banditelli is brought on stage first.
“It must suck to look like Josh Gad but without all the talent.” – Mike Lawrence
Moses prompts Nate by asking who called who out. Nate bumbles through what I guess was a joke, and the audience is non-responsive. Lawrence pounces once again:
“Was I right or was I right?”
The audience erupts. Dakota Freeman is brought on stage, Lawrence doesn’t miss a beat:
“Where’s your dog that helps you solve crimes?”
Lawrence’s on fire tonight and the crowd is eating it up. Dakota attempts a pre-battle joke and it’s more of a statement than anything, the crowd is silent. Not a great start for these two, but the anticipation in the room is palpable and we are hopeful the battle will be better than the beginning banter. Nate starts us off:
“Shaggy sold his dog to score more meth.”
There are several audible “Whats?” In the crowd. Once again, Lawrence saves the disastrous joke with an immediate “RUH-ROH” that sends the audience into a fit of laughter.
“Nate wants to host comedy shows, but the only thing he can host is a pedophilia themed Game of Thrones viewing party.”
It gets one “ohhhh” from an overly supportive audience member, certainly only from the use of “pedophile,” always a crowd favorite. The wordiness, lack of a sharp punchline and generic nature of the joke earn him no laughs.
“Ok C3PO-and-3 battle record.”
The crowd sarcastically “Ohhhhs.” Hard to make fun of your opponent for being 0-3 when you also have only losses to your name.
“Dakota works in the movie theater, it’s the closest he’ll ever get to credits.”
The audience lets out a big laugh, undoubtedly relieved that someone has finally told a real joke.
“In Nate’s standup he rants with low energy. He’s like Steven Wright and Bill Burr combined if they both were horrible comedians.”
The crowd murmurs. Nate takes a moment, it seems as though he’s basking in the glow of Dakota’s failed joke, but then he makes the fatal Roast Battle mistake of admitting he forgot his joke. The audience audibly sighs. We had such high hopes for Banditelli after his last joke, but with that, they are dashed. He attempts to recover:
“Dakota dropped out of community college, but he still has a meal plan. We call it EBT.”
“I regret knowing Nate a lot, but not nearly as much as his mother does for giving birth to him.”
Another mean statement without a punchline, and it’s met with a deserving silence from the crowd. Roast Battle is about jokes, not just saying mean shit and hoping people laugh. The judges weigh in their disappointment, and the crowd votes no winner.
Next up we have Scott Kidd versus Victor Martinez Jr. Moses brings Scott on stage first. Scott starts with a fat joke that could have been a good joke, but the audience can’t see Victor, so the joke falls flat. A classic example of how a battler can prepare their butt off, but if they can’t adjust onstage, even the best-written jokes won’t work. Victor is brought on stage and Mike Lawrence shows Scott how to tell a fat joke:
“He’s shaped like his dad’s teardrop tattoo.”
The audience erupts to the backdrop of Coach T playing mariachi music. Jeff chooses Scott to go first:
“Victor works at GrubHub and still has no delivery.”
The audience groans. It’s a joke we’ve heard before with varying setups.
“Thank you, Matthew Meth-Conaughey…Scott, you’re so white and trashy, you don’t swipe on Tinder, you use Next Of Kinder.”
The audience delights in the fun wordplay and applauds.
“Victor, do you think your parents would have named you victor if they’d known you were such a big loser?”
Tonight seems to be the night for statements said with a joke cadence.
“Very funny Forrest Trump…Scott looks like he’d join and improv troupe just to shoot the class up.”
The audience erupts. Martinez secures his lead, and undoubtedly the win.
“Victor hopes to make it comedy, but honestly they only contract he’ll ever sign is a life insurance policy.”
It’s the best joke Scott has of the night, but it’s nowhere near enough to beat Victor, despite the dud of a final joke Victor has.
“Listen, Scotty, I don’t know big you’re going to make it in Hollywood, but you’re never going to be bigger than that gap in your teeth. Show them that shit, show them in the back.”
Never a good sign when you have to ad-lib after the punchline. Despite the lackluster finish, Victor is the victor.
The last undercard is much-needed. Jasmin Leigh versus Brandi Denise is everything we wanted, expected and hoped. Brandi and Jasmin both enter the stage and immediately rouse the crowd with their high-energy dancing and overall willingness to have fun, even at the expense of themselves.
Jasmin goes first:
“Brandi looks like a Bratz doll come to life, which is why no one’s cared about her since the 90s.”
It’s a good joke, but a little outdated. The audience responds accordingly.
“Alright guys, Jasmin’s pussy is like an open mic, everyone who signs up gets three minutes and usually regrets it right after.”
Her loose and sassy delivery wins the audience over.
“Thank you Michelle Ho-Bama. Brandi’s vagina is like America pre-Trump: no walls.”
It falls flat, prompting an explanation from Jasmin (never a good sign):
“It’s a black joke, people!”
“Thank God it wasn’t funny.”
The audience goes crazy off Brandi’s retort. The Wave rushes the stage. Brandi continues:
“If Jasmin had as many punchlines as she does wigs, we would be-weave she was a comic, OKAY?”
Once again, the delivery is what takes this joke to the next level. The audience is loving this battle.
“Brandi looks like a chipmunk, which is why she’s been storing nut in her cheeks all winter.”
The audience loves it, but Brandi pounces on the energy and steals the momentum:
“Which is also why I have a boyfriend.”
And with that, she’s stolen Jasmin’s last chance at a victory. She solidifies her win:
“This is a little-known fact. Me and Jasmin actually went to the same college and both studied political science, the only thing I’ve ever seen Jasmin politically affiliated with is doing a Kaepernick on niggas.”
She does a spot-on blowjob act-out and clinches her win. While Jasmin’s joke writing may fall flat, she has secured her spot as an audience favorite. Brandi’s joke writing is a bit wordy, but her hilarious delivery and comfort on stage make her one to watch.
The undercards are over and the audience is hungry for more blood. Saudi Prince enters just in time for the first round of the tournament. Jeff asks the prince about his holidays and he delivers in the way only Saudi Prince can.
“I was upset on New Year’s Day, there was this video on YouTube that I’ve been upset about, the guy with the suicide forest, have you seen it? I mean fuck man, what a waste, to die and not take anyone with you.” – Saudi Prince
“Man, you make me love ISIS every week.” – Moses
Moses has a way of saying what we all wish we could.
First up in the tournament is Movses Shakarian vs. Jacob Trimmer. Movses enters with an attempt at a sexy dance a la the previous battle, but the audience doesn’t enjoy it. In a moment of clairvoyance, Jeff predicts this to be the battle of the night and we are off.
“Movses is a lawyer. It must be weird getting bent over a park bench with your own face on it.”
The audience erupts.
“Thank you, Insane Clown Pussy. Jacob is such a fat jew, if he wrote a book it’d be called ‘The Diabetes of Anne Frank.’”
It’s met with laughter, but not nearly as much as Trimmer’s first joke.
“Yeah, I’m fat. I guess we both have a problem with having Five Guys inside of us.”
The audience explodes. Now, THIS is a battle. What a fun, well-written comeback. Absolute smash.
“Thank you, David Dukes of Hazzard. Jacob’s gained so much weight, under his yearbook photo it just says before.”
Movses is obviously shaken by the two bangers with which Trimmer started, and his delivery is affected. He rushes through the punchline and the audience can’t enjoy the joke. Trimmer sees his rushed delivery and counters it by slowing down and savoring every word of his next joke, a brilliant strategy.
“Movses is in touch with his Armenian roots…I said that wrong, Movses used to manage a strip club.”
“Jacob, you look like a white supremacist and a jew were Auschwitzed at birth.” Again, his speedy delivery makes the joke not hit as hard.
“I like that Movses, even your jokes get lost in the desert. Movses always corrects people when they mistake him for Mexican because he doesn’t know how to take a compliment.”
“O-K-K-K. Jacob you neo-Nazi-looking Jew, what’d you do for Hanukkah, light up eight tiki torches?”
“Movses actually moved to Texas in a truck, and then moved back home dragging behind it.”
“Jacob was in a fight and was thrown down a flight of stairs, making it the first time he’s taken a flight of stairs.”
Movses’s last joke hits hard, but it’s not enough to beat Trimmer. Jeff compliments both battlers but gives the win to Jacob for:
“…not just hitting doubles and triples, but home runs.” – Jeff Ross
Lawrence praises Trimmer’s writing and gives it to “ZZ Bottom.” Joe Dosch compliments “RuPaul’s Bag Face” but agrees with the other judges and gives it to Trimmer. Trimmer wins this with excellent comebacks, precision punchlines, and slow and steady delivery, securing his place as a top contender in the tournament. He’ll face Jeff Sewing next, and if Trimmer comes with the same excellent joke-writing and cool confidence, Sewing has his work cut out for him.
The audience is on fire and excited for the final battle which pits Jonathan Rowell against John-Michael Bond. After a solid ribbing from the judges, Jonathan volunteers to go first.
“John, you look like the lesbian ghost who haunts a Home Depot.”
The audience giggles, riding the high of the previous battle.
“Jonathan, I like battling you. your record is one loss, I’m sorry, one win and four losses, so even on stage you bottom.”
Even without the flub, it still wasn’t enough to be a good joke.
“Power bottom. John, you look like you can only eat pussy with a side of ranch.”
The audience undeservingly explodes, as this is a joke we’ve heard time and time again. Can we please put this joke to rest? It was funny when used against Dan Nolan, and when Mike Schmidt used “cheese” as the condiment. Now we are done with it. I think the next time a comic uses this joke, we should all be allowed to rush the stage and boo them “Princess Bride” style. JMB follows up by delivering more of a compliment than a roast joke:
“You look like you give all the guys you blow copies of Hamilton.”
“I don’t know what’s more annoying, the fact that John’s a blogger or that you can always hear him breathing.”
“When Jonathan was in 8th grade, he had to walk with a cane, because he grew nine inches in one year. He couldn’t walk straight. He still can’t walk straight, but now it’s because other guys grow nine inches.”
“John, you look like one of the three little pigs ran home to watch some other dude fuck his wife.”
This garners an “Oh my god!” from the crowd and scattered cheers.
“You’re so spoiled and privileged that you think DACA is the sound you make when you say “Thank you” when someone puts a fifth dick in your mouth.”
JMB proceeds with a lackluster dick sucking act-out. He sure likes his jokes to have numbers in them.
“John says that when he was a kid he was almost raped. Maybe if he actually had been he would shut the fuck up about it.”
The audience eats up that joke. Jonathan furthers his lead.
“When Jonathan was 15 he lost his virginity to a 23-year-old man. Thank God he’s not straight or we’d have to watch a one-woman show about it.”
Another joke with numbers. The audience enjoys the joke, but it’s not enough to surpass Jonathan’s lead. They end on their best jokes. The judges weigh in:
“JMB, I’m a big fan of your jokes, but you had one that like you told twice and inside out somehow. I’m not sure how that works. Jonathan, I’m a big fan of you, I’m really glad to see you on Roast Battle. You have the body of one of Ursula’s poor unfortunate souls.” – Joe Dosch
The audience does not give that joke what it deserves, Dosch is a master and that joke is spot-on. That is the hardest I laughed all night. Joe votes for Jonathan and we move onto Mike.
“I feel like Joe and Jonathan are going to get together after this and feed grapes to Andy Cohen. You know what was the most funny to me? John, when you did that DACA blowjob act-out and you seemed so ashamed of it when we watched Brandi flawlessly do a blowjob act-out. I think you need years of oppression to do a proper blowjob act-out. I think you were like ‘oh my god, what if my parents see this?’ And she was like, ‘fuck it.’ I would say overall, if I had to pick someone to advance in the tournament tonight, it would have been Movses over you two, but since I can’t, I would say Jonathan, just by a little hair that will be in his mouth tomorrow.” – Mike Lawrence
“This battle just reminded me that my sleeper t-cell has been activated.” – Saudi Prince
The audience erupts and Dosch praises:
“That is the best t-cell joke I’ve ever heard.”
Saudi votes for Jonathan and we head to the Roastmaster General himself for the final verdict.
“That’s a lot pressure for this shitty battle. It was fine, JMB you usually kill it a little more, something was a little off. Jonathan, good job buddy you had some moments in there. Do you know who you battle next?” – Jeff Ross
“Sarah Keller.” – Jonathan Rowell
In a moment I’ll replay in my dreams forever, Jeff says:
“She’s going to kill you.”
I’m not counting him out though, he has a stellar reputation and expect that he’s going to come at me with every ounce in his tiny body.
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