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by Jay Light

As Los Angeles bakes in the late spring heat, the Belly Room is set to feel the blaze of roast jokes. Roast Battle favorites are coming home to roost after breaks both long and short from the ring. Additionally, two battles tonight are poised to be claws-out catfights between female Battle virgins, who have shown in the past to be some of the fiercest battlers we’ve got. All in all, it’s looking like a dynamite night at Roast Battle – though when is it ever not?

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Even if we weren’t already passing the Bechdel test with tonight’s fight card, our judges tonight are ready to bring a mighty dose of estrogen to the proceedings. Jade Catta-Preta returns to the panel after a skillful previous showing a couple of months back where she slung rapid-fire insults like the drinks she used to serve at the Comedy Store’s patio bar. Shawn Pelofsky takes her first turn at the judges’ panel, though her penchant for insult-based crowdwork in her standup will certainly give her an edge from the VIP section tonight. Rounding out the panel – pun absolutely intended – is Roast Battle legend Guy Branum. Guy is remarkably talented and remarkably mean. His presence on the panel is always welcomed, not just because he’s got one of the sharpest wits the show has seen, but also because he has no problem calling out battlers on their bullshit. Bring it, fresh meat!

First in the ring tonight: Nicole Becannon versus Felicia Folkes.

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Nicole and Felicia are the first set of rookie females battling tonight, and boy, do they ever look excited. Both are too new in the LA scene to be behind Troy Conrad’s lens for his “Hallway Photos” series, but it looks like they’ll fit right in if he ever decides to do a “Drunk Open Micers” collection. Felicia’s comedy has shined at mics and shows citywide, and Nicole, currently enrolled at UCLA, is dating Roast Battle heavyweight Dan Nolan (6-2, #8), so she probably knows a thing or two about how to effectively prepare for battle. Can’t wait to see these two in action!

Next on the fight card, another pair of new chicks on the block: Leah Lamarr versus Christina Myers Hepburn.

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Leah, seen here getting attacked by an off-camera cat and making the same expression as the mystery animal on her shirt, is a new comic who has shown promise (and, in the interest of full disclosure, dates me [7-6, #9]) and quickly entered the fold of the LA comedy scene with her drive and determination. Christina, seen here dressed like an out-of-work Dr. Seuss character, is a sharp comic actress and podcaster who has swam a little deeper into the choppy waters of standup comedy. Even if she doesn’t bring the heat tonight, I hope she brings that wig.

Tonight’s final undercard: Nick Petrillo (2-1, #42) versus Jeff Amaral (1-1, Unranked).

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Nick, coming off a loss to rising battle star Anna Valenzuela (2-1, #32), carries all his ex-cokehead rage with him back into the ring to take on his good buddy and Comedy Store bar staple Jeff Amaral, who has the rare honor of having previously bested one of tonight’s main event battlers. These guys have fairly meager records, but don’t be fooled. They are strong writers and harsh performers. Jeff may be the baddest dude to Roast Battle sitting down whose legs actually work.

Which brings us to tonight’s main event: Doug Fager (4-2, #15) versus Toby Muresianu (4-3, #12).

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These two are bona fide Roast Battle heavyweights. Doug, Roast Battle’s prodigal son, returns to the ring once again after losing in the Roast Battle Royale and taking some time off to drive for Uber. If he wins tonight, the entire crowd gets $20 off their next ride with the promo code IQUITCOMEDY. Toby, fresh off a victory against the immensely intimidating Keith Carey (8-5, #2), looks to continue his budding win streak and not get a sunburn under the stage lights. This will be a battle for the ages, so don’t miss out!

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 if you can’t catch the verbal violence in person.

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