by Dan Nolan, photos by Troy Conrad

At the warmup portion of the show, as the audience is
seated, our beloved host and referee Brian Moses asks who’s never seen the
live show before. The entire crowd cheers or claps, or raises their hands to
indicate that it’s their first time witnessing a Belly Room brawl. All
introduced to the live version through it’s Comedy Central counterpart and
brought in via the newfound fandom surrounding TV champ Frank Castillo and the
attention paid to the Comedy Store when he brought the trophy home a few weeks back.
Pictures are posed for, there are cheers amid chants of “Champ! Champ! Champ!”
and the entire ordeal is somewhat surreal.

After some standup, Orange County’s own Jason King is
brought up to the stage before Doon Sanders, though when they both appear
together, it’s hard to tell them apart. Earl assesses the situation to Moses.

“Does the winner get to drag you behind a truck?”

The firing squad comes over the top spitting fire from the
VIP section.

“Jason King, just because they make pants that tight doesn’t
mean you have to wear them.” – Frank Castillo

“Were there no other pairs of shoes when you bought those?” – Annie Lederman 

After a brief pause for the laughter to die down, Jason King responds in kind to Annie.

“I’m sorry, I don’t even know who you are.”

With that, we’re off to our first exchange, and Jason King opens the round.

“Doon is what happens when Louis CK fucks a pile of mashed
potatoes.”

“Jason King has the name of a porn star and the face of
someone who looks at child porn stars.”

“Guys, Doon is 34, unemployed and just moved back home with
his sister. Because you’re never too old to go home and kill yourself.”

“Thank you for that, Conan O’Besity.  Jason’s mother ran him over as a child,
because she knew an x-ray was the only time he’d get to see his name in lights.”

“Guys, women often describe Doon as ‘my rapist’.” 

“Pretty good, coming from the Pilsbury No-means-no-Boy.
Jason’s father was a drug addict that converted to Mormonism. Even he knew that
believing in magic underwear made more sense than believing in Jason.”

Rarely have we seen such a tight debut from two virgin
battlers. While the additional benefit of the television series’ success is
that newcomers have a model for what a top-notch battle should look like, at
the end of the day a win is incumbent upon ability to write a joke, which both
battlers had in spades. Doon Sandors, however, never drops the slight edge he
held from the start of the match and is awarded a victory handily. It’s an
excellent start to the night, as we prepare for another four battles to follow.

Isaac Hirsch, a veteran of the D.C. standup scene with a
single battle and loss under his belt, is brought up to Weird Al’s “White and
Nerdy,” as Roastmaster Jeff Ross jumps right in.

“Moses, does Jay Light have leukemia?”

After years of standup experience, Isaac is light on his
feet and ready to riff. He moves well with the energy and leaves plenty of room
to let the judges get their laughs in. Christian Pieper follows suit and the
two seem like a Roast Battle match made in heaven. Isaac opens the round.

“When Christian orgasms, he yells ‘Fee Fi Fo Cum.’”

Christian fires back almost immediately with an off-the-cuff counter.

“At least when I orgasm there’s someone there to hear it.”

The crowd explodes at the comedy magic trick they just
witnessed and Christian attempts to double down, coming over the top with his
actual prepared joke. 

“I actually think it’s great you brought out Isaac the way
you did. Because Isaac is a huge fan of Weird Al… I assume.”

The joke lands somewhere in the lower-middle range and
somewhat diminishes the success of his initial rebuttal. It may have been a
better idea to let the comeback count on it’s own, and the misstep clearly
kills some momentum for Christian. Isaac continues. 

“Christian’s from Kentucky, and you know what they say. You
can take the man out of Kentucky, but you can’t take the diabetes out of the
man.”

“Thank you, Earthworm Jim. Isaac was actually tested for autism and it came back negative. So Isaac’s just weird and creepy for no
reason at all.”

“Christian’s wife has autism. She loves dudes running train
on her almost as much as she loves trains.”

“She actually does have autism and that’s great, cuz now
she’s not the only retarded pussy I’m gonna beat tonight.”

At the closing bell a chant of “retard pussy” breaks out and
despite such a solid showing and a powerful close to the round from Christian
Pieper, the match never quite moves out of Isaac Hirsch’s hands, and he is
overwhelmingly awarded the crowd vote in the end.

Matt LeGrande makes his return against a headline-caliber
opponent despite a few missteps in earlier matches since his explosive debut.
Tony Bartolone is in the same boat, stepping down to the undercards after a
massive misfire in his previous main event. While both competitors have shown
undeniability in earlier matchups, it’s a fight to return to past glory. 

Tony Bartolone starts things off, after the crowd breaks out into an “AIDS AIDS AIDS” chant directed at Matt LeGrande.

“You look like the first caveman to rub two dicks together.” 

“Thank you, Jay and Silent Blob. In college, Tony had two
majors. One of them was a heart attack.”

“If cock had calories, you’d be fat as fuck. Matt came out
to his dad at a Panera Bread. You’re so white you should win an Oscar for ‘best
supporting faggot.’”

“Thank you, Last Blockbuster Employee. Tony, you look like
you were born with stains on your clothing.”

“You got a fucking degree in media. Even the most impressive
thing about you is really shitty…”

Despite the joke being solid on paper, Tony seems to trail
off with it, losing the crowd reaction by delivering his punchline in a manner
more befitting a setup. Quickly assessing the situation, Tony scrambles to fire
off another completely different joke amidst confused laughter from the crowd.

“So, I go off to the bar at Hamburger Mary’s and bartender
says ‘what’ll it be,’ and I says to the bartender ‘surprise me’ and he shows me
a picture of Matt LeGrande getting double-teamed by two big black dudes, and I
was like, ‘I said surprise me.’”

Matt fires right back.

“I asked you not to repeat that. In the gay community we
actually have a term for guys that look like Tony: ‘A three.’”

Tony saves face and puts in a top-notch performance, but
Matt LeGrande is untouchable. He’s Matt LeGrande-Supreme. Matt Le Vente. So
confident. So lovable. So. Fucking. Gay. He takes heavy praise from the judges
before a unanimous crowd vote in his favor.

Up next Jasmin Leigh rises from the All Negress Choir to
face off against Orlando’s own Madison Sinclair. Madison rocks a custom “Black
Lives Matter” tank top, while Jasmin Leigh enters with a chorus of her own,
tossing rose petals. She accuses Madison off the top of being a victim of both
cancer and rape and – without any clarification or punchline – the shocked
reaction from the crowd is let suffice in lieu of laughter. A perplexed Madison
Sinclair starts the round.

“A lot of people here think Jasmin fucked Moses to get on
Road to Roast Battle, and I think that’s ridiculous. The whole reason he got
into show business was so he could stop fucking girls who look like Jasmin.”

“Thank you, cunt Dracula. The furthest Madison will get on
stage is with stage-4 lung cancer.”

“I liked that joke better when Sarah told it.” 

It’s a jarring accusation from Madison that hits hard against her competitor who famously derailed her entire previous battle to accuse an opponent of taking jokes from other writers. In the interest of good reporting it should be noted, however, that the joke is incorrectly attributed by Madison to Sarah Keller, but was actually a reworked Lindsey Jennings hand-me-down. Madison continues.

“Jasmin’s really generous. She could have fixed that nose,
but instead she put a hoop through it to give inner-city kids a place to play
ball.”

“If Madison’s pussy could talk, it’d say ‘new dick, who
dis?’” 

“What’s the difference between Jasmin and Michael Brown?
Michael Brown’s name can draw a crowd.”

“Thank you, you gluten-free cracker. Madison’s pussy is a
lot like Madison, Wisconsin. Boring and full of cheese.”

The cheese joke lands a solid blow, though Madison’s poise
and superior joke writing throughout make her the clear favorite. Despite this,
Jeff Ross nevertheless calls for overtime.

“Madison and I both got a TV credit thanks to Jeff Ross.
Only difference is I didn’t have to fuck him first.”

“Jasmin’s mouth has serviced so many broke and desperate
women, Mike Pence wants to defund it.”

It’s an entertaining effort from both competitors, but champ
Frank Castillo sums it up: 

“I do think [Madison] had really good, well-crafted jokes.
Jasmin, I think you had some hard-hitting, uh… statements.” 

Jasmin gets her share of love from the audience along with a
few jeers from the haters, but the crowd vote goes clearly to Madison Sinclair.

With that we move onto our main event following a performance from our
beloved Boon Shok-A-Laka. This main event matchup is a dream come true. Both
battlers score high marks across the board on all manners important in the Roast Battle arena, but their differences in style are in perfect compliment to
one another.

Toby Muresianu is a cold, calculated assassin, while Connor
McSpadden is gleefully animated and always on his feet. To call it form against
substance, though, would be a mischaracterization. Both have joke writing
skills of the highest order, along with the stage presence and solid delivery of
veteran standups. Connor fires first.

“Toby, how do you have no chin, but also, like, so many
chins.”

“Connor was molested at seven, which was the last time
someone enjoyed hanging out with him.”

“I was molested. I had to show the judge where he touched me
on one of Toby’s action figures.”

“Connor looks like me if I was taller but had the same
amount of blood.”

“Toby wrestled in high school. It’s where he got his
cauliflower personality.” 

“Connor had a nervous breakdown and deleted all his social
media. Which is almost as sad as no one noticing.”

The almost-impossible-to-judge round is awarded to Toby in a
tight decision as Connor McSpadden tears into judge Brian Dunkleman in what is
somehow the first of a series of relentless barbs directed at the
self-proclaimed “television history side-note,” famous for leaving American
Idol in it’s first season before it became a global phenomenon. Connor defers
to Toby to open the second round.

“I’m not supposed to name Connor’s molester, because he’s
still embarrassed he couldn’t do better.”

“If you’ve never been trapped in a conversation with Connor,
imagine someone farted in an elevator and then looked at you for laughs every
five seconds.”

“Connor’s responsible for two abortions. His parents had
them after they saw how he turned out.”

“Toby seems like he’s only eat pussy with the crust cut off.”

“Toby looks like a retarded kid who’s just smart enough to
know he’s retarded.”

“Toby doesn’t have a kid. He hasn’t found the right one to
settle down with.”

Connor’s jokes are so short and so sharp, and he continues
to keep the energy in his corner even against Toby’s impeccable writing. There’s
no choice but to go to a third round. Toby volunteers to open.

“I’m not saying Connor should commit suicide, but it’s the
only way he’d get to shoot something in Hollywood.” 

“Toby, are you too afraid to have charisma because it sounds
too much like the name of a black person?” 

“Connor may have slept with Andy Dick. Because it’s his next
favorite thing to ‘Any Dick.’”

“Toby volunteered for Hillary. Because he had a lot of
experience knocking on doors trying to explain away sex crimes from the late
nineties.”

“What’s the difference between Connor’s asshole and a twenty
minute set? Connor can fill his asshole without stretching.”

“I have been fucked with a strap-on. Toby’s afraid to use a
strap-on because he doesn’t wanna get poop on his Spiderman sheets. See here’s
the thing, Toby’s funny but he’s just so ugly and uncompelling. I really hope
this battle has helped prepare him for a lifetime of writing jokes for guys who
look like me.”

At the bell, the match is still too close to call. The
energy dipped a bit for the final round, but overtime is called for almost
immediately followed by a terse exchange between McSpadden and Dunkleman.

“This match definitely peaked in round 2.”

“At least we made it to two, fucking ‘season one Dunkleman.’

“Okay, I quit. You’re like a tall, talentless Sean Penn.”

“You’re like a short, homely Sean Penn.”

“Are you as turned on as I am right now?”

“I’m as turned off as your agents phone when you try to call
him.”

“The joke’s on you. I don’t have a fucking agent.”

It’s an exchange so glorious it seems impossible that they
might have improvised it, but that’s the level of skill here. With some
deliberation after the judges return from the chaos caused from both
competitors, another round is called for, lead by Connor.

“Toby, you weak marsupial, your body’s so lame it grew it’s
own fanny-pack.” 

“Connor, how you gonna make fun of the way I look when you
have resting little bitch face?”

It’s still impossible to judge and a second round of
overtime is urged immediately, after some more hate from Connor is piled upon
Dunkleman. Jeff sends the match into double-sudden death.

“Toby seems like he has to read the directions for ‘having
fun.’”

“Connor’s girlfriend is way more successful than him. Which
is sad, because she’s not that successful.”

Jeff declares the match a draw before more time can be
wasted on deliberation in what was easily one of the closest main even matches
in Roast Battle history. The room is quickly cleared after some plugs for LA
Speedweed, and the Verbal Violence Podcast, and current world champion Frank
Castillo is left to sweep up the rubble from one of the finest evening’s the
show has seen in some time.

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 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.

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