With a lighter-than-usual fight card, the VIP section is near-fully formed as we reach our premiere battle for the evening. Rob Louis takes to the stage first and looks to command the energy from the start, attempting to call his opponent to the stage in lieu of performing an intro joke.
“I’m gonna let Roy go first, cuz he’s got a singles cruise to catch. Come on, Roy.”
The line is fired off by Rob before Moses even has a chance to introduce him properly, and the balance is immediately thrown off. The attempt is rebuffed and Rob is for the first time actually asked why he’s chosen his opponent, Roy Ellison.
“I called Roy out because I met him at the HaHa Café and I thought it would be a good practice match for my next battle.”
There we go. Roy Ellison is given a proper introduction and brought to stage to make his own awkward misfire, and the Jeff Ross sizes the two up:
“I wonder if one of these guys is gonna be as funny as their shirts. This looks like the same guy battling himself.”
The bell dings and it’s time to do battle.
“As a child, Rob was beaten severely by his father. As an adult, he continues the cycle of abuse… in his act.”
“Roy’s a proud Christian and an avid partier. Which means he’ll suck your dick at a bar, as long as it’s not a gay bar.”
Both attempts are met with perplexed near-silence but for some groaning. Jeff interjects again:
“So far not as funny as your shirts.”
The room gets its first post-bell pop courtesy of the Roastmaster, and it looks like it’s all downhill from here. Roy comes in with a rebuttal.
“Yeah I’m Christian, and I’m gonna give you a messiah complex. Cuz I’m gonna crucify you tonight and your Dad’s not gonna do anything about it.”
The biblical reference gets a solid reaction from the crowd, and the clouds begin to part above Roy Ellison. The strong line arguably deserved even more, but Roy’s rough start may have detracted from its content. Nevertheless, a dreaded double-loss looks avoidable if he can hang in for one more joke. Rob Louis continues.
“Everything Roy touches turns to gold. Except for the blankets he tried to donate recently. Those became AIDS quilts.”
Another unfortunate flatline for Rob Louis and the game is all but Roy Ellison’s as he comes to his last joke.
“Rob’s mom lost a fight with a malignant tumor. Took about forty minutes, but he finally got the old girl in a headlock.”
Silence. God damn it, Roy.
“The only thing more robotic than Roy’s act is the fleshlight he fucks on his parents’ couch after his Dad’s done using it.”
In the end, Haiti takes it of course as the double-loss tradition holds. But we’ve seen far worse. With little fanfare, we’re off to our next fight.
Claude Stuart is brought up first with high energy and opens the round against his opponent Richard Chassler.
“Ladies and gentleman, Richard Chassler likes to tell people he used to open for Mitch Hedberg. They have a lot in common. Nobody’s hired them since 2005.”
“Pretty funny coming from a guy who writes for a game show.”
“Oh, you mean the one you were rejected for twice?”
“Like I said, writes for a game show. Claude’s grandmother was murdered, which is more than his act has ever done.”
“That’s true, but fun fact the ghost of my grandmother is at every one of Richard’s shows. You can hear her in the audience going ‘boooooo.’”
“Listening to your fucking act is like listening to a smoker’s cough. Hack. Hack. Hack.”
“Thank you, Robert Downey Syndrome. Ladies and gentleman, Richard Chassler is friends with Judd Appatow. Which goes to show, it’s not who you know. It’s who knows you’re not funny.”
“Claude is so feminine, him and his wife have to register as a domestic partnership.”
Claude’s Apatow line crushes, he dances and kicks and owns the energy of the room while Richard’s final joke falls flat, as did pretty much everything else he said before it. But for some reason or another, it’s decided there should be an overtime with Claude Stuart up first again.
“Richard is worse than a pedophile. Sure, he’ll tie a girl up in his basement, but instead of raping her, he’ll force her to watch him to comedy.”
“Claude Stuart is notoriously cheap…”
After an extended hang time, Moses comes in for the assist.
“How cheap is he?”
“Claude Stuart is notoriously cheap. His pockets are so deep, they write poetry.”
A fourth consecutive misfire from Richard Chassler somehow fails to trigger an even-less-warranted double overtime, and Claude Stuart is awarded a unanimous victory.
David Lucas returns next to face off against Eric Abbenante. After some tough losses, David steps in with bold swagger hoping to once and for all overcome the onslaught of racist puns that have lately proven his downfall after an early run as one of the show’s brightest newcomers. Jeff calls on David to lead out the match.
“Eric is a Jew. The only reason he got a black girl is because he heard you could feed a African child for 10 cents a day.”
“Alright. Alright, Malcolm Chex Mix. Alright. David calls his daughter ‘Boo.’ Because one day he’s gonna ghost her.”
“Bitch, you look like a out of work Keebler Elf.”
“Alright, alright, Old Dirty Breadstick. Alright.”
“Thank you, Honey I Shrunk a Jew”
“You’re welcome, A Tribe Called Chicken Breast.”
“You look like a hipster leprechaun. You dirtier than a motherfucker.”
“David, looking at you, I can’t tell what’s been arrested more: you or your heart.”
“Appreciate that, Hipster Chucky. We all know Eric is the bitch in his relationship. His girl make him scream ‘nigga’ when they fuck.”
“You know what David did there? He broke the fourth wall. But usually when he does that he goes ‘oh yeahhhh.’”
The bell dings and the Kool-Aid joke kills. It killed then and it killed the dozen other times it’s been done. And not even just by other battlers, but also by Eric himself, already, a year ago against Brandon Brickz. Fucking come on, man…. David Lucas doesn’t want to go out like that and calls for an overtime.
“We got to keep going man.”
Moses understands but feels like his hands are tied.
“I just heard a fucking Kool-Aid joke. I don’t think we can keep going.”
There’s some thought given and it’s decided the overtime is warranted, with Eric Abbenante up first.
“David, you look like Ice Cube if he messed around and ate a triple-double.”
“I appreciate that, you cracked-out Bilbo Baggins. You look like Robert E. Lee fucked a hobbit.”
David fails to connect in OT and Eric takes the win to end a three-loss streak. Jeff suggests David might have taken it if he hadn’t proposed the overtime joke himself, though Eric held a pretty solid edge over David on crowd reaction throughout by making heavy use of his newfound Kryptonite, the racist pun. David Lucas, for his part, seems to be unable to break away from looks-like jokes, which – in his earlier battles, where they appeared to be coming relentlessly off the top of his head – were far more impressive than when presented as prepared material. The weak writing wears quickly on the crowd when you’ve got six lines and five of them are looks-like jokes. He called Eric a hipster leprechaun, a hipster Chucky, a Keebler Elf, a Hobbit, and Bilbo Baggins (who is a Hobbit, which is similar to an elf/leprechaun). Eric, on the other hand, also had six lines and every single one contained a pun or play on words combining the fact that David is both fat guy and a black guy, and they pretty much all killed. He is rewarded with a win and some boisterous cheers for putting forth whatever amount of energy it took to come up with “Malcolm Chex Mix,” and “A Tribe Called Chicken Breast.”
Josh Waldron is up next to take on up-and-comer Movses Shakarian, though his arrival is a bit overshadowed by that of our house hater, The Saudi Prince.
“Is this a battle, or is this just what happens when you turn on Grindr in Glendale?”
Chris Porter chimes in.
“A gay guy with straight hair vs. a straight guy with gay hair.”
With that, we’re off to the start of our final undercard with Josh Waldron leading out.
“Movses has battled a lot this year. His record is 2-1. 2-2, if you count the battle with HIV.”
“Thank you, faggot samurai. Josh likes to describe himself as a bro. And bros like to describe him as ‘the Asian girl from last night’s bukkake.’”
“Movses would totally take a knee for equal rights, but he’s gonna have to take two knees if he thinks it’s gonna… he’s gonna make it in Hollywood. Fuck!”
“Josh’s favorite TV show is on Adult Swim, which is also what his uncle called bath time.”
“Movses’ parents don’t believe he’s gay. They just think a Russian hacked his erection.”
“Josh did hire me as his lawyer, which isn’t the first time he’s paid an older gay man to get him off.”
The slight stammer on the “knee” joke from Josh all but secures another solid victory for Movses Shakarian in an otherwise top-notch back and forth, with Movses’s biggest pop coming at the end and securing props from the judges and a fairly unanimous crowd vote.
Jeanne Whitney arrives on stage first for the main event, proclaiming her excitement to battle the “girl-version” of herself, Jay Light, who is called up shortly after, leaning right in with a pre-bell line of his own.
“You know I’m excited, Jeanne’s been good at this. She’s pretty. I think she oughta be in pictures. Specifically ones that say ‘Carribean Vacation Takes Tragic Turn When Woman Goes Missing.’”
If you had to pick a moment where it all goes wrong for one of the Belly Room’s all-time great roasters, Jay Light, this is probably it. Pre-bell burns are tough. You never get to set them up the way you want, there’s a huge pressure to be authentic and in the moment, and it’s a mistake to oversell anything. The line falls flat despite an over-energized delivery (or perhaps because of it), and – where not long ago, Jay was last seen utterly crushing Kevin McNamara from the get-go – he’s now severely hobbled himself this with a total misfire up front. We’re off to the first round, and Jay’s already in trouble.
“The only time I’ve ever seen Jeanne kill is when I watched video of her pulling the plug on her Dad.”
“Jay and I have both heard ‘sorry for your loss’ a lot this past year. Me when my Dad died, and him when he got his ass whooped by Frank on Comedy Central.”
“Jeanne is so white, her parents were confederate statues.”
“Jay how can you call me white? You look like a Christian Bible Camp all rolled into one person.”
“Pretty good, Aryan Princess Barbie.”
“Thanks, Vajayjay Light.”
“Jeanne used to do Shakespeare. By that I mean she used to fuck two gentleman of Verona.”
“Jay looks like he moved to L.A. to meet Jiminy Cricket.”
Both closing jokes fall pretty flat, but Jeanne takes the round without contest for her crushing rebuttals and huge pops. Jay is offered the decision on opening round two and defers to Jeanne.
“Jay has a tattoo of a lion on his chest to give him confidence, since nothing else on his body can.”
“I hate going down on guys, because every time I do they accidentally call me Jay Light.”
“Jay looks like he has dimples, but they’re actually just scars from where the fish-hooks got caught.”
Another near-flawless round from Jeanne, and it’s an uphill fight for Jay.
“Jeanne used to date Moses. And now she has a burning bush.”
“Now Jeanne is single but she doesn’t need a man. She can masturbate to pictures of her chin.”
“Jeanne, you would make a great clown. Not because you’re funny, but because you can blow up three balloons at once with your giant mouth.”
Explaining that a last minute adjustment he made to avoid doing a second fish joke in round two following Jeanne’s, the confused scrambling puts a nail in the coffin for Jay Light and the judges again score a clean sweep for Jeanne Whitney.
“It looks like Squints finally got fucked by Wendy Peppercorn.” – Tony Hinchcliffe
Despite the dominant shut-out victory for Jeanne, Moses declares a need for a third round so we can at least hear all the jokes. Jeff offers some consolation and advice, as well as diagnosing the issue as being that Jay’s intro joke bomb really took the wind out of his sails for the whole rest of the battle. Jeanne opens the final round.
“Jay looks like he got molested as a child, but it was his fault.”
“Jeanne’s brother served in Iraq. And Jeanne will never get a rock.”
There’s some silence before The Wave’s own Jamar Neighbors rises to explain the joke.
“Like marriage. Marriage, y’all.”
Jay looks confused and stunned at the repeated duds before Jeanne comes back for the kill.
“Jay has a tattoo of a palm leaf. I don’t know why he got it, but it does remind me that he’s a faggot.”
“Jeanne’s Dad was a racist. When he found out he was dating Moses he started singing, ‘Jeanne and Moses sitting in a tree. H-A-N-G-I-N-G.’”
“Jay does the Roast Battle schedule, he edits the blog, and later tonight he’ll clean up this stage. I may have dated Moses, but at least I was never his bitch.”
The room explodes. Jeanne is called on to repeat the punchline prompting more howling laughs, and the much-sought OT Genasis “CoCo” drop from Coach Tea. With the Wave dancing onstage and pandemonium among the spectators, suddenly Moses remembers that Jay still has to tell his last joke.
“Jeanne’s parents both died before they got to see her make it. But let’s be honest, that was going to happen anyway.”
If how good that joke is on paper versus how little a response it got is any indication, the utter punishment inflicted on Jay was less about the crowd’s consideration of his jokes than it was about how much they absolutely loved Jeanne’s. Easily her best bout to date, Jeanne came in and conquered with confidence and super-strong material like few have before to take down one of the show’s most admired and established elder statesman. It was the most lopsided main event matchup since Jay himself did the same thing to Kevin Mac barely two months back. The Belly Room’s a fickle bitch, and in it, we’re all capable of both failure and greatness. This was just Jeanne’s night, and she rocked it from start to finish.
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 10:30 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.