Comedy is a strange business. Comedy criticizes, makes fun of and heightens the absurdities we experience every day. It’s an irreverent voice that says, “Fuck the world.” Fuck the rules, fuck the established order, fuck polite society and fuck the stiff white collar of corporate America right in its money-grubbing, war-loving bootyhole. Let’s get inappropriate. Let’s talk about things we’re not supposed to in ways we’re not supposed to. In fact, fuck supposed to. Let’s get together and have a fun time. It’s a wild circus, a truth party, a carnival of joy. On the other hand, comedy is a lot of hard work. And if you want to make any money at it, there has to be some awareness of what is often referred to as “The Industry!”
The thing is industrialization is the antithesis of laughter. But in our post-agrarian, capitalistic society the business part is important to ensure that comedians don’t die in a gutter. This is one of the many reasons stand up comedy is the most difficult thing to do. It’s like politics in that you have to participate in the system that you are fighting against. On the small stretch of the Sunset Strip alone there is “The Laugh Factory” and “The Comedy Store”. The comedy industry is a paradox. And every comedian has to make a choice, passively or purposely, will they keep fighting societal ills or submit to the system that maintains them? Let’s Roast!
Jessica “CBS” Pilot, Mike “Comedy Central” Lawrence, Luis J. “Skankfest” Gomez and “Jeff Ross Presents” Frank Castillo are all present to pass judgment on some of the best of LA’s open mic comedy scene.
Brian Moses brings up Tim McGorry, who’s looking loose and ready to have a good time against the seemingly untouchable Zach Stein. They both lands pre-battle shots in reply to the age old question: “Why you battling?”
“I think a lot of Zach’s friends are really funny, so I just wanna see that kinda jokes they wrote for him.” – Tim McGorry
“I can’t think of a single comedian in the world who brings me more joy… than Tim who sells me drugs.” – Zach Stein
Tim volunteers to start off on the offensive and we’re underway…
“Zach, you remind me of Thomas Jefferson, because didn’t Jefferson get blackout drunk at Flappers, pass out on the bathroom and get blown by an anonymous comic?”
“It was Burr, Aaron Burr. Tim used to run marathons. What the fuck happened? You look like you’d get a heat stroke trying to drive 26 miles.”
“I have air conditioning, alright…. You look like a private school shooter.”
“It wasn’t just marathon, ya know… Tim broke the five minute mile twice: in high school when he ran it in 4:57 and today when he sat on it.”
“Thoroughly researched. You Drew Carey looking mother fucker, you look like you host a show called the price is alt right.
“Hey CBS in the house, right? What’s up, let’s make it happen. Look, I’ve been making fat jokes, yeah, but in all sincerity when I look at Tim, I know, in my heart, this guy is going to lose the weight… because of a disease.”
The battle is fairly even. Both participants are having a great time, interjecting fun comments, displaying a true chemistry that comes with a true friendship where one guy buys drugs from the other.
“Tim, you’re the fattest cokehead I’ve ever seen in my entire life.” – Luis J. Gomez
“Man… ever hear of Chris Farley?” – Zach Stein (sorta defending Timmy Boy)
“Yeah, and I hope the same thing happens to both of you. […] I’m gonna give it to, uhhh… Bebop/Rocksteady.” – Luis J. Gomez
“Oh man, you two look like the only two people who still shop at Spencer’s Gifts.” – Mike Lawrence
(hooking his thumb toward Zach) “Fuckin’ Richard Spencer’s Gifts.” – Tim McGorry
“Once again, you couldn’t help yourself for more, I understand.” – Mike Lawrence
In the end, it’s a unanimous judges’ choice coupled with an enthusiastic roar from the crowd that makes Tim winner proving alternate realities do exist and cross over. Zach Stein was great as always, but the hungry underdog got the chew tonight. Congratulations, you schlubby pile of cigarette butts and marshmallow sauce.
Moving on to Dylan Sullivan taking the stage, who looks like Tim McGorry after a shave and a shower. Dylan reveals that he prefers dick, to Brian Moses’ gleeful surprise. Movses Shakarion joins them on stage to complete the two ends of the West Hollywood dive bar spectrum. Shakarian takes the first shot in the second battle…
“Dylan has the face of a cherub, and the body of 45 more cherubs.”
“Oh-ho, Movses, you matter of fact faggot. Movses’ face is so tired and wrinkled I actually thought you were fucking smart.”
“That was good. Yeah, We’re both, the only difference is you look like you’re suckin dick for two.”
“A fat joke, Movses, finally some jokes of yours that have weight. That say that all lawyers go to hell. I disagree, but all faggot lawyers do.”
“You’re sweating so hard your shirt is 50 shades of grey. Right before Dylan had sex in a pool, that pool, had water in it.”
“Movses’ comedy is a lot like the Armenian genocide: Everyone has a passing understanding, but nobody gives a fuck.”
It’s a tight, close battle, similar to the one before. Both those precious poofs put on powerhouse performances.
“Dylan is like if Pumbaa had Timon’s personality.” – Mike Lawrence
In the end, the elder diva took home the W from the judges, but Dylan is one of the best new battlers in town and his energy won the crowd’s vote. Either way, we expect to see both these battlers again soon.
Lou Misiano comes to the stage in signature power-suit complete with suspenders and smug attitude. Moses poses the Q about why he’s battling to Lou’s reply:
“Well, just wait ’til you see him, he looks like the fuckin’ Dewey Decimal system came to life. This is gonna be a fuckin’ cake walk.”
Isaac Hirsch is called onstage to defend his honor, but Mike Lawrence slips in with burn for both of them:
“Moses, this is literally if like the Big Bang Theory battled Entourage.” – Mike Lawrence
Isaac then takes his moment to explain why he’s gunning for Misiano:
“He’s gotta be taken down a peg. This guy’s dressed like he’s filming his special and we’re not even in the main event.” – Isaac Hirsch
The crowd goes crazy as Lou poses for an exotic-accented photographer that doesn’t exist. To be fair, if anybody else was as good-looking as Lou, they’d probably be a douche about it too. But goddamn is it fun to see people shit on him.
“Alright, Slender Man, here we go. Based on his general demeanor, I can only assume Isaac spent most of high school whispering secrets to anime girls he drew on his binder.”
“Give it up for John Mu-lame-y, everybody. Lou’s not just in the closet, he’s in the entire Men’s Wearhouse.”
Lou’s first joke is like a funhouse mirror image of Isaac’s first joke. Same basic structures, but Misiano’s was all stretched out and weird for some reason. And you can hear the difference in the crowd response. Lou seems a little frustrated and that comes out in the delivery of his next slingshot.
“Bullshit. If you knew anything about how to look good you’d shave your 1960’s pubic hair eyebrows you fuckin’ werewolf. So listen, don’t let his like nerdy goofiness be charming, like he’s actually, like, an emotionless sociopath, like… if Isaac was a peeping Tom it wouldn’t be anything sexual, it’d just be documented how normal people should interact.”
Phew! Lou said a mouthful. I wish somebody would’ve told him what the last guy said when he had a mouthful and be like, “Just spit it out, baby.”
“I think that would’ve bombed even if he didn’t have the suit.”
“Lou’s longest relationship lasted just three months, he dropped out of college, and he’s uncircumcised. Lou’s dick is the only thing in his life that hasn’t been cut short.”
“Isaac, I’ve never met anybody worse at being alive than you, he just feels nothing, Isaac is so emotionally autistic that when he watches Schindler’s List he wonders how the trains were built.”
“Bitch, I know how the trains were built! Lou’s a partyboy, and he lives a life full of drugs and booze and loose women– but no matter what he does, he just can’t seem to fill that hole deep inside his butt.”
Despite his long rambling premises, Lou doesn’t do terrible. But Isaac just. Fucking. Slays.
“Who would’ve thought that the good-looking douchebag comedian wouldn’t be as funny as the nerdy autistic kid?”
-Luis J. Gomez
Isaac wins the battle with an overwhelming audience seal of approval. Better luck next time, lawyer defending himself in a sexual assault suit.
We jump into the penultimate serving before our hearty main course. It’s a five joke rematch between good friends, Jeff Sewing and Leah Kayajanian. Sewing perhaps goes too hard on his signature curmudgeonly “Let’s just start the fuckin’ thing!” pre-battle banter. This is also the second battle that Jeff claims he’s moving to the midwest (where he’s obviously from), but I’m sure we’ll see him again in a couple months when he reveals he’s never left. He’s such in a hurry to leave LA he starts spitting jokes:
“A lot of people give Leah shit about her looks but I gotta say, I think she looks pretty great considering how most experiments go at Jurassic Park.”
“Dude, you look like if an online university could somehow have a janitor.”
“Leah’s boyfriend is a barber. Eight hours a day he cuts hair, and the other sixteen hours a day, he picks Leah’s out of his teeth.”
“Jeff loves sports so much, he’s doing what I call a reverse LeBron: That’s when you move from LA to Cleveland and no one gives a shit.”
“Leah’s so right, I am a huge sports fan, but I gotta say… Growing up as a Chicago sports fan, it is an honor be up here roasting the Chicago Blackhawks logo.”
Jeremiah jumps onstage doing an act out of a bird, almost falls off the stool and somehow lands on his feet before Leah chimes in:
“The one guy that looks like me…”
Jeremiah plays into stand next to her so the crowd fully absorb how spot on the observation is.
“Jeff’s last name is pronounced so͞o-ing, but a lot of people think it’s pronounced sewing because he seems like the kind of faggot who’d be into that.”
“Leah actually has two jobs. She works full time at a school, and then part-time she tries to convince Elmer Fudd it’s wabbit season.”
“This guy has so much white guilt. Why do you have so much white guilt? Is it cuz you look like the first guy in the stands to yell the n-word at Jackie Robinson?”
“I actually think you guys really fucked up not putting Leah on season 3 of Roast Battle. Number one, she is the best battler you have. And number two, people love dog videos.”
“You are so forgettable. You’ve been doing the Roast Battle for three years and Jeff Ross can’t remember your name. And it’s HIS name. All he has to do is remember his own name.”
“I like Leah, I like her style, I wanna hang out with her…”
“What a female way to judge this thing, ‘I like your pants, they’re so cool and cute, I like your hair…”
-Luis J. Gomez
“I have to be cordial because I’m industry.”
This is entertaining, light battle between friends. Leah garners the judges favor with more specific jokes, overall, and gets her hand raised. Jeff looks like he hasn’t gotten raise in a long time.
It’s time for the main Main Event! It’s a title fight for the number one spot on the rankings. Toby lost it to Nicole Becannon, Jamar Neighbors took it from her, and now Toby gets a shot at redemption. It’s really not that rare that man that looks like Toby gets a shot at a man that looks like Jamar. Muresianu walks eagerly to the stage to account for why this battle is happening:
“Well, I wanted to battle Jamar because, ya know, he’s in the new book, I figure I’d come by and read it to him.”
Here’s where things start go off the rails. This has been one of the best-paced shows I’ve ever seen in the Belly Room, but then this happened. Brian Moses introduces Jamar, music hits, and he’s nowhere to be seen. Jeremiah Watkins informs us that he has text from his saying he’s on his way.
“I’m not gonna make a joke about black guys being late.” – Toby Muresianu
The show comes to screeching halt, but Toby attempts to cut through the awkwardness to introduce the “All White Guy Wave” which consists of (large black man) Alfred Konuwa and Zach Stein.
Jamar is still not there, so Moses just asks Omid Singh, who’s sitting in the audience to come up and do stand up. Omid, fresh off performing at Edinburgh Fringe, does a remarkably well-received tight five and is lauded with chants of his name. The energy of the room has transformed from klutzy to killer. There is an air of keyed up anticipation, as Singh’s set serves as the perfect palate cleanser. Jamar is called onstage a second and this time he appears to explain why he’s battling:
“I mean, cuz y’all made me. You was like “You’re the champ.” And I was like, “I didn’t want this.”
Jamar frankly does not give a fuck. You can practically see shark fins growing out of the judges’ dais as they’re stunned silence coalesces into killer instinct. It’s the cool kid in the back of the class versus the teacher’s pet. Unsurprisingly, Toby raises his hand to go first:
“Jamar was a crack baby. When he was born he was three pounds, and two of that was baking soda.”
Jamar mocks Toby by laughing obnoxiously loud, and by extension mocks the entire show. Half the room joins him with a much more genuine laugh. He looks down at his phone at reads his first joke:
“Toby mama got a C Section scar got a zipper on it… The bitch unzips whenever Toby forgets where he came from.”
“Jamar’s mom works with drug addicts. She blows them for money.”
“Toby’s what happens when your dad shoots blanks inside your mom and she still gets pregnant.”
Jamar is getting confused laughter from both the absurdity of his jokes and the absurdity of how little he cares to be there. Toby’s tight, prepared, memorized jokes are crushing.
“Jamar started boxing, because he was told to take domestic violence seriously.”
“They’re gonna give Toby a Netflix special, because his stand up is terrible and he deserves it.”
Toby’s last joke also kills, and Jamar’s gets a delayed but decent wave of laughter. What he’s doing now is approaching anti-humor.
“It’s tough watching them fight, but I know someday they’ll co-create the Chappelle Show. […] I gotta give that one to Toby. He needs this so much he showed up on time.” – Mike Lawrence
Jessica reprimands Jamar for reading off his phone and he snaps back immediately:
“So the fuck what!?” – Jamar Neighbors
“He just told the booker for Colbert to shut the fuck up, he’s excellent! I vote for Jamar, and you all should vote for Jamar.” – Luis J. Gomez
That is exactly what happened. Jessica Pilot is the booker for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Jamar Neighbors don’t give a fuck.
“Y’all be dick riding too much, fuck all that.” – Jamar Neighbors
With a three-to-one judges’ ruling, Toby takes round one. In a ballsy move, Muresiano goes first in the second round instead of deferring to his opponent:
“Jamar’s not looking at notes, he just needs GPS to find a punchline.”
“Jamar was a poor kid who got molested, so he started on the bottom and then was one.”
“Jamar used to live off the government, but now he just lives off Jerrod Carmichael.”
The “All White Guy” Wave comes out and does a fun Permit Patty act out, then Jeremiah, the sole member of the All Negro Wave criticizes the decision from the sidelines. Jamar takes his serve:
“Your stand up’s terrible, how you gonna write for Jeff Ross when you couldn’t even write for yourself.”
“You run a podcast with two subscribers, you and my troll account. That was me in the review section going, ‘Who would write-’ Fuck that. Why would anyone start a podcast without a following? That’s what I wrote.”
“And uh… You look like you use yo white privilege just to be dope at Fortnite.”
Traditionally, Belly Room 2nd rounds at 3 jokes apiece, but nobody can stop Jamar from being Jamar, and he slips in two more.
“Toby’s so white he’s only battling me to diversify his portfolio.”
“Toby thinks I’m a lazy nigga just because I fall asleep watching him do stand up.”
“He literally beat you phoning it in. Unbelievable.”
In a strange turn of events, Mike Lawrence and Jessica Pilot both vote for Jamar.
“Can I still do Colbert? I was tryin’ to be cool, I really need it.” – Jamar Neighbors
The tides have turned, and Jamar has the crowd in the palm of his hands.
“Toby, you need to fucking come back in this round pretty hard, because the less he cares the more you’re losing.” – Luis J. Gomez
“Man Jamar, that last joke was- wooh! That was fucking insane!” – Frank Castillo
“Which one? I don’t even remember it.” – Jamar Neighbors
“God, he’s so fucking cool!” – Frank Castillo
Mike Lawrence elects Jamar to start a round for the first time in this fight. Battle chants fill the Belly Room, and Jamar continues reading from notepad app on his phone:
“Toby you’re a nobody… from Rhode Island. Anybody else from Rhode Island? See, it makes sense, nobodies come from Rhode Island.”
“Jamar says he has a big dick, but every dick feels big if you didn’t want it.”
The All White Guy Wave comes out and each put a heaping helping of Best Foods mayonnaise in their mouths.
“Is that how we be lookin’? Alright… That’s your problem, you’re not this funny in your stand up. Ok, Toby, you look like a teenager from the 1930’s… who owns a vampire killing kit. Your girlfriend owns two cats. Ok, so she takes care of three pussies.”
“If you wanna catch Jamar after the show he’ll be at the bar, trying to convince girls his ankle monitor is a Fitbit.”
“Oh man… I get it, I’m black. Toby turned in an SNL packet with nothing but pictures of his bootyhole. Faggot. Shut up before I slap you in front of yo bitch and you not do shit about it. That’s not funny, Colbert?”
“Jamar didn’t always have a gap in his teeth, it wore away from whistling at fat girls.”
“What do you use that chain for, to floss?”
“What he say? (Jeremiah repeats the joke to him) Toby, you got big-ass nipples, shut up. The only reason why you don’t do crack is because ya got a gluten allergy. Toby turned in an SNL packet with nothing but pictures of his bootyhole. You want this title back so bad, you know this is all fake right? Alright, I’m done.”
“Uhh… You look like a cross between Bubba and Gump.”
“Toby, you got some bigass lips. This is coming from a nigga with bigass lips.”
“The last time Jamar had an agent, it was to get him into foster care.”
They’re now 3 jokes over, and keep in mind Jamar has been slipping multiple jokes on every turn. I’ve been coming to Roast Battle nearly every Tuesday for the past four years, and this might be the craziest thing I’ve ever witnessed. Just as impressive Jamar’s aloof high wire act, is Toby keeps dropping pre-meditated, memorized bangers. Then Jamar doubles down on what could only be categorized as extremely funny performance art, and starts a monologue.
“Toby’s living off his girlfriend. And when they go on dates, she pulls out his seat, they have dinner. Then Toby goes on talking about his day and some bitch he hates at work. Then he gets up, goes to the women’s bathroom and powders his nose. Then he comes back, his wife has already paid for the meal and left the tip. Then they go out of the restaurant it’s kind of chilly, so that she gives him her jacket. And when they get home, Toby takes off his panties and bra and she fucks him in the ass until he squirts, then Toby falls asleep on her chest and she softly kisses him on his forehead goodnight. And he turned in an SNL packet with nothing but pictures of his bootyhole.”
The fans and judges are all dazzled by Jamar’s daring, then he continues:
“I don’t have anymore, and th- shut up before he does another joke that kills and then it leads from what I just did in that last joke. That’s it.”
And Jamar drops the mic, and leaves at the back door.
“I don’t think it’s cool that Jamar brought our romantic partners into this…”
“I mean, I never brought up his uncle.”
The fans are going bananas. There are screams and cheers woos and boos and “Battle!” chants ring out.
“Hold on, hold on, goddamnit. I got something for your ass. Toby, Toby, Toby… Toby looks like he ate an egg sandwich in front of a liquor store Eric Gardner got choked out in front of.”
“Yo, what the fuck?”
“This ain’t a battle, this is a Nathan For You documentary and this nigga is over here doing something that… ya know, something like that. With your well-written jokes, nigga, you got to write good because YOU’RE TERRIBLE AT COMEDY. That put his circumcision meat away, and grafted it on his bigass pink bottom lips. Sorry.”
“In Jamar’s album Amerikkka’s N-word, America is spelled with three Ks. It’s not political, that’s just how bad he is at spelling.”
“I’m jealous of your tight shirt, it’s giving you the hug my father never gave me. I’d like to put a crackpipe in your mouth so you can be more interesting. At birth, Toby, Toby had a eczema, but nah he ain’t have eczema, he’s just a really dry dude.”
Both these guys put the fear of death into my heart in opposite directions. If this was a boxing match, the athletes would be knee-deep in blood in the twelfth round.
“I wanted to say one more joke, and Jamar puts in a new SIM card.” – Mike Lawrence
Two of the four judges weigh in, and it’s tied up. Ultimately, the judges decide to award Toby Muresianu the title for his unprecedented performance against the South Central freak show known as Jamar Malachi Neighbors. What we saw from Neighbors was a comedy master at work. On one hand, anybody could read jokes off a phone. On the other hand, nobody could do what Jamar did. You have to do the work, of course. But when it’s showtime, you have to throw it all away and be present and just have fun. When the dust has settled, everybody gets what they want. Toby gets the title, and Jamar doesn’t have to battle again. Furthermore, they both have done a service to themselves and the audience. The most important thing in comedy, and even in life in general, is that you stay true to yourself. See you next Tuesday!
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.