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Though the Roast Battle was conceived at The Comedy Store and thrives in LA proper every week, this year has seen the city’s premier joke writing showcase be bombarded by non-Angeleno comics. Residents of the Beach cities and even San Diego have proven their roasting chops – or lack thereof, in some cases – but no region has gained more notoriety than Orange County. Battle favorites like Olivia Grace, Keith Carey, Omid Singh, and Connor McSpadden are either from there or perform there frequently, and their enthusiasm for verbal violence has encouraged a whole new crop of comics to hit the sweltering Belly Room stage. This week in particular features more OC comics than you can shake a mic stand at, so keep your ears peeled for Coach Tea spinning “California” by Phantom Planet. 

Before we meet this week’s battlers, let’s check in with our celebrity judges.

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Now that the Oddball Festival has finally wrapped up, Jeff Ross is back as a panel regular. We all salute the Roastmaster General’s timely return, especially with so many green battlers on tonight’s fight card. These newbies are certainly in for some great advice and even greater on-the-spot insults. 

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New to the judges’ panel this week is YouTube personality-turned-basic cable star Grace Helbig. Grace has made a name for herself by being constantly adorably flustered, and looks to liven up the VIP section tonight with her bubbly energy.

Also making his judging debut is Undateable’s Rick Glassman. Before he found his network TV success, he was known around these parts for his unique brand of fourth-wall-breaking jokes and strong crowd work. Can’t wait to see how meta he can make tonight’s fights!

Our first undercard this week: Michael Arden (1-0, UR) versus Eric Bustamante (0-1, 115).

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This battle is truly a toss-up. Michael has previous experience in taking down minorities in the Roast Battle ring, and Eric has previous experience losing to white dudes with generic names. However, Eric currently runs the increasingly popular Roast Beef rap battle show, so his insult chops have likely improved since his last bout. Maybe we’ll even see some stylish rhymes!

Our second undercard this week: Robin Tran (0-0, UR) versus Timothy J. Groeschel (1-0, 81).

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Tim’s intricate writing and boisterous energy previously gave him victory over Will Couch, a man who lost so hard he had to move to another state. Now, he faces his latest challenger in first-time battler Robin Tran, Roast Battle’s first transgender competitor. Can Robin’s newfound feminine energy help her claim victory over a guy who looks like he attends every Westboro Baptist Church potluck?

Our third undercard this week: Brendan Woodruff (1-0, 65) versus Seth Woodward (0-2, 141).

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Brendan’s sole battle saw him absolutely slaughter Little Mermaid lookalike Ari Chapman, so expectations are high for this Roast Battle rookie. While Seth hasn’t been able to win over the crowd quite yet, his last two battles were against a twink and a cripple, so being a pasty, bespectacled white guy with a few good jokes didn’t exactly propel him past the finish line. Let’s see how he does against one of his own kind!

Finally, tonight’s main event: Tom Goss (2-2, 46) versus Alex Duong (2-2, 44).

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These two guys are experienced and have provided audiences with some incredibly lively battles, like Alex’s summertime bout against Pat Barker (5-1, 9) or Tom’s recent tussle with fellow rising star Jeanne Whitney (2-0, 29). Which roaster will go above .500 tonight – the OC-bred heavyweight or Tiger Beat Asia’s cover model? Only time will tell.

Catch all tonight’s action live or on Periscope – follow @RoastBattle for the latest updates.

post by Jay Light

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