Roast Battle is BACK tonight with a jam-packed fight card featuring vets and newcomers alike as well as a return from two of our favorite house judges. Let’s meet ‘em!

Former Roast Battle champion and newly minted paid regular Joe Dosch returns to the VIP section where he’s been a favorite in recent months, and Matthew Broussard is a veteran battler placing second in last year’s televised tournament, in addition to countless other TV credits.

First up for our battles tonight will be a classic virgin sacrifice between Chris Sneed and Sasha Sanchez.

A debut between two unknowns is always par for the course in kicking off an evening of Belly Room bloodshed. With eight fights to preview, there’s not much that can be said other than good luck, and I hope these guys have at least watched the show before. For the love of God. Or not, actually. Sometimes it’s also awesome when newcomers have no idea what the fuck they’re walking into. We’ll see!

Our second match tonight is a clash between road dogs Mike Bobbitt and DJ Dangler.

Another virgin suicide! These two comics are hardened and weary from years of working clubs and doing one-nighters across America. They look like the most exercise they’ve ever gotten was doing a Tribble Run. Though these guys are objectively funny and have an underlying friendship that’ll probably lend itself to some excellent shit-talking, it’s always good to remember that Roast Battle is different than plain ol’ stand-up. Can these two convert their skills to the ring? Time will tell!

Next is the return of Casey Moran against perennial undercard performer/whiny bitch, Eric Abbenante.

After a few consecutive losses that resulted in his being dropped from the Top Fifty rankings, Eric Abbenante is looking to bust a slump against the less-experienced Casey Moran. Casey’s only two turns in the ring thus far have included a unanimous loss a few weeks back to Brian McDaniel and a narrowly-decided default win against the Virzi Triplets in their botched debut last summer (before returning triumphantly to win a Joke Of The Year nomination). I don’t generally pick winners and losers, but Casey booked me on a show next month, and Eric complained about The Roast Report in a long, misguided Facebook rant last week because sometimes when we all spend many hours making this free content for no money, we run behind schedule and it gets posted a few hours later than usual. So fuck him! Team Casey, baby!

Following that, Rob Smallwood returns from a very recent bludgeoning to take on Roger Lopez.

Rob had a tough start in Roast Battle some weeks back with another debuting battler, Andrea Guzzetta who seemed to pretty easily roll over him. Rob’s a good comic, though, and Roast Battle is a different format that takes getting used to. His opponent tonight is Roger Lopez, a hardcore open mic grinder who’s been developing quickly in the LA scene. Roger looks a lot like Richard Ramirez, A.K.A. “The Night Stalker,” and he also only has one testicle, so the ball is literally in Rob’s court in terms of who’s got the edge on roastability. Roger does have a weird quirky energy to him that, if managed correctly, the Roast Battle crowd could fall in love with.

After that, Zahra Ali is back to battle Tom Whalen, who is also back.

Tom Whalen has been great on stage thus far in his battle career, despite taking consistently unanimous and arguably-well-deserved losses. He tends to be much, much funnier outside the round and the audiences adore his lovable energy but nevertheless vote against him on jokes. If he can stay in the moment during battle and be his naturally funny self during the match rather than relying on more rigidly structured material that doesn’t suit his energy, he’s got a good chance of pulling his first win off. Zahra Ali has been racking up undercard wins consistently, and is still undefeated. It’s gotten tougher and tougher for newer battlers to work their way up to top-shelf opponents as the field continues to grow. At the time I started battling, a strong showing in the undercards could get you primed for a three-round main event within just a few months, and before that sometimes weeks. In fact, before that, a lot of battlers debuted as main events. There have since been battlers who make it to 6-0, 7-0, or even 8-0 undefeated records before being taken seriously by top-ranked battlers, and it’s an unfortunate side-effect of the show’s popularity. If Zahra takes her fourth W tonight, hopefully she’ll set her sights on someone with a real rank advantage on her, or more experience. Wins and losses are less a determining factor for achieving Roast Battle success than is strength of schedule and the willingness to take on tougher opponents.

Later on in the undercards is a black-on-black attack between ebony enemies, Alfred Konuwa and David Lucas.

At 4-0, David Lucas is starting to look like the Mike Tyson of Roast Battle, just barreling into his opponents from the start and never giving up the edge. He plays a relentless defense with off-the-cuff comebacks for anything thrown his way, and the line is so blurred between what’s written and what’s in the moment that he’s always an easy crowd favorite. Alfred Konuwa has put in countless top-notch battles over the years, with a solid and consistent style that makes him probably David’s toughest opponent to date. His calculated and cool demeanor will be an interesting contrast with David Lucas’ much looser style.

Closing out the undercards, we’ll see an all-out international incident: Guam versus Haiti!

Haiti’s been fucking killing it lately. After his first few rises from The Wave to the battlefield fell flat, Haiti took some time, regrouped, and came back for blood with some classic matches against Joe Eurell, Alfred Konuwa and an improvised battle that was put together completely last minute against David Lucas not long ago. He looks to continue that streak with Comedy Store door guy, Guam Felix. Guam has had the opposite run, surging early to a 4-0 record in the undercards before a streak of main event misfires that brought him back down to the one-rounders, a cozy 6-3 record and a spot at number 36 in our top 50 power rankings just above yours truly. And I’ve lost six consecutive Main Events in The Belly Room, so that’s not a great place to be.

Finally in our Main Event, Jacob Trimmer takes on Tony Bartolone.

Tony Bartolone is back to Main Event status after some tough missteps at the peak of his Roast Battle career. He recently broke the streak with a solid win against fan favorite Joe Eurell. Jacob Trimmer has a solid record with Main Event experience under his belt, so the struggle for both competitors tonight will be to keep the energy going so late in the lineup. It’s an overstuffed evening of Belly Room beatdowns tonight.

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.

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