by Pat Barker

As the unstoppable Roast Battle freight train continues its
collision course with the House of Blues for a four night run of verbal violence,
Comedy Central continues to air the regional clashes that will lead to the
16-person tournament to be filmed at the end of the month. Tonight, we head
back to the place where it all started – the Belly Room of the World Famous
Comedy Store. Standing tall on the Sunset Strip, the Store has been the premier
comedy club in the entertainment capital of the world for almost 50 years now. Every
great comedian has performed there, and if you don’t believe me, the writing is
on the wall. Literally. The building exists in one way as a comedy museum – the
spot where Pryor and Carlin and Robin and Seinfeld and Chappelle all gave
countless legendary performances. But it doesn’t serve as only a reminder of
great history; it’s as lively and vibrant now as it’s ever been. One of the
reasons for the Store’s current dominant status is the Roast Battle – the show
that started out as an open mic with a sparse crowd and grew into a national
phenomenon. Tonight on Comedy Central, the show returned to the Belly Room for
the first of two Los Angeles episodes. Let’s take a look at how the action
unfolded.

Before the fights, Jeff Ross gives a quick shoutout to Coach
Tea and introduces the judges – superstar comedians Chris D’Elia and Sebastian
Maniscalco, and former NBA World Champion Metta World Peace. Sebastian declares
that he’s not there to see the roasters, but rather The Wave. Note to America –
Sebastian likes The Wave, so get on board with that shit. Ross also introduces
the great Earl Skakel, who immediately nails a Trump riff and shows America
what the hater position is all about. An intro of Moses, and we’re underway!

Our first battle is one that long-time Battle fans will
recognize as a rematch from nearly two years ago, as reigning champion Alex
Hooper goes up against Joe Dosch. Hooper enters, wearing not one, but two
masks, a relatively tame entrance by his standards but still worlds ahead of
the previous three city prelims in terms of theatrics. “This is great, it’s the
homosexual versus the homoerectus,” Joe declares in the pre-battle banter. The
bell dings. Homoerectus is up first.

“Joe looks like he would order soup at a sports bar.”

“Alex is so ugly, when he goes to a glory hole the guy on
the other side wants to just be friends.”

“Joe never buys lube. He still has a full bucket of his parents’
tears from when he came out as a gay comedian.”

“Alex is an actor. He was on Nickelodeon playing a ninja and
in a silent movie playing the moon.”

“Wow Joe, I know homosexuality isn’t a choice, but stand-up
is and maybe you should stop.”

“You know, I’d call Alex a douchebag but a douchebag can
hold moisture.”

After a stellar opening battle that featured almost all the
jokes hitting, we go to the judges. Sebastian praises Alex’s double mask intro
but gives the decision to Joe. Metta World Peace and Chris D’Elia go with Alex
(and D’Elia makes sure to let everyone know that Alex is a “fucking weirdo” in
the process), and after confirmation from the Roastmaster, Alex Hooper takes
away the win in the first battle.

After a commercial break featuring Benicio Del Toro trying
to convince me that he drinks Heineken, we return with the second fight of the
night – Toby Muresianu against Omid Singh! Both battlers are currently ranked
in the Top Five amongst Los Angeles battlers, and this battle was one of the
ones I was most looking forward to. Jeff Ross declares that “this is like
Boston strong versus the 19th hijacker,” and introduces the Saudi
Prince. Saudi Prince introduces the phrase “Jew Store” to television, and we’re
off.

“You don’t look like a Toby. You look more like a Jim Crow.”

“You look like the hijacker who only crashes on your
friend’s couch.”

“Toby’s so plain, people at work keep trying to put cream
cheese on him.”

“Omid met his girlfriend through Tinder, but only because
she called tech support.”

“Toby doesn’t eat meat. That’s why I ate his girlfriend’s
meaty pussy last night.”

Before we get to Toby’s last joke, Chris D’Elia has to
interrupt with his assessment of that joke. “What the fuck?! Dude, that was
hard as fuck! I feel like that wasn’t even a joke, you were just angry! Oh my
god, dude!” Hard to disagree with Chris on that one. Finish him, Toby.

“Omid believes in reincarnation, which is why his jokes die
again and again and again.”

Toby’s last bit inspires a Wave beheading, and after a Saudi
Prince interlude that includes him inventing the world “developmenting”, the
judges weigh in. Sebastian says that it was a blowout in favor of Toby, D’Elia correctly
calls out Toby’s creepy serial killer vibe, and Metta World Peace praises a
mysterious and possibly non-existant joke, saying “you had one great comeback.
I forget what joke it was, but I wrote ‘comeback’”. Despite World Peace’s
inability to figure out what joke he was actually talking about, he concurs
with the other judges and gives the win to Toby, sealing a unanimous decision. “Should’ve
been more racist,” Omid laments in the post-battle interview. “Always a rookie
mistake,” Toby agrees.

We forgo commercials, which is always a pleasant surprise,
and immediately head into our next battle. Former Roast Battle champion Frank
Castillo squares off with wheelchair-bound Greg Roque in an all-Mexican clash. Jeff
Ross throws an alley-oop up there. “Greg, how are you feeling man?” Greg doesn’t
miss a beat in slamming it down. “I can’t feel anything.” The response blows up
the room, and we’re off.

“The day Greg found out he was going to be on Comedy Central
he shit himself. And then he got the call that he was going to be on Comedy
Central.”

“That’s right Frank, I have a spinal cord injury. But after
your parents divorced, the only thing more broken than my spine is your family.”

“Greg’s Mexican family doesn’t get along with his new
girlfriend because they all pick fruit and she picked a vegetable.”

“Whenever I go see Frank’s comedy I feel so alone, because I’m
the only one in the audience that hasn’t walked out.”

“Greg is much more than a Mexican in a wheelchair. He’s also
a huge burden on his family.”

“Despite what you think, Mexicans aren’t lazy. It took a lot
of effort for Frank’s dad to get up and abandon him.”

This was a great battle. Following in Toby’s footsteps from
the previous fight, Frank delivers an essentially flawless performance. Twenty battles
in, and he saved arguably his best battle ever for Comedy Central. It’s very
impressive. Greg held his own and draws praise from the judges (and a vote from
Metta World Peace), but at the end of the day Frank Castillo walks out with the
victory. By the way, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about one of my favorite
judge moments of all-time, as Ross asks World Peace about his trash talking
days on the basketball court.

“None of them were ever in a wheelchair.” – MWP

“What about the nigga you punched in Detroit?” – Moses

“I’m not sure how he is.” – MWP

Not to be outdone, Sebastian and D’Elia run a give-and-go.

“Greg, I don’t see you as disabled, I see you as able to
make people laugh.” – Sebastian

“I see both. I see both.” – D’Elia

The next commercial break features two of my favorite things
– sick kids and pizza rolls. Shout out to St. Jude’s and Totinos. We return
with the episode’s main event – Keith Carey vs. Anna Valenzuela. Roast Battle
fans know their stories. Keith is a two-time Battler of the Year and has been
in almost every one of the best fights in the show’s history. Anna is the
newbie who has taken the battle world by storm and run out to a 6-1 record. On
top of that, the two are best friends. Ross questions how that relationship
came about. “She needed to learn how to write a joke, and I needed rides to
open mics,” Keith responds. The bell rings and Anna starts us off.

“Keith only uses lambskin condoms. Because after sex he
enjoys a snack.”

“Anna’s just jealous because my body’s shaped like the eggs
she can no longer produce.”

Amidst Coach Tea’s gunshots and sirens, Jeremiah walks on
the stage in a full milkman outfit and passes milk out to the crowd. It’s one
of the simplest Wave moments of all-time and also one of my new favorites.

“Keith just thinks I’m old because I’m four years past his
life expectancy.”

“Look, I don’t want to say Anna’s desperate for love, but I
did see her standing in front of a Home Depot wearing a wedding dress.”

“Keith told me he has a really big dick, which makes sense.
The average blue whale penis is eight to ten feet.”

“Anna has a long face, buck teeth, and she once fucked a
married man. What I’m saying is, ‘she’s a horse that caused divorce with no
remorse, of course of course!’”

“Keith’s a fat bisexual. So you could fuck his neck, his
back, his pussy and his crack.”

“That’s absolutely true, I go both ways. Just like Anna’s
shitty tits. Honestly I think Anna’s just jealous because my parents get to
watch the battle on TV and hers have to watch from wherever Mexicans go instead
of heaven.”

After a brutal battle, we throw to the judges. D’Elia gets
four words into his review before Jeremiah walks into the judges section to
pass out more milk, creating the best callback in comedy history. Metta World
Peace chastises Keith for his “false statement” about Anna’s “great boobs”,
which leads to her grabbing her tits and Moses holding the fucking mic up to
them like they’re gonna start talking.

While her boobs remain silent, Anna gets a vote from Metta
World Peace. D’Elia praises Keith’s consistent approach and picks him as the
winner, leading to hot riffs from Keith and the Saudi Prince. Sebastian breaks
the tie with a vote for Anna, and Jeff confirms, praising the lambskin condoms
joke that started the round. Anna gets her hand raised in victory, and after a
touching post-battle interview between the BFFs, episode one of the LA
regionals comes to a close.

We return next week with four hot battles, and after that it’s
on to the tournament! Until next time, let’s roast!

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