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by Josh Waldron

Tonight’s the night. After three long years, a shooting, an original creator of the show who went rogue and a blog post about racial insensitivity, this community project is headed for cable TV glory. We should probably take this time to thank Kenny Lion and Josh Martin’s insignificant beef for all of this, but Kenny is still banned and Josh is setting up the shitty Wi-Fi, so we’ll get to that another day. A special thanks goes to anyone who has ever read the Roast Report or attended the show or watched live on Periscope! None of this happens without the community that tunes in every week. We’ve got a packed card tonight, so let’s get to the action!

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Tonight’s panel of judges is star-studded, one worthy of all the Comedy Central coverage. Bobby Lee is one of the Comedy Store’s favorite sons and an absolute wild card. He could deliver some of the most insightful commentary we’ve ever had or he could shit on the VIP table. He has range. If you’d like to hear some great stories from before all of our time at the Comedy Store, check out Bobby’s appearance on Skeptic Tank, a great podcast hosted by Ari Shaffir. Dane Cook is back, pictured here in the back of the Main Room and wearing a Jimmy Kimmel Live sweatshirt to remind you he’s famous. We’re excited to have him after his stellar turn at the judges’ table during last year’s Dirty Dozen showcase. Check out his latest special, Troublemaker! And, of course, we’ll have the pillar of modern roasting, Jeff Ross! He only became aware of this blog last week so if he seems a little more prepared tonight, that’s why.

Our second-ever rematch has Leah Kayajanian (6-3-1, #4) battling Olivia Grace (4-2-1, #14)!

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Ali vs. Frazier. Patriots vs. Giants. And now, Kayajanian vs. Grace. These are two of the most ruthless battlers we have. Leah is our little Armenian princess and Olivia is the human embodiment of a slit wrist. It’ll be interesting to see which thing Comedy Central has a harder time fitting into frame: Leah’s nose or Olivia’s body? Last time these two battled, it ended in a rare draw, and tonight should serve as proof that some fights are just so nice you need to seem ‘em twice. 

In our second bout. friendships will be tested as Mean Boys Joe Dosch (8-4-1, #6) and Keith Carey (8-5, #2) duke it out!

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We only roast the ones we love, so this should be an all-timer! Given Keith’s propensity to make out with people on stage and Joe’s ability to masquerade as both a male and female, we could see some actual love made on the stage tonight. After Sunday’s tragedy in Orlando, we could use a little more love. Also, don’t be surprised if (and when) that shooting gets brought up. Nothing is off-limits, remember? Fun facts: Joe used to be the size of Keith and Keith has eaten Joe’s current weight in butter throughout his lifetime. Joe and Keith are responsible for some of the best battles the show has ever had so it makes sense they’re on the docket tonight.

Battle number three finds Guy Branum (3-0, #2HR) facing off Alex Hooper (8-2, #1)!

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This starts a run of three battles between the standard roasters and headliners. In Guy’s last battle in the Belly Room, he dismantled Dan St. Germain, but who hasn’t? Alex’s last appearance was a nail-biting win over Leah Kayajanian in which he defended his crown. Guy recently auditioned to be the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man in the Ghostbusters reboot, but was told he was a little too big. Alex Hooper is a dear friend and one of my favorite battlers. His hair and skin look as though spending a few minutes in the electric chair are part of his morning routine. Both are immensely talented writers and hilarious comedians, so this battle should be a instant classic.

In the penultimate battle, George Perez (4-2, Unranked) will test his luck against Sarah Tiana (4-0, #1HR)!

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George has a hefty task in front of him and that’s not just a joke about Sarah’s weight. She tops the headliner ranks and for good reason. She writes for the Comedy Central Roasts and has won convincingly in all of her previous battles. She’s also from the South so she has an extensive history of hating ethnicities. In this picture, George looks like he’s about to steal your great grandfather’s girl and his hubcaps. George declined to be a part of the Roast Battle Royale back in February but is back tonight for the network taping because any of us would do anything for a TV credit.

And finally, Jesse Joyce (1-1, #7HR)  makes his long-awaited leap from the judges’ table back into the ring against Earl Skakel (4-1-1, #8)!

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This is a fitting cherry on top of the Comedy Central cake that will decorate the Belly Room tonight. Jesse Joyce has written for the Oscars and almost every Comedy Central Roast over the last ten years. He’s also one of a handful of comedians to be both a judge and battler. His off-the-cuff quips when judging are better than some battler’s best jokes, so it will be interesting to see what he’s got when he has time to prepare. Earl Skakel has gotten in a lot of battles over the last couple of weeks after months of saying he was semi-retired. Earl could be the most experienced battler of them all, seeing as how he’s battled half of the comedians entering the ring tonight and faces off against anyone with a microphone from week to week. No matter what happens, I expect this to be a Battle of the Year contender at the next Roasties!

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 PST every Tuesday if you can’t catch the verbal violence in person. Thank you for reading, and thanks as always to our sponsor LA SpeedWeed.

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