by Jay Light, photos by Troy Conrad

The room needs some energizing. The crowd hasn’t been on board with much of anything tonight. It’s hard to tell if they just want to skip past the stand-up and move to the battles, or if they’re just not used to staying up this late on a Tuesday, but something is off. Leah Knauer’s kneeling rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner, while an admirable gesture, is definitely not what they are looking for. Once she finishes, Moses, Jeff Ross, and Josh Meyrowitz try to work the room into a lather with a chant of “Black Pussy Matters.” Slowly but surely, it catches on, but as soon as the chant is over, the room falls silent again.

“You guys are so lethargic and dead!” – Moses

The best thing to do is not dwell on it too much and launch right in, which Moses does by bringing up the night’s first battle: Brendan Cooney versus Aaron Michael Marsh.

“Brendan, you’re a ginger, you have no hair. You’re like Lucille Bald.”

“Aaron was raised Mormon. He left the church but decided to stay that guy no one likes.”

“Brendan’s girlfriend is a lot like Netflix: one guy pays for it, but we all use it.”

“That’s true, my girlfriend does take off her clothes for money. But, to be fair, the last girl I saw Aaron with should wear a t-shirt in the pool. With all the sexual assault going on in comedy right now, we actually need comics like Aaron: a comedian who couldn’t possibly overpower a woman.”

“Brendan is 26 years old, but looks like he gave up 26 years ago.”

“One time, Aaron cried on a podcast. Some people say he did it for attention, but I say no. I know Aaron. He is a bitch.”

The judges don’t have much to offer up in the way of opinion, leaving the decision up to the crowd. Brendan wins handily. The two hug and leave the stage. Moses and Earl try to start a “Cooney” chant, but it doesn’t latch on. This may be the first audience in Roast Battle history to not be completely on board with over-the-top racism.

Moving along, Moses brings up the next battle: cruise ship champion Alycia Cooper versus petite gay Mexican Anthony Desamito. 

Alycia is battling to prove Trump right, Anthony is battling to prove he has a better pussy. The room loosens up just in time.

“Alycia Cooper is so ghetto, she gets her hair from the dead Make-A-Wish kids.”

“Some people were born with a silver spoon in they mouth. Anthony was born with a wooden dick in his ass.”

“The Comedy Store just wrote Alycia Cooper’s name on the wall, which is different than their usual erasing her name from the men’s restroom wall.”

“Anthony was such a gay baby, he got shot out his mother’s mouth. He refused to pass through her pussy.”

“Alycia Cooper got a commercial where she played an NFL player’s mom. Alycia, what’s it like to play someone who gave birth to someone that matters?”

“Anthony was bullied as a kid, but look at him. He looks like Cristela Alonzo and the midget from Game of Thrones had a Zika baby.”

The judges wake up, with Jeff Ross and Eddie Ifft showering some praise on these two battlers. However, the audience vote proves inconclusive.

“I mean, I know both races aren’t used to working extra, but I say overtime.” – Earl Skakel

And overtime we get:

“Anthony has given head to so many Italian strangers, if he had a son, he’d name him Fellatio.”

“Alycia Cooper gets fucked in the ass so much, when she’s on her period, her vagina looks at her ass and says ‘now that’s a lot of blood!’”

The crowd immediately responds with a chant of “one less joke!” After Moses calls for another vote, Alycia Cooper walks away with the win. 

The next undercard, a scorcher between Leah Lamarr and Nicole Becannon, cements itself in almost no time as the night’s best bout. 

This match, with the benefit of it being a coveted two-girl fight, had the added bonus that Leah’s boyfriend is a Roast Battle regular: me. Which, of course, got brought up endlessly.

“That’s his girlfriend? Right there? You are doing fucking amazing for yourself. Life goals.” – Leonard Ouzts

“Look at those lips. Do you know how much pussy he can eat?” – Earl Skakel

Moses asks the standard “Would you let the Wave smash?” Both women get the crowd going wild with their answers:

“Only if they all get tested.” – Leah Lamarr

“I’d let this whole fuckin’ room smash.” – Nicole Becannon

“That’s admissible in court!” – Eddie Ifft

Nicole tries to call out Leah for her first battle not going well, but Leah fires right back to correct the record: between the two of them, only Leah has won a battle before. Nicole takes another pre-battle hit from Leah, then the bell rings and we’re off to the races.

“Leah’s a shitty Jewish comic. She’s the one hot girl every booker would still Passover.”

“Nicole, you look great. Who did your makeup, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?”

“You look like you could be a Victoria’s Secret model, if the secret was all their models have dicks.”

“Nicole was almost raped at a frat party. But, luckily, they turned the lights on.”

“Leah’s from Queens. And she also dates them. Because Jay’s a faggot! Put that in your Roast Report, bitch!”

“Yeah, I do date Jay Light. But Nicole tried to kill herself because she can’t get a boyfriend. Even suicide wouldn’t commit.”

This battle has it all: the Wave coming out on nearly every joke, the crowd roaring to life with laughter, and two confident comediennes showing up every other battler to take the stage that night – including the contenders after them.

“This is the best undercard I’ve seen in a long time.” – Jeff Ross

“God, they were funny for women.” – Eddie Ifft

In the end, Leah wins the audience vote, while Nicole takes the honor of being the night’s top loser. While I’m obviously proud of Leah, I must admit it was cool to see Nicole come out of her shell. Yet, in the end, I’m not surprised that snail got salted. She literally can’t keep her eyes on the prize.

The night’s final undercard battlers, Galina Rivina and Richie Gaines, take the stage ready to rumble, but find themselves stuck in the immediate aftershock of Leah and Nicole’s battle. 

“[Nicole]’s on her eighth guy already.” – Earl Skakel

After some soft intro lines, the two fire away at each other:

“I’m not gonna stand here and say I wouldn’t fuck Galina, alright? Because I’m a man. And men make mistakes.”

“Richie, you look like you jerk it to the 8 Mile soundtrack.”

“Oh my God, Galina, that is such a mean thing for all the people who wrote for you to say about me.”

“Richie doesn’t steal jokes. He knows what theft feels like because God stole his jawline.”

“Galina’s done an hour before. Then he said, ‘it’s okay, stop, I can’t cum.’”

“Richie’s in AA. Too bad no one pushed his mom down twelve steps.”

Their jokes, while well-crafted and funny, don’t earn quite the room-rocking response they’re aiming for.

“I thought it was cute…you guys should hang out and get coffee after this.” – Jeff Ross

“They look like a middle school couple. And she only likes him ‘cause he’s got Lunchables every day.” – Leonard Ouzts 

“This looks like if Roast Battle was on Glee.” – Jeff Ross

“This looks like two people who swiped left on Tinder still matched.” – Earl Skakel

Richie takes the win, continuing his undefeated streak. After the two leave the stage, Boon Shok-A-Loka returns after a sabbatical to semi-serenade us. 

It’s time for the main event: Frank Castillo, former Roast Battle champion, versus Tom Goss, former psych ward chess champion. After the room sings Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday” to Earl and Jeff, Moses brings both battlers into the ring. Like true professionals, they are ready right out of the gate:

“I wanna battle all the people I think are the best, and then I was like ‘I guess I’ll battle Frank too.’”

“[Tom] is a great writer, and I’ve always wanted to know what it was like to battle one of the hamsters from the Kia commercials.”

Round one kicks off with Frank electing to go first.

“Tom was raised Buddhist in the OC, so he believes in a higher white power.”

“Frank looks like a drug mule. And a regular mule.”

Frank barely waits any time before firing off his next joke, though he stutters at the beginning while the crowd’s laughter tapers off.

“Tom’s the date rapist who steals his victim’s innocence and their leftovers.”

“Frank looks like he lived in Middle-Earth before it was gentrified.”

“You can catch Tom at a Wal-Mart arguing with the pharmacist about how much Sudafed he can buy.”

“Frank’s cousin died of a heroin overdose. Now his girlfriend is the only person he knows who’s getting shot by a little dirty prick.”

Frank wins the first round two votes to one on the strength of his writing, though Jeff calls him out for being in his head. Tom decides to defer for round two, and Frank starts out once again.

“Tom looks like the Stay Depressed Marshmallow Man.”

“Tom gets recognized a lot. Not from his stand-up, but as the pineapple Spongebob lives in.”

Moses calls for his last joke, which rattles Frank.

“Perfect. Um…Tom is super ugly. No, uh…Tom’s the only Trump supporter that isn’t excited about taco trucks on every corner.”

Frank, legitimately fumbling his last joke of the round, has no choice but to sit and listen to Tom’s next three jokes.

“Frank’s legally blind. It’s the only thing he’s gotten in America legally.”

“Frank’s favorite movie is the Iron Giant. It’s also what people at his height call fire hydrants.”

“Frank’s so ugly, the only way he can get his girlfriend wet is to rub his back on her twat.”

The crowd stays mostly cold.

“I’d say you phoned it in, but neither of you look like you can afford phones…I don’t know what the fuck that just was.” – Jeff Ross

Tom wins the round by the skin of his scalp. Jeff tries to get Frank to rally for round three. Frank, inspired, kicks things off once more:

“Tom looks like the theater shooter that gets caught at the concession stand.”

“Frank, I don’t know how old you are, but I know you won’t live to the age you look.”

“Tom’s not racist. He clearly loves brownies.”

“Frank’s not worried about Trump building a wall. It’s just one more thing he can work the door for.”

“Tom tried to kill himself with 200 aspirin, and that still couldn’t get rid of his mother’s headache.”

“Frank, if I had one pill for every time I’ve heard a version of that joke, I’d have enough to finish the job.”

After a lackluster round beforehand, the boys battle back to wrench some more laughter out of the tired crowd. The judges, while praising Frank’s theater shooter joke, recognize the strength of Tom’s suicide comeback and his overall performance chops. Ultimately, they give him the round – and the battle – in a unanimous decision. 

For once, the show ends unceremoniously. The crowd had their fill during Leah and Nicole. While the battles that followed were certainly a tasty dessert, it wound up being just a bit too much for them to fully embrace. Make no mistake: this was not your average night at Roast Battle, where the crowd tends to have a visceral reaction to everything that happens on stage, good and bad. It was, however, an above-average night from those who battled. After a few weeks where there were outright duds in the undercards, it’s nice to see a week where all the competitors take this sport seriously.

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 SpeedWeed.

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