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by Pat Barker, photos by Troy Conrad

There’s a big fight atmosphere in the Belly Room despite
attendance being lower than it’s been in quite a while. A surprise visit from
the fire marshal ensures that the room doesn’t exceed capacity, and some
battlers wonder if the New York vs. Los Angeles supercard will be affected by
it. Luckily, one of the biggest Roast Battle cards in the show’s history will
be met with a certain electricity befitting it. Before the battles even start,
the crowd is fired up. Brian Moses takes the stage with a fresh shave and polo
shirt, looking like Business Casual Stuart Scott. Jeff Ross asks why there are
so many New York battlers in the house, and Moses responds. “There’s a lot of
Jersey trash here tonight, and we’re here to burn it!” Before the highly
anticipated coast wars can begin, the crowd is treated to the lone three-joke
undercard for the evening: Joe Eurell vs. Danielle Perez.

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Danielle takes the stage first, as Coach Tea pulls an Eminem
sample where he sings “I ain’t got no legs!” and plays it on a loop. Josh
Meyrowitz struggles at elevating Danielle’s wheelchair onto the stage, so she
sits there, stuck, as the chorus repeats roughly 500 times. Moses explains to
the crowd that Danielle lost her feet in a bus accident, and then brings out
her equally immobile opponent, Joe Eurell.

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“Danielle, what’s your record now?” – Jeff Ross

“1 and 3.” – Danielle Perez

“One of those three was the bus.” – Mike Lawrence

Danielle offers to go first, and our historic night is
underway.

“Joe looks like the drummer in Chuck-E-Cheese’s Animatronic
Band.”

“Danielle’s lawsuit against San Francisco was like any man
who’s fucked her lately – they both got a ton by settling.”

“Yeah, I am a slut Joe, and I still wouldn’t fuck you. Not
because you’re in a wheelchair, but because you’re retarded.”

“I’ll get laid before you get swept off your feet.”

The room detonates at the rebuttal. After a Wave act-out,
Joe decides to try and tag the joke.

“That wasn’t my joke. Danielle is jealous of my disability,
because ‘cerebral palsy’ is more official than ‘dumb drunk got run over by a
streetcar’.”

The gamble pays off and the momentum is clearly swinging to
Joe at this point.

“Joe’s a great comic. He’s performed next to stages all over
Orange County. He even released an album last year with such classics as
‘UHHHHHGHGHGHHHH’ and ‘DURRRRRRRRRRRR’.”

Not content with just calling him a retard, Danielle doubles
down and offers up a particularly inspired set of retard noises. She’s
committed to the bit. It’s admirable.

“You can tell Danielle will never be a good mother because
she’s already a cow that lost her calves.”

For the second straight battle, Joe delivers a flawless
performance. His first and third jokes are remarkably clever, and his second joke
features a quick, sharp rebuttal, followed by him calling his opponent a “dumb
drunk”. Quality stuff. Danielle hangs in there, but parts of the crowd pull
back a little bit at some of the blunt-force meanness of her jokes. With
several New York battlers who are renowned for being as mean as possible on
deck, one wonders how they’ll play in front of this audience.

“You both were impressive. I can’t even see the puppeteer.”
– Mike Lawrence

“Steve [Rannazzisi], it’s great to have you back.” – Jeff Ross

“How was Manchester last night?” – Moses

The judges praise
both but agree across the board that Joe edged it out. As the decisions are
being made, the Saudi Prince rolls in and takes his seat in the front row.

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“I just got here, my friend. Listen, we were celebrating a
few things…” – Saudi Prince

“Congratulations on your arms deal.” – Joe Eurell

“Congratulations on both of you still having your arms as
well.” – Saudi Prince

After Joe’s hand is officially raised in victory, both
competitors are wheeled off the stage as Coach Tea plays “Walk It Out” by Unk.

Our first New York vs. Los Angeles battle is up next, as
Luis J. Gomez represents the Big Apple against LA’s Kim Congdon. Kim takes the
stage first and is asked why she wants to battle Luis.

“Luis was abused as a child and his father was stabbed to
death, so if he’s anything like his dad he’ll be an easy target.”

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Luis enters as Mike Lawrence notes that “this looks like a
domestic disturbance call came to life,” and you know what? He’s not wrong.
After a bit of backstory on how the battle was arranged, Kim volunteers to go
first and starts it off.

“Luis is a shitty New York comic. He’ll never forget Nine
Eleven. Because it’s how much he gets paid an hour.”

“Thank you very much Kim, I appreciate that. I learned a lot
about Kim this week. She’s a huge gamer, loves to play video games. Which is
funny, because she reminds me of an old-school Atari system. You can turn her
on with one finger, and she only has eight bits.”

“Luis looks like E.T.’s abusive stepdad.”

Kim throws the first haymaker of the battle. Accurate visual
jokes are always an effective weapon in the Belly Room, and after Luis’ loose
conversational opener, Kim’s short quick observation works especially well.
Luis fires back.

“This is true – just now, on the ride over here, Kim told me
she hates Brad Pitt. Told me she hates Brad Pitt. Which I find strange, because
Kim reminds me of Brad Pitt’s career. She’s a Seven that moved to California,
only to have her Snatch destroyed by Twelve Monkeys.”

“Luis is called the Puerto Rican Snake. But that’s because
he looks like he unclogs toilets in San Juan.”

Again, Luis’ lengthy joke loses some of the crowd, which is
a shame. His jokes to this point are littered with clever double entendres and
wordplay, but they’re being lost in the meandering set-ups. Kim, on the other
hand, lands a second consecutive huge punch. Luis is on the ropes.

“One of Kim’s best friends died on April Fool’s Day last
year, and when she went to tell everybody, nobody would believe her. Not
because it was April Fool’s Day, just because nobody would believe Kim has a
friend.”

“Luis is right, my best friend did die on April Fool’s. And
when I found out, I said the same thing as Luis’ audiences: ‘is this a joke?’”

Kim throws a knockout punch with this retort. As mentioned,
rebuttals are huge. But when you can frame that rebuttal around the other
battler not being funny as they’re struggling on stage, you’re basically
unbeatable.

“Kim is currently fucking an NFL player. I wish I could tell
you this was the first time she fucked somebody who wears a helmet and has
Down’s.”

“Luis is out of shape. But his father was cut.”

“I don’t know if you guys know this, but Kim actually sells
her own merchandise. It’s a t-shirt with a picture of her real tits on it. See,
most comics sell merch with their best joke on it… so does Kim.”

This joke is met with some audience fact-checking, as they
inform Luis that Kim has great tits. He begrudgingly agrees.

“Luis doesn’t do improv. But if he walks behind you at
night, it’s sketch.”

“Kim reminds me of the Pillsbury Doughboy, and not just
because she’s a doughy twat. But because after enough pills, anybody can bury
their cock inside her.”

“Luis looks like The Rock… got beat by scissors.”

“Can I use that in my act? That’s a good joke. It’s a good
joke. Kim, I just have one question for you. What was more difficult, scraping
the bottom of the barrel to find other comedians to write these jokes, or
scraping your friend off the highway last year?”

Luis’ closer is by far his most effective punch of the battle,
and a great way to end his round. Until Kim sneaks in an additional shot after
the bell.

“Nothing was more difficult than watching you battle
tonight.”

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And with that, the room blows up once more and Luis’ strong
finish is negated.

“I’m going to have to give it to the one that’s dating the
NFL player, because judging by her jeans it looks like she narrowly escaped
him.” – Saudi Prince

“Luis, you should’ve asked the guys who sliced your father
to do the same to your punchlines.” – Mike Lawrence

“Luis, I feel bad buddy. I talked to you before the show,
and I think I jinxed you.” – Steve Rannazzisi

“You can’t take responsibility for every New York tragedy.”
– Mike Lawrence

The judges unanimously vote for Kim, and deservedly so. As
much as they focused on shitting on Luis, the truth is that he wrote some great
jokes and performed well. Kim is just on an absolute murdering spree right now,
delivering killer material with a confidence that says, “I know I’m about to
win”. With the victory, she runs her win streak to four, her overall record to
10-3, and makes a strong case for a title shot in the near future. Coach Tea
plays her off to “California Love” as Los Angeles takes a 1-0 lead for the
night.

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The night continues with our second coast war, as Mike
Feeney represents New York against Anna Valenzuela. Anna comes to the stage
completely cholo’d out, rocking a Raiders jacket over a button-down shirt with
only the top button done. When Mike arrives, Moses comments that he looks like
a more handsome version of Anna’s boyfriend, former Roast Battle great Stuart
Thompson. After some urging from the crowd, Stuart takes the stage for a visual
comparison. He follows that up by kissing Anna and then hanging around entirely
too long, to the point where I wonder if it will become a 2-on-1 battle. He
finally leaves, Anna elects to go first, and we’re off.

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“Mike looks like he’s in a barbershop quartet that can only
harmonize by singing the N-word.”

“Anna you old bruised Chiquita banana. You look like an ad
for a community college theater class.”

“Good one, soft Woody from a Toy Story. Mike’s mom was a
lunch lady and his dad was a stock… photo. Stock photo.”

“Guys, can we give it up for Anna one more time? Here’s the
thing – I’m just so excited because Anna’s up here telling jokes this whole
time and we didn’t even have to put peanut butter in her gums.”

“Mike’s grandmother fell into the Grand Canyon, and the most
tragic part of that story is I had to tell you that in order to make Mike
interesting.”

“Anna likes anime. Her favorite is Ghost in the Shell,
probably because it reminds her of her barren womb.”

“Mike lost his virginity outdoors. Tell me Mike, if you fuck
in a forest and nobody feels it, did you ever fuck at all?”

The battle has been filled with solid jabs up until this
point, but the forest fucking joke connects hard. Mike falls slightly behind.

“Anna’s dad was a butcher through and through. From his time
butchering meat to butchering his penmanship while dying of Parkinsons.”

“Good one, Dane Undercooked. Look at this skinny twink.
Mike, I’ll bet I can use you as a tampon.”

“Because of her big pussy? Isn’t that a slam on her?”

Mike’s light-hearted question to the crowd lands hard. They
pulled back a little on the Parkinson’s joke, but his off-the-cuff riff gets
them back on his side.

“Anna, you’re like Selena if you had the face, body, and
talent of the old woman that shot her.”

“Mike’s just like the Applebee’s he worked at – a pile of
shit you only like drunk.”

“On stage, Anna constantly talks about BDSM – Boring Dumb
Spic Material.”

“That’s right Mike, sometimes I like painful sex. Which is
why I listen to your shitty podcast when I fuck.”

“Whoa girl, whoa girl. [horse calming sounds]. Easy. Anna
has had two men die after having sex with her. Her grim reaper pussy. Anna,
your vagina is like cigarettes. It’s known to kill, it’s a disgusting habit,
and people can definitely smell it on your fingers.”

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And with that, we have the closest battle of the evening. Anna
landed perhaps the biggest punch of the battle, but unlike Kim in the previous
fight, was not able to maintain the momentum afterwards. Mike remained
consistent the whole way through, as all of his jokes hit to varying degrees.
Sometimes they generated laughs and sometimes they generated “oohs” and “ahhs”
from the overly sensitive crowd, but they always got a reaction. He also built
up steam with shorter jokes before closing on his long one, a strategy that
worked effectively. Still, the fight was neck-and-neck and the only one with
any real judging drama. After a Jeff Ross vote for Anna the next three go to
Mike, giving him the victory and evening the score for the night. Coach Tea
fires up some Frank Sinatra, as Mike’s hand is raised to the tune of “New York,
New York”. We are officially tied at one.

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Former New York champion Zac Amico and Los Angeles legend
Doug Fager take the stage next. Zac opts to pass on the Dragonball Z haircut he
sported during the Season One tournament and instead goes with a look that Mike
Lawrence describes as “what Steve Bannon looked like as a teenager”. Zac
volunteers to go first and the night’s rubber match is underway.

“Doug’s known for sending unsolicited dick pics. Which is
what casting agents call it when they get his headshot.”

“If you say the name Beetlejuice three times, Zac will still
be at home watching tentacle porn.”

“Doug, how are you the son of a mailman, yet you have
absolutely no delivery?”

“Zac, you look like you’re made of 90% eye crusties.”

“Doug teaches improv to inner city kids. He went from the
UCB to UBC – Unsavable Black Children.”

“Zac’s last girlfriend was a BBW webcam model, and his
current girlfriend is a preschool teacher. Think about that! Zac has had two
girlfriends!”

With the third jokes, the tide begins to turn. Zac is having
somewhat of a hard time connecting with the crowd, and Doug is taking control.

“Doug’s dad was an alcoholic boxer. So he could never play
with him, because he always went 15 rounds the night before.”

“Zac’s name doesn’t end using H or K. But Zac’s life will
end using H or K.”

“Doug yells so much on stage, you would think that he’s
imitating his victims. We all know that’s not true – because sometimes rape
victims scream something funny.”

“Zac was banned from the club The Knitting Factory for
pulling his penis out on stage. But I’m on Zac’s side – if you run a club
called The Knitting Factory, you should expect to see some needles.”

“Doug’s brother died of hyponatremia, which is complications
from food poisoning. So either way you say it, what killed him was a mouthful.”

“My brother did die from food poisoning, just not the long
slow food poisoning Zac’s dying from.”

For the third time tonight, a rebuttal serves as a knockout
punch and the place goes bonkers. Doug has completely seized control.

“Zac, you look like you do BDSM at TGIFridays.”

“Doug’s a member of the Groundlings. And everyone can’t wait
for him to wake up and get his one big shot. Just like Phil Hartman.”

“This is actually true – Zac has been known to set off a rat
trap on his penis during live shows. It gets a huge audience reaction, but it
hasn’t gotten rid of the rat problem.”

Holy shit. Doug, like Kim in the first battle, gains
momentum early and never lets it go. Doug knows how to command a room like few
others in this sport – he’s one of those guys that’s impossible to watch
without a smile on your face. Almost all of Doug’s jokes insist that you
visualize something a little bit absurd – Zac whipping his dick out, setting
off a rat trap on it, doing bondage in a chain restaurant. Hell, in one of the
jokes he asks you to “think about it!” halfway through. His style is silly,
ridiculous, and fun, and this battle may represent his best work in those areas
yet. Remember earlier, when I said Kim Congdon could be next up for a title
shot? Feel free to throw Doug Fager’s name in that ring also. At 4-0-1 in his
last five Belly Room battles, he’s making an argument that he might be the best
in the business.

While Doug connects flawlessly with the audience, Zac
struggles to do so here. He prepared a very thorough set list, with seven great
jokes about seven different topics, but something is a bit off with the crowd.
Both Mike Lawrence and Frank Castillo point out that while Doug deserved to
win, the crowd didn’t even give Zac a chance. It’s a fair observation. I don’t
know if it was a coastal bias or just a difference in controlling an audience
that had grown a little bit chatty by this point, but either way it wasn’t a
great look for the crowd. Zac, for his part, revels in playing the heel
character, and was completely unfazed up there. He rolled with the punches and
delivered his jokes perfectly, and helped produce a great battle. But there can
only be one winner and it’s Doug Fager, giving Los Angeles a 2-1 lead heading
into the main event.

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Keith Carey takes the stage to the Mean Boys theme song,
wearing a pink shirt and black tie combo. I am 100% sure that wither Mike
Lawrence or Tony Hinchcliffe will call him Bret The Hitman Hart Disease. They
do not. I am disappointed. The big fight atmosphere is building here, and comes
to a head as the champion Eli Sairs enters to “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
His slow walk to the stage is punctuated by an emphatic raising of the
championship belt, and the crowd is ready for bloodshed here. There’s clearly a
ton of respect between the two competitors, as they opt not to take pre-battle
shots at each other, which somehow adds to the magnitude of the moment. The
Firing Squad takes no such break.

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“This looks like James
vs. the Giant Peach.” – Tony Hinchcliffe

“This looks like an argument at the Geek Squad.” – Frank Castillo

“That’s a great joke Frank, did you write that while you
were parking Jeff’s car?” – Keith Carey

“Joke’s on you, I don’t park cars, I answer phones!” – Frank
Castillo

“Joke’s on all of you, I don’t have a car!” – Jeff Ross

The crowd is fired up. After one final “BATTLE” chant, Keith
volunteers to go first and the first bi-coastal title match in Belly Room
history is underway.

“Eli grew up religious. His family is Mennonite. Mennonites
are a lot like the Amish, except the Amish raise barns, and Mennonites raise… a
faggot.”

“You just hate religious talk because you can’t stand to
hear the phrase ‘The Last Supper.’”

Any worry about a biased crowd for the championship match is
immediately erased, as the crowd explodes and The Wave runs on stage. Eli has
clearly done his homework and has some Belly Room specific tricks up his
sleeve, and he wins the crowd over with a big entrance and a short opening
rebuttal.

“Eli, you pre-cum possum person. You look like your genetic
code was written in Comic Sans.”

“I chose Keith because he was a great fighter, he’s like
Louie Anderson Silva. Keith doesn’t get fazed by anything the roasters say to
him, because obviously we’re not the first ones to walk all over him. Neil
Armstrong was the first.”

“Eli was really excited to win the Roast Battle title
because it’s the first belt he’s ever owned that wasn’t just an old shoelace.”

“Nigga you homeless!” – Jamar Neighbors

“Thank you Ralphie May… Rape Somebody. Keith, you Hunchback
of the Taco Bell Tower. Keith’s a big fan of punk rock. It’s clear that you
like pop-punk just from this battle. You’ll Blink 182 times and get fucked by
Sum 41 year old guy after.”

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After starting with the sharp rebuttal and winning the crowd
over, Eli goes back to his usual style of layering his jokes with multiple
punchlines. It pays off, as he controls the first round and gets a unanimous
decision from the judges. Keith elects to let Eli go first in the second round.

“Keith, there are some differences between where I’m from
and L.A. Like, I call it ‘Hardee’s’ and you call it… six times a day to place
an order.”

“Nigga you big!” – Jamar Neighbors

“Keith is bisexual, he swings both ways. I feel bad for the
swing. Keith, you’re gonna be the first gay person to get dragged to death
behind an ice cream truck.”

“Keith, your mom has had it hard. For a while she did
heroin, she was a single mother… raising a double child.”

“It’s true, my mom did heroin, she was an alcoholic, and she
got beat up and raped a bunch. Here’s my question, how does Eli look worse?”

“I learned two shocking things about Eli doing research for
this fight. Number one, Eli has a pierced dick. Number two, Eli has a dick.”

“Eli lives in New York, and he’s a lot like the World Trade
Center – terrible at standup.”

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After Eli’s stellar round, punctuated by the hilarious
single mother / double child joke, I thought there was a shot at Eli sweeping
the first two rounds. Keith started out a little slow here, and I grew increasingly
concerned. I should’ve known better. Don’t ever doubt Keith Carey. He built
momentum as he went along before landing an absolute knockout punch with the
World Trade Center joke. On a night with four New York battlers and Steve
Rannazzisi in the judges section, there were predictably a ton of 9/11 jokes.
Leave it to Keith to come up with one so simple, yet so brilliant, that we all
wondered how nobody had ever thought of it before. The judges give Keith the
clean sweep, but praise Eli for his ability to command the room in enemy
territory. Moses makes an executive decision that, as the challenger, Keith
will go first in the closing round. The bell rings, and the title match enters its final act.

“Eli, how do you look 12 years old, and 45 years old? You
look like you’re mad that you forgot to pick yourself up from soccer practice.”

“That was a good one, Jimmy Ate World. Keith has a nervous
tic. The tick is nervous because it’s sucking blood that might be HIV
positive.”

Both battlers land haymakers to start the round. The Wave is
getting a lot of work tonight.

“It’s true, I do have a twitch. I know Eli has OCD so I
wanted to give him something to count while we were up here. Eli’s OCD is
triggered by the number six. In related news, his parents recently changed
their phone number. It’s now
1-800-Eli-Stop-Calling-We’re-Not-Giving-You-Any-More-Fucking-Money-6.”

“Keith, when you were eight years old, you walked in on your
junkie mom being fucked by two dudes. Pretty small train considering all the
tracks on her.”

Keith’s lengthy attempt yields a middling response, whereas
Eli’s punch lands like a ton of bricks. The Wave runs back out to do their
thing as Coach Tea plays Quad City DJ’s “Come On Ride The Train”. Keith is on
the ropes.

“This isn’t even a joke, but I had to tell my mom on
Mother’s Day that my career is talking about her being raped and sometimes we
have a dance party. Eli’s a big fan of Alabama sports, or as the rest of us
call it, lynchings. Eli’s favorite football team is the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Which is also what they’re gonna call it when he gives up, moves home, and cuts
his wrists in his mom’s bathtub.”

“Roll Tide, baby. Keith, you fruit that’s never eaten one.
Yeah, I’m a big football fan, man. Your dad’s a big football fan and a Nazi.
Your dad is so racist, when he found out that NFL players are penalized for
saying the N-word, he was furious… to find out he had been wrong about what
‘NFL’ stands for this whole time.”

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After a hot start to the round, Eli fizzles out a bit at the
end. Still, the judges agree by a count of 4-1 that he did more than enough up
top to take the round and the battle. On a magical night at the Comedy Store,
Eli Sairs did the unthinkable – walked in to Keith Carey’s house and beat him. Eli’s
hand is raised in victory as Sinatra again serenades us. The night ends in a
2-2 deadlock between the two cities, but New York leaves with the big prize for
the second consecutive time. In his last three fights, Eli has pulled off
convincing wins over Zac Amico, Alex Hooper, and now Keith Carey. It’s not hard
to argue that, at this moment, Eli Sairs is the top roast battler on the
planet. The ending doesn’t damper the evening for the home crowd. Everyone
files out of the Belly Room excited about the history they just witnessed and
eagerly anticipating the next chapter in this budding rivalry.

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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 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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