by Dan Nolan

Welcome back, roast fans. It’s our first battles back in the
belly room for 2017 and we’re kicking things off right with 6 sizzling
undercards and a packed panel of five veteran comics including our own fearless
leader, Roastmaster General, Jeff Ross. 

Nick Youssef is a Comedy Store paid regular, co-host of the
Occasionally Awesome podcast and writer for Paste and Esquire magazines. Big
Jay Oakerson joins us from New York City where he co-hosts the very popular
Legion of Skanks podcast with Roastmasters NYC host Luis J. Gomez. Theo Von has
made the leap from reality TV star to Comedy Store paid regular to now star of
his own Netflix one-hour special, and rounding things out is Comedy Central half hour alum and one of the stars of the new Mystery Science Theatre 3000, Baron Vaughn.

For our first set of undercards this evening we’ve got
Atlanta, Georgia’s John-Michael Bond and Orlando, Florida’s Carmen Morales
popping each other’s Roast Battle cherries in a double-virgin sacrifice to
start the show.

There’s no better way to start the show than with two
first-timers. It sets the off-the-wall, anything-can-happen pace and builds
tension with the audience when you have no idea what to expect. Both
competitors are experienced standups, but roasting is it’s own art form so
we’ll just have to wait and see how it goes.

Next up is Road to Roast Battle preliminary competitor and
black lesbian Jasmin Leigh versus Jewish-American princess Leah Lamarr.

While the results of Jasmin’s Atlanta battle in the
regionals for this current season of Comedy Central’s Roast Battle are being
kept under wraps until her episode premieres this Sunday (though the previews
have very clearly indicated it did not go well), she has two Belly Room wins under
her belt: one against Courtney Banks, and the other famously against the girl
who got stage fright, left, and called the fire marshal on the show. Leah
Lamarr looks to go for the hat trick tonight after a show-stealing performance
against Nicole Becannon a few months back brought her record to 2-0.

Continuing the carnage, Roast Battle’s great black hope,
Lonnie Johnson returns to take on the sexiest man in open mic comedy, Kevin
Mac. 

Kevin debuted with a dominant win over Darran Davis a few
months back and looks to try and recapture that again tonight, though in a much
tougher opponent with the undefeated Lonnie Johnson. Lonnie has thus far proven
impervious to Roast Battle’s historic bias against black competitors and a win
tonight would bring him to a coveted 4-0 streak. 

Sarah Keller returns to the ring tonight hoping to roll over
wheelchair-bound Roast Battle legend, Joe Eurell.

Joe is a long-standing room favorite since his debut in the
earlier days of the show. For a guy who can’t stand up, Joe’s been shockingly
quick on his feet in past battles. His room-rocking off-the-cuff comebacks in
past exchanges with judges that have been among the show’s most treasured
moments. Sarah Keller was consistently one of the best undercard
performers of 2016, with a 2-1-1 record to show for it, making tonight’s fight
anyone’s game.

In our first of two single-round main events, Heather
“Unruly” Marulli faces off against Anna Valenzuela, who’s on the cusp of her
television debut as well with an explosive Belly Room clash against Keith Carey
in the Los Angeles preliminaries for this season of Comedy Central’s Roast
Battle.

Apart from a disastrous loss to Mike Schmidt some months
back, Heather Marulli has been consistent and even dominant in all her clashes, making
her an elite battler in the undercards. Anna Valenzuela, meanwhile – depending
on the results of her Comedy Central performance – is currently poised to
become the show’s highest-ranking female competitor and deservedly so; she’s got some
of the most explosive quips in the show’s history. 

Finally, Keith Carey, the recent Roast Battle fantasy
league’s first-round draft pick, and two-time back-to-back Battler of the Year (with a Comedy Central credit to boot!) faces off against another of the TV show’s
competitors, Belly Room fan favorite Greg Roque. 

Greg is the second battler this evening to perform from a
wheelchair, but his past battles have been hot enough to bring the room to
their feet. With a few weeks to go before their television debuts, Keith and
Greg make for an excellent matchup. Keith Carey is coming off a recent win over
Tom Goss, but had previously suffered a long streak of tough losses
despite being widely regarded as the best of the best for years. In a show that
loves underdogs, it’s hard for anyone who’s such a force their competitors
can’t help but be seen as such. Keith’s so good his opponents have no choice
but to rise to the occasion, and though that’s a tall order for Greg who will
more likely remain seated, his past undercard performances have shot him
quickly to be ranked among the show’s top competitors.

With no clear favorites in any of our evening’s battles
we’re set to ring in 2017 right with a stacked panel of judges and fights from
many of the show’s finest. Let’s roast!

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. 

If you live in Los Angeles, get your tickets now to see the upcoming tapings of Roast Battle II: War of the Words, which will take place at the old House of Blues – right across the street from the Comedy Store – on January 20th, 22nd, 24th, and 29th. Use promo code “thecomedystore” to reserve your seat.

Thank you for reading, and thanks as always to our sponsor SpeedWeed.

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