Gobble gobble you friggin turkeys! This is the week we give thanks and eat turkey. Also one of the weeks where a handful of people say something like, “I for one won’t celebrate the murder and extermination of a people, on the very land we stole from them. Do you actually think that’s an event worth celebrating?” Yes I do, that’s how winning works. Tonight, we won’t weep for the defeated. Fuck em. We will celebrate the victor’s barbarian splendor, just like on Thanksgiving. For the record, I think it was really bad what we did to those poor indigenous folks. Fortunately, I’m half Euro Jew and half Arab so it ain’t my baggage; I think it was really bad what you all did to those poor indigenous folks. You make me sick.

I for one am thankful for these steamy battles we have tonight. I’m thankful for the incredible three round main event we have closing out the night. I’m thankful for my health and my family’s health. I’m thankful for the kickass judges we have overseeing the evening’s verbal bludgeoning. One of the Roast Battle greats, Sarah Keller will be making her return to the judge’s table. She’s as shrewd a roaster as they come and an absolute professional of the form, allowing her to hilariously rip into battlers as well as advise them on how to get better. We also have Cort McCown, heartthrob of the 90s and today. Cort has really found a home at the Roast Battle judge’s section, becoming one of the most frequent judges of 2019, and boy are we lucky to have him, a constant source of hilarity and a crippling source of mean. Plus, who know who else will show up! Famous comics are like moths to the Roast Battle flame, anyone could show up for this great fight night.

First up we have Neeraj Srinivasan going up against Brandon Bryan. It’s the battle of two first names vs two unpronounceable names. Although who knows? Maybe in India Neeraj and Srinivasan are both first names. I guess Indians probably know. Remember when Italians tried to take a shortcut to India, wound up in America and slaughtered the indigenous people of the land? Well first they had a nice dinner. Brandon has never officially battled, but has taken part in some underground Orange County roast battling, so he won’t be a true virgin. Neeraj has battled once and lost, but he was spectacular in that loss, it just so happens that Willie Simon was even spectaculerer. I expect great jokes out of Neeraj and Brandon is a wild card, should be a fun way to kick off the night.

Up next we’ve got Sam Brilhart versus Kristin Stahlman. These two each have a handful of battles in their back pocket with successes and misfires. They’re in the process of figuring out what works and what doesn’t, and you never know when someone will emerge from that process as a complete battler. Kristin reminds me of my mean Kindergarten teacher so my inclination is to hate her guts, but due to journalistic integrity I’ve got to try to be objective. Kristin is a cruel bitch who has no business teaching children, tenure is horseshit and she should lose her job. Sam does stand up comedy dressed as a chicken sometimes, so I hate him too. He makes big choices and takes chances, so there’s not much middle ground. He’s either going to bomb horribly or set the room on fire, possibly literally as a performance gimmick.

Our final undercard of the night showcases two of Roast Battle’s rising stars as Bear Badeaux squares off against Remy Cashman. Remy has only battled once, but delivered haymakers and took a clear victory. Bear battles all the time, and has had some miscues, but more strong moments and shows growth with each battle. Remy is a bleached blonde punk rocker, and Bear is a southern boy named Bear, this battle is already funny. It would work better if Bear looked like he was named Bear, but oh well we love him despite his beautiful hair.

Finally, in the rarely-seen three-round main event, we have Isaac Hirsch taking on Pat Barker. These are the titular sports nerds. If you want to clear a room in Hollywood, sit these two next to each other. I love sports more than most, but not when they’re talking about it. They’re like Billy Beane and I’m like that old recruiter who thinks the pitcher will be good because his girlfriend’s hot. I don’t want to hear about your fancy numbers. Oh yeah, also they’re roast battling tonight. This one should be a doozy. It will be Isaac’s first three round battle, and he’s certainly earned it. Isaac has taken down some of roast battle’s best, even me, with sharp tight joke writing and a keen self awareness that allows him to absorb jokes and be vicious on the rebuttal. If you ask any fan of the show who the best battlers of all time are, Pat is going to be in every single person’s top five, and for many he is the number one overall. For me, he’s number six. Just kidding, Pat is the man, a no doubt first ballot hall of famer of roast. But he’s old now, and he has a kid. Will the fiery young Hirsch be able to best the champ whose best years are behind him? The Natural says yes, Rocky says no, Rocky 2 says yes, Rocky 3 says yes then no, Rocky 4 says the Cold War is bad love each other, I don’t know what Rocky 5 was saying. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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