If it’s Tuesday night in Los Angeles, it must be time for Roast Battle. The weekly verbal blood-orgy consistently packs the Belly Room to the gills, and with a new crop of talented roasters making their way up the ranks and rumblings on the street of a potential return to Comedy Central begin to gain volume, it shows no signs of stopping. Anybody who’s been to the show knows that part of the charm is what a mixed bag it can be. Some weeks you’re forced to endure the cringe-inducing debuts of some unexperienced goons, sometimes you’re treated to a clash between two of the best writers in the world, and the quality can land anywhere in between on any given Tuesday. However, due to some wacky scheduling antics and divine intervention, tonight’s fight card is stacked with some of Roast Battle’s greatest fighters. I don’t think I can recall a lineup this intense outside of a television event in the show’s history, and you’d be a damn fool to miss it.
The Roastmaster is out of town doing…whatever the hell it is he actually does, I guess. Regardless, we’ve got a heavy-hitting judge’s table to preside over the mayhem this week. The Sklar Brothers will be on hand. Roast Battle fixtures and hosts of the incredibly entertaining podcast “Dumb People Town”, they’re favorites in the Belly and always blend sharp-as-nails jokes with insightful criticism. Cort McCown will also be on hand. You may recognize Cort from his time as a Comedy Store regular, or from being kinda-sorta fame-adjacent in the 80’s! Rounding out the panel is Jessimae “Low-Budget Iliza Schlesinger” Peluso! She’s an absolute beast on the mic, and will no doubt have some brutal bombs to drop on our competitiors.
The evening’s sole undercard pits Victor Martinez against Ashley Johnson!
You may recognize Victor from that inspirational video where he gets to play in the last quarter of a high school basketball game and shows us all the true power of the human spirit! (If that reference is too obscure, the point I’m getting at is that Victor looks profoundly mentally retarded.) He’s up against open mic host/Shel Silverstein lookalike Ashley Johnson! Will Ashley clobber Victor? Or will Victor prove that you can’t keep a good man Down’s?
And just like that we’re into a parade of high-grade main events, starting with a bicoastal brawl between Alex Duong and Kerryn Feehan!
Duong, seen here auditioning to host a Game Show Network reboot of the Russian Roulette game from “The Deer Fighter”, is a force to be reckoned with. In the past year he has gone from a likable but unreliable battler to a dominant competitor who leaves a trail of destruction in his wake. His writing keeps tightening, his presence becomes more dynamic, and with each battle he participates in, one can’t help but feel they’re watching him inch toward his final form as one of the top dogs in the game. However, he’ll have his work cut out for him tonight as he takes on Kerryn “The Bulimia is Working” Feehan. Kerryn is a veteran of the New York version of the show, including a televised tangle with the Puerto Rican Rattlesnake himself, Luis Gomez. Many LA battlers in the past have been somewhat dismissive of the New York battlers, but they’re coming in a big way, and tonight Alex will need all his power to defend against one of the East Coast’s finest.
Next up, Omid Singh and Leah Kayajanian strap on their fightin’ shoes!
Leah and Omid are very similar. Not just in terms of back-hair and penis size, but also in terms of Roast Battle history. Omid was one of the show’s earliest heroes, becoming a staple on the scene before going into a bit of a dormant period. Since his return, he has been a bit less consistent than he once was, but when he’s in the zone there’s not a lot of battlers in the world more lethal. His lazy stoner energy belies his incredibly efficient, oddball writing, and he’s responsible for some of the most intense moments of destruction in the show’s history. Leah came to the fold a bit later, and quickly asserted herself as a powerhouse roaster. Die-hard fans still remember her tournament run to become the #1 ranked battler back in 2016, a run of victories that I still consider to be the most impressive win streak in Roast Battle history. While she fights much less frequently these days, her three-round battle with Jonathan Rowell was a highlight of the last year and is a serious contender for the Battle of the Year Roastie. These two both have the potential to have a legendary bout tonight. Let’s see if they tap it.
After that, the hits keep on coming as Jamar Neighbors returns to the ring against Pat Barker!
What a toss-up. On one hand, you’ve got a fatherless mongrel who looks like he loves fried chicken. And on the other hand, there’s Jamar. In all seriousness, this is a match-up so good that anything I can write about it feels superfluous. Thousands of words have been written in this blog about Pat Barker’s battle prowess, and for good reason. He’s a phenomenal writer, a compelling presence on stage, and if not the greatest Roast Battler of all time, surely a name that comes up whenever the question is raised. Jamar, to his credit, has emerged over the past year as a hell of a battler. While he’s most known for his part in the infamous All-Negro Wave, legendary bouts with Joe Dosch, Guy Branum, and yours truly have cemented his place as a fighter to be feared. On an evening packed with star-power, this is my pick for fight of the night.
And to close it out, we’ve got a three-round battle between Alex Hooper and Toby Muresianu!
This show is literally the only place in the world these two humans would make sense being together. Toby looks like the accountant for the drug dealer that made Alex’s face look like that. I am absolutely fascinated to see how this fight shakes out. Hooper is the longest-reigning champion the show’s ever had, only recently losing his title in a valiant throw-down against New York’s Eli Sairs. He’s a bombastic, theatrical performer, embracing the anarchic punk-rock spirit of the show and using it as a smoke-screen while he throws punches that connect time and time again. Toby Muresianu, on the other hand, is an unassuming assassin the likes of which most people can’t understand until it is far too late. His jokes are surgical, every syllable of every word maximizing their stopping power. His lack of pretty much any interesting personal details is a tremendous advantage, as he is near impossible to find a good angle on. Toby gets slept on a bit in the discussion about the best Roast Battlers, but the man hasn’t lost a fight in two years. This is a battle between a showman and a technician, and it’ll be interesting to see how the crowd reacts.
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 10:30 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.