by Jay Light
The 2nd Annual Roastie Awards are right around the corner! While the live show takes the week off to go make some TV magic happen in Montreal, we’ll be honoring the best of this year’s Roast Battles. Since last summer, the show has exploded in popularity, with audiences flocking to see a wave of new competitors – and a stable of old favorites – putting up their verbal dukes every week. The voting is closed, so let’s take a look at the awards contenders one last time before the winners are announced this Tuesday.
UNDERCARD OF THE YEAR
- Joe Dosch vs. Earl Skakel
- Tom Goss vs. Sina Amedson
- April Lotshaw vs. Robin Tran
- Greg Roque vs. Joe Eurell
- Connor McSpadden vs. Jonathan Rowell
- Anna Valenzuela vs. April Lotshaw
This category honors the year’s most memorable one-rounders. April Lotshaw makes two appearances, Roast Battle’s one-time foray into Murderball territory brings perennial favorite Joe Eurell some recognition, and two strong battles from top 20 battlers Tom Goss and Connor McSpadden make a case for top 20 contenders to swing outside their weight class occasionally. However, my pick for the category champ goes to Joe Dosch and Earl Skakel. Their battle was so good it completely eclipsed the main event that had to follow them, plus it featured the incredible tag-team trashing of judge Joe DeRosa. If they don’t win in a landslide, I’ll be shocked.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
- Tony Bartolone
- Dan Nolan
- The Saudi Prince
- Jeff Sewing
- Anna Valenzuela
This category honors the best newcomers to step into the ring, and boy, is this category stacked. Jeff Sewing and Tony Bartolone proved that Roast Battle is one sport where fat guys with glasses won’t get picked last, Anna Valenzuela showed that some of the show’s best female contenders know how to strike like a man, and junkie underdog Dan Nolan has done an impressive ten battles in almost as many months, proving how easy it is to become a workhorse once you’re off the horse. However, my guess is that victory goes to The Saudi Prince, a Haters’ table addition and one-time battler who has been a true revelation. His money-fueled venom is always hilarious, and I hope that he buys me that Bentley he promised me for my vote.
COMEBACK OF THE YEAR
- Sina Amedson: “I’d rather be a suicide bomber than someone who bombs at suicide.” vs. Tom Goss
- Ramsey Badawi: “Robin’s just mad because my Middle Eastern family refuses to mutilate her genitals.” vs. Robin Tran
- Pat Barker: “You’re right Keith, my baby did die before it was born. Which means that me and your father have spent the exact same amount of time with our children.” vs. Keith Carey
- Tony Bartolone: “I may live in my uncle’s shack, but at least I don’t live in Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” vs. Terrence Newman
- Keith Carey: “Joe and my mom are both disgusting alcoholics. The only difference is one funny thing came out of my mom.” vs. Joe Dosch
- Tom Goss: “Jay, if I try to kill myself again it’ll be right here, knowing that the most stage time you get that week will be cleaning up my body.” vs. Jay Light
- Lindsey Jennings: “You’re right Mark. I do have a lot of holes in my body. Too bad your dick isn’t big enough to fill any of them.” vs. Mark Stevens
- Dan Nolan: “I’ve lost a lot friends to heroin. Connor’s lost a lot of friends ever since his parents got rid of the trampoline.” vs. Connor McSpadden
- Nick Petrillo: “I may live on a couch but you’re exactly like a couch. Covered in animal fur and everyone’s wondering how you’re gonna fit through the door.” vs. Tim Groeschel
- Earl Skakel: "Wow, that joke lasted longer than your first marriage.” vs. Jesse Joyce
This category honors the best retorts battlers have uncorked in the heat of the moment. It’s got a ton of excellent options, including a couple of jokes that may wind up on TV tomorrow night when Road to Roast Battle premieres and shows off what the LA competitors are capable of. Also notable are some inclusions from new battlers like Ramsey Badawi, Lindsey Jennings, and Nick Petrillo, all of whom have made a splash in the ring in their first year fighting. Ultimately, I think the winner will be Pat’s miscarriage rebuttal. While he had no comeback the first time that the event was brought up, he was ready for Keith’s slams with an even harder joke of his own.
JUDGE OF THE YEAR
- Dave Chappelle
- Tony Hinchcliffe
- Moshe Kasher
- Mike Lawrence
- The Sklar Brothers
This category honors our favorite panelists who graced the VIP section this year. For those of you wondering why the Roastmaster General didn’t get a nod, we just think that Jeff Ross is the Judge of the Century, especially since he’s taken on more of an advisory role as the show has grown up. The picks here are all TV-ready – Moshe and the Sklars both make appearances on Road to Roast Battle, Mike and Tony are both battling in Montreal, and Dave Chappelle is Dave goddamn Chappelle. This category is a nailbiter, but my pick goes to the Sklar Brothers, who are frequent members of the firing squad, bringing sportscaster savvy and twin-mind wit to the proceedings every time they show up.
CRAZIEST MOMENT OF THE YEAR
- Jim Carrey shows up to judge
- Pete C. and Joe Dosch roast Dave Chappelle on stage as a tiebreaker
- Earl Skakel vs. Keith Carey Surprise Battle
- Doug Fager takes down Tony Hinchcliffe
- Earl Skakel and Joe Dosch take down Joe Derosa
This category honors the moments that made our jaws drop. On a show that’s worthy of a weekly highlight reel, this was not an easy category to vote for. However, if I had to pick a winner, I’d go with the impromptu tiebreaker roast of Dave Chappelle. Pete and Joe faced down a living legend and talked shit to his face. It was so good, we’re not even allowed to have video of it. How crazy is that?
UPSET OF THE YEAR
- Pete C. over Kim Congdon
- David Deery over Dan Nolan
- Alex Hooper over Guy Branum
- Toby Muresianu over Keith Carey
- Hormoz Rashidi over Jay Light
This category honors the best underdog moment, when top contenders just couldn’t keep up with their scrappy opponents. My loss to Hormoz Rashidi slides in here, along with fellow Roast Report staffer Keith Carey in his surprise loss to Toby Muresianu. Pete C. crushing Kim Congdon in the tournament was a battle months in the making, while David Deery snatching his first victory saw mere weeks of prep before David felled Heroin Goliath. Ultimately, I think the winner will be Alex Hooper’s smackdown of Guy Branum. Guy has been nothing short of stellar in his previous appearances, and his Roast Battle demeanor is among the scariest a competitor can face. However, Alex showed no fear, dismantling Guy for the cameras with his trademark frantic energy. It was a remarkable – and possibly award-winning – performance.
BATTLE OF THE YEAR
- Pat Barker vs. Keith Carey
- Tony Bartolone vs. Quentin Moscaritolo
- Leah Kayajanian vs. Olivia Grace
- Omid Singh vs. Kim Congdon
- Keith Carey vs. Jay Light
This category honors the best main event to hit the ring. Again, this category is stacked from top to bottom. Leah versus Olivia was the battle so nice they did it twice, Omid and Kim was one of the best guy-on-girl fights the show has ever done, and Tony’s takedown of Quentin brought newcomer’s energy to the main events in a way we haven’t seen in a while. Though I want to pick my battle against Keith as the winner, after Keith and Pat battled, I think they will be the consensus pick. If you didn’t vote for them, it’s probably safe to assume that you somehow didn’t watch what is obviously the best battle in Roast Battle history to date.
JOKE OF THE YEAR
- Keith Carey: “Olivia was raped by a black man. On the plus side, now all we owe him is the forty acres.” vs. Olivia Grace
- Joe Dosch: “Earl’s friends with Rob Schneider, and he’s the Rob Schneider to Rob Schneider.” vs. Earl Skakel
- Doug Fager: “If Dr. Seuss wrote a book about Jerron Horton’s childhood. it’d be called ‘Horton’s Father is Who?’” vs. Jerron Horton
- Tom Goss: “Jay’s smile looks like a Craigslist pussy.” vs. Jay Light
- Jay Light: “Keith is putting his album on vinyl, because the only way his mom will listen is if she can use a needle.” vs. Keith Carey
- April Lotshaw: “Robin’s the only girl who bleeds monthly from her wrists.” vs. Robin Tran
- Connor McSpadden: “There’s a lot of places Robin can’t go now that she’s transgender; like heaven.” vs. Robin Tran
- Toby Muresianu: “Women should watch their drinks around Doug, because he’ll drink them and then rape you the old fashioned way.” vs. Doug Fager
- Dan Nolan: “When Pat lost his child to a miscarriage last year, there was nothing funny about it. Which is how Pat knew he was the father.” vs. Pat Barker
- Mike Schmidt: “I guessed Heather’s iPhone passcode. It was the last four digits of her weight.” vs. Heather Marulli
- Jeff Sewing: “You look like Jason Biggs if the pie gave him AIDS.” vs. Jonathan Rowell
This category honors the “verbal” part of verbal violence, showing off some of the best lines that battlers have spit in the ring. We’ve got a healthy mix of newcomers and old-timers in this category, and every joke nominated is as creative as it is cutting. If I had to pick a winner, I’d pick myself! First of all, that needle joke went through so many iterations before I got it right, but furthermore, I’m not going to win any other categories, and I could use a nonexistent trophy to put on the mantle above the fireplace I don’t have.
BATTLER OF THE YEAR
- Pat Barker
- Keith Carey
- Alex Hooper
- Leah Kayajanian
- Dan Nolan
- Earl Skakel
This category honors the year’s top battlers. Two-thirds of these nominees battled for the Comedy Central taping, Pat Barker got a job writing for HBO because of this show, and even Rookie of the Year nominee Dan Nolan makes an appearance here as one of the most promising young fighters in the game. It’s almost impossible to pick a winner here, but in the end, I’m going with our House Hater and one of LA’s Montreal entrants, Earl Skakel. Earl went from not being a roaster to being one of the stars of Comedy Central’s new favorite miniseries. That alone should cement him as Battler of the Year.
But what do I know, anyway? Stay tuned to see the winners announced this Tuesday!