Verbal Violence was born on October 23, 2015. The first episode sits all the way at the bottom of the iTunes feed, and serves as a perfect symbol of how the show has evolved in the two-and-a-half years since. The episode’s run time is 20 minutes. It opens with a fragment of an undercard battle where Matthew Broussard and Sean O’Leary deliver one joke each. It immediately gets into the featured battle, where Frank Castillo and Jerron Horton discuss their fight from a few months prior. We listen to a round, they break the round down, and we move on to the next one. Lather, rinse, repeat, until you’re out in 20 minutes. No real introduction of who anyone is, no debates on social issues, and no Coach Tea putting on his devil’s advocate hat to talk about how racism is actually good. Given what the show would become over 100 episodes, listening back to this is weird.

As the show progressed, the in-studio conversations between Tea, Brian Moses, Frank, myself, and the guests emerged as a focal point of the show. The turning point for this was probably episode 24, when Dan Nolan came in and told enough great stories from his heroin using days to fill two entire episodes. From that point on, the guys put just as much emphasis on the non-battle stories of the guests as they did on the actual fights. Fast forward to episode 100, where Bri Pruett is able to carry two episodes without ever having battled in the Belly Room. Still, as much as the show grew in terms of conversation, it remained true to its original roots – the battles. The battles remain the backbone of the show, taking place during breaks in the conversations and keeping things cohesive.

With about 3-5 battles being featured per episode, I had more than enough ammo to take on the difficult task of coming up with the 100 greatest battles in the history of the podcast. What follows is my best attempt at tackling that assignment. A couple notes before I start – first off, these are not in any sort of order. It was hard enough coming up with the 100, and deciding whether or not a particular battle should be ranked 79 or 82 seemed particularly insane. Secondly, if you have a battle you feel should have been on the list… you’re probably right. I didn’t have time to go back and listen to 300-500 battles, so this is pretty much entirely from memory.

With Verbal Violence making the leap to the Starburns Audio Network recently, we’re reaching more ears than ever before. If you’re the owner of one (or two) of those new ears and want to check out the back catalogue for some classic fights, use this handy guide to figure out where to start.

THE ALL-TIME CLASSICS (THREE ROUNDS)

Classic undercards are tough – you need both parties to connect on three jokes apiece without a miss. Perfect one-round main events raise the stake to five jokes apiece. But a three-round main event requires both comics to deliver for a total of at least 18 jokes (or as many as 27 in one of these triple-OT bloodbaths). The Belly Room has featured a slew of great three-rounders in the nearly five years Roast Battle has existed, but these eight are the best of the best.

Pat Barker vs. Keith Carey – Episode 82

Olivia Grace vs. Leah Kayajanian – Episode 8

Nicole Becannon vs. Keith Carey – Episode 94

Pat Barker vs. Connor McSpadden – Episode 52

Leah Kayajanian vs. Jonathan Rowell – Episode 64

Keith Carey vs. Jay Light – Episode 20

Doug Fager vs. Pat Barker – Episode 53

Keith Carey vs. Connor McSpadden – Episode 55

THE ALL-TIME CLASSICS (ONE ROUND)

Jamar Neighbors vs. Joe Dosch – Episode 46

Kim Congdon vs. Dan Nolan – Episode 71

Robin Tran vs. Keith Carey – Episode 35 (or 46)

Pat Barker vs. Jamar Neighbors – Episode 86

Connor McSpadden vs. Jonathan Rowell – Episode 18

Jamar Neighbors vs. Keith Carey – Episode 86

Joe Dosch vs. Earl Skakel – Episode 23

Omid Singh vs. Dan Nolan – Episode 57

THE KIM CONGDON COLLECTION

Formerly ranked number one in Los Angeles, Kim Congdon now lives in New York where she continues her path of destruction at The Roastmasters show at The Stand. Before she moved, however, she delivered a ton of great battles. Here are a few.

Kim Congdon vs. Keith Carey – Episode 35

Kim Congdon vs. Connor McSpadden – Episode 31

Kim Congdon vs. Jay Light – Episode 20

THE DOUG FAGER COLLECTION

One of the most consistent performers in all of Roast Battle, Doug Fager rarely has a bad battle. Here are some of his best:

Doug Fager vs. Frank Castillo – Episode 32

Doug Fager vs. Omid Singh – Episode 12

Doug Fager vs. Alex Hooper – Episode 99

Doug Fager vs. Dan Nolan – Episode 68

THE DAN NOLAN COLLECTION

Do yourself a favor and just listen to episodes 24 and 25, which feature Dan’s entire insane life story and a bunch of his best fights. Do that. But if you don’t want to do that, here are a few really great battles to pick out.

Dan Nolan vs. Leah Kayajanian – Episodes 24, 25

Dan Nolan vs. Heather Marulli – Episode 100

Dan Nolan vs. Connor McSpadden – Episode 18

THE TOBY MURESIANU COLLECTION

He’s the current number one ranked LA battler. He hasn’t lost in almost three years. And he frankly doesn’t have as many great battles as some other comics because a lot of them are one-sided beatdowns. In the following three fights, however, his opponents came to play and took it right down to the wire.

Toby Muresianu vs. Alex Hooper – Episode 70

Toby Muresianu vs. Connor McSpadden – Episode 92

Toby Muresianu vs. Dave Sirus – Episode 70

THE RAMSEY BADAWI (WAIT, REALLY? YES, REALLY) COLLECTION

Hardcore Roast Battle fans know what Ramsey Badawi is capable of, but more casual observers may not be familiar with his overall track record of great battles. Familiarize yourself. Dude has some amazing fights. Here are three (with more to come later).

Ramsey Badawi vs. Jonathan Rowell – Episode 45

Ramsey Badawi vs. Jeff Sewing – Episode 26

Ramsey Badawi vs. David Deery – Episode 15

GENDER WARS

Excuse the clickbait title. “Gender wars” might be a bit extreme. Still, these are some of the all-time best battles featuring a man versus a woman.

Anna Valenzuela vs. Alex Duong – Episode 30

Bryan Vokey vs. Katie Hannigan – Episode 83

Mike Lawrence vs. Annie Lederman – Episode 9

Rachel Mac vs. Jeff Sewing – Episode 91

Alex Hooper vs. Leah Kayajanian – Episode 77

THE REMAINING SEVEN

I found nifty categories for the first 37 main events (and some more to follow). Here are seven awesome extended fights that don’t fit anywhere but are still crazy entertaining.

Frank Castillo vs. Tom Goss – Episode 37

Joe Dosch vs. Rich Slaton – Episode 11

Jay Light vs. Tom Goss – Episode 37

Jeff Sewing vs. Jacob Trimmer – Episode 91

Anna Valenzuela vs. Rena Hundert – Episode 17

Bryan Vokey vs. Jeff Sewing – Episode 97

Tony Bartolone vs. Quentin Moscaritolo – Episode 38

THE GREATEST UNDERCARDS

All of the battles listed above were main events, whether of the one or three round varities. Sometimes, however, the appetizer is better than the main course and the battle of the night takes place on the undercards. Here are some of the most epic short battles in the history of the podcast.

Nicole Becannon vs. Leah Lamarr – Episode 30

Isaac Hirsch vs. Katrina Davis – Episode 96

John-Michael Bond vs. Carmen Morales – Episode 47

Matt LeGrande vs. Logan Guntzelman – Episode 65

Lindsey Jennings vs. Dan Nolan – Episode 42

Sina Amedson vs. Tom Goss – Episode 6

Lindsey Jennings vs. Sarah Keller – Episode 59

Tony Asar vs. Lonnie Johnson – Episode 22

Heather Marulli vs. Danielle Perez – Episode 33

Madison Sinclair vs. Mike Schmidt – Episode 31

Joe Eurell vs. Haiti – Episode 61

Robin Tran vs. April Lotshaw – Episode 27

Sarah Keller vs. David Deery – Episode 59

Justine Marino vs. Nicole Aimee Schreiber – Episode 41

Caesar Lizardo vs. Mark Stevens – Episode 81

Joe Eurell vs. April Lotshaw – Episode 100

Logan Guntzelman vs. Brendan Cooney – Episode 64

Nicole Becannon vs. Dan Nolan – Episode 33

Carmen Morales vs. Brett Erickson – Episode 68

Joe Eurell vs. Sarah Keller – Episode 59

Sharon Houston vs. Movses Shakarian – Episode 93

Joe Eurell vs. Danielle Perez – Episode 56

HISTORICAL CONTEXT BATTLES

All of these battles come with some sort of asterisk – something that made them noteworthy beyond just being great battles. In some of the cases, the battles aren’t even that good, they’re just so historically significant that they warrant a mention.

Alex Hooper vs. Pat Barker – Episode 49 (Title Match where Hooper pushes the boundaries in terms of costume and presentation)

Doug Fager vs. Tony Bartolone – Episode 38 (The infamous match where Bartolone delivers the greatest intro of all-time and battles inside a trash can)

Earl Skakel vs. Keith Carey – Episode 23 (On a night where two main events dropped out, Skakel and Carey agreed to a main event fight and wrote all their jokes on about 20 minutes notice)

Kim Congdon vs. Luis J. Gomez – Episode 56 (The opening battle of LA vs. NY II, this was a fun battle where the end result was Congdon moving across the country to be in a relationship with Gomez. To the best of my knowledge, that’s the only time that’s happened at Roast Battle)

Guy Branum vs. Joe Dosch – Episode 10 (From Jason Reitman’s Roast Battle film, this is the first battle I can remember that featured a Battle Regular in Dosch going against a big name from outside the show’s ranks in Branum)

Doug Fager vs. Toby Muresianu – Episodes 28, 32 (The battle is actually pretty straight-forward here, but the judging decision segment cemented one battler as a legend and started a trend that still continues today)

Olivia Grace vs. Ashley Barnhill – Episode 9 (Also from Reitman’s film, this was the single greatest star-making performance in Roast Battle history)

Lindsey Jennings vs. Richie Gaines – Episode 42 (A master class in why you should never battle someone you’ve had sex with)

Heather Marulli vs. Ernie Stone – Episode 17 (See above)

Lindsey Jennings vs. Jeanne Whitney – Episode 44 (You’re gonna need to listen to the entire episode to get the historical context here. Trust me, it’s worth it)

Jay Light vs. Kevin McNamara – Episode 69 (This battle is the only time I can remember a battler challenging a judge to a fight and getting it. Be careful what you wish for…)

Saudi Prince vs. Skippy Greene – Episode 15 (The only character battle in the history of the show, featuring our beloved Saudi Prince)

Mike Lawrence vs. Guy Branum – Episode 16 (Before winning Season One on Comedy Central, Mike Lawrence did a couple of full three-round battles in the Belly Room. This is the best one, hands down)

Eli Sairs vs. JP McDade – Episode 16 (The only battle from the Roastmasters in New York to ever air on the podcast. It’s an absolute classic)

Jimmy Carr vs. Matthew Broussard – Episode 19

Sarah Tiana vs. K. Trevor Wilson – Episode 21 (Both of the above battles play like a dress rehearsal for Season One on Comedy Central – before all four competitors were selected for that tournament, they faced off in an untelevised tournament at the Montreal Comedy Festival)

Mike Schmidt vs. Katrina Davis – Episode 96 (Schmidt’s approach to the recent tournament we had was truly something special, as he went after everyone in the room)

Joe Dosch vs. Pete Cornacchione – Episode 11 (One of the original tournament battles, this one can’t be decided in regulation so we get a bizarre overtime involving comedy GOAT Dave Chappelle)

SUPER OLD SCHOOL BATTLES YOU PROBABLY FORGOT HAPPENED

Omid Singh vs. Keith Carey – Episode 3

Joe Dosch vs. Alex Hooper – Episode 2

Pat Barker vs. Frank Castillo – Episode 6

Keith Carey vs. Olivia Grace – Episode 5

Frank Castillo vs. Jerron Horton – Episode 1

Dan Nolan vs. Eric Carter – Episode 16

Jay Light vs. Doug Fager – Episode 4

ONE HIT WONDERS

All of these battles feature dynamic performances from battlers we never saw again (or in a couple of cases, saw once more and then they disappeared).

Felicia Folkes vs. Nicole Becannon – Episode 17

Brandi Denise vs. Jasmin Leigh – Episode 88

Lauren Davis vs. Katrina Davis – Episode 53

Ricky Macias vs. Frank Estrada – Episode 60

Sarah Afkami vs. Jil Chrissie – Episode 63

Hana Michels vs. Danielle Perez – Episode 63

Gary Curtis vs. Marquez Acuna – Episode 73

Eric Laempart vs. Sameer Suri – Episode 80

Stoner Rob vs. Silvia Saige – Episode 85

So there you have it! Drop whatever you’re doing now, carve out roughly 25 free uninterrupted hours, and treat yourself to 100 of the best fights Verbal Violence has to offer.

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