It’s a rowdy, sold-out crowd ready to start the New Year right with some red hot battles. Unfortunately, they got these three battles. The first battle features two Mexican dudes. To be honest, I’m not sure what ethnicity they are, but we’re in Los Angeles so they’re Mexican. Our panel of judges is pretty diverse tonight featuring Jeff Ross, Nicole Aimee, Bruce Jingles and Brad Williams. That’s two Jews, a black guy and a midget.

Johnny Roque is brought to the stage first and lays out his beef with Martin Rizo. He explains that Rizo fucked his friend’s cousin. Martin joins Johnny onstage to dispute the claims, and they show some potential in the pre-roast banter. Roque kicks us off and his first joke gets a decent response from the Roast Battle fans. Martin asks if he’s supposed to go next and that’s when it is clear this battle is in trouble. Rizo’s first joke is a one-two punch that bombs twice. Then he tries to save it by adding another joke, which bombs even harder. Johnny Roque gets the rooom rockin’ with his second joke:

“Martin Rizo looks like he’s in his transitioning period, but got bored.”

That is easily the best joke of the battle, which doesn’t say much for the battle overall. Martin’s next joke does the best of all his jokes, but it still kinda bombs. It is punctuated with a haphazard tag that sucks the air out of the room. Johnny’s last joke does ok, but overall the battle is a dud. Or how they say it in Mexico: Tanto pedo para que salgatan agaudo. Johnny Roque gets the win, and they go to the back where they’re met by ICE agents who usher them into a truck and out of the country. Well, they kicked Johnny out, while Martin is in a cage in San Diego. If anybody thinks this is fucked up, I would like to direct you to Romans 13 in the New Testament: “Obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.”

Tim McGorry is brought to the stage wearing a tuxedo and cubs hat.

“You look like both guys from Tenacious D.” – Jeff Ross

Victor Martinez Jr. joins him onstage and volunteers to go first:

“Tim McGorry kinda reminds me of Kiefer Sutherland if he ate all the lost boys.”

“You look like Rachel Maddow if she was stung by a thousand bees.”

“Thank you, Yawn Candy. Tim McGorry hosts a Twitch channel out of the Comedy Store basement. If you subscribe, you’ll just see him twitching down there because he O-fuckin-D’d.”

“Solid stuff, bud. Victor, or as his in-laws call him: the monster that destroyed my only daughter’s life… You look like, uh, you look like doctors had to explain to you that you don’t eat your kid after it’s born.”

“Very funny, Chris Fart-ley. Listen man… Tim, I think you’d be funnier if you didn’t snort your best lines in the fuckin’ bathroom.”

“I can’t afford cocaine. Your uh, your baby mama’s white, your Mexican, that kid’s gonna be so confused. He’s gonna wanna build Trump’s wall then eat his way through it.”

This battle is a little better than the first battle, but not that much better. It’s worth noting Tim is pretty fun to watch, despite his rambling intro. Perhaps he’s still riding the confidence boost from his last big win over Zach Stein, and he’s prepared for stiffer competition. If he cuts the “uh’s” out of his delivery and strengthens his joke writing a touch, he’ll be quite the roast warrior. The Roast Master General agrees:

“I feel if you put your mind to it, you can clobber at this.” – Jeff Ross

McGorry picks up another win, and goes back to dealing blackjack at whatever weird underground casino he works out. Victor Martinez is hauled onto a truck like at the end of Free Willy, and shipped straight back to Mexico.

It’s time for out main event! It’s a one-round, five-joke match up of Los Angeles versus New York. Joel Walkowski enters first repping the East Coast, followed by Zach Stein for the West Coast (even though he’s technically from Michigan).

“Stein-y, you look like you’re allergic to cum.” – Nicole Aimee

“Strongly not the case.” – Zach Stein

Both competitors seem confident yet loose, with a little dose of pathetic charm. Zach goes for first joke and we’re underway:

“Joel’s a sweet romantic. He got divorced, but he’ll tell ya he lost not only his wife but his best friend too that day… That day when his wife fucked his best friend.”

“Thank you, Hugo Boss Baby. Zach’s parents are Detroit-area business owners and Zach frequents African-American prostitutes. I guess he just wanted to follow in their footsteps and fuck the black community.”

“And employ them. Speaking of parents, Joel’s mom was a special ed teacher and his dad goes by Banjo Bob. I don’t totally get how those create this, but it definitely involved a gypsy telling them to be careful what they wished for.”

Finally, a good fight seems to be developing. Stein has the edge so far, especially with his snappy comeback about employing the black community proving to be an effective counter-punch. Joel is still in it, landing some big shots of his own.

“Zach once threw a rock through a synagogue window on Yom Kippur. When he told me that I was like, ‘Jesus Christ! I didn’t know you were funny.”

“It was pretty funny. Joel, you tall drink of vaccines… The, uh, dude that porked his Muslim wife, uh, he’s now a world champion mustache grower, and Joel shaved his ‘stache just this week. This guy has cucked you out of a marriage and a mustache. Frankly, I’m just concerned about what you’re gonna do if he gets brain damage. He’s retarded!”

Zach stumbles with this attempt, punctuating with a frustrated explanation that sorta salvages his effort. Walkowski stays in the pocket and fires back.

“I had a mustache and Zach has a beard, um… Zach’s girlfriend is a more successful comic than him. So between Comedy Central and your dick, she’s been on two things that make millions laugh.”

“Yeah, my girlfriend’s funnier than me, I don’t care, I like to laugh. And Joel, I think we can find a girl that’s funnier than you too. I don’t know, (points to girl in audience) her probably.”

Zach is making up for his last underwhelming joke with some off the cuff jabs. Let’s see if he can pull it together for his pre-written material.

“Joel used to work writing product descriptions for sex toys, but he was too- he was deemed too reliant on the phrase, ‘Pick up the body first.’ I fucked it up! I fucked it up, it was better, I swear, but I’m just an idiot. Anyway, hey Joel.”

I have to admit, I’ve gone over the audio numerous times and still can’t quite decipher what the punchline of this joke is. Regardless of what it’s supposed to be, Zach might have blown it with this fumble.

“Yeah, you like the kid from A Christmas Story if the audience wanted him to put the gun in his mouth. Zach has a drinking problem. His liver is so black and devastated, he gave it $80 for a blow job.”

Joel sneaks in two jokes on this turn, a tactic that is pretty common for New York style battles. The only way it’s regulation in LA is if the first joke is considered a rebuttal, which doesn’t really work in this case. However, the second joke is probably the joke of the night because of its brevity, clarity and undeniable reception. Zach Stein has one last chance to land a knock out punch.

“Those are Puerto Rican prices. Joel also had a failed engagement, not just a marriage, I’m not surprised though. He proposed at a restaurant in public while wearing a gorilla costume. He got down on one knee and said, ‘Baby, this ring is embedded with a ground up Jenga piece from our first date. I am wearing a gorilla costume. You can either say yes or look like you’re a cunt to retards.”

“That joke had the same structure as a Jenga game, um… I met Zach doing comedy in the great city of Detroit, Michigan. And you know, Zach’s a lot like the city of Detroit: broke, in recovery and according to economists, annually supports ten thousand prostitutes.”

After that last underwhelming joke we should send Zach back to Detroit, which is almost as satisfying as deporting somebody to a third world country. In spite of his failed attempts, Stein’s interstitial riffs keep the battle entertaining and competitive throughout. What should’ve been a slaughter based on Zach’s last three jokes, turns out to be a fun back-and-forth fight (albeit a sloppy a one). I never doubted these two could have a sloppy blow-for-blow.

“Zach, I never knew you were so cool.” – Nicole Aimee

“They both brought jokes, but only Joel brought Woody Harrelson’s outfit from White Men Can’t Jump.” – Brad Williams

Joel Walkowski cleans up on judges’ votes, despite one contrarian drop-in vote from Tony Hinchcliffe. Jeff Ross questions Zach Stein about what happened during his performance.

“Nah, I fucked up pretty hard there, Jeff.” – Zach Stein

Zach gets one more big laugh, but Joel secures the win. First night of the New Year is in the books. See you next Tuesday!

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