Normally our Roast Battle rankings meetings are pretty
subdued. We’ll go ten spots at a time, presenting our rankings and then
comparing and contrasting. If one person has a battler ranked 12, another might
have them at 13. Sometimes shit gets REALLY crazy and someone has them at 15!
But we’re all more or less on the same page. January 2017 was not most months.
There were a lot of things impacting the rankings this month. We had five
battlers drop out due to inactivity (goodbye, Rich Slaton, Evan Cassidy, Robbie
Kirkhuff, Sina Amedson, and April Lotshaw). Regional battles that were taped in
November finally counted towards the rankings this month. And then there was
the tournament. In season one, the 16-person Comedy Central tournament featured
two Belly Room regulars – Olivia Grace and Earl Skakel. This time around, half
of the field was made up of veterans from the Tuesday night show. How would
that impact things? Could reigning number one Alex Hooper lose his spot without
being officially beaten by the new top ranked battler? What’s an appropriate
new ranking for someone who entered the month at 31 (!) and then ran off five
straight wins en route to being crowned the new world champion? We sat down to
discuss these things, and after an hour or so of trying to find the correct
answers, I’m still not sure that we succeeded. Simply put, there is a LOT of
room for dissenting opinions in this month’s rankings. Let’s get into them.

1. Frank Castillo 13-9
2. Alex Hooper 13-4

 We normally sort the rankings in groups of ten,
but this month was so epic that we’ll start right here. After a nine-month
reign atop the leaderboards, Los Angeles champion Alex Hooper drops to number
two. Frank Castillo’s miraculous run to the Season Two title vaults him into
the top spot, a spot that he held over two years ago… before losing it to Alex
Hooper. Hooper remains The Champ, and there’s certainly an argument to be made
for him staying at number one. After all, his month included a regional win
over Joe Dosch, a first-round victory over Scott Chaplain, and a close defeat
to Matthew Broussard in the quarterfinals. Under any normal circumstances, a
2-1 month with three very solid television performances wouldn’t warrant a
drop. These are not normal circumstances though, and Frank’s 5-0 run included
wins over three top ten competitors and Broussard himself. As a result, Frank
jumps to the top of the leaderboard.

3. Earl Skakel 9-2-1
4. Pat Barker 11-4 

Earl Skakel falls a spot to number three after
being the only inactive member of the top ten in January. His rumored title
match with Hooper was put on the back-burner with the TV-dominated month, but
hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later. Pat Barker experienced the
biggest jump of anyone not in the tournament, as his preliminary victory over
Robin Tran and main event W over Connor McSpadden in the Belly Room made for
one hell of a month.

5. Joe Dosch 11-8-1
6. Olivia Grace 7-4-1

Joe and Olivia both made huge impressions on
Comedy Central and jump up as a result. Dosch had one of the best prelim
battles of the season with the loss to Hooper and then had a quality run to the
Final Four of the actual tournament, highlighted by a first-round decimation of
Leah Kayajanian. Although he lost to the eventual champ, Joe Dosch has to be
thrilled with how he came across on the biggest stage. Same goes for Olivia
Grace. She didn’t have quite the body of work, as she didn’t do a prelim battle
and exited one round earlier than Joe. Still, her two performances were both
flawless, and the argument that she deserved a win over Todd Barry raged
heavily on Twitter following the decision (and was fueled by Jason Reitman
later in the episode). Both of these battlers added to their legendary resumes
and showed the world what Roast Battle is really all about.

7. Toby Muresianu 8-3

The worst part about a month like this is that
someone like Toby experiences a precipitous drop despite dominating his only
battle. In his television debut, Muresianu delivered such a clear victory over
Omid Singh that even Metta World Peace couldn’t fuck up the decision. In any
other month, his unanimous victory would propel him even higher in the
rankings, but he falls victim to the rise of Frank, Pat, Joe, and Olivia and
drops four spots. Life isn’t fair, man. Sorry.

8. Anna Valenzuela 8-2 
9. Jay Light 12-9 
10. Connor McSpadden 9-4

Anna Valenzuela also delivered a month that
could have easily propelled her into the top five – a Belly Room victory over
Heather Marulli, a prelim win over Keith Carey, and a first-round W over Evan
Williams before an eventual loss to Castillo makes for one hell of a few weeks.
She becomes another victim of the numbers and only jumps from 13 to 8. However,
statistically, her 8-2 mark is the most impressive in the Top Ten, outside of Earl
Skakel. Jay Light suffers from a bit of the Toby Muresianu disease and takes a
significant step back from 6 to 9 despite crushing in the prelims (and losing
in the first round to the champ). Rounding out the top ten is Connor McSpadden,
another victim of the numbers game. McSpadden’s month featured a regional
victory over Leah Kayajanian and a close loss to Barker in a Belly Room
classic, and he almost falls out of the top ten as a result.

11. Kim Congdon 8-3
12. Doug Fager 6-4
13. Omid Singh 11-6 
14. Keith Carey 11-11 
15. Jeff Sewing 4-0-1
16. Tom Goss 5-4
17. Dan Nolan 8-5
18. Leah Kayajanian 7-8-1
19. Albert Escobedo 7-0
20. Rena Hundert 4-0

As we get out of the top ten, a little bit of
order is restored to the rankings. Kim Congdon jumps from 14 to 11 after her
regional win in Atlanta. Doug Fager drops a couple spots as a result of all the
movement around him. Omid Singh’s drop from 4 to 13 seems excessive, but the
combination of a clear loss on TV and the upward movement of everyone around
him results in the harsh fall. Keith Carey remains the hardest person to rank,
as the following things are both true – 1) Keith had three fantastic battles
this month and, you could argue, deserved to walk away with a couple of wins,
and 2) Keith went 0-3 this month. His record falls to 11-11, and he falls out
of the Top Ten because of it. After that, things go pretty much back to normal
as we get away from the television fallout. The only exception is Leah
Kayajanian, who had a very up-and-down January. She took an L to McSpadden in
the regionals, delivered a strong victory against Jonathan Rowell in a battle
that will probably be nominated for a Battle of the Year Roastie in July, and
then got beat soundly by Joe Dosch in the tournament. Based on the strength of
the first two performances (especially the second one), she only drops three
spots from 15 to 18. 

21. Jamar Neighbors 4-3
22. Robbie Goodwin 6-0
23. Stuart Thompson 5-4
24. Mike Schmidt 4-0
25. Jeanne Whitney 5-2  
26. Tony Bartolone 4-2
27. Ramsey Badawi 3-1
28. Alex Duong 5-5
29. Brent Duncan 5-2
30. Hormoz Rashidi 4-4-1

This bracket has the most stability,
thankfully. Jamar Neighbors’ wild Comedy Central win over Guy Branum jumps him
from 26 to 21, and Robbie Goodwin’s undefeated streak lands him at 22 after a
win over Jake Adams. Starting with Bartolone, the rest of the names here all
jumped 2-3 spots because of the people falling out for inactivity or dropping
in the ranks, which means returns to the top 30 for Brent Duncan and Hormoz
Rashidi. At least two of the names in this bracket are due to suffer similar
fates for Volume 12, as inactivity is set to bump Stuart Thompson and Hormoz.

31. Nicole Aimee Schreiber 3-0
32. Guam Felix 6-2 
33. Jacob Trimmer 3-0
34. Galina Rivina 3-1
35. Greg Roque 3-1 
36. Logan Guntzelman 3-0
37. Bryan Vokey 3-0
38. Leah Lamarr 3-0
39. David Deery 1-2-2
40. Nick Petrillo 4-3

After an impressive win in the Denver regionals
over Andy Haynes, Nicole Aimee Schreiber jumps from 42 to 31. Following her is
Guam Felix, who delivered a rare double-loss in his fight with Mark Stevens
this month and tumbled from 23 to 32. The numbers game plays out especially
well for Jacob Trimmer and Galina Rivina, who each move up an absurd six spots
despite taking the month off. Previously unranked Greg Roque slides in at 35
after making his TV debut with a loss to Frank Castillo and following that up
with a one-round main event win against Keith Carey. Logan Guntzelman, Bryan
Vokey, and Leah Lamarr all take huge leaps after running their records to 3-0,
and David Deery and Nick Petrillo round out the bracket with upward movement
despite not stepping in the ring.

41. Lonnie Johnson 3-1
42. Lindsey Jennings 3-5-1
43. Richie Gaines 4-2
44. Alfred Konuwa 3-2-1
45. Nat Baimel 1-3-1  
46. Mark Stevens 3-2
47. Eric Abbenante 2-0
48. Kayla Rosenberg 1-0-1
49. Rachel Mac 2-1
50. Jonathan Rowell 0-3-1

Speaking of 3-0 records, Lonnie Johnson lost his and falls
from 37 to 41. Lindsey Jennings, despite not having a winning record, always
delivers entertaining fights. She finally gets some recognition this month
after laying waste to Richie Gaines with a dominant performance. Richie falls
from 34 to 43 after the ass kicking. Nat Baimel makes his debut at 45 with a
resume similar to Lindsey’s – consistent stellar performances that usually
result in losses. Mark Stevens’ aforementioned double-loss drops him to 46, and
we close out with three new faces this month – Eric Abbenante (win over Kevin
McNamara), Rachel Mac (win over Danielle Perez), and Jonathan Rowell. Rowell
becomes the second winless battler to crack the Top 50 (David Deery was the
first), proving that records aren’t everything. Rowell’s epic main event with
Leah Kayajanian continued his insane fight card – he has now clashed with #18
Leah, #10 Connor McSpadden, #15 Jeff Sewing, and #27 Ramsey Badawi. Although
he’s never come out of a battle victorious, Rowell’s track record speaks for
itself and he deserves some recognition for making every single one of those
fights a classic. The committee had a number of deserving candidates for the
final few spots, and also has to recognize Sarah Keller, Carmen Morales, and
Lou Vahram, who ended up on the outside looking in after some intense debates.

And there you have it! The January 2017 rankings
are official. For record corrections, contact Jay Light, Pat Barker, Frank
Castillo, or Keith Carey. February is going to be another stacked month of
battles at The Comedy Store, so make sure you’re there live or watching on
Periscope every Tuesday night!

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