A cross-section crowd sizzles with anticipation as the energy in the Belly Room swells to turgid proportions. The room is warm, but this crowd is hot and ready to laugh. Is the battler encouraged by the hot crowd or are they afraid that if they fail in front of a ready-made audience that they REALLY don’t have it? Maybe both.
The judges are in their seats ready slice and dice like a new Slap Chop if it’s bad, and to reinforce the work of the worthy writer if it’s good. Tonight’s judges include Mike Feeney, Brad Williams, Kurt Metzger, and of course, the Roastmaster himself, Jeff Ross. The familiar chants of “BATTLE!” echo all the way down the steps as the man, Brian Moses, comes to the stage to introduce our first two battlers, Gianmarco Soresi and Jessica Inserra. Gianmarco decides to lead off:
“Jessica is an Italian lesbian, and her girlfriend was straight until she met Jessica and realized she’s not attracted to men, she’s attracted to mustaches.”
“You look like what would happen if Jeff Goldblum fucked the candle from Beauty & The Beast.”
“Jessica works at a center for plastic surgery but almost got fired once for wearing blackface. Thankfully it turned out a surgeon had just marked all the places that need work.”
“You’re the type of guy who will, one day, tell his unsuspecting wife, ‘Honey, we have AIDS.’”
“Jessica is so hard on herself. She’s always beating herself up, but she can’t help it Italians hate gay people.”
“You’re so effeminate, I would fuck you.”
That is how you start off a roast battle. While everything worked, the Beauty and the Beast joke and blackface joke really explode the room and have the judges doubled over before tacking on a couple jokes of their own:
“You look like a meth user rrrrriiiiiigggghhttt before she stops being hot.” – Brad Williams.
“It’s razor close, it’s as sharp as [Gianmarco’s] Adam’s apple. You could slice garlic with that thing.” – Mike Feeney
This was a very evenly matched battle, but we demand a victor. The audience gives just a little more love to Jessica. Let’s hope we see both of these battlers on stage again soon.
Next up we have our second virgin suicide between Caroline Georges and Ryan Joseph. After a little pre-round banter, the stage is set.
“Ryan was molested as a child because even pedophiles get desperate sometimes.”
“Caroline’s breasts are so small, the only thing you can motorboat are the bags under her eyes.”
“Ryan works at home in his basement for his day job, which is nice because it lets him stay close to his victims.”
“People say Caroline is bulimic, but really she’s just stressed out about how fat she is.”
“Ryan’s sister died of a drug overdose – her drug of choice was Ryan holding a pillow over her face. Ryan’s sister was so beautiful, I can see why he still wears her face.”
“Although Caroline is a diseased whore, there’s still time to settle down and start a family. She just has to find a guy who wants a baby with herpes.”
I didn’t think another couple of first-timers could follow the opening battle, but this was another great fight. Caroline’s hazy innocence versus Ryan’s sinister deadpan work perfectly with their well-crafted jokes. While they both had a heck of a battle, the “motorboat” and “bulimic” joke get the biggest pops, in part due to Ryan’s commitment to his character (God let’s hope it’s a character). Ryan narrowly takes the win, and we are officially 4 for 4 on first-timer talent this week. Can we keep it up?
Up next, we have Robert Zapata versus Jamario McClain.
“Robert, if you’re here right now, who’s in the kitchen making the empanadas? The empanadas are sweating.”
“Jamario looks like he buys his Afro Sheen at the 99 Cent Store.”
“Robert’s been doing comedy 22 years. He’s not scared to follow any comedian. Too bad he can’t follow instructions on how to enter the US legally… make some noise for this motherfucker.”
“Jamario has two baby mommas. That’s why he fucks pregnant women, to keep his numbers down.”
“Look how small he is. Don’t he remind you of one of the kids separated from their parents at the immigration detention center? He was sleeping in aluminum foil last night. “
“Jamario is tall, dark and not so handsome. That’s it.”
As far as bad battles go, this was not bad to watch. What made it fun was that they told bad jokes, but with the swagger of good jokes, and that’s fuckin’ hilarious, because where is it coming from? I know people who tell great jokes and still feel like shit about them. Jamario moves to a 1-5 record with his first win, and Robert finds out that the learning curve comes in the shape of an L with a loss in his first battle. But I honestly look forward to seeing what these guys bring next. Roast Battle ain’t easy.
In our last undercard of the night, we have Belly Room regulars Sarah Fatemi versus Tim McGorry.
“Timothy only shops at CVS because the receipts are the only thing long enough to wipe his asscrack with.”
“I only steal from Target. You look like America’s youngest divorced person.”
“Thank you, Larry the Unstable Guy. Timothy refuses to eat ass. Tossing is too much physical labor, and salad isn’t part of his diet.”
“You look like your blood type is field hockey goalie.”
“Timothy, you look like a Nazi who kills Jews by eating them. I can’t imagine what your gas chamber must smell like.”
“Must have lost those laughs in the travel ban. Looks like Sarah is still wearing her Halloween costume, Fran Drescher having a severe allergic reaction to all of that makeup.”
This battle was a Toyota Corolla. It was sturdy, not a lot of flash, but it got the job done. The opening sequence with the CVS joke/Target comeback didn’t land, but then things started to pick up with tossing salad/field hockey. These two have plenty of talent. The next step is consistency. Although Timothy gets more praise from the judges, Sarah ultimately takes the audience vote.
Now on to our first of two main events: Deirdre Devlin versus Julian Fernandez.
“Deirdre you look like a trophy wife if the trophy was for participation.”
“Really Julian? It looks like you won a participation trophy the first time u ate pussy, also by the way what’s up with your hair, it looks like ramen noodles drenched in my shit! Julian you look like Dwayne Johnson if he ate everything the rock was cooking.”
“Deirdre is very attractive! she has a body that just won’t quit and a face that’s been retired for years!”
Good one coming from a guy who looks like he bleeds Hawaain punch. Julian is non-binary, which is ironic because he only fucks zeroes and ones.”
“Thank you mediocre Mrs Maisel! Deirdre once let a dog eat her pussy. It’s not considered animal cruelty cause dogs love the taste of vomit!
Julian that dog’s made more people cum than you ever will. This is true guys, Julian has a bar code tattoo on his wrist so white people can scan him out at Home Depot.”
“Thank you Rick Moranis in drag. Right now, Deirdre is between jobs which can be a real struggle. I’d say keep your chin up, but first you would need one!”
“This is true guys, Julian paid $400 to lose his virginity, it’s the most expensive minute of his life.
You look like Ms. Frizzle if the magic school bus is where she fucked her students!”
“Julian is such a bitch T.I. brings him to the gyno every year to make sure his hymen is still intact.”
This was a back and forth tennis match. Both battlers returned every volley before the ball could hit the ground. They are at a place in their Roast Battle career where they aren’t just hearing their own jokes, they are hearing their opponent’s and are able to turn on them and think off the cuff. While they both get consistently good pops throughout, Deirdre’s “zeroes and ones” joke absolutely destroys and the shit joke is just bananas. Devlin gets the win, but it’s obvious that you can trust both of these battlers with the stage.
Closing out the night we have true OG battler Josh Waldron versus Greg Roque, a guy who has quickly turned into a Roast Battle vet in his own right.
“Josh is from the Bay Area. So I won’t call him gay, I’ll be PC and use the right terminology and refer to him as ‘hella gay.’”
“I might look gay, but at least my legs are straight. Greg used to be able to walk but he tried molly and the rolling never stopped.”
“It’s funny that you’re making fun of my wheelchair because you got eliminated from AGT so you’re used to losing to disabled comics. Josh told me he’s bad at jacking off. Which explains why he’s a dick who rubs people the wrong way.”
“Okay, so seriously, Greg lost use of his legs after getting hit by a bus. It’s very Mean Girls. Not the movie, it’s very mean, girls won’t have sex with him.”
“Josh couldn’t enter the military because, look at him, so now he works as a waiter. He’s not a marine, but he still serves and gets yelled at by Middle Eastern families.”
“Hey Greg, at least you get to remind people of their favorite X-Men. You know, the one with the power to make people feel bad for using their legs.”
“Your mutant power is AIDS. With that haircut you look like a samurai whose only move is sexual assault. Speaking of sexual assault and bad haircuts, Josh had sex with a trans woman. So in both cases, his head is under a man bun.”
“Greg used to be able to walk, but his legs sent an unsolicited dick pic and they got cancelled.”
“Did you guys know that I used to be able to walk? After the trans woman tricked you into a hand job how does it feel to get beaten by someone who pees sitting down? Josh is a Mexican who was tricked into having sex with a trans woman. I doubt he’s really Mexican because he can’t tell a good taco from leftover chorizo.”
“Greg has a Jewish girlfriend, she’s perfect for him since he’s half off.”
It’s always a good time watching these two on stage, even when it wasn’t a perfect battle.
There were a couple of jokes that didn’t bang for both battlers, but it’s easy to forget when you’ve got two experienced battlers fighting; they don’t let a joke not working affect the rest of their battle. We’ve seen these guys hit some pretty high heights on stage, but this one didn’t quite get there. Josh’s “Mean Girls” joke didn’t land with the audience, and Greg felt a little more formulaic than usual, but when I can say that and still think “good battle,” it speaks to the ability of the battlers.
Til next week, roast fans!