Wednesday night in Montreal at the Just for Laughs Festival, Comedy Central pulled into town to transform Los Angeles’ Roast Battle into a big network event. The show that taped last night will air tonight, Thursday July 28th on Comedy Central at 10pm et. Everyone wanted a ticket to watch last night’s battle with matchups pitting Sarah Tiana v Chris Cubas, Tom Ballard v Earl Skakel, Sam Morril v Steve Rannazzisi (also known as the 9-11 vs rape match) and the main event, Christi Chiello v Jimmy Carr. The winners of the first show (which of course we won’t spoil) will advance to the next round. Jeffrey Ross was joined by the superstar power of Kevin Hart and David Spade and there were some other big players around the room- Judd Apatow, Anthony Jeselnik, J.B. Smoove, Jay Pharoah and Rich Vos to name a few.
When you think of roasting, and especially Roast Battle, affection and delight are probably not the first adjectives that spring to mind. But, as Roastmaster General Jeffrey Ross always says, “We only roast the ones we love.” In that spirit, we’d like to introduce you to a few of the Roast Battle characters from the first night of Quarter Finals that you will absolutely fall in love with.
Christi Chiello, Battler. This relatively young NYC comic is ranked as a long shot underdog against last year’s Roastmasters Invitational champ Jimmy Carr. She’s a veteran of the Roastmasters Series at The Stand in New York and despite her 4 and 1 record coming into tonight’s Battle, she is an absolute winner on personality and performance. I’m going to mention Christi’s kind of weird, almost a comic book character voice here, only to point out that she is able to be so funny and connect so much of herself to the audience, that you barely even notice it after the first sentence. Without a doubt the star of Night 1, look out for her to display the kind of charm, charisma, and quick-on-her feet thinking that regularly wins over audiences.
Brian Moses, Referee. It’s nearly impossible not to like the Battle’s referee the moment he walks out on stage. Moses has the perfect blend of sharp and dark sensibility mixed with an easy-to-swallow delivery to guide the Battle through all the potential pitfalls that come with vicious slugfests, lopsided massacres and awkward stumbles. Moses is not only the glue that holds the show together, but he’s also half of the duo who originally conceived the show during an open mic in the Belly Room of The Comedy Store and he has helped usher it through every stage of its evolution.
Jamar Neighbors, All-Negro Wave-r. OK, you might have already fallen in love with Jamar from his breakout role in this summer’s Keanu. But you get to see an entirely other side of this LA-based stand-up as part of the All-Negro Wave, a trio of over-the-top jesters who bring an extra element of levity to the proceedings. That’s a pretty formal way to describe someone who is shirtless throughout most of the episode, enacting vignettes that often somehow combine jihadi beheadings with silly string, but it’s nearly impossible to ever really describe The Wave. Fellow members Jeremiah Watkins and Willie Hunter are just as delightful, but Jamar stands out on Night 1 during a back and forth with Judge Kevin Hart, as Hart tries to make sense of the Wave for himself.