For the past year, many of New York City’s brightest comedians have tested their might and faced off against each other for The RoastMasters NYC series held at The Stand in Gramercy.
Often vicious yet utterly hilarious, The RoastMasters NYC pits 2 comedians face-to-face on stage where they hurl well written and cutting insults towards each other. Commonly referred to as “verbal boxing”, each battle is judged by a slew of celebrities and proven comedians in the niche world of roasting. Ranging from Rich Vos, to Michael Che, Big Jay Oakerson, Impractical Jokers star Sal Vulcano, and the Roast Master himself, Jeff Ross, the judges offer immediate feedback while also trading barbs with the competitors to the delight of those in attendance and on social media. The competitors and battles are cultivated by comedians and show producers, Mike Lawrence and Luis J. Gomez.
This past summer the entire comedy world watched as Mike Lawrence out-witted 15 other comics to be named the first ever Roast Battle Champion live on Comedy Central. Lawrence hasn’t let his new found fame get to his head. “I remember how much winning Roast Battle changed my life. That was on TV though, so no one who wins this should expect close to as much success.”
Lawrence takes it upon himself to judge every battle when he is in town and expresses an unbridled dedication to the sport. “I’ve been judging all of these people for years. I just get to do it officially for once.”
Hosting each RoastMasters competition is comedian and co-host of SiriusXM’s The Countdown With Michael Bisping, Luis J. Gomez. UFC fans might recognize Gomez for his recent viral video, in which he challenged Mickey Gall to a match in which he promised to last longer than CM Punk did at UFC 203. You can check it out here.
Gomez is always quick to point out the similarities between mixed martial arts and roast battling, “Comedy and MMA are both activities that not many people have the balls to attempt. The RoastMasters combines great comedy and no holds barred, balls to the wall, competition. You think cage fighting is tough? I think most people would rather be punched in the face than to have an entire room full of people laugh at their mother’s breast cancer.”
The field of 16 comedians for the tournament was determined by rewarding comedians who have put on awe-inspiring performances at past RoastMasters events…win or lose. “The show at it’s heart is about finding great comedy writers. Which is why there’s so many ugly people in it,” quips Lawrence. The prizes include a custom built, full-size, RoastMasters NYC Championship belt that the winner gets to keep and proudly defend at future battles. There will also be substantial industry in attendance keeping a close eye on the proceedings and scouting for future projects.
The chosen 16 include Zac Amico, Kerryn Feehan, Scott Chaplain, Dina Hashem, Christi Chiello, Pete Lee, J.P. McDade, Ariel Elias, Mike Recine, Nick Mullen, Patrick Schroeder, Eli Sairs, Joel Walkowski, Corey Reppond, Evan Williams, and Erik Bergstrom.
The 8 opening round battles will be as follows:
Scott Chaplain vs. Dina Hashem
Evan Williams vs. Erik Bergstrom
JP McDade vs. Ariel Elias
Nick Mullen vs. Mike Recine
Pete Lee vs. Christi Chiello
Joel Walkowski vs. Corey Reppond
Zac Amico vs. Kerryn Feehan
Eli Sairs vs. Patrick Schroeder
Comedy Central Roast Battle fans will recognize the hilarious Christi Chiello who competed in the televised tournament this past July. Faced with the daunting task of battling the legendary Jimmy Carr in the 1st round, Chiello credits the RoastMasters for helping her get to that level. “RoastMasters is the best thing that’s ever happened to me…I love it more than I love my immediate family. “Chiello is also looking to put an end to her losing streak. “You can expect me to get redemption. After a sweet 6 roast losing streak, I need a win more than anyone and I will not accept defeat!.”
The opening round of The RoastMasters tournament will also feature a rematch between Zac Amico & Kerryn Feehan. The first time Zac & Kerryn faced off, the video of their battle went viral on The Stand NYC’s YouTube channel and is about to eclipse 2.5 million views. Feehan is enjoying the chance to once again square off with Amico: “I think Zac is the best roaster in NYC, and I feel honored to call him fat and disgusting.”
While there are other roast battle events in Manhattan, The RoastMasters circuit works in conjunction with the creators of Roast Battle at The World Famous Comedy Store in Los Angeles. “Having Brian Moses & Jeff Ross both come down and support what we are doing is such an honor. We set out to establish their vision of what Roast Battle should be in NYC” states Patrick Milligan, co-owner & talent booker of The Stand NYC. Mike Lawrence chimes in: “This is the first show in New York City to feature the best roasters battling. It’s also the only one to feature four women on the lineup.”
The entire competition will be streamed live in high definition on The GaS Digital Network. Subscribers will have exclusive access to the HD footage before it is released onto other outlets down the road.
Don’t worry non GaS Digital subscribers, The Stand will also being broadcasting on it’s Periscope channel and Facebook Live. “We’ve had such an amazing response to our live streams,” says Milligan. “It adds an incredible dynamic, and it’s fun to see people from all over the globe tune in and comment in real time.”
The first round of the competition is set for Tuesday, October 4th @ 10:30pm. The field of 16 comics will square off in 8 single elimination battles. All battles will consist of a standard one round, 4 joke, tit-for-tat format.
The next leg of the competition is set for Tuesday, October 18th as the field of 8 will be cut in half in time for the finals on Tuesday, November 1st. The finals will consist of the final 4 comedians vying for the belt and also 2nd, 3rd, & 4th place. The champion will have to battle twice that night in order to win-it-all.
The Stand is offering FREE tickets to all tournament events and will honor them on a first come, first serve basis at the door. Fans can claim their seats by ordering them now right here and are encouraged to arrive early. All tournament events will begin promptly at 10:30pm EST.