Roast Battle features a rotating lineup that changes daily, with a general showcase of at least four or five pairs of comedians taking to the stage to rip sizeable chunks out of their respective egos. Some may put up more of a fight than others. Some battles can be an epic war of words between two able-minded combatants, decided only on a decibel of laughter. Others are as one sided as a leopard versus a hamster. But the basic principle maintains that there are no punches to be pulled: physical appearance, life-long conditions, countries of origin; even dead relatives. Roast Battle excludes nothing, so if you faint easily at offensive jokes then this probably isn’t the show for you. Never fear, however, as you can be sure that all challengers do so in good spirits and resolve any emotional turmoil with a hug at the end of each battle.
A no-holds-barred contest of comedic athleticism, brazen putdowns and lightning-fast comebacks.
The night of this performance saw MC Dimitri Bakanov operate as referee between the pairs, whilst presiding over acts as judges were SpringDay, Ramon Rivas and Lee Hudson. As carnivorous as a hawk, Bakanov is a worthy opponent himself and certainly one not to take prisoners, aiming light-hearted pot-shots at both the judges and audience. Hecklers be warned: Bakanov will fashion you into a lightning rod of damnation for all his brash one-liners. Rallying the audience into a frenzied chant of "Battle! Battle! Battle!", Bakanov hailed in the arrival of the first pair of the night: Vanessa Hua and Hannah Pennauer.
A nice warm up to the depraved ends of what would eventually lie in store for the remainder of the night, Hua and Pennauer were notably tamer than their counterparts though nonetheless catty enough in their remarks, with Hua deservedly emerging as the victor. Following this, the oddly mismatched Eastern European duo, Alexander Maloy and Vasiliy Medvedev arrived to the stage. Bewilderment and awkward chortles followed this bizarre clash where neither seemed capable of going all out against the other, nor able to successfully land a decisive verbal blow. Following their segment, both were promptly chastised by the judges, with Maloy only winning by a nose (ironic, given it was Medvedev’s main go-to).
Up next were the two talented and experienced roasters Matt Duwell and Calum Ross who collectively produced the fiercest of the battles fought on the night. Both comedians showed no mercy with curt retorts that ranged from sexuality to estranged parents. Their duel was only won narrowly with a well-timed pause to reflect on a crude joke that thereafter spelled victory for Duwell.
Ben Clover and Victor Patrascan appeared next in what could aptly called a one-sided, verbal onslaught, where Clover demolished Patrascan with deviously-witted snubs that left the Romanian comic reeling. Though initially capable of holding his own, Patrascan succumbed to the Londoner’s trademark smugness that pulverised his lingering thread of resistance. Whilst judges spared neither from hilarious criticisms, Clover went as far to challenge SpringDay with an on-the-spot comeback that garnered many an ‘ooooooh’ from the audience. Behind his sardonic demeanour hides a fearless beast willing to take on any challenge, and one could only wonder and hope to see the outcome between Clover and Duwell or Bakanov. The final pair, Jamie Allerton and Humbert Mayr, ended in a draw after a battle of sporadic, tic-for-tac insults where both went for the easy targets of their opponent though nonetheless succeeded in pleasing the crowd.
With the comedic gladiator matches over, the champions crowned and the losers scorned, the judges and roast host Bakanov took their leave to thunderous applause of a thoroughly entertained audience. Undeniably, Roast Battle doesn’t fail to live up to its expectations, serving to showcase a no-holds-barred contest of comedic athleticism, brazen putdowns and lightning-fast comebacks.