Thank You, “Roast Battle”
"Candice, everyone is scared to battle Jeff Ross’ girl, Virginia. You wanna battle her in the Valentine’s Day massacre?"
That was the text I received from Rell Battle, fellow comic/writer and co-producer of the “Roast Battle” at The Comedy Store, right around New Year’s Eve 2013.
To which I replied, “hahaha. I don’t know anything about her.” (which is not typically the case when it comes to roasting)
Rell responded with “That’s perfect because she prolly doesn’t know anything about you. It’s the best way to show people that you’re nice with that pen.”
Fast forward to February 13, 2014. Two days after the battle. And I have just a few words to describe it. Amazing. Eye-opening. Epic.
Ask any comic, and they’ll have a story about something unbelievable or insane that has happened in the Belly Room of The Comedy Store. From mob murders to hauntings, the Belly Room cannot escape its history, which is why this venue was perfect for this particular show and here’s why.
Midnight. February 12, 2014. The anticipation for this battle was inordinately high for 2 reasons. 1. Virginia Collins (the girlfriend of Jeff Ross aka Roastmaster General, from ALL the Comedy Central Roasts and his show “The Burn”) was competing 2. Two women were battling
No one really knew what was going to happen but one thing everyone did expect was a good fight. And that is exactly what they got. Tit for tat we took turns through all 4 rounds saying the meanest things we could possibly say about one another. Then there were the judges, Rell Battle, Owen Smith, Chelsea Peretti and unofficial side critiques given by Jeff Ross, Hannibal Buress and Earl Skakel. All seasoned comics, looking at us and judging every joke and its delivery. The hardest part was having to maintain a smile through the barrage of insults that were being spewed. I remember being on stage and thinking, “This chick looks so young and innocent. How are these foul and hilarious things coming out of her mouth?” I may have looked collected on stage, but my thoughts were going a mile a minute. And there was only one recurring thought that resonated with me. “DON’T FUCK THIS UP.”
However, I wasn’t thinking that phrase out of fear of failing to win the battle. It was in my head because so much more was riding on this. I didn’t want to fail women. That sounds so cheesy, but what I mean by that is women have it really difficult; in life. But being a woman in comedy is a whole other challenge. Often times we are not taken seriously, prematurely judged, and even despite the myriad funny women I see on a daily basis, we are still considered to be “comedically challenged” and inferior. I didn’t want to do well that night. I needed to do well. And so did Virginia. And I think I speak for everyone when I say we exceeded all expectations.
In general, women are always so competitive with one another, and to a fault most of the time. But that night, even though we were opponents, we knew we were on the same team. We left the stage and we were proud. We were told by many, that this was the best “Roast Battle” to date. Which means we put on a better show and fight than all the previous male participants. Two women, beating men at their own game. And it felt great.
And for those of you who are wondering who won….it doesn’t matter. In my eyes, Virginia and I, along with the great judges, and an amazing crowd of non-comics and comedic peers, came together and made history in that room. Just another tale that will be told about the Belly Room, hopefully for many years to come.