First-ever NYC Roastmasters tournament happening October 2016

Roast Battle isn’t just for The Comedy Store or for Comedy Central.

For the past year, the Jeff Ross-approved offshoot in New York City called RoastMasters has taken place regularly at The Stand in Gramercy (there’s also a regular Roast Battle at nearby New York Comedy Club helmed by co-founder Rell Battle, but that’s another story for another time).

And starting Oct. 4, 2016, a group of 16 regulars from RoastMasters battles past will trade barbs, insults and quips in the first-ever RoastMasters NYC tournament — with the winner taking home a championship belt in the process.

Making the cut for the tourney: 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.

Comedy Central’s Roast Battle champion Mike Lawrence and Luis J. Gomez have been producing the RoastMasters face-offs at The Stand, with Gomez hosting, and Lawrence often judging alongside the likes of Ross, Rich Vos, Big Jay Oakerson and Sal Vulcano.

“I’ve been judging all of these people for years. I just get to do it officially for once,” Lawrence said. “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.”

Gomez, co-host of SiriusXM’s The Countdown with Michael Bisping as well as one of the Legion of Skanks, compared roast battles to his other favorite sport: Mixed martial arts. “Comedy and MMA are both activities that not many people have the balls to attempt,” Gomez said. “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.”

Here are your opening-round battles for Oct. 4:

  • 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

You can take a look at how the brackets stack up:


Chiello competed in Comedy Central’s televised Roast Battle, while she and Chaplain both appeared in the Road to Roast Battle special this summer, too. Amico and Feehan have faced off before — their previous RoastMasters battle video has generated 2.5 million views on YouTube and counting!

The entire RoastMasters NYC tournament will stream live in HD on The GaS Digital Network, where subscribers get exclusive access before the videos hit other future outlets. If you’re not on GaS, you can watch the action via The Stand’s Periscope ( and Facebook Live ( “We’ve had such an amazing response to our live streams,” says The Stand’s owner, Patrick 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.”

RoastMasters battles will happen Oct. 4, then again two weeks later on the 18th, with the final face-offs on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

The Stand is offering FREE tickets to all tournament events and will honor them on a first come, first serve basis at the door.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

View all posts by Sean L. McCarthy →