Donovan’s Pub was fairly crowded Wednesday night, teeming with anticipation for Colgate Stand Up’s Roast Battle. By the time I arrived, the lights were already off, except those illuminating the stage. Around 8p.m., the room silenced as host Bryan Acevedo introduced himself on stage and explained the event’s progression: proceeding in a tournament style, there would be eleven one-on-one battles in total, with a total of 12 comedians. Three independent judges would then vote on the winner.
The first Stand Up members to the stage were sophomore Keira Mongeon and first-year Patrick Toohey. Mongeon took the mic first, and compared Toohey to a fire hydrant, March Madness leprechaun and the horror-franchise character Chuckie. Toohey clapped back at Mongeon by referring to her as an “illiterate sack of cheap cosmetics” and the “brother of John Travolta.” The audience roared with laughter at Mongeon’s comparison of Toohey to a basketball because both “get passed around by sweaty men,” and the judges, as expected, voted Mongeon into the next round.
The next battle consisted of sophomores Eric Benoit and Maeve Daley. Benoit, the first up, declared Daley was only one step away from being a Bostonian stereotype, and explained how hard it was to find any roast material for her because of her “lack” of friends. Daley teasingly pointed out how Benoit was the Colgate Raider mascot, but it was her observation of Benoit’s hair as reminiscent of a 1950’s adult female that won her a spot in the upcoming round.
Senior Julia Cooper was paired with fellow senior Kayla Sturgeon, who she said resembled an unwitty version of MTV’s “Daria.” Sturgeon countered by connecting Cooper’s sorority (Tri Delta) to her inability to stand out and overall lack of impression. Cooper ended the battle by simply stating that Sturgeon was divorced; after the judges’ deliberation, Cooper was picked as a competitor for the second round.
Seniors Nick Bessey and Francis Migliore faced each other in an interesting battle, which felt more like a conversation. Bessey drew parallels between Migliore and a giraffe, and questioned whether he was even allowed to play basketball; after Migliore’s roast, he pretended he was crying out of sensitivity. Migliore, on the other hand, identified Bessey as a discount Eddie Redmayne, as well as a new television show not worth watching; he also shared how he wondered whether he would be less awkward if he was shorter – but that after seeing Bessey, he declared “Nope!” To the audience’s clear disappointment, Bessey was selected as the winner.
The highlight of the night and my personal favorite was the battle between sophomores Dawson Highland and Sydney Schultz. Highland started off by calling Schultz a poor example of “feminist white privilege.” He then took a different approach by sharing true stories about her: Schultz once complained that she was “poor” even though she is “not even poor,” and expressed frustration that her brother received a BMW for his birthday and all she got was a “normal sedan.” Schultz retaliated by describing Highland as a “pre-pubescent American girl doll” whose “acne is worse than [his] jokes.” She then asked Highland if he knew Tinder was not for finding a babysitter, and claimed he was the only person she knew that could “play both roles on ‘To Catch a Predator.’”
The last preliminary battle was between seniors Matt LaPaglia and JT Anderson. LaPaglia mentioned how Anderson was on the “no-fly-list” and questioned whether Anderson had ever been on the track team if he was not able to “outrun his classes.” Anderson admitted LaPaglia was a talented joke writer and that he was often too busy writing Mongeon’s jokes, and said he considered targeting LaPaglia’s bisexuality but that his “being bisexual in 2017 was as irrelevant as [him] being in this roast battle.” LaPaglia moved onto the next round, but the two seemed to be good friends, so it was a much lighter roast battle.
After four more battles, the finalists were eventually Daley and Cooper, who seemed unwilling to roast each other as they were sorority sisters. Nonetheless, the judges voted on Cooper as the final winner.
Student reactions were mixed – some thought the roasts got more entertaining over time, while others were more critical of the show. Overall, Colgate Stand Up’s Roast Battle was an enjoyable source of comic relief and excitement, especially during the drag we often feel during the middle of the week.