A Touching Skankfest Recap From a New York Comedy VIP

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You’re confused by the words touching and Skankfest in the same sentence. The word skank brings many feelings to mind, and touching, sweet, emotional aren’t usually among them. But these Skanks are different, they’re sweethearts underneath all that skankness. Last week, Skankfest took over Long Island City comedy. The festival derived its name from the podcast at its center, the Legion of Skanks, hosted by Big Jay Oakerson, Luis J. Gomez and Dave Smith.  This year, Gomez decided he wanted the LOS to create a festival in New York, one that reflects their own sensibilities, didn’t charge comics to be a part of it, and departed from the typical lineups and show styles. Team Interrobang got to attend a bunch of the events. Skankfest promised to be different, and it was. It was a truly original festival concept, and in its first year, ran smoothly, even professionally despite the anti-establishment vibe, and was loaded with an insane level of talent.

The very important person in the headline is comedy producer Christine Marie Evans, who is one of the reasons for the success of the festival. It’s no secret we love Christine. She’s a contributor to the site in many ways beyond her weekly calendar of the best live comedy events in New York City, and we’re privileged to have her as a comedy resource and friend. She’s also as important to comedy in New York as any of the city’s great performers. This week, after killing it with Skankfest, she took some time to look back, posting an emotional, heartfelt, recap of the festival, and her role in comedy in New York.  She called it My super long and emotional post #SKANKFEST wrap-up post.

The emotional came first, from a little bit of history. “I started as a food runner at The Comedy and Magic Club club a decade ago when I was 20. Since then, I’ve been fired or demoted from almost every major comedy club in Manhattan,” she wrote. “When I was going though a rough time a couple years ago Rebecca A. Trent said “Just come GM the Creek?”…reason 327 why I love her. I did not take that job, but just the offer made me feel warm and fuzzy. Even with all my insubordination and fucking up, I’ve still managed (thankfully!) to maintain good relationships with the clubs, and being able to connect the clubs I care about through #SKANKFEST was awesome. The Stand Comedy Club and Restaurant, Stand Up NY, New York Comedy Club, The Standing Room & The Creek and The Cave are all great venues and working with them has been invaluable. (NOT The Strip, cause fuck The Strip they don’t get my help with shit.)”

Skankfest kicked off with the premiere of Big Jay’s first hour special,  “Big Jay Oakerson: Live at Webster Hall” and Christine described starting the festival with that event as “insane.” She wrote, “for him [Jay], this was 17 years in the making and watching the special come together and seeing that it actually captured who he is comedically was really a dream come true. I’m so happy that piece of work now exists in the world.”
Evans wrote that she worked with Luis J. Gomez and Rebecca Trent to put the fest together in just six weeks, a feat she attributes to Gomez’s sheer force of will. “Luis, Rebecca and myself were able to put this together in about 6 weeks all off of Luis just telling us we were doing it. Luis just destroys doubt and makes you believe you can pull it off…”
Her full recap, inspired by Jeffrey Gurian’s Monday morning column is an excellent read.  We picked our favorite 5 events to include, and you can read the entire post on Evan’s Facebook Page.  The post, and the festival included an unbelievable list of outstanding comics reflecting the comedy friendships and mutual respect that all of these great talents have for each other.

Ha! The Musical.

Gary Vider and Kurt Metzger kicked off the night time with spots in the theater and then we got to do the most fun performance of HA – The Musical ever. Tim Dillon took over the host role and worked his ass off getting it down in time for the show. Watching Luis and Jay do a musical may be my most favorite thing in the world and when Casey Balsham sings “Laugh Like A Man” and all I can think is, that’s our “Dance 10, Looks 3” (Tits and Ass from Chorus Line for all you non theater nerds). Not to mention Bryan Murray & Jessica Murray came in to do chorus with 1 practice. The director Michelle Wednt, was holding cue cards up and we were doing the moves and singing like pageant moms on the sidelines.

The Mash -Up Show

The Mash-Up Show came next which is a show I’ve produced for the last year at The Stand, and I really love pairing up funny friends and watching what they come up with. Adrienne Iapalucci came in to host with Luis. I finally got to pair Liza Treyger & Tim Dillon, which I’ve been dying to do forever, Jeffrey Joseph & Nick Turner was a long overdue duo and of course, getting Ron Bennington on stage with Jay is something I can’t even believe happened once, let alone him figuring out how to get to Queens to come do it again for the fest.

The Naked Roast Show

THE GODDAMN NAKED ROAST. Holy shit, I have no idea how we even booked this. Thank you Luis. The whole thing was his idea combining the “2 biggest shows in New York for one crazy show” The fact that these comedians agreed to a naked insult contest blows my mind. Zac Amico crushed it up top. I’m so impressed by his ability to be so scathing and so funny. The roasters were great, Ryan Hernandez, Johnny Roque, Billy Procida, Andrea Allen, Alia J Dailey Willis & Kaytlin Bailey all rocked it out. Having Bobby Hutchinson DJ with his dick out was ridiculous and Bronston Jones, Ari Shaffir & Mike Lawrence judging naked made my night.

Doug Stanhope

Then there was Doug Stanhope! Getting him out here was so serendipitous, he just happened to be doing Stern on Monday. He brought on Sal Vulcano & Jay for his “Swapcast” and it was a great listen. He was then nice enough to sit and sign his new book “Digging Up Mother: A Love Story” and him, Bingo and Brian hung out as friends.

Whats Your Fucking Deal

We got to run a #WYFD #CROWDWORK which started with Jay hosting and Luis in the audience while I was getting my #SKANKETTE tattoo in Rebecca’s office by Cory Good. We had Todd Glass go up (who did our very first show back in 2013 at the JFL Montreal fest so that was a treat), Sal Vulcano, Nick Turner who’s a vet, Amber Nelson who definitely knows how to improvise funny and we had Aaron Berg go up to close which was a great way to finish it off (hehehe).

Christine closed her post with a really touching thank you and a promise to be back next year.  “I got to say my thank you’s (a little loopy) at the end of Sunday and I think I said it best there… This was our festival of favors, I can’t believe we pulled it off and I’m proud of all of us.  The fans that came out to support this were some of the best comedy supporters around and it was a honor to have them all come enjoy the weekend with us. Here’s to next year!!!! “Skankfest 2: Electric Bombaroo.”

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