Skankfest is not your typical comedy festival.
“I just wanna stress that it’s bullshit to charge submission fees to a festival or run classes or bringer shows or otherwise line your pockets off the backs of your peers, and we’re all peers no matter what level you’re at.” Luis J Gomez is passionate about everything surrounding Skankfest, a weekend-long comedy festival June 17-19 at New York’s Creek and The Cave, but this is a point he hammers over and over. “And everyone is getting paid. Even the younger comedians on the showcases. Yes, we’re giving them a great opportunity to perform in front of good crowds they might not otherwise have, but we’re also paying them. It’s not going to cost the performers money to perform. That’s just straight bullshit.”
While the fair economics is a key feature of the festival, Luis also stresses two other aspects that make this festival stand out – community and free speech. “I was inspired by our experiences on Shiprocked, where everyone is on a cruise ship together and there’s lots of shows and activities, but you also just end up hanging out with the artists. If you come to Skankfest, at some point over the course of the weekend, you’re going to end up smoking weed with Ari Shaffir. And you get to watch the premiere of Jay Oakerson’s Comedy Central special with Jay Oakerson and all his closest friends.”
If you come to Skankfest, at some point over the course of the weekend, you’re going to end up smoking weed with Ari Shaffir.
The festival performers definitely reflect this urge to both push boundaries and make sure it’s incredibly funny. Doug Stanhope, Todd Glass, Michael Che, Robert Kelly and Sam Morril are just a few of the highlights, plus a special appearance from radio host Ron Bennington. The festival also boasts Ari Shaffir, RaceWars’ Kurt Metzger and Sherrod Small, Bonnie McFarlane, Rich Vos, Adrienne Iapalucci, Rachel Feinstein, Aaron Berg, and Deathsquad’s Redban. Fans of any and all of these performers are already familiar with the fact that they’re all no-fucks-given outspoken and most of them have run into their share of “outrage journalism” controversy. But Luis stresses it’s not just a bunch of edgy, filthy comics. Skankfest also features a host of incredibly talented New Yorkers your mom would approve of, like Mike Lawrence, Mark Normand, Joe List, Joe Machi, Chris Distefano and Gary Vider.
Show titles are different too including Jew Faces of Comedy, a Naked Roast, LA Comics Don’t Suck, and Next Generation Filthy. Skankfest runs from Friday June 17 – Sunday June 19 at The Creek and the Cave in Long Island City, NYC with a second stage added at The Standing Room just around the corner. All Access passes are $90, single day passes are $50 and both are available at http://creeklic.com/events/skankfest-nyc/. And badge holders get free admission to Stand Up New York, New York Comedy Club and The Stand June 12-16, leading up to the festival.