As exhausted Skankfest goers drag themselves back to their respective homes, Skankfest 4 leaves behind a legacy that includes mayhem, all the controversy its name implies, massive laughs, and stories that will be shared around the internet and beyond for a long time to come.
Skankfest is rough around the edges, and that’s intentional. It’s one of the most stripped down comedy festivals in the world; while other fests are sparkling and clean, and packed with instagram-able moments, Skankfest looks a little scary, with tatted up, pierced up, black tshirt-ed participants and a venue to match. But Skankfest is guided by a true love of comedy in all its forms, and not only a willingness, but a mandate to embrace all parts of comedy that the organizers find funny. Skankfest brings together giant names that cover a very wide scale of clean to dark comedy, promising comics on the verge of breaking, future killers, and yes, outcasts, too.
Interestingly, it’s one of the least instagrammed festivals on the internet. If you search around you’re more likely to find it was the comedians were doing the social sharing of Skankfest than those attending (albeit mostly on stories). Maybe fans didn’t want their families to know where they were, or maybe it was just an old school vibe, or it’s just the nature of Skankfest, where everyone is constantly jumping on a line outside Brooklyn Bazaar to get into the next show pretty quickly after each show ends. Fear of Missing Out runs deep here and with good reason. Crazy shit goes down at Skankfest, whether its crazy because a giant celebrity showed up or because something hilariously horrible took place, nobody wants to find out they missed a holy shit moment.
Highlights and lowlights (the good kind) this year included plenty of shows that are sought after at festivals around the world– and some things you can’t see anywhere else. The Goddamn Comedy Jam, Doug Loves Movies, Roasts, The Bonfire, an edition of Rich Vos and Bonnie McFarlane’s Would You Bang Him? Bobby Kelly’s YKWD, Tuesdays With Stories, Whats Your Fucking Deal!?, and an episode of Ron Bennington’s Unmasked were among the shows that are invited to festivals around the world. And then there were shows that are unique to Skankfest- shows that involved wrestling, boxing, fighting, naked roasts, vendettas, a tattoo table, CBD giveaways, and surprises everywhere in the triple level venue.
The stand up was stellar– from the best of the best like Big Jay Oakerson, Janeane Garofalo, Nate Bargatze, Rich Vos, Judy Gold, Robert Kelly, Michael Che, Bonnie McFarlane, Yamaneika Saunders, Jim Florentine, Ron Bennington, Ari Shaffir, Keith Robinson, Gilbert Gottfried, Sherrod Small, Sam Morril, Joe Machi, Kurt Metzger, Dan Soder, Jessica Kirson, Andrew Schulz, Tim Dillon, Dave Attell, Mark Normand, Joe List, Luis J Gomez, Dave Smith, Joe DeRosa, and Shane Gillis- who has just been crushing stages all over New York this year. And the audiences were great too- comedy purists with a taste for all sides of comedy dark and light. Big laughers who still had energy by Sunday night despite being on a three day comedy bender.
Skankfest organizers also broke the news that they are taking the show on the road. The long rumored Skankfest expansion has been announced, and it’s landing in Texas– Houston more specifically. Skank by Skankwest is hitting the lone star state in 2020- March 28th and 29th promising to bring plenty of disruptive comedy with them.
Giant surprises just kept coming all weekend, like the previously unannounced Unmasked interview with Dave Attell, and Bill Burr joining the Goddamn Comedy Jam on drums while Joe DeRosa sang lead on Motley Crue’s Kick Start My Heart. This year the biggest surprise/shock/controversial moment at Skankfest didn’t come from the Naked Roast, or a boxing ring or even from Ari Shaffir. A surprise drop-in from Louis C.K. generated a massive standing ovation and thrills from the crowd– they were losing their shit to put it colloquially– and plenty of anger and controversy across social media both of which can be dissected at some other time. For now, the performance, the crowd reaction and the controversy all seem in keeping with the spirit of Skankfest.
And then there was crowd surfing- photos caught Luis J Gomez, Joe List and Bobby Kelly taking the ride, and there were plenty of surprises that should probably remain unmentioned (sometimes it’s best that what happens in Skankfest stays in Skankfest, like ass towels for example), but let’s just say as the stories start to circulate of the ‘you had to be there’ moments, Skankfest won’t have any problem selling out festival badges again next year. It was a blast, a whirlwind, a fever dream, something that probably shouldn’t be possible in 2019, and it is always on the edge in a way that only Luis J. Gomez, Christine Evans, Rebecca Trent and the Skanks can pull off.
— Luis J. Gomez (@luisjgomez) June 23, 2019
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