Skankfest 2023.

Spending the Weekend at Skankfest in Las Vegas

Skankfest 2023.
Skankfest 2023.

The vibe at Skankfest is not unlike what you might find at a music festival. That is if that music festival featured lots of comedians, dick jokes, kung fu fighting, naked roasts, and other unspeakable acts. It’s unlike anything you’ve probably witnessed before. 

Skankfest - which started in Brooklyn seven years ago - has spun off festivals first in Texas and then last year for the first time in Las Vegas. The festival returned to Vegas’ Freemont street again this year. The unique festival is organized by the team behind the popular Legions of Skanks podcast, and has found fans coming out in droves. So successful, the festival sells out their weekend passes nearly as soon as they go on sale.

As far as comedy festivals go, this one is perhaps the most unique. The party atmosphere is in the air from the moment it kicks off on Thursday until the final big Goddamn Comedy Jam on Sunday night. Even after the last show of the night, rented buses take fans to the afterparty at a nearby strip club. Following that, organizer Luis J. Gomez invited fans on Saturday night to join him after the club for some gambling on Freemont street. It’s a chance for fans to not only see some great comedy from some of their favorite comics, but given the set-up of the festival, it feels like it puts fans right in the middle of it.

This year, 800 Pound Gorilla News was on hand in Las Vegas for Skankfest. Below is a recap of some of what we saw.

The Regz Podcast Taping

We kicked things off Saturday at a podcast taping of The Regz that featured Bobby Kelly, Joe List, Luis J. Gomez, and Dan Soder. The podcast featured a recap of some of what had transpired in the first two nights of the festival, including how a crowd was deceived into thinking that Shane Gillis was at the festival. (Originally listed, Gillis was sick back in New York and had to pull out at the last minute).

Stand-Up Showcase at The Stand

Skankfest did more than just bring some staple New York comics to the West coast. The festival also brought a makeshift version of one of their clubs, The Stand. The line-up for this showcase featured some top-tier comics including Brian Holtzman, Rachel Feinstein, Joe List, and Maddy Smith. The big surprise of the show was a drop-in from the unlisted Ron White. Also of note, Holtzman - who would close out The Comedy Store for years because his energy made him a tough act to follow - wound up opening the show. So if that didn’t tell you what you were in for, nothing would.


In the time that has passed after last year’s Ellismania, some concessions unfortunately had to be made. Since the 2022 Skankfest, Las Vegas has passed a law that prohibited Ellismania from featuring boxing again this year. Instead, the Saturday night fight featured Kung-Fu. Some of what you might have seen included a sock fight and a fight where the participants all had on blindfolds and shock collars. The remotes for the latter were handed out to attendees in the audience. That definitely made things interesting!


Following Ellismania, we headed back to the Yo Kratom Theater for another stand-up showcase. MC’d by Rojo Perez, this featured another stacked lineup that included Joe DeRosa, T.J. Miller, Annie Lederman, Justin Silver, Joe List, and Mark Normand. While the venue itself doesn’t necessarily do a great job at lending itself to comedy- the acoustics played a big part in that - the lineups that you’ll see at Skankfest definitely helped make up for that.

Naked Roast

A staple of every Skankfest, this event is surely unlike anything you’ll see elsewhere, and also is one that is pretty self explanatory. After a fully-clothed Ari Shaffir came out to warn the packed house not to have their phones out given the nature of the event, the show’s host Zac Amico came out onstage wearing nothing more than an open jacket, a kilt, and carefully placed balloons. What followed was exactly what you’ll see at any other roast battle: A panel of judges oversee two comics trading roast jokes. The fact that the judges and the comics are all completely naked adds an expected extra layer of nerves for the performers. But every comic we saw truly rose to the occasion. After having fans staple money to his body halfway through the show, Amico also made things more interesting with his own big finale: Having a judge attach a rat trap to exactly the place of his body that you’d expect it to hurt the most. Yup, this is Skankfest.

Not Damn Comedy Jam

The last show on Saturday night was the Not Damn Comedy Jam, which is a takeoff on the Goddamn Comedy Jam that is hosted by Josh Adam Meyers. This jam featured three different artists performing for the clearly pumped up crowd, starting with Crack Amico. If you’ve never heard Crack Amico’s raps, what makes them interesting is that the subject of each one is comedians. Following that was a performance by the duo Palmer Squares.

Legions of Skanks

No trip to Skankfest would be complete without the podcast that started it all, Legions of Skanks. Hosted by Luis J. Gomez, Big Jay Oakerson, and Dave Smith, this podcast definitely delivered on expectations. First up, they brought out Tony Hinchcliffe, and the discussion was the recent Kill Tony that featured Ric Flair. Then they brought out Roseanne Barr, who referred to herself as “the original Skank.” Barr talked about two of her most controversial episodes: The tweet that led to her being fired by ABC and the time she sang the National Anthem at a baseball game. Joining Barr was surprise guest Violent Jay from Insane Clown Posse. To close out the show, Dr. Drew - who was in the audience - joined the podcast onstage. Again, this is certainly a lineup that you won’t find anywhere else.

It looks as if Skankfest may not be returning to Vegas next year. There’s been talk that Tampa, Florida could be next. But we’ll just have to wait and see where the party goes to!

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