Hell yeah doggie!
For anyone near the podcasting gravity that GaS Digital gives off, you’ve been expecting this self-produced special from comedian/podcaster Luis J Gomez (don’t forget the J bitch!) for quite some time. From start to finish this special is exactly what you’d expect from LJG – funny, loud, brash, aggressive, and loaded with very little thought given to the current PC culture some are out there to use to define the current comedy landscape. Luis J Gomez operates under the assumption that funny is and remains the number one priority in stand-up. It’s intoxicating to those wanting jokes with more edge than a late night set. An identity Gomez and his brethren like Big Jay Oakerson, Dave Smith have made into a cottage industry with Legion of Skanks, The Real Ass Podcast, and Skankfest.
The special begins with an awesome animated intro by Sven Stoffels, whom Skankfest fans will recognize from his work on that festival’s art. Gomez is portrayed as Frankenstin’s monster snapping the necks of his foes as an original soundtrack is shouted by Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta over a punishing metal riff. Cut to the Cutting Room in NYC and Gomez is called to the stage by his pal Big Jay Oakerson to an applause of “rattlesnake” chants and “skank hands” as Gomez sets the tone with a first joke taking a pro-white man stance (a person of color taking that stance is the gag here).
Let’s address it up front, there are people that are not going to like this special. If you’re watching this special expecting a heaping dose of social commentary about the current state of politics or some sort of “woke” hot take about the world, you are in the wrong place. Gomez is funny for the sake of being funny, it’s a rarity in comedy these days and quite refreshing. The late, Patrice O’Neal once stated that all jokes, good or bad, come from the same place – a notion that is often lost in comedy when under today’s modern lens.
There are many people out there that often mistake applause (or clapter) for laughs, but the experienced comedian knows the difference and wants the laugh. It’s an ethos Gomez seems to follow whether deliberately or not; over the course of 50 minutes Gomez’s only goal is to make you laugh, he doesn’t want anything else, and he’s willing to tread over dark subject matter to get it. Jokes about taboo subjects like race, sexism, fighting your spouse, rape jokes, STDs, and how random acts of kindness can end up in a fight – and guess what, it’s funny! Which is the entire point of comedy, find the humor in some really dark subject matter, get the laugh and cause the release.
It’s a part of the comedy pool many comedians feel they can’t swim in the age of callout culture and social justice warriors. But the biggest takeaway from LJGPLJG is that edgy comedy exists to push boundaries and make you laugh at the uncomfortable. There are no safe spaces here and that’s just how Luis J Gomez wants it, he’s entirely self-aware of the comedy he’s attempting. Perhaps the most daring thing a comedian can do in 2019 is make an adults laugh at adult jokes and prove we’re all the better for knowing it’s still possible.
If we were to heap any negativity onto the special it would be more from a production perspective. We’ll readily admit that editing a stand-up special isn’t really the greatest task for an editor. In general, most specials have a wide shot of the talent on stage and a closeup here and there to accentuate the joke, then cut to the audience every once in a while to show some laughing faces and you have it. Editing is one of those features of that when done well can evoke emotion or make you not notice it. But when it’s a bit much you notice (like this award-winning gem). From that perspective, there are a few moments in this special that are subject to a few too many different shots of the room after a punchline. Case in point, with the final punchline on Gomez’s final joke we’re treated to no less than 15 different cuts in the span of 60 seconds. Perhaps it’s from a desire to show just how cool The Cutting Room venue looks, but in reality some strong punchlines suffer from the distraction.
All-in-all, LJGPLJG is a shining stand-up debut from a comedian that has made a living out of the simple ethos that edgy ideas can still be funny, and comedy isn’t about being something to everyone, it’s much better when it’s everything to someone.