Interview With Comedian Luis J. Gomez
Written By Bryan Murray
Months ago, after first being given the opportunity to interview comedians that I enjoy and admired very top of my list were the members of Legion of Skanks. Legion on Skanks is a comedy podcast made up of three best buddies Big Jay Oakerson, Luis J Gomez, and Dave Smith just chatting being as dirty and open as they want to be. Very shortly after my wife and I began to regularly attend comedy shows one of the three comedians would always stand out as a memorable moment of the shows. I then began listening regularly to their podcast and we would attend live tapings when able. And since then all three careers have truly sky rocketed, and deservingly so. At one time during a podcast, the boys casually mention people should get tattoos of their logo and it did not take much convincing before my wife and I got complementary ones on our arms.
Back in mid-January, after sitting in the audience for one of the Legion of Skanks shows while they were still with the Cumia Network. Luis, Dave and myself sat in a diner just a few blocks away talking comedy. This was such an amazing experience for me that it took months for me to sit down and transpose my babbling and Luis and Dave’s ribbing. Felt as though what I can only imagine it being like sitting at the back table of any comedy club and just getting to talk.
B: What got you started and interested in comedy?
L: “Just knowing that one day Joe Santiago would be running a website that was really my overall motivation. That was the first question you asked really?”
B: Yeah, why not?
L: “Holy S#*t, can I produce your interviews? What got me into comedy? I was always a funny guy and was exposed in the comedy world promoting for comedy clubs and managing street teams at around 2001. With that I was exposed to both really great comedy which can be very motivational and inspiring and really awful comedy that can be just as inspiring in its own right because you start to see there is no barrier of entry and I think that with comedy and the NY comedy underbelly you’re just seeing comics on TV. And what is that? ”
B: Although now, the outlets have grown very vastly when it comes to finding and obtaining content from just half hour, hours, or late night appearances. Since experiencing comedy in the Showcase setting I have found it much more rewarding in a way, to be able to take in everything about it from the variety of characters performing to allowing the subject matter to change in such a short amount of time. Never mind all of the other outlets just in a social setting comedy can now be taken in….
L: “Did I just ask you a question? It turned into a diatribe *laughs* I’m just interviewing him now. Bryan’s breaking it down for me actually.”
B: Hey just comedy fan getting to chat with a comedian we’re getting there.
L: “I know, Bryan, I’m just f*#king with you, we’re friends”
B: Well, yeah, I mean….that’s nice.
L: “Ok that’s a little (weird)* now. Be sure to edit that part out you’re not allowed to say (weird)* anymore” * specific word omitted in edit
B: Well, can’t say a lot of things publicly in comedy anymore. How do you feel about the recent forms of content that are now so easily accessible to the public?
L: “It’s good, now it’s funny that I was talking about why I got into comedy and their being no barrier of entry and exposed to that yet it was almost like a secret. Now everyone realizes there is no barrier as well. Now everyone realizes that for entertainment not just comedy that there is a culture of ‘Everyone can do it’ but now between New York and LA there are easily thousands of comics. That is the negative side of it.”
B: Do you feel that also now has an effect on how people are reacting to it? The easy access to all content is now allowing so many people to deem something offensive or not? Does it cause hesitation in attempting and trying things out?
L: “That’s just how the times have changed. They have changed already drastically just in the ten years we started doing comedy. The culture of PC wasn’t really popular or cool. It wasn’t cool to be safe. When I started comedy, I dunno am I missing something? It wasn’t cool to be this safe ‘Can’t offend anybody’. Even Bill Hicks, he really challenged people’s thoughts he even had a TV appearance pulled. I don’t think that good comedy is bred from making everyone happy. I think at least half the people in the room should at the very least disagree with you and your sentiment. At the very least you should have half the people in the room go ‘I don’t agree with this guy’ but still able to get the laugh.”
B: You more so than some other comedians, especially from the few I have interviewed previously have been accepting and using the social media outlets on a much more regular basis. Do you feel now that being directly accessible is needed or just good as a tool to keep a name out there?
L: “I have a sales background, with running a street team for multiple clubs and multiple employees. Mostly because I was just a naturally talented sales person. So the way I look at things, with all social media you can quantify your success. Now especially financially as well, but it’s very easy when not making money as a younger comic it was always a way I could check it off. Using it to give a much closer number to the amount of fans and people taking in my comedy. And knowing they are actual fans, and not obtained through the other ways now like buying numbers or having the spam apps to just give numbers. It’s organically happening, they hear me and hate me the first time, hate me the second time, but the third or fourth time they eventually relate to something. It may be my bluntness and everyman quality and the fact I have a thick skin.”
B: And has a lot to do with the street team mentality, literally stepping out and handing the people this content with hopes to get a sale as a fan.
L: “While being able to disconnect from the rejection and comedy itself you get so many no’s there is a predetermined number of auditions. Let’s say 1 in 10 auditions gets you the job, then go on 100 auditions. I have a tendency to think of things that way, so social media I use to make myself present while still utilizing it to get my comedic voice out. Not just as promotion tool, you can still get a different version of Luis.”
B: Now with you being on Sirius on your own show, and the podcasts, and stand up is there really much of a difference in your voice?
L: “The only real separation is just that it is a different medium. So for something like twitter I may censor slightly my language because it is a direct time stamp that has potential to cause issues. I’ll say (certain words)* on a podcast if it’s funny and in a moment, I feel that is bit more of a safe space.”
Dave: “What about (certain words)* in an interview?
L: “I’ll say in an interview! Print that, don’t print that.”
B: Since the interview Luis has formed a podcast network with Ralph Sutton G.A.S. Digital Network. How did that come about? What made you decide to go on your own as opposed to finding or staying with existing networks?
L: “I just feel like having my hands on a lot of different things and seeing some of the other networks not taking advantage of some of the marketing and branding that is out there now. And with us doing most of those things on our own to either be held back slightly or have to cut in another existing network didn’t make sense to just use a studio space. With podcasting now for almost six years, I have developed a lot of strategies to brand, market, and now see financial possibilities with these shows. With some other networks out there, they were kind of above it and not directly in the trenches gaining fans consistently. A lot of the podcasts that were out getting attention already had people be a fan of that person prior to a podcast. Legion of Skanks to us was more of a progression from around 300 all the way up to a few thousand and was just in it. With that and being so directly involved with that I didn’t see anyone else doing a lot of the things that can be done. So, Ralph and I got together, he is incredibly creative as well another guy who’s been in the industry for a long time. He started in terrestrial radio for 17 years, so was a great background in broadcasting as well as ad sales for his own shows. With both of our backgrounds and now building a studio in his beautiful East Village apartment perfecting everything now. But I mean, this is just the infant stages but with the intent to do something no one else has done before and if it goes the way we plan this will be the new model of podcasting.”
Check out his podcast network G.A.S. Digital that has Legion of Skanks, Real Ass Podcast with Zac Amico, Kris Tinkle and Chris Scopo, SDR Show with Ralph Sutton and Big Jay and many more with new content almost daily. Hear him on Sirius on Rush 93 on The Countdown with Michael Bisping, where they talk all things MMA. Follow him on Twitter @luisjgomezand on Instagram @gomezcomedy. Luis has a regular show at The Stand with Adrienne Iapalucci called The Mash Up, where two comedians go up on stage at the same time. As well as hosting The Roastmasters a head to head comedian battle with all-star judges also at The Stand located in Gramercy. And this weekend if you are anywhere near New York, Legion of Skanks has started their own comedy festival, a two day all day twelve hours of comedy.
The events will be held and The Creek and The Cave and The Standing Room in Long Island City get tickets at http://creeklic.com/events/