WORDS by Patrick Strait
Well, he survived.
Two weeks, DISPATCH talked with comedian Alex Jaffe who was preparing to perform at the annual Gathering of the Juggalos in Ohio. If you missed it, click here to read it now.
As the first-ever Minnesota comedian to perform at the Gathering, Jaffe admitted that he really wasn’t
sure what he was getting into. Turns out, all of the preparation in the world wouldn’t have done him any
“Nothing prepared me for this,” he laughs. “When I first got word that I was going to be at the Gathering
I was like, I know what a Juggalo is. I know what ICP (Insane Clown Posse) is. But nothing prepared me
for the straight up insanity that was the Gathering.”
Upon his arrival at Legend Valley Campground, Jaffe was given a proper welcome by the Juggalos. “Within 30 minutes of me sitting down, a saw a topless woman going from biffy to biffy looking for toilet
paper,” he says. “When she couldn’t find any, she just drops trou in front me and takes a piss right there
in the open. It’s like, welcome to the Gathering.”
After spending a few hours acclimating to his home for the next several days, Jaffe says he set out to get
the lay of the land and meet the people.
“It was a lot more eclectic than I thought,” he continues. “It was a wide range of ages and all that sort of
stuff. I was expecting people in their twenties or thirties, but it was a wide range. You also had people
who brought their kids, so every so often you’d see someone with a 10-year-old. I was like, ‘You have
really cool parents, but what are you doing here?”
During his wandering, Jaffe learned another important rite of passage for newbies to the Juggalo family:
Choosing a Juggalo nickname.
“It’s a big thing there,” he says. “I was walking by this tent, and it started talking to me. I was like, I’m
not high so what is going on? Then the person in the tent starts rambling about something, and tells me
his Juggalo nickname is ‘Z Assassin.’ So he looks at me and decides to give me the name ‘Gum Gum.” I
wasn’t sure why, until he told me, ‘It’s because you’re fat and so this is your gum gum.”
Despite his less-than-flattering new nickname, Gum Gum..er…Jaffe still had Juggalo business to attend
On Thursday, Jaffe officiated a real Juggalo wedding. He became ordained in the State of Ohio before he
left, and after some promotion across various websites, he found a couple who were interested in
getting married right there on-site.
“It was cool,” he says of the nuptials. “We had a little crowd that gathered around the tent we were in
That said, not every guest was on their best behavior.
“There was a large bearded guy sitting on the ground over in the corner, and while I’m in the middle of
this thing he decides to yell out, ‘SHIT DICK,’” Jaffe recalls. “Then he realizes that these people are getting married, and that he should probably shut up. But if you get married at the Gathering, you have
to expect this stuff to happen.”
After preceding over the wildly romantic affair, the next day was the main event: Jaffe would perform at
midnight Friday, opening for the half-clown, half-Elvis impersonator, Clownvis. By the time he took the
stage, Jaffe estimates around 400 Juggalos had packed the tent, plus countless other who may have
poked their heads in while walking to their next destination.
For the past several months, Jaffe had been working the open mic circuit locally to get in reps to prepare
him for his six minutes on-stage. While the amount of planning may have helped his nerves, Jaffe admits
things started out shaky.
“I opened with some newer stuff, so it was a little rough,” he says. “A few people booed me at first, but I
knew what was coming.”
Eventually his set dived into darker subjects, including death, suicide and his strained relationship with
his mother. This, Jaffe says, was what won over the crowd.
“It really turned around,” he says proudly. “The next day people were coming up to me and telling me it
was a great set.”
Even Clownvis made it a point to stop Jaffe the following day and share his kudos for being a solid
opener to what can only be called a non-traditional comedy audience.
“Every crowd is different,” Jaffe says of the experience. “The Gathering has a little bit of everything. It
has Bigfoot, spoken word, pro wrestling. And then you’ve got me in a bowtie talking about suicide. So
you’re not necessarily getting a crowd that’s there specifically to watch comedy, but they’re open
minded and want to see a little bit of everything.”
After basking in the Faygo shower of ICP’s finale concert, Jaffe made the long trip back to Minnesota,
with a new spark to perform, and bigger dreams for next year.
“I want to keep this thing going,” he says of his comedy. “And I’m hoping next year I get brought back in
the same capacity or even bigger next time.”
No matter what happens in the future, however, Jaffe says the experience of performing for the
Juggalos was definitely worth the adventure.
“Oh my God. I had an absolute blast.”