WORDS BY Patrick Strait
Minnesota comics have performed just about everywhere. Whether it’s headlining international
festivals, killing on late night TV, or starring in major Hollywood blockbusters, the comedy talent from
the Twin Cities has seen and done it all. Almost.
This month, comedian Alex Jaffe will go where no Minnesota comic has performed before, when he
takes the stage at the annual Gathering of the Juggalos in Thornville, Ohio.
“The Gathering is such a huge cultural thing in the US,” Jaffe says. “I know comics who have performed
at all kinds of festivals, but as far as I know, I’m the first Minnesota comic to ever perform at the
‘Cultural thing’ may be an understatement when talking about the Gathering, which for those who don’t
know is the annual multi-day festival hosted by the Insane Clown Posse (ICP). The Gathering features
music, comedy, sideshows and all sorts of insanity, though the Juggalos (diehard ICP fans) are truly the
main attraction of the event. Though not a self-proclaimed Juggalo himself, Jaffe will join a wildly
impressive list of comics who have performed standup at the event, including Norm MacDonald, Gilbert
Gottfried and Charlie Murphy, to name a few.
A regular of the Twin Cities comedy scene for the past decade, Jaffe got his start performing at the
House of Comedy after a college professor helped him get over his fear of public speaking.
“I was always a class clown and a smart ass, but I really hated public speaking,” Jaffee explains. “I had
such a huge fear of it. Then I had a professor at Normandale Community College who was kind of a
miracle worker, because he not only helped me to get past that fear, but the next semester was when I
got on stage.”
Jaffe was a regular at open mics and showcases all over Minnesota and Wisconsin, but the weight of the
pandemic finally caused him to put his comedy on hold last spring.
“Last year around mid-March I took a break because I was dealing with some really serious depression,”
he shares. “And I didn’t get back on stage for an entire year.”
Fortunately, Jaffe was able to get the help and do the work he needed for himself, which just so
happened to lineup with a fated connection with the Juggalo universe.
“So I had gotten myself taken care of and was in a much better headspace, and I saw on Facebook that a
friend of mine, who is a wrestler that is involved with ICP, posted something about kind of an open
casting to perform. It was just like, send a press kit by this day and if we like you, we’ll call you.”
While it may not seem like the most traditional comedy goal to set, Jaffe decided it was worth a shot.
“I had been kicking this can down the road,” he says. “It was, ‘I’ll get back on stage soon.’ Then a week
turned in a month, and a month turned into a few more months. I just really needed something to shoot
After submitting his info, Jaffe didn’t hear back and assumed his dreams of Juggalo fame had evaporated like stale Faygo pop. And then, he got the call.
“I got a call late night on a Tuesday offering me a slot at the Gathering opening for Clownvis,” he recalls.
(Note: Clownvis is an Elvis impersonator in full clown makeup and apparel. Try to keep up.) “I was
dumbfounded like, this is actually going to happen.”
Since then, Jaffe has been grinding harder than ever to get in reps at open mics all over town, in prep for
the big show. But just because he’ll be staring out into a sea of painted faces, Jaffe says he doesn’t plan
“I know that people tend to think of Juggalos very stereotypically one way or the other,” he explains.
“But I also know they appreciate a lot of different kinds of music and comedy and other things. If I went
in there thinking I’m going to write a Juggalo-centric set, I think it would come off as condescending. I
need to be true to who I am and what I do.”
Beyond his official performance, Jaffe is also planning to jump into the Juggalo world with both feet, and
offer to help Juggalos celebrate their love amongst the family.
“I just recently became ordained as a minister in Ohio,” he says. “I was already ordained in Minnesota,
but now I can offer to perform weddings or vow renewals at the Gathering. I’m not charging anything,
but I figure there has to be some couple interested in getting married or renewing their vows and I’ll be
there to do it for them.”
Jaffe actually found a taker ahead of the Gathering, and will be officiating the couple’s wedding the day
before he performs.
As for his how he sees himself fitting into the Juggalo world going forward, Jaffe says he hopes to be
invited back next year in a bigger capacity, whether that means performing comedy, hosting a sideshow
or maybe even performing more weddings. And as for the worst case?
“Worst case would be getting the Tila Tequila treatment,” he laughs. Several years ago, internet
sensation Tila Tequila was invited to perform at the Gathering. Instead of embracing the culture, Tequila
mocked the Juggalos. In response, the crowd through bottles, rocks, toilet paper and even full bags of
their own, um, human waste, until she retreated and hid in a trailer for the remainder of her time.
“I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I think I’m a more reputable performer than Tila Tequila,” he
continues. “So I think as long as I don’t do anything that she did, I’ll be alright.”
Check back for our follow-up chat with Jaffe after he returns home from the Gathering! That is, if he
comes back at all.
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