This interview is part of our coverage of the 38th Denver Film Festival. We are proud to bring you five different interviews in five days. Check out the Denver Film Festival category on the Jon of All Trades homepage for all the interviews.
Joey Skaggs is the godfather of the media hoax. For more than 50 years, Joey has been fooling the media with pranks such as the Celebrity Sperm Bank, the Cathouse for Dogs, the Fat Squad, and Portofess (the mobile confessional booth). He’s pranked virtually every major media outlet and is considered one of the world’s greatest living satirists.
His story has been chronicled by Andrea Marini in Art of the Prank, and both he and Andrea sat down with me at the Denver Film Festival to discuss their film, the elaborate prank at the center of the film, how the media has (and hasn’t) changed since Joey began his career, how everyone could stand to be more media literate and a whole lot more. It’s not everyday you get to sit down with someone as well known (and notorious?) as Joey Skaggs, so this episode is dense.
On a personal note, having earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in media studies and having spent the majority of my professional career working with members of the media, I found Joey fascinating and inspiring in equal measure. While his perpetual challenge of the status quo and uncritical thinking undoubtedly angers many, I found myself wishing there were more like him urging people to question their beliefs, ask better questions, and call bullshit when they see it.
The story of Joey Skaggs’s artistic career is captivating enough on its own, but is enhanced by Andrea’s propulsive and thoughtful direction. I highly recommend this film not only for its entertainment value, but for its underlying message as well.