Years of Saturday Night Live parodies and blogger think-pieces still haven't made a dent in The Gathering Of The Juggalos, Insane Clown Posse's annual five-day vacation from the corporate rat race that is the life of the Juggalo. After all, it's difficult to satirize or deconstruct something that is so proudly self-aware of its own stupidity, even as the festival itself is now entering its 13th year, and is thus only a few years away from growing out of liking Insane Clown Posse.
The latest Gathering infomercial plays just like all its predecessors: lots of spinning graphics, egregiously incongruous use of the word "bitch," and non-stop avowal of crazy shit going down, whether it's watching robots wrestling in the same ring as midgets, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair introducing ICP for some reason, or cheeseburgers "raining from the stage" while a Michael Jackson tribute band plays. In case you don't have the luxury of spending more than 20 minutes watching as Sugar Slam, Doe Dubbla, Awesome Dre, and many other Gathering associates share the duties of yelling the lineup while pointing emphatically, this year's festival is heavy on classic hip-hop stars—including, "for the first time in a long-ass time," The Geto Boys, the surviving, no-longer-as-Fat Boys, Biz Markie, Rahzel, Raekwon, Onyx, DMX, Master P, Warren G, and Eazy-E….'s son. All this, plus Haystak and Jellyroll on the same stage.
The allure of performing for a drunk, violent, possibly rock-throwing subculture also proved enough to lure Cheech & Chong and Bobcat Goldthwait back into doing stand-up alongside Jamie Kennedy, though hopefully by the time they take the stage, most of that pent-up rage will be gone as attendees "take it out in the mosh pit with other ninjas going through the same shit you are"—such as constantly feeling shunned and oppressed by society, simply because you deliberately choose to be. Of course, that idea of "family" is really what the Gathering is all about, according to the ingenious branding of a record label, as this apocalypse-and-ellipses-riddled infomercial paints the fest as a refuge from "sellout zombies" who only want to feed on individuals and "free thinkers." And what better way to show that you're not giving in to all that groupthink bullshit than to put on the costume ordained by a multimillion-dollar marketing empire, then go and shout its slogans alongside thousands of others just like you?