Over the last 15 years, Lucha VaVOOM has built a loyal fan following in downtown Los Angeles thanks to its unique brand of Mexican style pro wrestling, burlesque and comedy. The next 21+ event "Hot in the City" emanates from The Mayan Theater (Cinco de Mayan) tonight at 8 p.m.
Jason Sklar and his twin brother Randy, known for their stand-up specials and albums, tv projects and podcasts, have helped provide comedic elements for several shows in the decade they've been attending. This time around Sklar will not only work with regular host Blaine Capatch but Andy Richter from "Conan."
"Originally my brother and I had done a show on ESPN Classic called 'Cheap Seats,' which was kind of like 'Mystery Science Theater' for old, weird, sporting fans," he said. "We did some wrestling shows, so we developed an ability to quickly find what was funny about certain situations while at the same time understanding the commentating of the event as well. We had that skill."
He recalls the first time being hooked by the atmosphere and energy reverberating from the 2,000 strong packing the theater.
"They were going nuts for luchador style wrestling and unbelievable dancing too," Sklar said. "We felt like we provided the comedy that would make it a night of laughs. You have to be quick, and that was a muscle we developed through 'Cheap Seats,' so it was perfect. The first time we did it we were like, 'We want to do this as much as we can.' It was a blast."
The sibling entertainers' love for pro wrestling can be traced to a young age. Sklar can remember an interaction with Big John Studd where his friend made a sign with "Big John Studd Is A Dud" sign. The near 7-footer expressed his displeasure through a wad of spit.
"Put it this way, we were sad when we found out Harley Race," he said, of how far back his fandom goes. "I remember Harley Race getting the brain claw from one of the Von Erich's at 'Wrestling at the Chase' in St. Louis. Our heyday in wrestling kind of came in the mid-80s.
"We were in the know the most around the first 'WrestleMania,' second 'WrestleMania,' WWF, WCW, Iceman King Parsons, the Four Horsemen, all those dudes, obviously Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant."
Another favorite was King Kong Bundy, who made a lasting impression on the brothers. It was their first interaction with a wrestling star up-close.
"We were 14 in Minneapolis for a youth group convention at the airport. It was one of the first times away from our parents," Sklar recalled. "We're in the bathroom and see that's King Kong Bundy. He went straight to the biggest stall possible. It was like the end of Fourth of July emptying out all the fireworks. America won that day. That's all I can say."
The dad admits to not really following the WWE product these days. Sklar does plan on opening the proverbial pro wrestling box one day to his children when they get older. Though the most he watches is LVV and the random match recommended to him by Colt Cabana. He believes the veteran performer is a natural in the avenue of comedy.
"That guy is one of the funniest people we know, let alone wrestlers," Sklar said. "The match he sent us from Japan, and I'm so remiss to forget the Japanese wrestler's name, but it was maybe the funniest 10 minutes I've ever seen. They basically didn't wrestle. It was just about them getting in and out of the ring and taunting each other through all the wrestling tropes.
"It was so funny. Colt Cabana is hilarious, but he gets it on a deep comedic level. Just like I wouldn't expect a big strong, comedian to say I want to be a wrestler. It takes years to develop the skills and abilities."
For Sklar, the LVV gigs are challenging compared to the normal prepare the setlist, take the stage and perform routine. There is no safety net in this environment.
"You have to go in and trust you'll be funny. You can't prepare jokes," Sklar said. "You just have to go in and let it rip and trust yourself that you can be funny...There is a little bit of the let me hang back this joke until I have a great one and use that one. Especially, with Blaine who is such a pro and Andy who will always deliver.
The "Hot in the City" lineup includes current LVV champ, luchadora Dama Fina defending her title in LVV's annual "Battle of the Belt" match. The card will also includes: El Bombero (former WWE Cruiserweight Champion), Magno "The Man Mountain" Rudo, the Crazy Chickens, Mariachi Loco, Li'l Cholo, Jaguar Rojo, Dirty Sanchez, Minis, and the candy filled superstar Piñatita. Plus, an all-star match between super estrella luchadores Flamita (returning to settle some old scores) and Extreme Tiger (former AAA and TNA Champion) vs Bárbaro Cavernario and Dr. Maldad. LVV will also be introducing an all new luchadors match where fans decide the winner.
Along with the in-ring action comes award-winning international burlesque performer Michelle L'amour ("The Most Naked Woman" of America's Got Talent fame), Donna Hood (whose credits include MTV's "America's Best Dance Crew) alongside the undisputed Queen of Burlesque, Dita Von Teese, the LA Roller Girls, Trixie Little (former Queen of Burlesque and Miss Exotic World), and internationally recognized model Miss Miranda. Stunning aerialists Kate Minwegan and Veronica Yune will also be performing a high-octane number.
Sklar's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of Wednesday's episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded audio player at the bottom of this post.