Hoaxer Joey Skaggs to appear on 20/20

Part-time Kaua’i resident, and full-time international hoaxer, Joey Skaggs is scheduled to be featured Friday night on ABC-TV’s news magazine show 20/20.

The 20/20 show with an extended segment featuring Skaggs is set to air in Hawai’i on KITV-4 from 9 to 10 p.m. Friday, July 12.

John Stossel, co-host of 20/20, has already videotaped a discussion with Skaggs as part of a show focusing on the media.

“It’s probably a profile, and a commentary, on my work, the aspect of my work that deals with the media,” Skaggs told The Garden Island earlier this week.

He said he was videotaped in Manhattan for the show. “I never know what to expect,” Skaggs said of his upcoming appearance.

Skaggs has a home on Kaua’i, as well as one in New York City, and he travels from the island to cities across the United States, and to foreign countries, for lectures and exhibitions, and occasionally to pull pranks.

He’s been coming to Kaua’i for over 20 years, and was first attracted by the “spectacular beauty, and because it is as far as you can get from Manhattan and still be in the United States.”

He said most journalists in Hawai’i don’t recognize him.

“I’m just a regular guy here,” he said.

Of his appearance’s appeal to Kaua’i residents, Skaggs said: “This is an opportunity for friends and acquaintance on Kaua’i who aren’t familiar with my work, or aren’t quite sure of what I really do, to have an opportunity to have a laugh.”

Skaggs is also a talented fine arts painter, with his paintings and sculptures appearing in galleries across the world, and a designer. On Kaua’i he’s used his design skills to create miniature Japanese tea houses for children, which were featured for sale in the tony Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog. He also put together intricate fish tank-size fish condos, a product he calls “aquatic sculptures that depict living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms for upperly mobile guppies.”

For a look at Skaggs’ work and life go to his Web site, www.joeyskaggs.com. “You must have an open mind and a sense of humor before you go there,” he said.

Skaggs has accomplished scores of hoaxes, and appeared (as someone else) on Good Morning America, about eight times on CNN, Geraldo Rivera, Oprah, Phil Donahue and other major television shows, plus numerous times his hoax stories have been reported on wire services, on the front page of major newspapers including USA Today and the New York Times, and in magazines, both in the U.S. and overseas.

One of his early hoaxes took a busload of hippies on a tour of suburban Queens in New York, in 1968. Network newscasters fell for his “Cathouse for Dogs,” a 1976 production set in a Manhattan apartment. His “Metamorphosis – Cockroach Vitamin Pill” launched in 1981 had Skaggs appearing as Dr. Josef Gregor hawking a cockroach vitamin pill that made one invulnerable to high doses of nuclear radiation among other qualities. The Fat Squad in 1986 had him as Joe Bones, an ex-U.S. Marine drill sergeant, who heads up a 24-hour-a-day patrol that forcibly keeps dieters from breaking their diets. The Solomon Project in 1996 offered to supplant judges and juries with a computerized justice system.

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