On January 20, 2011, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Andrew Goffman after seeing his show "The Accidental Pervert." What made this interview even more special, aside from Andrew's personality and humor, was the fact that the director (and fellow "Call Me Adam" participant) Charles Messina was on hand as well and was kind enough to provide some additional insight and answers.
Andrew Goffman has been performing stand-up comedy on the road for the past 12 years, connecting with live audiences around the country in over 150 theaters and clubs. Now he has made the successful cross over from comedy to theatre. First starring in "Grandma Sylvia's Funeral" and now Andrew has brought his true-life story of how finding his dad's pornography collection affected him growing up in the hit Off-Broadway show "The Accidental Pervert," directed by Charles Messina. Using Andrew's comedic timing and Charles' brilliant directing, this smart, hilarious, and fun show takes the audience on Andrew's journey and how losing his dad and meeting his wife changed him (Click here for my extended review). Both Andrew and "The Accidental Pervert" will make you laugh, will make you cry, and most of all will make you hard, as in a hard-core fan of this dynamic performer! "The Accidental Pervert" plays at The Players Theatre in NYC (115 MacDougal Street, 3rd Floor).
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? The first comic I ever saw was Eddie Murphy in "Delirious" and I thought that was the funniest thing I'd ever seen and I knew I wanted to do comedy. I also was inspired by Steve Martin when he had the arrow through his head and I would watch David Letterman, which was hard because I would have to stay up late, but we had a VCR so I could tape it. Those three really inspired me to do stand-up comedy. I started doing stand-up, but then I got married and had a child and I didn't want to go on the road for three weeks at a time and I wasn't big enough to headline here in NY, so I thought how could I stay in NY and still be home at a reasonable hour and that is when "The Accidental Pervert" really came to life.
2. Who's the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? Angelina Jolie, Louis C.K., Pablo Francisco, Samantha Fox, or Traci Lords.
3. What was it like writing "The Accidental Pervert" and what did writing it do for you? It got me horny...hahaha. It was a lot of fun because it was my story and I loved it whenever something clicked or when I could express the story the way I wanted to. While the show is a comedy, I did try to have a message as well and make it meaningful. I feel the show has an uplifting message and I feel great when I tell it. I am also very lucky to work with Charles Messina, my director (who's own show "A Room Of My Own" is coming out).
4. Me: It's interesting you mention Charles because my next question is...How did you and Charles connect in working on this project together? I knew this girl Andrea Reese and she was doing a one woman show called "Cirque Jacqueline" in 2005 and she told me about this festival called the Double Helix One Festival which is a festival of one-person shows and she suggested I enter since I wanted to have my own one-man show. I applied for the festival and I didn't even have the script finished and I got accepted. I had never done the show before. I call up Andrea and I tell her I just got accepted to this festival, what should I do? She said, I have this great director, I love him, there is nothing like him, and I'll give you his name. So I call up Charles and tell him Andrea gave me your name and said great things about you. I'm doing this festival and I'm doing this show. The hardest thing about doing a show with a director is that it's very similar to dating because you don't know each other, so it's almost like a blind date. There's almost no time to get to feel each other out. I mean, what are you going to do, are you going to go to the movies? You know, you have your script and the director is like okay, let's get started. Charles and I did have a lot in common...we both are around the same age (though I am a few years younger), we both have a kid almost the same age, we both lost our fathers, and we just had a lot we could relate to and we really just hit it off. Charles: The fact that both of us lost our father was a big part of it and a big part of the story. We didn't want a show that would just be fallacious and sexual. We wanted that one part of the story that gets serious and it's a challenge to be able to go from comedy to such a serious moment and then bring it back to comedy again. I think that's what makes it a play. I think if you take that moment out, it's episodic and it's just story, story, story, but that part of it I think is the real emotional center piece of the play. Andrew (to Charles): You really helped making it a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Charles: We worked on a lot of different things that give it it's structure and an arc, so you feel like you're seeing a complete story and not just a stand-up routine because Andrew is a good stand-up comic and he's done stand-up for so many years, but we wanted to separate it and distinguish it and make it a piece of theatre. I think we succeeded.
5. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing "The Accidental Pervert?" My main goal is entertainment, so I want them to have a good time and hope they have fun. I do try to cover an adult subject in a tasteful way and I feel like if you talk about something tastefully it's okay. I'd like them to talk about some of the stuff that goes on. I remember one of Charles' friends came to see the show and the night before they saw "Avatar" and they ended up talking about "The Accidental Pervert" more because it helped open the door to talk about so many other subjects. Charles: We've been doing this show for over a year now and if you include what we did in a slightly different version in 2006, we've been doing this show for a long time, so a lot of people have seen this show. Andrew has made a good point that women enjoy this show a lot because they feel like they are being let in to the psyche of a man and they leave hoping to understand their husbands or boyfriends a little bit better. Andrew: A lot of guys have come up to me after the show and are like "Yo dude, you were telling my story." "That was my story up there." I also think audiences feel that since I'm being honest and truthful, they go with me or they say I can relate to this. Charles: It's nice how we've assembled the piece because I think it's really accessible for an adult audience. It's not a show for kids, but for adults it's a playful show and there's nothing dirty about it.
6. Favorite place to write? I write the most on the subway because there are no distractions and oh if I get a seat, forget about it.
7. Favorite way to stay in shape? The show. When we first started doing the show, I lost 15lbs.
8. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs, it keeps everything in place.
9. Favorite website? theaccidentalpervert.com
10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Wonder Woman. Did you see that outfit she wears?
11. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about? I can wiggle my ears.
12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I dreamed about this woman, Harriet, who's on my board of the building I live in.