In 2011, Andrew Goffman, Charles Messina, and I sat down for an exciting interview about The Accidental Pervert. Four years later, Andrew and I got hard once again about this hilarious and heartfelt show. The Accidental Pervert tells the story of a boy’s journey into manhood after discovering his dad’s X-rated video tapes hidden in a bedroom closet. The Accidental Pervert is a show about youth, growing up, and becoming mature.
The Accidental Pervert, continues to play at The Thirteenth Street Repertory Company every Friday and Saturday at 7pm (50 West 13th Street, between 5th & 6th Avenue). Click here for tickets!
1. The Accidental Pervert is now in its 8th year! As the lone performer in the show, how do you keep the show fresh for you after eight years? That’s the beauty of live theater, it's always different. Every new audience is seeing it for the first time, so their energy and enthusiasm makes it fresh for me every night I hit that stage. As a performer, I feed off of that energy. What also keeps it fresh, for both me and the many audiences that see The Accidental Pervert more than once, is that it is interactive. So it's never the same show twice! Plus Charles Messina my director, and I are always adding new elements to the show. We continue to use The Accidental Pervert’s long run as our own comedy laboratory, to experiment with new concepts and ideas. It's still fun for us, and that fun definitely translates to the audience.
2. Looking back on eight years of the show, what are some of the crazy things that have happened to you while on stage? Great question, Adam! The Pervert team reminisce about so many funny things all the time. We’re like, "Remember when the bachelorette with the short shorts came up on stage during the show and started dancing." And then one of us chimes in with "Yeah but what about the time the lazy boy chair broke in the middle of the show," or when your high school crush is actually there in the audience yelling out "Andrew, it’s not too late to hook up with me!!!" We’ve experienced nearly everything there is to experience in theater over these past eight years. From people fainting in the aisle, to firemen in full gear, wielding axes, breaking through the theater door mid-show, yelling "Where’s the fire?"
Yet every time, no matter what crazy thing is experienced, I always make it part of the show. This is the very thing that prompted Charles and I to start working on a book about this whole crazy Pervert journey. In the book, we tell it all.
All the behind the scenes stuff, and the zaniness of live theater, from oddball technical problems, to leaking ceilings over head while I’m performing, to drunken audience members who've had to be escorted out during the show, BY ME no less. Just like it should be. We once had a show where the entire audience, didn't speak English! I guess they were there to watch me twerk or something. I hear twerking is a universal gesture, kinda like waving hello to someone.
3. What has been some of the funniest audience interactions you've had during these eight years? My all time favorite audience interaction was this: One night a woman in the audience was reacting, out loud, to every other line coming out of my mouth. She was making these loud, shocked sounds and saying stuff like, "Oh," "Oh my," "Oh my Gosh." Like she was watching a movie in her living room or something. Commenting on every little thing like no one else was in the audience but her. Then when the show was over, she came up to me, and said, "I’m going to Israel next week, I will pray for you at the Wailing Wall." I just smiled and thanked her. Hey after all, a blessing is a blessing. And I probably need all of them I can get. It’s comforting to know that somewhere out there there is a woman wailing away for me.
4. How have you grown in this role over the past eight years? I'm much more comfortable now than eight years ago. When I started The Accidental Pervert, I was attached to the script, getting to know the lines, making sure I don’t miss a beat. At first, I wasn’t fully comfortable venturing away from the actual lines. But now, that’s what I do best. That’s what makes the show so special for both our audiences and me. My ability to interact with the audience, change up moment to moment, and improv - that all has become such an instrumental part of the play. Eight years ago I couldn’t imagine doing the show with it, now I can’t imagine doing the show without it!
5. The Accidental Pervert is directed by Charles Messina. Has he checked in over the past eight years and if so, have you made adjustments to the show? What is it like to make changes after the show has been up and running? Charles has been at every show! Yes, every single show. The man has no weekends. He’s the best director a guy can ask for. We are fully committed to making The Accidental Pervert the best it can be. It's a one man show, but really it's a two man show. Crew members and staff have come and gone, but Charles and I have been there from day one, and continue to be. We never take anything for granted. We meet and share notes and are constantly thinking of ways to make it funnier, tighter, better. That process still continues, even eight years later.
6. The Accidental Pervert tells the uproarious and yet poignant story of a boy’s journey into manhood after discovering his dad’s X-rated video tapes hidden in a bedroom closet. For other men who have had a similar experience, what do they tell you after the show? They tell me this is as much their story as it is mine. That means a lot to me. They relate to it. And that’s because the theme is universal. Not just for men, but women have told me the same thing. One woman even told me about her first masturbatory experience in which she was intimate with a towel. Then she proceeded to show me how she did it. The Accidental Pervert brings the sexes together, in more ways than one. If you’re human, you can relate. I’m saying stuff that other people have gone through, but don’t talk about. That’s why so many people enjoy the show. It’s cathartic, relatable, and universal.
7. If this story took place today, what magazines and porn stars would be featured in the show? It probably wouldn’t be magazines, it would be websites. The Internet has changed the game and has made porn much more accessible to the masses than it was when I was growing up. We've actually had a few porn stars come to see the show. They shall remain nameless, (in order to save their reputation). I actually don't know a lot of the more modern porn stars, so I'm not sure who would be in a current version of this story. I do know this though - there would not be any VHS tapes in the show - I can tell you that!
8. For someone who hasn't seen this show, why should they come see The Accidental Pervert? They should come see The Accidental Pervert because it’s real, it’s relatable and most importantly, it’s funny. People from all countries, continents, races, genders, and sexuality enjoy The Pervert. Beyond being entertaining, it also is a coming of age story about growing up, sexual discovery, relationships and maturity. We've all been there, so we are all in this together.
9. If you were to leave The Accidental Pervert, what celebrity or celebrities would you cast as your replacement? Seth Rogan, Will Ferrell, Kevin James, Jim Carrey, Kevin Hart, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Adam Sandler, Louise CK, Chris Rock, Daniel Tosh, Bill Burr, Jimmy Fallon, Jon Stewart, Zach Galifianakis, or maybe even as a stretch, Amy Schumer! They would be perfect perverts! Lovable, yet they have that edge.
10. The Accidental Pervert has also had productions open internationally. What was the moment like when you first got approached for an international production? Now what is it like to see these productions? Do they translate as well overseas as it does here? The first licensing deal came as a total surprise because it wasn't something we had ever considered. Now, fast forward many years, we currently have the show playing in 10 different countries and counting! Who would’ve thought that eight years ago! The international tours and runs with international celebrities playing the role of The Pervert have been very successful and the show translates extremely well into other languages. We’ve had a Swedish Pervert, an Argentinian Pervert, an Irish Pervert, a Dutch Pervert, a Panamanian Pervert. The list goes on. It’s so cool! I always find it fascinating to see how similar all the productions have been, with basically the same look and feel. Each country stays very true to the script and the set design that we use in New York City for the last eight years. I think it’s safe to say that this New York Pervert is honored and very thankful.
Andrew Goffman began his career as a stand up comedian, playing New York City clubs including Carolines, Catch A Rising Star, The Comic Strip, Stand Up New York, Boston Comedy Club, The Comedy Cellar, Rascals and later headlining internationally including Canada’s renown chain of comedy clubs, Yuk Yuks. His intense theatrical training started with mentor JoAnna Beckson, known for her specialty in teaching comedians the art of acting, as he studied with his fellow class mates Kevin James, Rock Rubin, Dave Attell and Ray Romano. Andrew made his Off-Broadway debut in the hit comedy Grandma Sylvia's Funeral, where he played in a lead role for more than a year. On the big screen, Goffman has appeared in such films as The First Wives Club with Beth Midler, Diane Keaton, and Goldie Hawn, iMurders with William Forsythe, and The Stand-In with Kelly Ripa.