The Accidental Pervert
13th Street Repertory, 50 West 13th Street · Tickets on sale through Jun 29
nytheatre.com review by Heather McAllister
January 9, 2010
The Accidental Pervert is a salacious peek into a small town Pennsylvania boy's bedroom window, and underpants. After viewing, I ended up feeling a little dirty, a little horny. So I called my cheerleading squad right over, and we all took a shower. But seriously folks, porn addiction is a real problem. It can take over a person's life, make them shun their usual pastimes, avoid real partners in favor of Miss Rosy Palms, and deem real people unacceptable if they are less than perfectly Porn-a-riffic at all times. Isolating, self indulgent, and a big black hole of wasted time, I don't think anyone would call jerking it all day a healthy hobby.
In Andrew Goffman's one-man autobiographical piece The Accidental Pervert, culled from his standup routine, we see the direct result of one boy's love affair with his penis, his palm, and his porn collection, how it warps his view of women and relationships, and how it takes over his life until it one day magically stops—when he meets a hot enough (plus genius!) woman whom he wants to get to know (and "bang") long term.
And, while I thank writer/performer Goffman for sharing his jerk-off journey so graphically and honestly—his no-hands technique with the Adidas shirt, his teacher and "MILF" (Moms I'd Like to F*&%) fantasies; his wanking favorites all laid bare: bad boy spankings, naughty nympho cheerleaders, and motor boating on gigantic breasts—the fact that he was saved from porn's firm and greasy grip by his future wife's extreme saintly hotness, her nuclear physicist brain / Victoria's Secret model body combo seems more like a replacement fantasy than a real cure.
Goffman does a thorough job of breaking it down for us in a strangely wholesome, earnest, innocent way. That his addiction was to his father's old 1970s porn somehow makes his story more pathetic. We see a clip of one classic where a woman's giant boobs smother a man in a motor boating accident. We hear snippets from various porn parodies, in particular Darth Vader and his light saber getting busy.
Director Charles Messina moves the show along at a fast pace, and pulls what were a lot of smutty jokes into a cohesive narrative. There are some nicely performed 1980s dances, choreographed by Sherri Norige, of the type you might see at a Long Island wedding: the Cabbage Patch, the Roger Rabbit, the Running Man. I was kind of disappointed the Electric Slide wasn't featured.
Anthony Augello's set is perfectly cluttered and kitschy, I thought we were taking a glimpse into a certain ex-boyfriend's tissue-strewn apartment. Josh Iacovelli's lighting is evocatively moody, with plenty of hot red spotlights to highlight the money moments, but the sound by Andrew Wingert blares fitfully and really, really loudly. It doesn't fit with the furtive, sneaky nature of Goffman's porn confessional.
Ultimately, what was learned from this addiction? Nothing! Goffman tells us: he put away the porn solely because he wanted to do his new fantasy: future Mrs. Goffman. And when the honeymoon was over because of the sheer exhaustion of their new baby, his solution? After a brief relapse, "abstinence." Yeah, right. I hope this play helps people realize that there is a time for jerkin it, and a time for connecting with a real partner, and hopefully making a connection to that person and getting it on in a mutually hot way.