5 Questions I’ve Never Been Asked: Andrew Goffman

Michael Stewart, Trump Demon Mask, 2017, glazed earthenware (detail).

In the pantheon of great titles easily made into sex references, so many of which should be hung like paintings in Manhattan’s Museum of Sex, The Accidential Pervert doesn’t rank too high. It lacks the je ne sais quoi of Big. It runs a deficit beside Sex, Lies and Videotape. It doesn’t spark the smirk that Faster, Pussycat! Kill Kill! puts on your face. It pales beside the unkosher Porky’s. It hasn’t the bliss of the faux-porn titles cited on the Brian Does Hollywood episode of Family Guy, in which Brian the dog directs You’ve Got Male Genitalia, The Purple Head of Cairo, Add Momma to the Train, Shaving Private Ryan and Welcome to My Face.

But The Accidental Pervert, a solo show by comic Andrew Goffman, aims not for je ne sais quoi, naughtiness, smirks, knishes or puns by Seth McFarlane. The title aims to get people to say “What?” and buy a ticket. For underneath that title, Goffman has a clear story to tell — a personal and private story. Um, very private, if you please.

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Several years ago, Goffman began developing material relating to his youthful obsession with pornography. It began, he says, when he happened upon his father’s collection of xxx-rated video tapes. He was 11. For the next 15 years, he was trapped within the thrall of porn but also within its destructive ability to desensitize. He was addicted to porn, he says. The cure came when he was 26 — when he met the woman who became his wife.

It’s a measure of Goffman’s style that he begins the show with this bracing comment: “You know, none of us starts out to be a pervert.” So true, so true.

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Directed by Charles Messina (whose handiwork graced Off-Broadway’s popular Cirque Jacqueline), choreographed by Sherri Norige and with additional dramaturgy by Liza Lentini (a veteran of the Clyde Fitch Report’s 5 Questions), The Accidental Pervert is currently in previews at the Players Theatre (115 MacDougal St.). The show opens Jan. 23 and runs through March 7, playing Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm. Tickets are $30. Call 212-352-3101 or click here.

And now, 5 questions Andrew Goffman has never been asked — and a bonus question:

1) What’s the most perceptive question anyone has ever asked you about your work?
I was a real smart-ass as a youngster, which was fine until I realized that to be a successful smart-ass it really helps to be smart! That’s why I hate arguing with people who really do know what they’re talking about — I find that totally frustrating, because it limits my options to just talk my way out of the argument.

2) What’s the most idiotic question anyone has ever asked you about your work?
A reporter once asked me, when I was opening up for a Single-A baseball game in Florida, “What’s up with our national anthem?” I mean, “The Star Spangled Banner” is just plain boring and too long. They should limit it to two minutes, add a rap beat and “Oooh yeah.” And the anthem should do its part to boost the economy by including commercials. (Let’s face it — there never was an “Anthem 2.” And what about the album, was it ever released? Don’t tell me: the rest of the songs were crap.)

Some national anthems reflect the country they represent: the Japanese national song is, in fact, an exact copy of some other country’s anthem, but it’s actually better than the original.

I wonder if they have an “anthems jukebox” at the United Nations? Maybe they should get one, with every country’s national song on there. But how much would it cost and what currency would it accept?

3) What’s the weirdest question anyone has ever asked you about your work?
It was a phone interview for some radio station in Huntsville, AL, and the DJ didn’t get the updated schedule and thought I was a female jock comic. So I tried to speak in a high-pitched voice and I said — speaking of skirts flying up — “Do you remember something called ‘shanking’?” Now, think way way back to high school, when people would come up behind you and drop your pants to your ankles. I played volleyball and one day while waiting for the activity bus in front of the school (you know, where all the sports teams gather together before going off to games or practice), one of my teammates came up behind me to shank me. Instead of pulling down my pants, however, I was wearing a miniskirt, so, yes, you guessed it, she lifted it up — and quite high, I might add. I was so surprised and in a hurry that when I went to pull my skirt down, I pulled down my underwear instead! The skirt was still raised high like a flag — right in front of the whole football team (facing my front) and soccer team (facing my tush). Needless to say, I never lived that one down. I wish that I dreamt it! Oh yeah, I did! Boy were the DJ and club owner surprised to see what I looked like in person that weekend.

4) Great title for your show. But if you were addicted to pornography, were you really an “accidental” pervert? Weren’t you really sort of an “intentional” perv? What’s wrong with being really, really into pornography, anyway?
I wanted to try these new erotic discoveries with girls. I thought life was really like those movies where the handyman shows up and is immediately seduced by the housewife, or the cable guy knocks on the door and 30 seconds later is getting laid. Somewhere along the line I forgot the feelings and emotions that are supposed to lie behind a physical relationship.

5) Can you describe the kinkiest, most off-the-wall, I-didn’t-know-such-a-thing-existed pornography? Now that you’re married and, as the press materials say, no longer in the control of porn, is there any specific porn flick you especially miss?

For the most off-the-wall, go to my website, www.theaccidentalpervert.com. Just kidding! From MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village, the police are still looking for a man who stole a 20-foot condom from a store display. You’ve heard of group sex? This thing was designed for group safe sex — and, by the way, it wasn’t me! But no, there isn’t a specific dirty movie that I miss. Sex is overrated — I’d rather pop a nice, ripe pimple. And you still get the same result. A lot of white gushing fluid all over the mirror. Only this way I’m in control. Sex seems ridiculous, like someone else putting their finger up your nose.

Bonus Question:

6) How do you mix comedy, which you’ve done on the road for a dozen years and worldwide, with the soul-searching tone of your piece? At a certain point, any kind of addiction isn’t funny anymore, is it?
My life plan was just make it up as I go along. I never had a life strategy, never had a life plan or implemented one. Chance meetings, small off-the-cuff decisions made me and my life what it turned out to be. Like when I play football and I’m the quarterback: “Everybody, just go out — I’ll throw to whoever’s open.” I liked living that way until I got audited.

By the way, did I mention I love taking baths? It’s tough for me to admit it, but I’m being vulnerable. I feel young, like I’m 6; I put the goggles on, blow bubbles from both ends, stick my toe up the faucet, open the drain up and let the water out, then clog it back up. I like to make waves and see if I can get them almost over the sides but not quite. I’m not talking bubble baths — I’m not gay, just boyish. I start scrubbing the grout, the tiles; I’m already down here, why not be helpful? I think old people should take more baths — there’s no room to fall and break a hip. Sure, a lot of them will drown — how much time do they have left, anyway? At least they’ll go out clean. Does that answer your question?

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  • It’s possible I’ve never had such a great time reading an interview! But what can I say? I’m a pretty big Andrew Goffman fan. ;-)