Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Nude stand-up comedy

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Nude stand-up comedy

    The first Wednesday of every month in Boston.

    http://www.nakedcomedyshowcase.com/

    From The Boston Globe:
    Grin and bare it
    Comic is comfortable in his own skin, and nothing else
    By Nick A. Zaino III, Globe Correspondent | December 2, 2005

    Andy Ofiesh stood onstage nude save for a string of Christmas bulbs at ImprovBoston, yawning and smiling cheerfully as a photographer adjusted the lights. He seemed, oddly enough, quite comfortable, almost bored.

    ''Ooh, toasty," he said, bemused, as the lights grew hotter.

    A nude photo shoot is nothing compared with what Ofiesh normally faces at the Cambridge comedy venue, home to the area's longest-running improvisational troupe. Once a month, he does onstage what most of us could only imagine in our worst nightmare: naked stand-up comedy. (We'll pause a moment while you meditate on the utter horror of having to do such a thing.) What's more astonishing is that Ofiesh has persuaded other performers to try nude stand-up, too, and now hosts ''The Naked Comedy Showcase" at ImprovBoston the first Wednesday of every month.

    If it sounds like a gimmick, well, it is. Ofiesh (pronounced oh-FYSH), a 37-year-old software engineer who lives in Waltham, acknowledges that the lure of seeing naked people doesn't hurt ticket sales: The first event in June sold out on breathless word-of-mouth alone. But he also wants people to know there's more to the show than exhibitionism.

    ''On the surface, it's exciting -- naked stand-up comedy!" he says. ''[But] when you get into it, you realize, oh, that's just some really good stand-up comedy that's going on there."

    Stand-up and nudity are, by now, a natural combination for Ofiesh. He tried both in 1998 at the suggestion of his therapist, he says, as a way of becoming more social.

    The therapist recommended that he try continuing education courses and weekend workshops, including some that were, uh, ''clothing optional." Ofiesh was five weeks into a stand-up course at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education when he attended his first clothing-optional workshop on relationships and communication. Over four days, he got to know people -- first, when everyone was dressed and, later, undressed. It was there that he decided to try stand-up in the buff. He felt surprisingly free.

    ''I felt a connection with the audience," he says. ''It felt like being kissed for the first time. And they really laughed."

    That's the experience Ofiesh has tried to share with his fellow comics through the ImprovBoston show and the private shows he has been organizing since 2003. ''Some of the best experiences with audiences I've ever had have been when I was naked, just because I feel that they're on my side," he says. ''They respond to that vulnerability."

    Vulnerability is one thing. Disclosing your identity as a naked comic is something else.

    Happy the Sad Clown, who cohosted the first show in June, says performing nude for the first time was quite comfortable. But she still refuses to be identified for this story. Happy's act is wordless and mostly improvised, and performing sans clothes (except for her red nose and wig, of course), gave her an unexpected new source of material. ''It was a lot easier," she says.
    Local headliner Reverend Tim McIntire was in on the first few private shows Ofiesh organized, and was on the bill for the first public show in June at ImprovBoston. He figured doing naked stand-up comedy would lead to psychological insight -- or, at the very least, a great story. He found both.

    ''I've worked every other kind of gig -- I figured I had to try this one," he says. ''I was shocked, but that first show was one of the most incredible stand-up experiences I've had. I've never felt that connected to an audience."

    Nevertheless, Ofiesh's ''Naked Comedy" has been a tough sell. He was turned down by several venues before ImprovBoston agreed to host the show -- only after checking with the City of Cambridge to make sure the club wouldn't be raided.

    The legal research fell to ImprovBoston managing director Elyse Becker, who was familiar with Ofiesh from his work on the Walsh Brothers' Thursday night ''Great and Secret Show." It was easier to get permission than she thought.

    ''They had me write a letter saying it was OK, promising there would be no touching and no money would be placed in any clothing or anything," she says. ''That was actually the law. So it's pretty open. And we feel there's artistic integrity in [the show]."

    The first show began with nervous laughter from the audience as Ofiesh walked onstage. ''Make yourself comfortable," he said. ''I am." He recounted the regulations the city had put on the show, joking that there was to be no stripping and all poles had to be removed from the stage.

    For most performers, the awkwardness lasted only a minute or two before they were able to concentrate on their act. That desensitization is at least part of what Ofiesh is hoping to achieve with the show.

    ''I expect people to come to the show and feel uncomfortable," he says. ''And hopefully, they're open to having a transition in that feeling of discomfort."

    ''The Naked Comedy Showcase" went international in August, when Ofiesh brought the show to Scotland's Edinburgh Festival Fringe. When he asked comics from other shows if they wanted to participate, he got the same reaction there he often gets here.

    ''More than nine out of 10 people will think I'm joking," he says. ''They can't even comprehend that that's actually going to happen, much less them doing it. Most people I ask are definitely 'No.' You get to hear a lot of 'No.' "

    Ofiesh did run into problems when he stepped back into a normal club to try stand-up fully clothed. (He'll perform a clothed set at the Comedy Studio tomorrow.) He found himself floundering as he tried to establish a rapport with the audience that came so naturally when he was au naturel.

    ''I realized I had a head start when I was naked . . . because I had instant connection, rapport with the audience that I didn't get when I'm in a club with people I don't know and I'm wearing clothes," he says.

    That said, there are times when even Ofiesh finds nude stand-up comedy a strange proposition.

    ''Every once in a while I will visualize myself onstage naked and it will strike me as, 'That's weird, that's not right,' " he says. ''But generally when I'm naked, I'm like, whatever. That's my normal state."

  • #2
    The first Wednesday of every month in Boston.

    http://www.nakedcomedyshowcase.com/

    From The Boston Globe:
    Grin and bare it
    Comic is comfortable in his own skin, and nothing else
    By Nick A. Zaino III, Globe Correspondent | December 2, 2005

    Andy Ofiesh stood onstage nude save for a string of Christmas bulbs at ImprovBoston, yawning and smiling cheerfully as a photographer adjusted the lights. He seemed, oddly enough, quite comfortable, almost bored.

    ''Ooh, toasty," he said, bemused, as the lights grew hotter.

    A nude photo shoot is nothing compared with what Ofiesh normally faces at the Cambridge comedy venue, home to the area's longest-running improvisational troupe. Once a month, he does onstage what most of us could only imagine in our worst nightmare: naked stand-up comedy. (We'll pause a moment while you meditate on the utter horror of having to do such a thing.) What's more astonishing is that Ofiesh has persuaded other performers to try nude stand-up, too, and now hosts ''The Naked Comedy Showcase" at ImprovBoston the first Wednesday of every month.

    If it sounds like a gimmick, well, it is. Ofiesh (pronounced oh-FYSH), a 37-year-old software engineer who lives in Waltham, acknowledges that the lure of seeing naked people doesn't hurt ticket sales: The first event in June sold out on breathless word-of-mouth alone. But he also wants people to know there's more to the show than exhibitionism.

    ''On the surface, it's exciting -- naked stand-up comedy!" he says. ''[But] when you get into it, you realize, oh, that's just some really good stand-up comedy that's going on there."

    Stand-up and nudity are, by now, a natural combination for Ofiesh. He tried both in 1998 at the suggestion of his therapist, he says, as a way of becoming more social.

    The therapist recommended that he try continuing education courses and weekend workshops, including some that were, uh, ''clothing optional." Ofiesh was five weeks into a stand-up course at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education when he attended his first clothing-optional workshop on relationships and communication. Over four days, he got to know people -- first, when everyone was dressed and, later, undressed. It was there that he decided to try stand-up in the buff. He felt surprisingly free.

    ''I felt a connection with the audience," he says. ''It felt like being kissed for the first time. And they really laughed."

    That's the experience Ofiesh has tried to share with his fellow comics through the ImprovBoston show and the private shows he has been organizing since 2003. ''Some of the best experiences with audiences I've ever had have been when I was naked, just because I feel that they're on my side," he says. ''They respond to that vulnerability."

    Vulnerability is one thing. Disclosing your identity as a naked comic is something else.

    Happy the Sad Clown, who cohosted the first show in June, says performing nude for the first time was quite comfortable. But she still refuses to be identified for this story. Happy's act is wordless and mostly improvised, and performing sans clothes (except for her red nose and wig, of course), gave her an unexpected new source of material. ''It was a lot easier," she says.
    Local headliner Reverend Tim McIntire was in on the first few private shows Ofiesh organized, and was on the bill for the first public show in June at ImprovBoston. He figured doing naked stand-up comedy would lead to psychological insight -- or, at the very least, a great story. He found both.

    ''I've worked every other kind of gig -- I figured I had to try this one," he says. ''I was shocked, but that first show was one of the most incredible stand-up experiences I've had. I've never felt that connected to an audience."

    Nevertheless, Ofiesh's ''Naked Comedy" has been a tough sell. He was turned down by several venues before ImprovBoston agreed to host the show -- only after checking with the City of Cambridge to make sure the club wouldn't be raided.

    The legal research fell to ImprovBoston managing director Elyse Becker, who was familiar with Ofiesh from his work on the Walsh Brothers' Thursday night ''Great and Secret Show." It was easier to get permission than she thought.

    ''They had me write a letter saying it was OK, promising there would be no touching and no money would be placed in any clothing or anything," she says. ''That was actually the law. So it's pretty open. And we feel there's artistic integrity in [the show]."

    The first show began with nervous laughter from the audience as Ofiesh walked onstage. ''Make yourself comfortable," he said. ''I am." He recounted the regulations the city had put on the show, joking that there was to be no stripping and all poles had to be removed from the stage.

    For most performers, the awkwardness lasted only a minute or two before they were able to concentrate on their act. That desensitization is at least part of what Ofiesh is hoping to achieve with the show.

    ''I expect people to come to the show and feel uncomfortable," he says. ''And hopefully, they're open to having a transition in that feeling of discomfort."

    ''The Naked Comedy Showcase" went international in August, when Ofiesh brought the show to Scotland's Edinburgh Festival Fringe. When he asked comics from other shows if they wanted to participate, he got the same reaction there he often gets here.

    ''More than nine out of 10 people will think I'm joking," he says. ''They can't even comprehend that that's actually going to happen, much less them doing it. Most people I ask are definitely 'No.' You get to hear a lot of 'No.' "

    Ofiesh did run into problems when he stepped back into a normal club to try stand-up fully clothed. (He'll perform a clothed set at the Comedy Studio tomorrow.) He found himself floundering as he tried to establish a rapport with the audience that came so naturally when he was au naturel.

    ''I realized I had a head start when I was naked . . . because I had instant connection, rapport with the audience that I didn't get when I'm in a club with people I don't know and I'm wearing clothes," he says.

    That said, there are times when even Ofiesh finds nude stand-up comedy a strange proposition.

    ''Every once in a while I will visualize myself onstage naked and it will strike me as, 'That's weird, that's not right,' " he says. ''But generally when I'm naked, I'm like, whatever. That's my normal state."

    Comment


    • #3
      Very interesting. I found the most interesting part to be where he attended courses which were clothing optional. We need more of these in colleges so people begin to understand that we all become freer with each other when naked.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have done Nude Radio.. so I suppose this will be my next challenge!

        Comment

        Working...
        X