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“The Accidental Pervert”: A Review

February 2, 2011

Of all things to forge a sacred bond between father and son…tossing a softball in the park, fishing together at a favorite lake, watching the football game on a Sunday afternoon… this is not a shared interest that you’d post pictures of on Facebook. Or document in the family photo album. Or brag about to the grandparents.

You’d be more likely to tell it to a priest. At confession.

In fact, that’s what “The Accidental Pervert” is like. A confession. Andrew Goffman reveals in his one man show that the tie that binds his family is a G string.

Pornography. A father’s legacy. A son’s obsession.

Goffman’s entertaining semi-autobiographical comedy (a true story in which names and certain details are changed to protect the un-perverted) is a trip down a XXX-rated memory lane.

As Goffman tells it, at age 11 he stumbled upon a box of pornographic videotapes tucked away in a closet, left behind by his father who had moved out after a divorce. Curiosity+hormones=the rest of the story.

“No one starts out to be a pervert,” Goffman rationalizes to the audience. But those tapes, a VCR and abundant hours home by himself, turned Goffman’s young life into the Ron Jeremy edition of an after school tv special.

Set in Goffman’s room, circa 1980 and complete with a recliner, Norman Rockwell prints hanging on each wall and Goffman in boxers and a t-shirt,  he speaks directly to the audience, animatedly recounting with the help of some provocative sound effects and props.. and a dose of humility, charm and self-deprecating humor…how porn took over his life, warped his image of women and set him up for the most unrealistic expectations.

By the time the nearly 90 minute performance winds to close, Goffman’s conclusion that it has taken marriage and fatherhood to get him to put aside his penchant for porn and to have a healthy relationship in the living flesh, hardly comes as a surprise. The noteworthy twist is his relationship with his father…this odd, but intriguing and unspoken-between-them connection he now feels toward his father through these videos.  This is where Goffman’s show finds its heart and while drama does not seem to come as naturally to him (Goffman is a former stand up comedian and the comedic elements of his script are more strongly written)  he  succeeds in taking the audience in some unexpected directions.

“The Accidental Pervert” is written and performed by Andrew Goffman and directed by Charles Messina. It runs through June at the Players Theatre located on MacDougal Street in the West Village.

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