COMEDY REVIEW Comedy and Commentary (Clothing Optional)

Andy Ofiesh’s Naked Comedy Showcase is Raw and Exposed

Andy Ofiesh performed comedy in the nude for the first time in 2005. Since then, he has brought his unconventional delivery to venues in Scotland and New York City. He currently recruits local Boston comedians to join him and his unique brand of stand-up on the first Wednesday of each month at Improv Boston in Cambridge.

Walking onto stage in nothing but his socks (which he quickly takes off), Andy’s introduction sets the mood for the night. First and foremost, just like you, he won’t ignore the fact that he is naked. Andy uses nature’s props to launch into a segment about genitalia and nudity. His jokes range from the crude (performing headstands and comparing body parts to fun-size candy bars) to the more thought-provoking (explaining the rules and regulations that govern the Naked Comedy Showcase).

Among these rules and regulations, the Naked Comedy Showcase is careful to obey the City of Cambridge’s laws against strip shows. Andy claims that the showcase must obey a few simple rules, among them: no dancing and no prolonged finger sucking.

The rest of the comedians follow in Andy’s now bare-foot steps. A group of four male comedians perform short-form improv, a male comedian explains why he hates Christmas, a female comedian provides laughs while explaining emotional events from her past, and so it goes.

In the middle of his show, Andy invites the audience to deliver their own jokes. While one audience member volunteered while I was attending, he quickly backed down after realizing he would have to undress for his performance. This discomfort, Andy claims, is a big part of what the Showcase is all about.

Ultimately, some of the comedy is hilarious, some of the comedy is rough around the edges, and some of the comedy is better classified as poetry. The Naked Comedy Showcase pushes you to stop laughing at someone’s appearance and start laughing at what they’re saying. To this end, the Naked Comedy Showcase drives at comedy that may not be the funniest ever, but will be more real than almost any you will ever experience. The show will leave you laughing, but also questioning your own comfort and pre-conceived notions about nudity.

Granted, I still found myself giggling when one of the naked comedians helped me pick out bed-risers at the Local Bed, Bath, and Beyond several weeks later. It just goes to show that the people and the event were memorable and real. And, for cheaper than a movie ($7 for students and $10 for adults), the Naked Comedy Showcase is a good alternative to another night at the cinema.