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No accident that a star isn't porn


February 6, 2006

Remember when smut was called "porno" rather than porn? Remember Herbie Hancock's hit "Rockit"? Remember those mini-box cereal 10-packs?

When Andrew Goffman, in his slapdash solo show "The Accidental Pervert," isn't garnering mild grins with circa-1980 nostalgia, he's dispensing straight-faced banalities as wisdom. "I think that watching all these videos gave me a twisted impression of women," Goffman says of his dad's collection of dirty films. Ya think? Or, "It seemed like having a child was a way of living on after you die." Wait, let me write that one down.



And then there are the fantasies. To illustrate how a steady diet of vintage porno has distorted his desires, Goffman acts out a few wish-fulfillment scenarios in the glare of red light and strobes. He has a certain game, wild-eyed energy, but what he lacks as a writer, he does not make up for as a performer.

His episodic narrative more or less traces an untimely education in the ways of the flesh. At age 10, after his dad moved out, young Andrew found a stash of 86 porn videotapes. (You can tell he counted.) These soon became his steady companions, his obsession and, as he later learned, an unattainable ideal. His first time? Not as good as the videos. His postcollegiate bachelor days? Still not as good as the videos.

This disconnect may not be unfamiliar territory for many American males, whose sexual curiosity is all too easily sated by an onslaught of pornography. Goffman says he lost his innocence when he discovered that stash of videos. But more important, what he surrendered, like most boys who start feeding their adolescent lust with a diet of smut, was his imagination.

When Goffman's wife starts lactating, he thinks of Chesty Morgan. When he faces fatherhood, he thinks wistfully of the responsibility-free studs of the porn films. Then one day he miraculously discovers that, with a wife and daughter of his own, he can't "objectify" women anymore. This transition is less than convincing, as are his maudlin reflections on his own emotionally distant parents. For the record, Charles Messina is credited as director, though his contribution is hard to discern.

THE ACCIDENTAL PERVERT. Written by Andrew Goffman. Directed by Charles Messina. The Triad, 158 W. 72nd St., Manhattan. Through Feb. 24. Call 212-868-4444. Seen Thursday.

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