Andrew Goffman is a New York City based comedian, writer and creator of the show, The Accidental Pervert. Perhaps Goffman was destined to be an “accidental pervert” from the start – he was born in Blue Ball, Pennsylvania in ‘69. He grew up on Woodcock Lane, just minutes away from Intercourse – Pennsylvania. Ever since he was a boy, Goffman wanted to be a comic. His debut performance was an auspicious one – he told his grandparents a dirty knock-knock joke and forgot the punch line. They laughed anyway, and it was all uphill from there.
After graduating from Boston University with a degree in film, Goffman moved to Queens to pursue his stand-up comedy career. He worked in comedy clubs all around New York City and toured the country, eventually working his way up to becoming a headliner.
After years on the comedy circuit, Goffman decided to create a one man show about his life, relationships and fatherhood. The result was The Accidental Pervert. Goffman infused the show with much of his stand-up comedy, but in more of a theatrical form. The show also focused on how Goffman happened upon his father’s adult video collection when he was just an 11 year old boy and how that altered his view of sex and women for many years. That is, until he met his wife and became a father, which changed everything for the better. Goffman also brought director Charles Messina on board and the two have formed a great creative collaboration.
The Accidental Pervert debuted at The One Festival at Primary Stages. Soon after, it enjoyed a short run at The Triad Theater. Then, after a brief hiatus to retool the show, it returned in 2009 and has been running ever since. The show has received glowing reviews from New York theater critics and has become an audience favorite, garnering great word of mouth and a loyal following.
Goffman has grown The Accidental Pervert brand with productions of the show being run in Buenos Aires and Panama, and soon to open in Switzerland and Greece. Goffman is also writing a book based around his experiences bringing the show to the stage and there is even a sequel in the works.
Goffman currently lives in Forest Hills, with his wife and daughter.
Barsamian: How did you come up with the name The Accidental Pervert for your one man off-Broadway show that has been running for nearly five years?
Goffman: I chose the name The Accidental Pervert because it sums up the show perfectly in just a few words. You see, I’m really a nice guy. It was a total accident that I became obsessed with sex. It all happened when I was 11 years old. I found my Dad’s adult videotapes and life was never the same after that. Dad and I never talked about it, but I always wondered what would he do if he knew I found those videos. Would he watch them with me, “Move over son. This is the best part.” Would he take them from me? “No more Caddy Snatch for you until you finish your homework.” Would he have denied they were even his? I don’t know. So I wrote a show about it to figure it all out. So my advice to everyone out there is if you think you are hiding your porno, hide it better.
NB: You reside in Forest Hills, tell us what you like best about this Queens community?
AG: Forest Hills is a great place to raise a family. My wife and daughter love it here. I do too. For me, it is a welcome getaway from the fastpaced frenzy of the city. After performing in Manhattan, I love coming home to the peace, quiet and beauty of Forest Hills. We even have a tree on our corner.
NB: Are there any plans to present this show on Broadway or on film?
AG: Yes, absolutely. It’s like you read my mind or something. I have a screenplay adaptation that I am working on right now to make The Accidental Pervert into a film. We are licensing the show to many different countries and are ultimately aiming for Broadway. What’s best about this show is that it is so universal. Audiences everywhere can relate. I love watching the videos from other countries and see my lines said in other languages and then bursts of laughter ensue. I’m like, “Wow, that’s my little show about my little life. And people around the world are laughing at it.” I think it’s because everyone can relate to those embarrassing moments of puberty. That’s why The Accidental Pervert is such an international hit. When it comes down to it, we all have a little pervert in each of us.
NB: Where did you get the inspiration for the play? How long did it take you to develop the idea? And do you find it helpful given your standup comedy writing background?
AG: My dad and my life are my inspirations. Back when I was a kid I couldn’t talk to him about this stuff. But now I talk about it every weekend with a room full of strangers. I’ve come a long way, Dad!
Being a stand-up comedian was the perfect preparation for this show.
As a stand up I developed a good sense of what works and what doesn’t, in front of a live audience. And in Pervert, there is a tremendous amount of audience interaction, which I am very comfortable with from my years of doing comedy on the road. Stand up prepares you for anything. And in my show, believe me anything can and does happen. You have to see it to find out what. Because I don’t even know what’s going to happen sometimes.
NB: In your bio, you mentioned receiving awards from your show’s productions in Panama and Argentina. How did you get involved with these countries? Do you have a background in Spanish?
AG: Producers from Panama and Argentina heard about the show, came to see it in New York City, and inquired about licensing the rights for productions in their countries. We are working on deals now with several other countries including Switzerland and Greece. Oh, and I do not speak Spanish, except for a few dirty words!
The play starred the famous Argentinian comedian Cabito. Then the famous Aaron Zebede played The Pervert and won Best Comedy in Panama. I’m lucky I had such good, talented people to play the role. They were great, except for the fact that I am better looking than them. At least that’s what my wife told me. The Accidental Pervert is opening to a brand new audience in Zurich, Switzerland on October 2. We are all very excited. It’s like we’re perverting the whole world… one continent at a time!
NB: You are featured as the star in this one man show. Does it get tiring carrying the entire production on your shoulders?
AG: No, it never gets tiring. How could something you love ever get tiring?
For me performing is nothing less than exhilarating. There is no place I’d rather be than on stage giving 100 percent of myself to the audience every show. And I have a lot of people to thank that make the production go off without a hitch every weekend. Charles Messina, my director, has been working with The Accidental Pervert from the very beginning. So in a way, you can say it is a two-man show because without him, it just wouldn’t be The Accidental Pervert as we know it. We have a great crew also. It’s like one big, happy, perverted family.
NB: Tell us about the challenges and difficulties you faced in starting up the show?
AG: There are so many stories I could tell you about things that went wrong; technical mishaps, crazy off-the-wall interactions with audience members, financial issues. It goes on and on. But you’ll have to wait for the book. Yes, we are writing the book! It’s going to include the insider, behind the scenes mounting of The Accidental Pervert, challenges and all. We’ve been documenting them as we go along. So if you come to the show, you better be careful or else you may end up as the next chapter!
NB: The show has gotten great reviews from critics and audience members. What do you think has been the best way of getting the word out about The Accidental Pervert?
AG: The best way is word of mouth. Nothing beats having a good story and a good script. When you have something good, people talk about it. When people like something, they tell their friends, their family. And that means more than any advertisement ever could. Especially today, word of mouth is extended to Facebook and Twitter, people telling people how much fun the show was. That’s the best, good old-fashioned word of mouth. Oh, and another great way of getting the word out, an interview in the Queens Gazette!
NB: How would someone interested in your show have access to more information and ticket purchases?
AG: The play’s Web site is www.TheAccidentalPervert.com You can get tickets there or just find out more info about the show. We are also on Facebook and Twitter. Find me and say hello. I don’t bite. Unless you want me to…
NB: Keeping in mind this is a family publication, do any of the scenes in your show represent real life occurrences? If so, tell us.
AG: Sure, our title may sound a bit salacious, but in reality the show has a lot of heart. When you see The Accidental Pervert, you are in for some good, old-fashioned dirty fun! The story is based on the truth of my life. It’s not all laughs in this layered show which ends on a touching moment of redemption as I find true love and perspective through real life relationships. Real life moments like losing my father, meeting my wife, and my daughter’s birth are all in there.
People are often pleasantly surprised by not just how funny, but how touching and honest the show is, too. Audience members come up to me after the show and say stuff like, “Hey Andrew, that was my life up there you were talking about!” Then they share funny, naughty stories about their puberty that they were keeping secret since they were kids. People love sharing their experiences and enjoy commiserating. Hey, we all need someone to talk to. You can say I’m a therapist, an accidental therapist.
And an accidental pervert.