For so long as she will be able to keep in mind, stand-up comedian Carolyn Bergier has had a recurring nightmare wherein she’s onstage, partly nude. It is scary, after which she wakes up.
The distinction this time is that she is totally bare – and that is no dream. It is actual life, or at the least as shut as you will get in a Bushwick, Brooklyn, basement. Final month, Bergier, the sort of one who adjustments within the locker room as shortly and discreetly as doable, walked onstage with no garments on, seemed out at a sold-out crowd of 75 individuals, a pink neon signal behind them exhibiting two rabbits having intercourse, and realized she had made a giant mistake: She forgot to take the hair tie off her wrist.
What an oversight! As she approached the microphone, an epiphany hit. She tossed the hair tie to the facet and quipped, “I knew I was overdressed for the occasion.” Massive giggle.
Public talking is at all times ranked in polls as amongst our biggest fears. Stand-up have to be worse. However “The Naked Comedy Show”? This month-to-month showcase represents the Everest of hysteria. “This is the most vulnerable you can be,” Bergier, 38, advised me over Zoom later. “That’s what drew me in.”
Mixing stand-up and bare flesh is hardly new. Lenny Bruce labored strip golf equipment. Tig Notaro advised jokes topless, which is Bert Kreischer’s model. An East Village hit, “Schtick a Pole in It,” alternates athletic pole dancing and stand-up units, at all times with a unique musical theme. (It is Rihanna over Memorial Day weekend.) And there is additionally a barely obscure New York Metropolis custom of completely bare stand-up that has included comics corresponding to Eric Andre and Mike Lawrence (who carried out on “The Naked Comedy Showcase” on the Pit greater than a decade in the past).
Billy Procida, the 33-year-old producer and host of “The Naked Comedy Show,” has been performing comedy sans clothes since he attended New York College. The second time he carried out nude, the girl he misplaced his virginity to confirmed up. He bombed. “Bombing is embarrassing, but bombing naked is the worst thing that can happen,” he advised me at a espresso store close to Union Sq., talking like somebody who’s gone such hang-ups.
Onstage, Procida shows heat and sensitivity, which I’d guess are helpful qualities when sporting a penis ring (he additionally calls it “genital jewelry”). After the pandemic, realizing there have been no common bare exhibits in New York, he noticed a possibility. For a superb evening of clothed comedy in Brooklyn, it may be powerful to attract a crowd. Beginning final September, his first “Naked Comedy Show” bought out 10 days upfront. Now, he phases two an evening each month, and most have bought out. (The following one is Saturday.) He hopes to boost that to a few a month, possibly including a unadorned roast battle (though he worries that the tough and ruthless tone of these occasions may not work for the body-positive crowd).
He books veteran comics, the sort who’ve completed units on late-night speak exhibits and carry out most nights within the metropolis. Their materials tends to not be that totally different from that of their common gigs. Procida mentioned he seemed for variety, not simply of race, gender and sexual orientation, but additionally physique sort. (“It’s nice to not have five ripped comics on one bill.”) His important standards: They should be humorous and, clearly, keen. Roughly 2 out of three comics flip him down. Agreeing after which getting chilly toes isn’t unusual.
A part of the present’s success, and what makes it totally different from earlier variations, is that it takes place at an area belonging to Hacienda, a sex-positive group that has constructed a large mailing record internet hosting intercourse events. Among the viewers members are regulars, together with nudists. Earlier than a current present, I talked with individuals who had lately attended nude recreation nights, nude karate and nude boxing.
Essentially the most shocking side of “The Naked Comedy Show” could be how asexual it’s. The viewers is meticulously well mannered, fast to giggle. The jokes have been much less bawdy than what you may discover on the Comedy Cellar. There’s even an incongruous innocence to a number of the units.nyt