The Naked Comedy Showcase happens on the first Thursday of each month at ImprovBoston, which is actually in Central Square. It’s exactly what you think it is, or maybe what you hope it isn’t: six to eight comedians getting up to do their set in the nude. Some of them wear shoes.
The stage manager, who asked us to only leave between sets, is fully clothed, sweater and all. Andy Ofiesh, the intro act and host for the night, is our first naked performer. He warms up the audience by explaining why this is legal in Cambridge and exactly where the line is drawn to keep it that way. “We can’t put our fingers in our mouths,” he explains. “It’s too suggestive.” If they started stripping it would be illegal. If they spread their legs too wide it would be illegal. If they gave a lap dance it would be illegal. “Don’t worry, we won’t do that.”
The idea of the show, he explains, is that we need to be comfortable in our own bodies. “And I have to talk about the size of my penis. A friend told me that if I don’t people will think I don’t know.” He makes all the normal penis jokes, about how it’s big though we can all clearly see it’s small. But he has a point. We so infrequently see other people naked. The bodies on stage are so close to the audience in the tiny blackbox theatre that it’s hard to ignore the variation. It’s hard to understand how similar all those people in magazines and movies look. In reality, we have such different shapes.
The comedians take advantage of their situation. There’s a long piece in which a guy talks to his penis, at least two analogies between making people laugh and making them orgasm, and a hilarious and disturbingly visual story about a woman getting her hand stuck in someone’s vagina. But some of the comedians are not sure where to put their hands: they start to put their left hand in their pocket to discover just their skin, then awkwardly try to rest it on their stomach before pulling back, often settling for a hand on the hip. One guy, mid-joke, seems to unconsciously rearrange his balls, though there is nothing to restrict them. Others discover that some of their jokes don’t work when they’ve lost their outfit.
The tension made the audience nervous and giggly. The show is hilarious, with a mixture of experienced and new comedians, comedians tenured in nudity and some first-timers. Bring a friend. Don’t tell them what it’s called.
The Naked Comedy Showcase
Every 1st Thursday @ 9:30PM
$12 online, $15 at the door
Must be 18+ (ID required.)
40 Prospect St
Cambridge, MA 02139