Goodrich Gevaart is a very funny, very friendly standup who co-produces Performance Anxiety, a monthly standup showcase at The Pleasure Chest, an upscale sex shop in Lakeview. Even in the year 2013, a standup showcase in the back of a shop that sells dildos is a bit unusual, or even off putting to some folks. That's why, in advance of tonight's edition of Performance Anxiety, Goodrich sent over the answers to a few frequently asked questions about the show.
Most standup showcases have three goals: book funny comics, bring in a good audience, repeat. These are not easy things to replicate on a consistent basis and the ones that do deserve the praise they get. Every day of the week in Chicago, there is one that does and great shows like these, that exist outside of the clubs make this city great for standup.
I only mention this to explain the other things Caitlin Bergh and I take into account to book a sex-positive standup showcase at The Pleasure Chest. She and I want to do the same things other comedy shows do while also making it a comfortable space for the type of people who feel comfortable in a sex shop.
PEOPLE CAN FEEL COMFORTABLE IN A SEX SHOP?!
Settle down spazz. Yes, they can. The easiest way I’ve found to explain the concept of sex-positive is “all sex is awesome.” Our culture, rooted deeply in religious doctrine from way back, has a lot of shame and negativity on the subject of sex. I don’t think anyone I know has never felt ashamed, confused, or afraid of the things they find sexual. I know personally I’ve felt so much more confident and happy as a person after I decided all my kinks were fun and not shameful. I feel the same way for others, whatever turns them on, I’m stoked that they feel comfortable enough expressing it. When I walk around The Pleasure Chest I don’t think “what weirdo wants a chastity belt?” but “that’s great that someone gets off on chastity play, PARTY ON!” (cue Wayne Campbell head bang).
LEMME DO JOKES AT YOUR SHOW!!
Well this escalated quickly, didn’t it? Here comes the difficult part about booking this show: comedians. Go to an open mic and count how many jokes presuppose that women are whores, masturbation is bad, homosexuals are weirdos, transsexuals are scary, and rape is OK. Most of the time I tap out (my safe word here is "I’m leaving’) before I can count them all. This is not what we want at Performance Anxiety. We want to be a showcase where audience can expect to not hear jokes at the expense of the LGBTQ community, kinky folks, people of any race, or the sex-smart folks who run The Pleasure Chest. This means we have a pretty specific idea of who we should and should not book at the show. This does not mean we don’t think you are funny, just that you don’t fit well for this show specifically.
WHAT’RE YOU SOME KIND OF THOUGHT POLICE?! FREEDOM OF SPEECH! 1984! OBAMA!
It feels very weird suggesting to comedians what is and is not acceptable material to do at our show, but it’s necessary. Our show is in a well-lit storefront where the comedians and audience are very close to one another. We have to trust you in this environment. The Pleasure Chest not only asks us to put on a sex-positive show, but also one that does not make fun of the merchandise in a negative way. As comedians, we know this is difficult because commenting on your environment is one of the best ways to start a set and subtly express to the audience "look I’m funny, I figured out how to make you laugh at this oil painting on the wall that we been lookin’ at the whole time we been here." But, if in your infinite comedy-wisdom are all like “look at this dumb butt-plug, who puts things in their butt like that?!?!” I do, dumb-fuck. A lot of people do in fact, otherwise they wouldn’t have a business allowing us to let you tell jokes in it.
At the end of the day, I don’t feel too bad somewhat guiding comics as to what material should be done there, there are no other shows in the city that do that, and our show does not make or break your career, it’s another credit that doesn’t matter. It’s just a really fun show Caitlin and I are proud of.
YOU THINK YOU’RE SO FUCKIN COOL CUZ YOU THOUGHT OF THIS HUH?
Wow, chill, my man. I didn’t think of any of this shit. Performance Anxiety was started in Los Angeles by Eli Olsberg and TJ Miler. At Just For Laughs Chicago last year they decided to expand the show to Chicago’s Pleasure Chest. Rhea Butcher and Caitlin Bergh booked me for the first show. It was great. I kept coming back as it was totally a show I was excited about. Rhea moved to LA and they asked me hop on as co-producer.
Performance Anxiety is 8PM every third Monday at The Pleasure Chest, located at 3436 N Lincoln Ave.