Originally reviewed for GaySocialites.com.
Jonny McGovern’s high-energy one-man romp through pop culture and gay New York nightlife, Dirty Stuff is probably one of the best shows at this year’s FringeNYC, and maybe one of the best in the city.
Jonny—of Big Gay Sketch Show and “Gay Pimp” fame—has stripped this version of Dirty Stuff down to just the essentials. No bedazzled “gay pimp” wear, just black t-shirt and (admittedly fashionable) jeans. No go-go boys (from the man who revolutionized New York gay go-go, for the better)—just DJ TekShur playing a minimal soundtrack that helps emphasize the joy of club-land utopia at the heart of this very funny show.
McGovern immediately launches into his first character, Zarzuffa, a rich gay Arab hanging at the clubs. His parents are under the impression he’s designing haute nightlife couture, but “really my friend I’m just getting fucked up!” Suddenly, his parents want to see his fashion line, so he has to pull a collection together in two weeks—the incident sets McGovern’s wacky, convoluted plot in motion.
Other key characters (all played by McGovern) include Lurleen Famous (pronounced “famm-ooze”) a trailer-park Britney wannabe; Chocolate Puddin’, a nasty down-on-her-luck blaxploitation empress who will “cut you, cut you, cut you” at the drop of a hat; Jimmy, a shy, closeted gay boy with a “soccer team” fetish; and Velvet “Gay Pimp” Hammer, Jimmy’s oversexed pretty-fly-for-a-gay-guy alter ego…oh yeah, and lest we forget, Kevin Aviance-ish Latrice Bootleg and the House of Bootleg (yes, he plays the whole house at one point). At the very end, he’s playing the whole cast interacting—the effect is amazing and gigantically hilarious.
Dirty Stuff’s complex structure reminds me very much Lily Tomlin’s The Search for Signs of Intelligent life. It’s not as serious as Search; it’s more belly laughs than “make in ya think” comedy, though it’s very nearly as smart as Tomlin’s masterpiece.
With Dirty Stuff McGovern reminds us just how immensely talented McGovern is as a writer (he’s more than proven himself as comedian and singer). The original run helped launch McGovern into his current fame, we can only hope that this run helps him reach superstardom!
For tickets, click here.
To learn about Jonathan Warman’s directing work, see jonathanwarman.com.