Playwright and producer Ronnie Larsen is a busy man. In addition to the world premiere of his new play, “Happy Ending,” this weekend, he is launching the “Totally Naked Comedy Tour” at Empire Stage on Monday, May 8.
Larsen has assembled four “very funny, very sexy, very naked” male standup comedians from New York City’s comedy club circuit for the two-week run.
Larsen thinks the gimmick is a sure thing: “People bought tickets for ‘Naked Boys Singing’ last year and there is actually a show running in London where audiences pay to watch naked guys read books aloud.”
Three of the comics are straight and one, Adam Chisnall, is gay. In addition to his frequent appearances at Manhattan clubs, he is also a busy actor, director and producer, and the founder of the One-Act Comedy Festival.
“Yeah, I did give it a second thought,” he admitted when Larsen offered him a gig in South Florida telling jokes in the buff. “I did ask how much money would be involved, who I would be performing for, et cetera et cetera, but I wanted to do something different and that’s why I decided to do it.”
He’s looking forward to the enthusiastic audiences that have already sold out many of the performances.
“It gives me peace of mind that the audience knows what they’re getting into,” Chisnall explained. “I’m not the most fit person and I’m kind of hairy…but no matter how hot or hairy or insecure you may be, comedy cures that.”
He’s relieved that several local nudist groups have booked up performances and plan to attend the performance wearing only their birthday suits.
To combat stage fright, acting coaches often encourage their students to imagine the audience in their underwear or naked, so that is the ideal situation for a performer making his naked debut on stage.
Two years ago, local audiences saw Chisnall in “Old Jews Telling Jokes” at Broward Stage Door Theatre in Coral Springs—and he was definitely clothed for the mostly senior audience.
He’s not concerned that appearances in the “Totally Naked Comedy Tour” will stunt his career, either. In fact, he said, “If anything, it will help.”
Chisnall was born on Staten Island, but grew up in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania. A musical theater major in college, he took time off to study with the Second City company in Chicago.
“One of the requirements was to get up in front of the class and put on a stand-up act. I told the story about how I lost my virginity, ironically in a closet,” Chisnall recalled on the phone while walking to an appearance at a local club. He’s called New York City home for the past eight years.
The multi-talented performer’s ideal job would allow him “to do it all, produce, write, direct and act,” even if he’s not necessarily the star, “and put it all into one show.” And if he has to be clothed, that’s okay, too.
Adam Chisnall will appear with Robert Puncher, Juannell Riley and Gabriel Marshall in Ronnie Larsen’s “Totally Naked Comedy Tour,” opening Monday, May 8 and running through May 20 at Empire Stage, 1140 N. Flagler Drive in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets are $35 – 50 at RonnieLarsen.com.