Naked Boston

By ALEXIS HAUK  |  March 22, 2010

Some nude comics understandably get squeamish advertising their nudity to daytime employers. Not Ken Breese, who works at Bank of America. He says that his naked stand-up (and improv) has actually helped him land jobs. "I've had people ask me if I'd be afraid of giving a presentation," he says, "and I'm, like, 'Listen — I don't think I'll be intimidated by a bunch of suits.' "

In Rick Canavan's routine, he addresses some of the more hilarious (and horrendous) aspects of living with the chronic skin condition psoriasis — material that might not work as well if the condition itself wasn't so clearly on display.

Backstage, as Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer" blasts through the sound system, Mike Howington seems to be living on less. A Midwestern jokester who's about to do his first naked routine, Howington is nervously rocking back and forth, taking generous sips from a Harpoon UFO.

"I'm hanging in there," he says with a laugh. "The biggest fear is looking down and realizing, 'Oh, my God, I'm actually naked.' " Peeking out at the audience through the sound-booth window, he gulps. "Big crowd."

"And they're still coming," says Ofiesh cheerily, as a dozen more spectators file in from the lobby. While it's not a sold-out house, at least 80 eyes peer toward the microphone.

When it comes to nervousness at the NCS, however, Howington is somewhat of an anomaly. Take showcase regular Jono Szalay, a PhD candidate in neuroscience at Boston University, a day job that includes feeding cocaine to rats — perfect comic fodder. Szalay's buff bona fides include experience streaking on a regular basis at the University of California Santa Barbara with his roommate, donning matching thematic accessories (cap guns for nude cops and robbers, or cowboy hats for the nude Wild West).

Apparently everyone at Santa Barbara took it as good fun. And, as Szalay points out, "Nobody wants to tackle a naked guy."

NAKED COMEDY SHOWCASE | ImprovBoston, 40 Prospect Street, Cambridge | first Wednesday of every month, 10 pm | 617.576.1253 |

Sausage Fest: Naked Yoga for Men
Imagine a whole new meaning to downward dog. Like Fight Club, Naked Yoga for Men (NYFM) has a lot of rules. Sure, you can talk about NYFM, but you're not allowed to join without agreeing to some basic stipulations.

The first rule of NYFM: you have to be a man. The second rule of NYFM: you have to be naked. So far, so clear.

Bob Sparling, founder of NYFM, points to the fact that, in his experience, while most men tend to be less inhibited about their bodies, they're in the minority in many yoga classes. "This may be because we tend to be competitive," he speculates, "and reluctant to participate in an activity in which we may feel ourselves at a disadvantage to women."

Invoking the ancient Greek style of athletic competition — which was nude and barred the "inferior" gender from participating — Sparling says the class is open to whomever (albeit, whomever has that one essential anatomical part) wants to join: gay or straight, fat or skinny, old or young (average age, he says is between 30 and 55). Sparling does, however, screen everyone who wants to join, and issues a lengthy e-mail to anyone who expresses interest, which includes warnings against using the class to cruise or attending as a "tourist."

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