Comedy about the '80s gay porn industry staged in Fort Lauderdale

Photo by George Wentzler

Gratuitous nudity?

Check.

Double check.

And for those of you who get all flushy-blushy when it comes to gay sex: XXX check.


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But how can you have a comedy titled “Making Porn” - now at Fort Lauderdale’s LGBT-friendly Empire Stage - and not have plenty of naughty bits being bared?

You can’t. And luckily, for two hours with a 15-minute intermission, you don’t have to even imagine what that might be like. The show cums…er…comes with a warning label that says “This Play Contains Male Nudity.” It should add, “And Plenty of It.”

Director Keith Dougherty, who pulls double-duty acting in the show as the porn director Arthur, has twice previously played roles in “Making Porn,” and therefore knows how to get the most out of playwright Ronnie Larsen’s sight gags. Believe me when I tell you that the first act has one of the funniest spit takes you’ll ever see. No, it’s not what you’re thinking. Get your mind out of the gutter. This is a pulpy and lurid comedy about the gay adult-film industry in the 1980s, not an actual adult film.

The actors do, however, simulate sexual acts, and the front row of the cozy black box theater may experience something similar to the “Gallagher effect.”

In the play, Jack (Craig Moody) is an out-of-work heterosexual actor who reluctantly auditions for a gay porn flick. Sleazy and nefarious Arthur realizes “a star is born” and quickly pairs Jack in scenes with neophyte Ricky (Ryan Mahannah) and seasoned sex worker Ray (David R. Gordon).

Much to the surprise of Arthur’s lover and assistant Jaime (Larry Buzzeo) the resulting video is a hit. Complications, and a nice little plot twist, come when Jack’s wife, Linda (Jennifer Zabalo), finds out her husband isn’t making films for the board of education, after all.

Despite the play’s 1980s setting, the specter of AIDS does little to stamp out the laughs. The stiff porn dialogue in particular is hysterical. I wish the actors would listen to each other before ejaculating their next lines, but I have to admit that won’t keep “Making Porn” from being a moneymaker about money shots.

“Making Porn” will run through March 16 at Empire Stage, 1140 N. Flagler Drive, in Fort Lauderdale. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 5 p.m. Sundays (no performance on Feb. 23). Tickets cost $30. Call 212-868-4444 or go to EmpireStage.com.