Chris Trew was recently named one of 10 Comics You Should Know by Paper Magazine. The Air Sex Championships are the subject of an upcoming documentary and are probably coming to a city near you. In addition to having intercourse with the air and encouraging others to do so he’s one of the people behind The New Movement in both Austin and New Orleans. -ed.
The Air Sex Championships can be the perfect comedy show. Rowdy, energetic, funny, and interesting. For the uninitiated, Air Sex works like this: people from the audience sign up, pick a song, then get on stage and make pretend love to whatever they want as long as it’s invisible. A panel of judges (mostly comprised of local comedians) give their feedback and at the end of the night I raise the hand of the person who has become the (insert city here) Air Sex Champion.
Most of the times we have to turn people away from performing because our list is filled up. Like in Austin or New Orleans. Portland or Richmond. San Francisco or Los Angeles. Sometimes the audience needs a little convincing, which we do with free drinks (liquid courage) and actual real life person-to-person encouragement. Like Boston or Minneapolis. In 2010 I did an Air Sex show in Providence, Rhode Island. There were about 10 people there. 0 of them wanted to make love to nothing at all.
The venue was kind of swanky and the owner was definitely doing lots of cocaine on the bar and the bartenders had little faith in the show (I remember one saying to me “I don’t think anyone is coming tonight”) but I’m a pretty positive “let’s go get ‘em” kind of guy so it didn’t really rock my confidence. It was my first time in Providence. It was show number 9 out of 20 on the tour so we were really in our “this is what we are doing, this is what life is like” groove.
The show was supposed to start at 9:00 and it was 9:30 and there were only 10 people in the crowd, none of whom had any interest in slurping on a fake dong or whacking off their imaginary cubicle mate. The owner is really pushing me to start the show because he’s on cocaine I guess so I start the show with 0 signups.
I always open the show with a demonstration routine. To get the ball rolling, to show how it’s done, to break the ice and all that. As I’m doing my routine I realize that there’s none of the usual “woos” or laughter I’m used to. There’s pretty much nothing at all. But I soldier through, continuing to pummel my pretend partner. When I’m done I welcome everyone to the show and ask everyone in the crowd again – “who wants to sign up?” Nobody does so I start pulling from my other life as a stand-up comedian. The audience shows their first sign of life when they yell at me, “We came to see Air Sex!”
I wanted to give them what they paid to see and also I’m kind of scared of the owner who is watching the show with his beefy arms folded so I take suggestions from the crowd of songs to play that I’ll do another Air Sex routine to. This went on for about 45 minutes. Me, just me, doing an Air Sex show all by myself to songs suggested by the 10 people who I don’t think really wanted to be there. It was sad, kind of pathetic, clunky, and not funny. Pretty much the opposite of the average Air Sex show.