Inherit the Smut

A NoHo Arts theatre review of Inherit The Smut written and performed by Roy Sekoff, directed and developed with Jessica Lynn Johnson as part of the Whitefire Solofest series on February 10.
A NoHo Arts theatre review of Inherit The Smut written and performed by Roy Sekoff, directed and developed with Jessica Lynn Johnson as part of the Whitefire Solofest series on February 10.

[NoHo Arts District, CA] – A NoHo Arts theatre review of Inherit the Smut written and performed by Roy Sekoff, directed and developed with Jessica Lynn Johnson as part of the Whitefire Solofest series on February 10.

Roy Sekoff is an incredible writer. He was the founding editor of the Huffington Post, a writer and on-air correspondent for Michael Moore’s Emmy Award-winning TV Nation, and has written for the Village Voice and the London Times. He knows what he’s doing. And he’s very, very funny.  But writing is not performing and solo shows are all about performing…by yourself…with no one and nothing to hide behind or distract the audience with.  It’s all you all of the time.

A NoHo Arts theatre review of Inherit The Smut written and performed by Roy Sekoff, directed and developed with Jessica Lynn Johnson as part of the Whitefire Solofest series on February 10.

So how does a multiple award-winning writer like Roy Sekoff, creator and host of the hour-long comedy interview show, The HuffPost Show, dare to be on stage live, in the flesh and utterly alone?  Well, whatever possessed him to try this, I for one am very glad he did!  Honestly, I didn’t stop smiling, laughing and flinching with sympathetic trauma for the entire show, as Roy regales the audience with the theories behind his teenage, and subsequently eternal obsession with video porn. Rather more than theories really, his father’s extensive porn collection notwithstanding. 

Through a sagacious alignment of the stars, Roy Sekoff became immersed in pornography from an early age. His father’s rather extensive and ever-revolving collection was, by all reports, a thing of wonder. What teenage boy in the ’70s didn’t yearn for a never-ending supply of salacious smut at his sticky fingertips…these days porn is milliseconds away. You can watch it in the drive-through of McDonalds…apparently. But it does rather take the romance out of it, doesn’t it.

A NoHo Arts theatre review of Inherit The Smut written and performed by Roy Sekoff, directed and developed with Jessica Lynn Johnson as part of the Whitefire Solofest series on February 10.

Roy Sekoff is a consumate performer. A natural. Warm, authentic, and eager to share and overshare his life. Which is perfect fodder for solo shows. He takes us on a journey through his erstwhile discovery of porn as a young man and his relationship with his beloved father. Though those two things seem inexorably connected, and they are, his father never discussed porn with him.  Indeed, to this day and after his father’s passing, Roy still has no idea if his father ever knew that he shared his habit with his son.  Upon his father’s death Roy was left to wonder what on earth to do with all that porn, what to keep for old time’s sake, what to chuck, how to find it a ‘good home.’ The porn perhaps became a symbol of his memories of his father, like all our memories of our own parents, we choose what to keep close, what to put away and what to share with others. Make you ponder the meaning of it all really and to realize that judgment is, of course, superfluous even obstructive in what relationship we have to those we love.  In the end, the porn, although fascinating and hilarious, isn’t really the point at all and what we are left with in this hilarious and brilliantly written performance is a beautiful, intimate and deeply touching portrait of two men. A father and a son.  Roy is now a father himself, his son was sitting just across the aisle from me during the show, rocking back and forth in laughter, mesmerized and clearly extremely proud of his clever, funny and very talented father.

Fathers and sons…

It put me in mind of a worn, crackly, faded 8mm footage of a happy family, much like any other, in those terrible clothes we all wore in the ’70s and early ’80s, pre social media thankfully. 

Inherit the Smut is cinematic and transcendental.  It celebrates the innocence of life, even through the smut. A time when sneaking around and hiding things from your parents was encouraged…indeed it was necessary. 

A NoHo Arts theatre review of Inherit The Smut written and performed by Roy Sekoff, directed and developed with Jessica Lynn Johnson as part of the Whitefire Solofest series on February 10.

We didn’t need to know everything about each other to know that we felt loved.  Now, in the days of too much information, minding your own ‘business’ seems archaic…sadly. The show is being performed again as part of the Whitefire Theatre’s Solofest on February 10, 8pm and I urge you to see it. Roy Sekoff is a charming and engaging, magical performer. He speaks as he writes, which is the mark of genuine talent in my book. He is who he is, at all times. 

The story he has to tell is full of love and humor and is a beguiling transformative portrait of his fondly remembered childhood….oh and there’s porn, a lot of porn. 

Get tickets for the February 10 show here: https://whitefire.stagey.net/projects/9410?tab=details

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros
Author: Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros is a Theatre and Food Writer and Filmmaker living in Los Angeles.