Thursday, March 23, 2006

Rude & Crude: 5 things about Jeff Goode

An original No-Shamer visits Roanoke to help the local ensemble celebrate its 100th performance

Jeff Goode (left) on the set of his new film,

Photo credit: Ben Zolno

Jeff Goode (left) on the set of his new film, "Star Cross," with director Dale Gregory.

The Los Angeles playwright visits Roanoke this weekend

1. He has no shame

As in No Shame Theatre. Goode (which rhymes with rude) co-created No Shame 20 years ago at the University of Iowa with Todd Ristau (the director of Roanoke’s No Shame Theatre). Now Goode’s the director of No Shame Los Angeles.

He visits Roanoke this weekend for a few shows — to help produce a (free!) reading of “The Eight: Reindeer Monologues” at 8 p.m. Friday, write a new piece for the regular No Shame show at 11 p.m. Friday, and participate in No Shame 100 on Saturday. No Shame 100 celebrates the 100th Roanoke performance with highlights from the past year. Because previous best-of shows have sold out, this one will be on the Trinkle Main Stage.

2. He lives in Los Angeles

... So Goode’s all about entertainment. It’s hard giving him an official title, because he’s involved in so many creative projects. He’s a playwright, screenwriter, actor and producer for film and television. Disney Channel watchers may recognize his animated television series, “American Dragon: Jake Long” (he’s the creator and executive producer). Goode was a writer on MTV’s steamy soap opera “Undressed” (1999-2002). Now he’s preparing for the experimental project Feature-in-48, in which a group of moviemakers will attempt to write, shoot and edit a feature-length film within 48 hours. For more about his work, visit

3. Sometimeshe can be a little rude

Goode says he tends to write dark comedies, and often these are provocative. He calls them shock comedies. At least one of his play titles is so shocking that it can’t be printed in this newspaper. The censored title goes like this: “Poona the F---dog and Other Plays for Children (Not a Play for Children).”

His most popular stage play, “The Eight: Reindeer Monologues,” is about a sexual harassment scandal at the North Pole, and it’s definitely R-rated because of adult language and themes (see sidebar).

4. He’s rude for a reason

Goode says that both audiences and theater artists are complacent most of the time. He wants to see more risk-taking and cutting-edge work. He also said he learned to make people laugh early on, but he wanted his work to be about meaningful issues. He says the best way to do that is through shock comedy — like addressing sexual harassment through Santa’s reindeer.

“The audience doesn’t go to the theater expecting to have their minds changed,” he said, adding that you often have to trick them into going to the show. “Sometimes you have to grab them by the guts and say, ‘Hey, wake up! This is about you or your mom.’ ”

5. His advice: Don’t ask. Do.

On his Web site, Goode advises aspiring theater artists to quit sitting around, waiting for someone else to discover their genius. He says to just go and do your play, whether it’s in your living room with friends, in a local park, or at No Shame Theatre (which was born in the back of a pickup truck in a University of Iowa parking lot because they weren’t allowed to perform inside the theater building). In fact, “The Eight: Reindeer Monologues” was the product of a No Shame Theatre in Chicago. He only had a few minutes to present his work each week, so he performed each monologue one at a time. He strung them together to create the finished play.

“The Eight: Reindeer Monologues”

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Where: Waldron Stage, Mill Mountain Theatre

Performed by: No Shame regulars and, perhaps, Goode himself

Cost: Free

Full disclosure: The Roanoke Times is a sponsor of all Underground Roanoke events (which include No Shame Theatre and the “Reindeer Monologues” reading).

Call: 342-5740


‘Reindeer’ reviews

Los Angeles Times (Dec. 8, 1994)

Here’s a Christmas comedy for the age of the daytime talk show: [“The Eight: Reindeer Monologues”], in which eight very articulate, anthropomorphized reindeer take the stage to discuss the terrible scandal that has so polarized opinions at the North Pole.

Children should not read this review, let alone see this show. Santa Claus has been more than naughty; he’s accused of raping Vixen and molesting Rudolph.

Jeff Goode’s series of monologues is tasteless, of course, but it’s also wickedly funny for those who can drop their defenses.

The New Yorker (Dec. 17, 2001)

A brisk, funny reminder that the tradition of venerating a man who keeps tabs on your children all year long and sneaks into your house at night to visit them is more than a little odd. [It] smartly skewers an assortment of political and social hypocrisies as the reindeer dish the dirt on Santa. The show is not for small children, but it’s a nice jolt of fun for adults, even in a year when the sappiest Christmas traditions can seem more comforting than cloying.

The Sydney (Australia) Sun-Herald (December 2004)

American playwright Jeff Goode has penned an exceptionally rude and crude antidote to the mushy sentiments of the season, one that will gladden the hearts of frosty cynics. Unrepentant Scrooges and naysayers: it’s the Christmas present you’ve always wanted. The “eight” of the title are the elite corps of reindeer, who each give their opinion on Santa’s sexual shenanigans and the mysterious fate of Rudolph. These reindeer aren’t how you might remember them from childhood. There’s Dasher, the burnt-out hero; Cupid, who’s out of the closet; Hollywood, the film star; Blitzen, the angry feminist; reformed bad boy Comet; the very strange Dancer; the remorseful Donner; and sexy Vixen. Very funny and very adult, so leave the kids at home. But not where Santa can find them.

No Shame 100

What: A celebration of the 100th performance of No Shame Theatre at Mill Mountain. Features favorite selections from the past year and guest appearances by No Shamers from around the country (including playwright Jeff Goode). Also, music by Bebop Hoedown before the show and during intermission.

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Trinkle Main Stage, Mill Mountain Theatre

Tickets: $8

Call: 342-5740


More crude and rude

‘Spaceballs’ screening

What: Mel Brooks’ spoof of “Star Wars” and a handful of other sci-fi films from the 1970s and ’80s. Space-bum-for-hire Lone Starr (Bill Pullman) and his half-dog/half-man sidekick, Barf (John Candy), must rescue a spoiled Druish princess (Daphne Zuniga) from the evil Lord Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) in time to pay off Pizza the Hut. The maverick space travelers set out to save the planet Druidia, which is being harassed by the Spaceballs, a sinister group attempting to pilfer Druidia’s air resources.

When: Midnight Saturday

Where: Grandin Theatre, Roanoke

Admission: $5.25

Call: 345-6177


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