Although Los Angeles-based performer David Pevsner's solo performance piece Musical Comedy Whore! is technically a one-man show, Pevsner takes care to differentiate it from others.
"I think people are kind of surprised by it, [thinking] that it's a 'one-man show' or a 'cabaret act,' and it's just not," said Pevsner, who is a Skokie native. "It's so much more than that."
Musical Comedy Whore! opened on stage in 2013, and its title says it all: Pevsner worked as an escort in order to supplement his acting jobs when he was working off-Broadway. "Everything in the show is true," he explained. "There is a little bit of chronology I switched around for drama, but everything is true. The 'plot' aspect of the show happened in the mid-to-late-'90s, and right after it happened, I wrote a screenplay about it."
He added, "I'm so not a 'drama king,' and I couldn't believe I had all that drama in my life."
As the years progressed, the material from that screenplay took root as the basis of Musical Comedy Whore!, the stage show. "I loved the whole idea of standing on a stage, telling stories and singing songs," he said. "The script was originally called Dog Days, because there's a subplot about how the guy wants a dog to alleviate his loneliness. It eventually became Musical Comedy Whore!, because I thought, 'You know what? A, Dog Days is kind of generic, and B, let's just get to the crux: This is about a guy who does musical comedy, and he's a hooker."
Now, the show is available to home audiences as well. A film version of Musical Comedy Whore! dropped on pay-per-view and DVD in early September.
One online service, Amazon, threw a monkey wrench in Pevsner's plan, however. Its adult-content filters, driven by bots, wouldn't let the filmmakers use the word "whore" in the title, even though, as Pevsner pointed out, that it has no problem offering Ken Russell's 1991 film that is simply titled Whore. So, for Amazon only, Pevsner and his colleagues changed a word, making the show Musical Comedy Stud!
"The difficulty was, the title 'Musical Comedy Whore!' is a double entendre," Pevsner said. "I'm a whore for musicals and, while, I was doing musicals, I was a hooker."
Besides stage appearances, Pevsner has stayed very active in film and TV over the years. Among his film roles was the 2012 film Scrooge & Marley, which was executive-produced by Windy City Times owner Tracy Baim. His television work includes appearances on Silicon Valley, NCIS, Modern Family and Desperate Housewives.
Some fans might know Pevsner from a more provocative realm: online erotica. Since the early 2010s, he has regularly been publishing online explicit photos and videos of himself. Pevsner calls himself a "recovering narcissist" and said that he's been appearing in such photos since he first posed for renowned photographer Tom Bianchi in 1989.
But it was only around 2012 that he decided to be more open about his modeling and began posting the photos to the Tumblr platform. He wants such photos to stand in testament against unhealthy preconceptions about age, body type and sexuality.
"I have felt shame about my body and about sex since the day I came out of the womb," Pevsner said. "This is my way of fighting back."
He added that the photos are now "very much an expression of me. People who know me [say], 'That guy just can't keep his clothes on.'"
Tumblr officially banned sexually explicit images in late 2018, leaving Pevsner searching for a new platform on which to post his photos and videos. He decided to make them available to subscribers on the Only Fans platform.
"[At first] I did not charge for a subscription; it was only going to be a gallery," Pevsner recalled. "I accrued a lot of people. Then when the pandemic hit, I was like, 'You know what? I'm done. Life's too short. I have these videos. I want to put them up, but I don't want to put them up for the whole world. So I started charging for a subscription and I started posting videos."
Like most Americans, especially ones in creative fields, the pandemic has forced Pevsner to face numerous challenges as he shelters in place at home in Los Angeles. But he was already an introvert, he said, and can keep up a steady output of work.
I'm just kind of somebody who's used to being alone anywayI'm kind of a loner," he said. "This is just that, times 5,000. It's extreme. I've had projects I've been working on, and I've been waking up every day and I have something to do. … I feel so lucky that I'm making a living as we speak."
To find out how to watch the film, see MusicalComedyWhore.com. Pevsner's OnlyFans page is at onlyfans.com/realguyla .