By Katie East
A nationally touring roadshow, Air Sex combines sport, art, sex, movement, miming, and pageantry. And instead of relying on comedians to bring the laughs, Air Sex dares audience members to get onstage and compete for the title of champion. It’s a comedy show with balls, albeit imaginary ones.
The first Baton Rouge Air Sex Championship will take place at the Spanish Moon on Thursday, April 16. I, along with other local comedians, will be judging the competition. Though I’ve seen Air Sex shows in New York and New Orleans, I’ve only silently judged the competitors, until now.
So just what exactly is Air Sex? It’s pretty self-explanatory. Think Air Guitar but instead of playing a fake instrument the competitor “plays” a fake partner. As ridiculous as it sounds, it’s not easy. The competitors have to create an entire scene, partner, mood, and imaginary sex act with just themselves.
Chairman Chris Trew, founder and host of the Air Sex Championships, started the show in Austin as a one-off spoof of a Japanese viral-video. Now, he has toured the show all over the country, and even Canada, for the last seven years. Air Sex has been featured on America’s Got Talent, Real Time with Bill Maher, Bad Girl’s Club and MTV.
It’s biggest accolade? It’s been banned in two states.
Every year Trew goes around the country and asks audiences in a variety of cities to lose their inhibitions and make love to the air. He has seen people from all walks of life rise to the challenge.
“The most surprising contestants are people in their 60s or 70s who are on a date or with someone they’re trying to impress. I think that is so joyful and so special,” Trew said. “I’ve also seen my share of really awful, bad, disturbing things…But there’s way more brilliant, funny, entertaining stuff.”
Adam Wilson, the 2014 Air Sex Champion, has also seen his fair share of interesting competitors over his six performances.
“Everything you’ve ever heard of has competed and succeeded in these shows. There’s been a lesbian little person of color win…It’s almost like all bets are off up there. No one is ugly. No one is attractive. We are all actually equal…It’s a sex positive show. It’s a gender positive shows. It’s pure fun,” Wilson said.
Wilson started off as a judge in New York City and went on to compete in 2012 when a competitor got cold feet. To his surprise, he won that night and at the East Coast Regionals as well. This past year, Wilson won New York City again and went on to Austin where he won the Championship Belt, sponsored by Fleshlight.
Wilson, who is from Monroe Louisiana, plays up his Southern charm during his Air Sex performances. His redneck attire and demeanor is only slightly exaggerated onstage. He performs to songs by Ted Nugent and ZZ Top and sports a large beard, a baseball hat, and ends his performance in not much else.
What is it like to compete in an Air Sex competition?
“It’s sexy,” Buck said. “It’s some of the most fun I’ve ever had. It’s kind of like the real thing. You’re nervous at first, but once you’re in it and you hit that stride you get a bit of confidence you didn’t think you had.” Wilson said. “It’s nowhere near as scary as you would think it is. It’s surprisingly easy as far as convincing yourself to do it and that you’re ready for this…we’re all ready for this.”
Not that winning or performing this sport is easy, Wilson clarified.
“Make no mistake, this is the most difficult sport there is,” said Wilson.
So, what makes a good Air Sex performance? As a judge, I had to learn the ropes.
“Relationship, relationship, relationship,” Wilson said. “And storyline. You’ve got to make sure you’re clear with that. You have to tell a story. Really good, real sex has some sort of drama in it, there’s heightened emotions, there’s fear, there might be a little pain, there’s a struggle of some sort. Those same principles go in the air.”
Trew had some more tangible advice: “You gotta have the three C’s: Character, Costume, Commitment. What we don’t want to see is someone half-assing a routine because they’re embarrassed. We want to see people who are passionate when it comes to pretend passion.”
Wilson, Trew, and Buck all attended LSU and love visiting Baton Rouge. I guess you can say Air Sex is in the air here.
So, is Baton Rouge really ready for the Air Sex Championships?
Buck, who is from Baton Rouge, said: “I don’t think anyone is really ready for air sex. It just happens. And then when it’s done you’re a little satisfied and a little confused but overall you’ll be entertained. And Baton Rouge is always ready to be entertained.”
“The reason you think you shouldn’t go is the reason you should be going,” Wilson said. “’I don’t know if I’m comfortable with that, I don’t know if that’s funny, I think it’s sort of gay.’ Those are the reasons to say yes.”
For those not comfortable with their sexuality, Buck encourages them to step outside of their comfort zone.
“You’re not going to be scarred for life, maybe just for an hour or two,” Buck said. “Just sack up and do it.”
The first Baton Rouge Air Sex Championship will take place at the Spanish Moon on Thursday, April 16 at 8 p.m.