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Sometimes, all you need is stupid.

Performance artist Matthew Silver has honed his improvisational “village idiot” act — including headless rubber chickens and fart noises — on the streets for years, in hopes of getting Brooklynites to stop being so darn smart and just enjoy themselves.

“My show is about getting people to use their hearts more than their brains,” said Silver, whose regular appearances around the borough include performances at Goodbye Blue Monday, Muchmore’s, and 3rdeyesolation.

“The brain tells you not to like things, but your heart is an energy source. My inspiration is to try to open up the love portal through performance art.”

One of Silver’s more elaborate antics includes a cigarette pancake — where he tries to convince audience members to pretend to eat a cigarette as if it were a pancake.

Making an idiot out of himself is Silver’s way of breaking through the audience’s defenses.

“He’s a true bouffant,” said “Scary” Ben Doray, one of the producers of Bushwick Burlesque, where Silver performed last week. “He plays this village idiot character and uses a childlike innocence to convey a message. He’s holding up a mirror to the audience.”

In one evening’s performance at the Bushwick Burlesque, Silver came off in turns as confrontational and touching. The artist was not listed on the bill and instead planted himself in the audience. During the show’s second set, he jumped onto the stage and launched a rant against negativity. Then he pulled out his signature headless rubber chicken and a children’s chalkboard and, as it became more clear that he was part of the show, led the audience on a chorus of fart sounds.

Silver, 33, started his career in performance art when he was an undergrad at Ithaca College — though it may not have seemed like much of a career at the time.

“One day I got stoned and put on a dress and ran around people and they were cracking up,” said Silver. “After that, I started experimenting on city streets.”

Now that he’s running his own shows, Silver scouts for interesting acts at his performance art open mics at 3rdeyesolation. A few shows back, he found a woman who made Hobbit references and then cut off her body hair and glued it to the top of her feet.

“A lot of people don’t perform because they think they have to be so entertaining that they have a joke a minute,” said Silver. “But you really just have to engage the audience and push yourself through the embarrassment.”

Matthew Silver at Muchmore’s [2 Havemeyer St. between N. Eighth and N. Ninth streets, (718) 576–3222, www.maninwhitedress.com]. Jan. 27, 7 pm, free.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.

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Reader Feedback

diehipster from True Brooklyn says:
Zero talent
Zero significance
Zero humor

It says that Matthew once got stoned and ran around in a dress. And THAT, is all he is and ever will be: a person who got high and did something silly - something done 100,000,000 times before. He says that's how his 'career' got started? Hahahaha career???? This is not a true street performer; this is one of those pseudo zany tryhard hipster f*cks who attracts similar kinds of tryhards to a neighborhood and then gets priced out by yupsters with more money and then ironically complains about the gentrification he/she started. Then it's off to the next 'nabe'to ruin.

How do you showcase this inbred attention seeking transplant? This is not Brooklyn. This Matthew needs a good beating to knock some sense into him and then when he heals he needs to get a job and realize he has no secret messages to tell us in his childlike
Jan. 26, 2013, 8:30 am
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
Sometimes this idiot turns up at Astor Place or Washington Square park. His screaming and antics usually make the place unusable for others. I did see a homeless guy punch him in the face once. That was a memorably performance. This fool is like the subway preachers, if anyone wanted to hear your message why not set yourself up in a paying venue ad see how long you last
Jan. 26, 2013, 7 pm
Scott from NM says:
He's funny and talented. You should watch his movies. I think there is one about haters and jealous closed minds.
Jan. 27, 2013, 1:10 am
pat mcGroin from buschwick says:
eh...listen, you sound like some angry dudes. maybe you should talk to somebody about that. i mean, instead of issuing gutless, snarky attacks on a person who brings some joy into the world. his videos are the funniest thing i've seen in almost a year. it really brightened my day, and was inspiring, honestly. if you don't get it, well... that's just you. this comment itself is proof your opinions aren't shared by everyone and therefore can't negate the validity of what he does. it's a source of joy and positivity for people. lighten up.
Jan. 27, 2013, 1:20 am
Pat I. from 70's Brooklyn says:
Funny? This guy is a nuisance. If he moved his "act" from the subways and parks to a f**cking Billburg bike lane, we'd see if he got the same support.
Jan. 27, 2013, 1:13 pm
CC from Bay Ridge says:
There was once a time where creating art required talent; apparently all you need to do nowadays to become the toast of New York is to dance awkwardly in a speedo making fart noises. "But listen closely to the fart noises and you will witness a postmodern masterpiece using a childlike innocence to convey a message of sentiment in blah blah blah blah" Gimme a break. He is a mentally unbalanced half naked man running through the streets spouting gibberish, he needs medication. I'm sick of these psuedo-creative too-cool-for-school pretentious scenester yuks and their "fans", the type who can spend an hour staring at a black canvas with a piece of dog poop smeared on it and a $20,000 price tag "Ho Hum this ART is so DEEP!" Just go away, please.
Jan. 27, 2013, 4:48 pm
Mickey Shea from Greenpoint says:
If this moron is a "performance artist" then I'm the Pope.
Jan. 28, 2013, 9:26 am
Northside Ned from GPT says:
I saw this guy performing the other day. A couple people gave him their spare change. So he officially makes more money than that unemployed loser pat I.
Jan. 28, 2013, 5:01 pm
Pat I. from Brooklyn says:
Hey Ned-

Shouldn't you be breastfeeding about this time?
Jan. 29, 2013, 7:26 am
JAZ from hunting redbeards says:
Oh christ - good ole Matthew Silver the kidult again. If behaving like a talentless attention starved transplant infant is art, then Matthew is Picasso.

He's so quirky and creative - LIKE YAH!!!
Jan. 29, 2013, 1 pm
BunnynSunny from Clinton Hill says:
You mean Dumb Ass.
Jan. 29, 2013, 1:50 pm
pat I. from 70's Brooklyn says:
Pope Mick...I like the sound of that...
Jan. 29, 2013, 6:50 pm
Homey from Crooklyn says:
LOL at the doofus who thinks he brings some joy into the world by making fart sounds.....
Jan. 30, 2013, 1:54 pm
M.C.D. from Ridgewood says:
He makes me laugh. Whether I'm laughing at him or with him, that brings me joy, makes me forget what I was worried about, and just focus on now. The almost scary man wearing seven bras, dancing and using the power of funky chickens and telephones has made me forget that I am poor. Made me forget that I have no health insurance. He made me smile. And that's worth something. I do love intelligent humor. Give me something that makes me think and I'm all over it...but sometimes...you just need something SO STUPID that you fall apart laughing. And stupid humor can be so good for you, you would not believe all the bacon flavored hand grenades that ate your fat uncle Hubert's eyeballs on a Friday night.
It's terrible and wonderful sillyness in a world where we are told we're not allowed to be silly and play as adults. As a performer myself, I support his vision. I can only feel sorry for anyone who doesn't get it. Lighten up. Relax. *FART*

(PS: He's very similar to the Adult Swim show "Tim And Eric Awesome Show Great Job!!")
Jan. 30, 2013, 2:12 pm
Courtney from Bushwick says:
I LOVE MATTHEW SILVER.
Opinions are like ——s and so are all you haters : ).
Jan. 30, 2013, 11:54 pm

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