I Went to Therapy with a Gecko

By Brandon SwardOctober 28, 2023

I Went to Therapy with a Gecko
THERAPY GECKO LIVE: THE GECKONING TOUR, Dynasty Typewriter, Los Angeles, October 26, 2023.

When I first saw Therapy Gecko, I knew I had to come. What followed, however, was not what I expected. Theater kid that I am, I anticipated some washed-up actor galivanting about the stage in a gecko costume talking about feeling—sign me up. But what I got was somehow both less and more. The performance seemed to begin as soon as I entered the venue; a screen on-stage read “WANT TO COME ON STAGE AND TALK TO A GECKO” with instructions to text a number with your name and what you want to talk about. Obviously, I jumped at the opportunity. Soon thereafter, the gecko entered. Before transitioning into reptilian form, Therapy Gecko was known as Lyle Drescher. His movement toward lizardhood began during COVID-19 lockdown, when Drescher found himself living in his mother’s basement. Fighting the forces of boredom, Drescher came across a gecko costume on Amazon, which he thought “looked awesome.” In pursuit of owning said costume, Drescher started a fundraiser to facilitate the $60.99 purchase.

Through the generosity of four people he “went to high school with” and one anonymous donor, Drescher collected $41. By investing $19.99 of his own money, Drescher made his dream a reality. What followed was a string of events that only makes sense in the world of lonely marijuana-laced Zoomers who lost their young adulthood to the pandemic. Drescher began to talk to strangers about their feelings on the phone (while wearing the gecko costume, obviously). Therapy Gecko was born. But as the world began to open back up, Drescher didn’t simply shelve his gecko costume like so many did with their sourdough starters or Peloton bikes. By this point, he’d launched a podcast and had begun to feel “more gecko than human.” And so, he did what I think anyone with his gecko feet would do—he hit the road. (Lest you think I dutifully learned all of this before attending, I should specify that Therapy Gecko explained all of this in a presentation.)

As you have likely guessed, the show consisted of audience members, well, talking with a gecko. The results were … varied. First up was a man who a year ago suffered an accident that damaged his ability to walk and form new memories. He came on-stage with a cane and related how listening to the Therapy Gecko podcast brought some light to the otherwise dark days of coronavirus. A woman who confessed that she skipped her defamation law class to attend described how she was inspired to take the LSAT after witnessing the exploitation of workers in the film industry. Unfortunately, the night ended with an obviously stoned surfer dude who discussed the pitfalls of open relationships and confusingly attributed his cuckoldry to his mom “being a bitch.” While leaving, I remembered something Therapy Gecko said toward the end of his prefatory remarks: “Everyone is interesting if you let them.” Perhaps the truer statement is, “Everyone is interesting if they let themselves.”


Photo by contributor.

LARB Short Take live event reviews are published in partnership with the nonprofit Online Journalism Project and the Independent Review Crew.

LARB Contributor

Brandon Sward is an artist, writer, and organizer in Los Angeles. He used to edit the LARB Short Takes section, and is currently at work on a book about growing up queer and biracial in Colorado Springs, the “Evangelical Vatican.”


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