NY Mirror

Stumbling back onto my feet, I did a fun pilot for a RICHARD BELZER–hosted show about conspiracies, which had me debating with JOHNNY ROTTEN and G. GORDON LIDDY about whether or not Princess Di was murdered. It aired and I even got paid, but somehow—everybody now—the series wasn't picked up. (Killed by paparazzi or by the royal family?) Regrouping, I did a satirical segment for a Smoking Gun TV special, which ran and got a good review from the Post's LINDA STASI. Again, I actually got some dough, and what's more, Smoking Gun TV was renewed as a series. But I was replaced by bobble-head dolls! I am not shitting you! I now hate them more than that freakin' seven-year-old!


I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME WHORE

illustration: Koren Shadmi

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But just as the gun was edging toward my own mouth, that thing called hope repositioned its li'l head through my half-opened door. A high-level producer decided to assemble a syndicated talk show for women starring gay men—sort of The View meets Queer Eye. Well, The View didn't want me (except maybe as a prospective husband), and Queer Eye had already shown me the window, but this little baby craved me, with fringe on. Here was my chance to finally cash in on the Latin boom, I mean gay boom, that had taken over every industry believer who'd drunk the pink Kool-Aid. I'd been a one-man gay boom for years, but now instead of bristling against shrieks of "Tone it down!" I was suddenly trying to keep up with the frantic calls of "Flame it up!"

"Gays are hot right now!" one of the show's creators exclaimed, luring me aboard as I glossed my lips and danced the Bump. The program's premise was that gay men are a lot like women—don't look at me—but a production assistant assured, "Of course, it won't be all mammograms and mascara." Too bad—I'd love to star in a show just about mammograms and mascara. Anyway, we went on to make a pilot, for which we obediently acted as "gay" as possible as we did everything from group-singing a DIANA ROSS hit to somberly discussing children's car safety. It got tons of press, the people were swell, and more importantly, I got paid, but guess what, girl? The show hasn't become any more airborne than ARETHA FRANKLIN (though if you believe in fairies, please applaud and it will live). Suddenly I was thinking of turning straight.

But I canceled the electroshock—I was still in the game, honey. That same producer now wanted to pitch a reality show about my fabulous life to the one channel I actually hadn't bothered yet. This seemed maybe sorta wildly promising—until it turned out they already had enough reality shows, thank you. And so Growing Up Musto stayed as grounded as the dodo bird.

There were other doomed pilots that were less nibbled-on than an OLSEN TWINS breakfast buffet, but finally I hit gaydirt this year when along came a gay game show that actually wanted me! At last, a real job. In a professional setting. Which would make me part of the gay boom. Tons of people craved gigs like this. And I always wanted to be on a game show. I came alive at the run-through. I adored the people. I felt at home. I turned it down.

See, it required being in L.A. more than I'd hoped, and when push came to shove, I nervously stayed put. Could there be anything sadder or more irony-drenched? My life is hell. Still, I'm willing to sparkle again for a camera, any camera. Here I am, world. Anyone want to do a pilot about mammograms and mascara? With bobble heads?


WEB EXTRA

Wait a minute! Here's an item on someone who actually has a TV show—the ubiquitous and willing PARIS HILTON. I hear she'll be topless on the cover of the next Vanity Fair, but she'll be tastefully covering her tatas with her hands. Thank God—no one wants to see those again.


musto@villagevoice.com

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