So I did my first network talk show appearance (on The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson) and found that it’s a casual and fun experience, sort of like dropping off your laundry or meeting a friend for some coffee, but with lots of people watching.
It was worth it just for the card in my dressing room that said, “Welcome Larry Craig.” I thought that was hilarious, assuming the show greets all gays with a sardonic nod to the toe-tapping toilet politico. But it turned out to be a card that guest Larry David had left there! (With the proper punctuation, it should have read “Welcome, Larry! Craig.”) At least that planted the disgraced senator in my mind, so when Ferguson mentioned tapdancing on the air, I blurted, “Like Larry Craig does? Well, I don’t dance. I skip the middle man and just grab.”
And that’s what I did all around town, especially at the Abbey gay bar, where the crowd was even more delightfully skanky than the ones you find in New York. (Welcome, Larry Craig!) Last year, the last surviving star, Liz Taylor, made an appearance there for some reason, but lately, she’s probably too busy mourning Michael Jackson, whom she enthusiastically enabled until the gifts ran out.
In Gotham, the downtown gays have been busier than head lice on a socialite lately, especially on Saturdays. There’s a multilevel party called the Big Banana at the Gorilla Club, on the site of the old Knitting Factory. But the best place to go trollin’ for colon is the F Word, a hot “pansexual funhouse” way down at the pretension-free Santos’ Party House. The two-floor rock-dance bash attracts a mixed crowd, with a sprinkling of freaky deakies and some gogo boys with the word “fetish” projected onto their big bananas via slide machine. Redundant!
I was on the list for the Gay Pride parade, though apparently most other gays would rather look back on 50 years of Madonna than on 40 years of Stonewall. The nonstop array of Jacko tunes provided a weirdly ironic Pride soundtrack, but at least it was a beautiful day, proving once and for all that God loves the gays. (As you know, He handles rainfall, media credentialing, and zoning regulations, occasionally pausing to make American Idol stars lose so they’ll have better careers.)
Alas, a dark cloud came in the form of the Dancing With the Stars float, a glitzy flatbed truck that had shirtless queers weirdly standing around watching opposite-sex couples dance duets. At one point, the two female dancers twirled around together for a few seconds (a straight man’s fantasy), but when one of the guys grabbed another one for a spin, the latter made an angsty face and pulled away in mock horror. Gee, thanks, ABC, for polluting our Pride day with this flat-footed descent into homosexual panic.
Things were prouder over at the Bowery Poets Café, where Ben Lerman‘s version of The Match Game is funnier than a fill-in-the-blank. But comic Judy Gold kept doing an appalling yet hilarious Marlee Matlin impression, in between screeching—as herself—that she was shelling out $15 an hour for a gay babysitter while spending valuable time at this comp gig!
Fresh off my paid talk show appearance, I got a whole new bragging point when ambiguous pop star Mika laughingly dedicated a song to me during his (le) poisson rouge concert. I generally don’t tell friends that the song is titled, “Lonely Alcoholic.”
Polyester-clad middle-aged drinker Murray Hill had a lot of company for his album-taping concert at Comix, where he did 20 conceptual minutes about the show before he even launched into killer jokes like, “I have sex almost every night—almost Monday, almost Tuesday, almost Wednesday . . .”
On Thursday, Joan Rivers took over the Gramercy Theatre to massacre celebs (her Jackson joke is on my gut-wrenchingly funny blog), while leaving us alive to gasp and cackle. Quipped Rivers, “Angelina said to me, ‘If I could make one person happy, I’d die contented.’ I said, ‘Give Jennifer Aniston back her husband!’ ” Homebound holocaust victim Anne Frank shouldn’t have been such a whiner, insisted wild Rivers, seeing as “she had a sit-in, eat-in kitchen!” Hillary Clinton, she contended, is a lesbian: “She makes Rosie look feminine.” And, most memorably of all, Rivers noted, “I did Toys for Twats with Paris Hilton. But now she says it’s pronounced ‘Par-iss.’ Like ‘cu-unt.’ Don’t you love it when sluts gets fancy?”
Back at Comix, the slutty Golden Girl, Rue McClanahan, told the crowd, “Bea Arthur was drinking at the opening-night party for her Broadway show, and for such a tall lady, she had low tolerance. My husband went up to her and said, ‘I’m Rue’s husband.’ Bea replied, ‘I love Rue—but Betty White‘s a cunt!’ ” (At least she’s not a cu-unt.)
I’d be a dick if I didn’t review Brüno, which is like Sprockets meets Zoolander and which, like Borat, has a dumb but reasonably likable person exposing everyone else’s idiocies by projecting his own. The movie is uneven and thinner than a supermodel with a vomit bucket, but the set pieces are a scream, from the kinky sex scenes with dildo machines and champagne bottles to the jibes at celebrities (like “Brad-olf Pitt-ler” and “the Führer,” a/k/a Mel Gibson). Making Brüno a lousy parent who uses his African-American baby as a dick magnet is an uncomfortable choice—then again, Borat was intimate with his prostie sister—but the movie ends up being a putdown of the ex-gay movement and a celebration of male bondage, I mean bonding, so you’ll probably be head-über-heels about the message.
By the way, the LaToya Jackson scene was snipped “out of respect for the Jackson family,” so now we know exactly where Sacha Baron Cohen draws the line. (Interestingly, Universal refused GLAAD’s plea to trim a shot of Brüno with the baby in a sex-filled hot tub, but caved in to Jackson family values.) It’s too bad because it was the one celeb cameo where I thought the person might really have been punk’d (unlike the Ron Paul bit, which is funny nonetheless): It had Brüno taunting LaToya by asking her to act more like Michael, as if that were possible. Now that it’s been sliced off like a famous nose, LaToya gets overshadowed by her brother one more time.
And finally, the still-vital rocker Rob Thomas celebrated his new album, Cradlesong, at a LIFEbeat bash, where he told me it consists of “a bunch of happy songs with dark-themed lyrics.” But what could a world-famous rock star get so depressed about? “My mother died,” he replied, earnestly, “and my wife is dealing with an autoimmune disease . . .” “I didn’t really want to know!” I cracked, creating an awkward moment I’m deeply ashamed of.
I switched topics to Rob’s recent Huffington Post essay in favor of same-sex marriage. Did they pay? “No.” But it was very effective, dealing with—as Rob told me—”straight white people who act like they own God and say God doesn’t love the gay people.” I guess they didn’t hear about the gorgeous weather on Gay Pride!
“Anyway, are you addicted to Twittering?” I asked for a final tweet. “I guess I am,” he admitted. “I realized it’s a good promotional tool for my record, and the anonymity is great. You can say a lot, but without saying anything at all. You can control the information—unlike Facebook, where people visit your life and look at photos of your vacation.” I’ll stick to just doing national talk shows.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 8, 2009