Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Television Dreams: A Young Gay Boy Takes Refuge in Talk Shows Only to Later Find Himself on the Other Side of the Screen

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Television Dreams: A Young Gay Boy Takes Refuge in Talk Shows Only to Later Find Himself on the Other Side of the Screen

Article excerpt

IN DECEMBER, I PERFORMED STAND-UP at the 10th annual Cracked Xmas benefit for the Trevor Project, the nation's only 24-hour LGBT teen suicide hotline. I was shocked I was asked to perform at all, considering I did the same event six years ago and totally stank up the joint. Granted, it was barely two months after 9/11, so the audience wasn't exactly primed to laugh at much. In hindsight I realize it would've taken more than a couple of fart jokes to snap everyone out of their traumatized stupor--but you live and learn. Last year's benefit was an especially big deal because Jodie Foster was presenting an award and Ellen DeGeneres was receiving one. I'm a huge fan of both. Meeting someone I admire is always awkward. The excitement of meeting a celebrity I love overwhelms me and my inner spaz takes over. I met Whoopi Goldberg at an after-party when I first moved to Los Angeles and was so thrilled I practically dislocated my jaw and swallowed her dreadlocked head. My inner mantra that night was Keep cool. Don't. Swallow. Anyone.

The first person I encountered on the Cracked Xmas red carpet was Miss Foster. I visualized my jaw wired shut. The minute we made eye contact she affably said, "Hi! We've met. How are you?" I answered through teeth clenched like a ventriloquist, "Great! I'm performing tonight." She looked puzzled, smiled politely, then walked away. I'm positive she thought I was someone else: My acupuncturist? Someone from traffic school? I got through my set determined to make amends for the goose egg I had laid in '01. I waited in the wings and watched Ellen receive her award from T.R. Knight. Passing me on her way to meet the press backstage, she said, "You were hilarious." Nine days later I would perform as a guest on her show.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

I lived for talk shows as a kid. …

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