“Lemme tell you, everybody just relax. Everybody is either a w*p, a n****r, a k*ke, a ch**k, a fairy, a m**k. Everybody’s something. So why don’t we all calm down. Be thankful that we’re all living in America and stop, everybody, getting so damn uptight. And this goes for the Indians - both dot and feather.”
- Joan Rivers defends Alec Baldwin’s alleged use of an anti-gay slur against a cameraman.
Just before this column went out came word of the tragic death of Paul Walker. The actor had attended an afternoon car show and toy drive to benefit victims of the typhoon in the Philippines organized by Reach Out Worldwide, a non-profit organization he founded in response to the earthquakes in Haiti. After the show, Paul went for a ride with his friend, pro-racer Roger Rodas, when their Porsche hit a tree and immediately burst into flames. I can confirm that Paul was really one of the good guys—someone who always did what was in his heart without much interest in fame or fortune. He was beautiful inside and out. Rest in peace.
Although MSNBC calls the end of “Up Late with Alec Baldwin” a “mutual parting”, that isn’t how Baldwin sees it. You may recall that after being accosted by some paparazzi, Alec referred to the cameraman as a “cocksucking fag” (or at least it sounds that way on the video). But is that really why Baldwin was let go? The show was not the ratings bonanza the network had hoped for (although, to be fair, if a dozen people tune into MSNBC, it’s considered a coupe). Unnamed industry sources claim that Baldwin was difficult to work with and this was simply a good way out. Regardless, Alec continues to assert that he didn’t (and never would) say the word “fag” or “faggot”, and blames this hoopla (my word, not his) on the “fundamentalist wing of gay advocacy”. He specifically points the finger at GLAAD’s Rich Ferraro and Andrew Sullivan. “They killed my show. And I have to take some responsibility for that myself.” While I would be surprised if anyone out there truly considers Alec Baldwin homophobic, it’s still no excuse for using such language—if indeed he did.
When I read that a television weight loss and fitness expert came out of the closet, I was fairly confident it had to be Chris Powell, the fey host of “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition”. I know he’s married and just had a daughter, but I’m known for my gaydar. Alas, it was Bob Harper from “The Biggest Loser”, who I had no idea was even IN the closet. Apparently, this was news to some (and perhaps good news to Mr. Powell). Harper states that he came out after watching the struggle of “Biggest Loser” contestant Bobby Saleem. Harper told him, “I totally understand what you’re talking about. I totally get it. I’m gay. I knew a very long time ago that I was gay, and the family that I grew up around was very much the same in that way—you know, there was so much repression there. But being gay doesn’t mean being weak. Being gay doesn’t mean that you are less than anybody else. It’s just who you are.” Harper later added, “I haven’t talked about my sexuality on this show ever, and now meeting Bobby, I really do believe this is the right time. I want to show Bobby that he doesn’t have to live in shame.” Bravo.
In a bit of casting news from daytime, Emmy-winning actor Billy Miller will soon be leaving “The Young and the Restless”. And who will take over his role? The original actor, David Tom. What’s interesting about this is that David is the younger brother of Heather Tom, who played a role on the soap for years. I’m sure that no one ever thought that years later, these two characters played by real-life siblings would end up married and have a child. Thank God Heather is now on “The Bold and the Beautiful” or we’d have had the makings of a Greek tragedy.
Speaking of daytime dramas, “All My Children” has been cancelled—again. Cast members from the online version of the soap have been told that it will not return from its indefinite hiatus. The online counterpart of another former ABC show, “One Life To Live”, has been dormant due to a legal dispute stemming from the network killing off two of their characters on “General Hospital”. I didn’t even know you could sue over an on-screen death—although I suppose that’s exactly what Nicollette Sheridan (unsuccessfully) did.
Time for Billy’s Holiday Gift Giving Suggestions. I think my devotion to Faye Dunaway and “Mommie Dearest” are well documented. It may make Faye cringe, but it’s a portrayal that is considered infamous. Helping cement it as a classic is something being called the “Mommie Dearest Official Collectible Doll Gift Set”. The doll comes with two classic looks— the “Don’t fuck with me, fellas” outfit from the Pepsi boardroom, and the nightgown from “No wire hangers, ever!” — complete with wire hanger and a second head where the face is covered with faux cold cream! It also comes with a certificate of authenticity...signed by Faye herself (OK, I made that last part up). It’s a bit pricey, but I can’t imagine anything making a true fan happier...except perhaps a subscription to BillyMasters.com.
One of my favorite comedians is Christopher Titus. This past year, Titus toured the country working on a new show. While I played an extremely minor role in its development, I must say there are fewer things I’m prouder of. An abbreviated cut of “Voice in My Head” aired on Comedy Central, but the full-length show (over twice as long) is available on Amazon.com. Better yet, get all five of his specials at ChristopherTitus.com.
This week’s “Ask Billy” question comes from Jarrod in Chicago: “Have you been watching ‘Dracula’? Love all the homoerotic subtext, but hate that they killed off the gay couple.”
I must confess that I’m shocked—someone other than me is watching “Dracula”? While I always enjoy seeing Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, this is pretty painful to sit through...and I’m still on medication! I had far more fun with Johnny in the men’s room at the Golden Globes a few years ago...but that’s another story. Back to “Dracula”—the gay aspect is intriguing. At a certain point, Dracula wants to get control of someone’s stock in a company. He surprises the guy and his male lover at an underground gay club, giving us perhaps the first dramatization of queer nightlife in Victorian England—complete with dancing male couples and a drag show! The lovers themselves are quite a fetching pair —Lewis Rainer (28 years old) as the young ward of Anthony Howell (42). While I don’t know anything about their personal lives, neither man seems to have any problem with same-sex kissing (Lewis even gets to kiss Rhys-Meyers). Both fellas also sport quite fetching physiques, even given their limited screen time. I’ll share some choice bits on BillyMasters.com.
By the by, “Dracula” was developed as a limited 10-episode run. When Rhys-Meyers was cast, NBC head honcho Bob Greenblatt insisted that his estimated $100K salary per episode (doing some quick math, that equals a cool mil) be “deferred” until all ten episodes were in the can. Why? Greenblatt was running Showtime during the filming of “The Tudors”, which suffered extensive delays due to Rhys-Meyers’ “unreliability”. Incidentally, all actors are under contract for subsequent seasons, should they be warranted.
When anyone is seriously considering a second season of “Dracula”, it’s definitely time to end yet another column. Not the most festive way to end a column, but Jonathan Rhys-Meyers is hot enough to thaw out any winter wonderland. You know what else will make your days merry and bright? Checking out www.BillyMasters.com, the site that has more hanging balls than the tree at Rockefeller Center! Regarding anything else hung, you can inquire within via Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before Faye endorses the “Mommie Dearest” doll! Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.
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