Mark's Media Spotlight

Mark's views on what's happening in the media.

TV Fall Preview Alert – Partners (CBS) – A First Look

David Krumholtz stars as Joe, and Michael Urie stars as Louis, in the new CBS show “Partners.”

From 2001, The Cast of Some Of My Best Friends – The last CBS Show to feature a gay lead.

The last time CBS featured a show with a gay character in a lead role was in the spring of 2001 when they were trying to ride the Will & Grace gravy train on a flop show called Some Of My Best Friends.  In my opinion, that show was a flop only in that it didn’t attract a mainstream audience, but it was a fantastic show that was co-written by Marc Cherry (pre-Desperate Housewives) and co-starred Alec Mapa before he landed some more prominent roles on Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty.  Only 7 episodes were produced and CBS only aired 5 of them before unceremoniously yanking the show from its line-up.   CBS never seemed to recover from the experience and has featured very few LGBT characters on their shows since then, unless they played someone who died at the beginning of a CSI or Mentalist episode.

This fall may open the door for the gay community as they will be featuring a series with 2 gay characters.  One is played by Michael Urie (Ugly Betty) and the other hunky Brandon Routh (Chuck, Superman).  And while Brandon doesn’t typically come across as someone you would peg for portraying gay, he’s done so a few times before, coincidentally on Will & Grace, as well as in the Kevin Smith movie Zach and Mira Make A Porno.

You’ll learn to love Michael Urie’s over-the-top personality by the end of Episode 1.

The show itself emulates the lives of the show’s creaters Max Mutchnick and David Kohan.  In real life, these two were responsible for Will & Grace with Mutchnick being openly gay while Kohan is openly straight.  As described by CBS president Nina Tassler,  Partners is “ a show about working with your best friend with whom you’ve grown up”  and “how do you find that balance between what you tell your partner and what you tell your best friend.”

Michael Urie in his “Ugly Betty” days.

The pilot episode opens up with showing the two leads in quick flashbacks from their early childhood until present so that you immediately have a sense that they’ve been life long friends who, like in our real life, have grown into very different individuals.  And yet, they still have managed to keep a tremendous bond with one another as best friends and business partners.  For those who remember Michael  Urie from his Snarky Assistant role on Ugly Betty, you may not immediately recognize him as he is a bit different individual this time around who proves to have some great comedic timing.  (Kind of reminded me of a gay “Jack Tripper”..)

Brandon Routh

I’ll confess in the first 10 minutes of the version I received, I wasn’t sure this was going to fly.  Urie (Louis)  made me a bit uncomfortable with his over the top personality.  But by the last half of the episode, we seem to get a better sense as to what he’s all about and settle in with his character.  Brandon Routh (Wyatt), who’s character plays a registered nurse, is a perfect partner for Urie in that he seems to have a laid back persona that compliments the Louis character’s type A persona.  You also have his business partner David Krumholtz (Joe) who begins with his dilemma about whether or not to propose to his girlfriend, played by Sophia Bush (Ali).  Both had great timing as well and you had a sense that these people had chemistry together.

It’s always difficult to catch up the audience with the character setup while keeping things interesting, but the first episode managed to do so by the end.  But again, I’d give this one a chance if you aren’t fully invested in the first 10 minutes.

I don’t want to spoil too much here, but had to share my favorite joke thrown to Brandon Routh’s character acknowledging proof that he is gay by his obsessively recording all of the shows on Bravo.  (Interesting how they picked Bravo instead of LOGO, don’t ya think?)

Anyhow, the characters, both gay and straight seem to have some dimension to them, but there is definitely room for some growth.  Will and Grace took some time to catch on as well.  Let’s just hope that CBS allows this show more time to catch on than they did for Some Of My Best Friends. Fingers crossed.

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July 3, 2012 Posted by | LGBT, Partners, TV | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Backlash of the Gay Male Comedians

Part 2 in my unintentional series on Gay backlash…

Jeanine Garofalo Inadvertently Starts Twitter War

My last blog regarding LOGO-TV’s change of direction seemed to inadvertently touch upon another important issue for the Gay community that turned into a bit of a Twitter war.  It all started when “sarcastic Mark” came out to respond to LOGO’s twitter advertisement for their latest Jeanine Garofolo comedy special. 

I basically stated that it was a good idea to air the Jeanine Garofolo special and promote the heck out of it, because we all know that gay comedians aren’t funny (hence, the sarcasm).  Somehow, this touched a real bad nerve with one gay comedian I never heard of named Shawn Hollenbach, but not in a way I was expecting.  Here’s how it all went down (remember it’s Twitter and we are limited on letters so no grammar police – thank you):

Shawn: Tell the gay world to stop buying Kathy Griffin tickets and support gay comedians.

Mark:  Thank god Wanda Sykes came out. I just got tickets & wouldn’t want to piss u off.

Shawn:  Of course you don’t support gay male comics. Why would a gay man do that?

Mark:  Wow now I can’t even c a lesbian w/out getting yur rath? Any more conditions Hitler?

Shawn: Yes, condition is don’t ask a network to play something you wouldn’t watch. 

Mark: cool – I won’t request you then. -:)

Shawn: I’m retired.

Brad Loekle: Gay Male Comedians need more support from Gay males.

The conversation goes on but it doesn’t get any prettier.   So in between all this rigamarole,  I was corresponding with another comedian I actually have heard of (and follow on Twitter) named Brad Loekle.  He was fairly annoyed with me as well because he felt that I was making light of the fact that I was one of many gay men out there who Brad believed only supported females – whether it be comedians like Wanda and Kathy Griffin or singers like Cher, Lady Gaga and Madonna who get scores of gay men idolizing them.   Note: he has a point – I immediately flashed to my best friend who wore a Cher T-Shirt for good luck when he was a contestant on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire

Some gays believe a Cher T-Shirt will bring good luck.

So while Brad may have a point here given the bitterness of my ex-friend Shawn, who as Brad put it “HATES me” now,    (Damn Shawn, our friendship was so short-lived and I was hoping we could do a sale at Barney’s together), but the truth is, I would happily support any comedian, male or female, gay or straight, that I can relate to.  We laugh at truth and sometimes this truth might be gay related, but often times it’s another aspect of our lives that hits our funny bone.

And like in dating or friendship, just because you are gay, doesn’t mean I’m going to like you or you are going to like me.

People, gay or straight, naturally tend to gravitate to people that we can relate to and also, are exposed to.  I stumbled upon my love for Wanda Sykes because she was in a really awful Chris Rock movie (pick one, any one) and I remember hating the movie but loving her. So from that point on, I’ve always kept an eye out for her.  I didn’t know or care at the time if she was gay or straight, but when she actually did come out, I was thrilled.

Gay male comedians such as Shawn Hollenbach have a point that we may have not supported their career, but is it fair for them to ask us to seek them out so that their living can be supported?    I remember my first exposure to Brad Loekle years ago from Out Q, a station for the LGBT community on Satellite Radio, as a regular weekly guest on Larry Flicks morning show, but I honestly hadn’t heard from or about him much except for an occasional Outfest special back when LOGO-TV actually featured gay comedians.

TRU TV Presents The World’s Dumbest Criminals every Thursday Night

Since then, I hadn’t heard anything new about Brad, but his career managed to survive without my knowledge thanks to the TRU cable channel, who hired him to host the popular World’s Dumbest Criminals show on Thursdays nights.  (Ironically, it’s now on against and has more viewers than Kathy Griffin’s highly promoted talk show.)  I also explained that I’m new to Twitter and now I that I am a resident in Twitter country, I can follow my favorite comedians and support them easier by knowing when they are in Chicago.

Kathy Griffin: Helping or hurting our cause through her humor

As for Kathy, I always have had mixed feelings for her.  I have gone to her shows and have been a loyal viewer.  But here is where the “mixed” part comes in.  Kathy continuously refers to us has her “gays” and jokes around that every one of us has perfect taste in how to dress, hates sports and a “fierce” attitude.  Do I know that she is just throwing a “wink” at us and knows that we know that she knows we really aren’t all the same?  Of course I do and it’s fun to say we are all this slightly different variation of Carson Kressley and throw out some jokes about it to one another.  But with Kathy throwing out the “one size fits all” gay jokes she does,  I laugh and I get it, but does the Tennessee mom with 3 kids who is  afraid they will learn about homosexuality in school get it?

Everyone knows that all gays are not just a variation of Carson Kressley. Or do they?

Or will she go out and sign a petition to keep her state free of Gay marriage? Again, feelings are mixed.  I don’t have the answer – maybe you do.  Is it possible to for us to educate the general public without losing our sense of humor?

So back to Brad Loekle.  Brad, thank you for reaching out and taking the time to explain your concerns.  It is evident that he has a passion about this as I’m sure other gay male comedians do so I don’t want to make light of it.  I want to also note that Brad mentioned that he no way harbors any resentment to the female comedians out there and as stated in his final tweet to me:

“I ADORE all the “ladies”… but we can still love them while we put our money & love behind ourselves too”

Dave Rubin: Helping the cause to promote the Hot Gay Comics out there.

And for what it’s worth, I have several male comedians out there who I’d love to see in action on stage based on my experiences with seeing them on TV, Brad, Alec Mapa, and Andre Kelley immediately come to mind.  Alec, probably the most successful in terms of recognition, has been a favorite of mine since the very short-lived and under appreciated CBS flop, Some Of My Best Friends.

You also have Dave Rubin, who probably has done the most to promote other gay comedians as he used to have a fantastic podcast that I subscribed to and listened to religiously called Hot Gay Comics. (Which was also a series on the “hard to find anywhere” HERE TV network).   I guess he ran out of Hot Gay Comics and had to move on to something different.  So now he’s the host of The Six Pack on Sirius/XM, which is also a podcast you can subscribe to at http://sixpackradio.com/.   I highly recommend following him on Twitter @therubinreport as his tweets can be highly entertaining.

Frank DeCaro and Jeanine Garofalo Doria Biddle from Sirius Out Q radio

As for other gay comedians, I listen to former Daily Show comedian Frank DeCaro on Sirius Out Q radio and believe him to have a great following of gays, but perhaps not as much for his humor as for his lesbian sidekick, Doria Biddle, who manages to keep the show balanced from becoming a 3 hour discussion on classic TV. She also looks eerily like Jeanine Garofalo. And one of Frank’s fans, who has his own fan base thanks to his heckling style of sarcasm with Frank on the phone, “Paul From Massachusetts”, continually promotes male comedian Adam Sank on his blog and on Facebook.   The Derek and Romaine show on Sirius Out Q also has featured a plethora of gay comedians.  I assume these people also go to their shows so we can eliminate that there is no support from the Gay males out there, but is there enough?

I don’t make any excuses though as to whom I like or don’t like and don’t feel the need to support people who don’t warrant it.  But there is support out there for “the gays” as Kathy would say.  Maybe there is enough support for male comedians out there, or maybe there is not enough ….. or maybe you just aren’t funny.  Incidentally, Shawn Hollenbach, has since retired from Standup at the age of 31.

However, if any of the above mentioned are ever in town (except for my ex-friend Shawn), please let me know and I’ll even try to bring a few more gay males with me.  I hope you don’t mind if one of them is wearing a Cher T-Shirt.

July 2, 2012 Posted by | LGBT, LOGO, TV, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment