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TV's Most Annoying & Most Entertaining Gay Characters

Andre.braugher.brooklyn99 TV series with gay characters are now commonplace and include popular shows such as  Modern Family, Empire and Downton Abbey.  But before 2000, shows such as Roseanne and Will & Grace also exposed viewers to gay characters (and drew considerably larger audiences than today's hit shows).  Of course, not every gay character is memorable, so for this post I've focused on those who are (of the shows I've watched), grouping them by most annoying and most amusing.  Twenty-five shows are represented, with four of them - Modern Family, Looking, Queer as Folk and Will & Grace - having characters on both lists.

 

MOST ANNOYING

Stefon (Sat. Night Live/NBC) - I tired of him after three appearances, but he appeared for five seasons (2008-2013).

 

Stefon

 

Brian Kinney (Queer as Folk/Showtime/2000-2005) - I rolled my eyes at how he was portrayed as the hottest piece of meat in Pittsburgh since Polish kielbasa.

 

Brian.kinney.queerasfolk

 

Will Truman (Will & Grace /NBC/1998-2006)- Too whiny.

 

Will.truman

 

Cameron Tucker (Modern Family /ABC/2009-present) - Although he does give me an occasional chuckle, a little of him goes a long way.

 

Cam.modfamily

 

Patrick Murray (Looking/HBO/2014-2015) - I found this main character from the HBO drama (cancelled after two seasons) too self-centered.

 

Jonathan.groff.looking

 

Kurt Hummel (Glee /Fox/2009-2015) - A sweet kid who stood up for himself, but he got on my nerves because he was too "light in the loafers" for my taste.

 

Kurt.glee  

 

TJ Hammond (Political Animals /USA Network/2012) - A drugged-out mess (unlike his hunky, straight-laced and hetero twin brother Douglas, played by the scrumptious James Wolk).

 

Tjhammond.politicalanimals

 

Kevin Matheson (Looking/HBO/2014-2015) - I was bothered by the fact that he was partnered while carrying on an affair with Patrick.  I also found his little ears distracting.

 

Russell.tovey.looking.ears

 

MOST ENTERTAINING

Pepper Saltzman (Modern Family/ABC/2009-present) -  Played by Nathan Lane, his occasional appearances always added some additional spark.  Another friend of Cam and Mitchell's I liked was Longinus - largely because of his name.

 

Nathanlane.pepper.modfamily

 

Mitchell Pritchett (Modern Family/ABC/2009-present) - A great foil to hubby Cameron, actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson should have won one of Eric Stonestreet's Emmys for this role.

 

Mitchell.pritchett.modfamily

 

Michael Novotny & Ben Bruckner (Queer as Folk /Showtime/2000-2005) - Sweet and puppy-like, Michael could be a bit of a dim bulb.  He carried a torch for Brian but then partnered with hunky and loving Ben (the taller of the two, below).

 

Michael.and.ben.queerasfolk

 

Tim Gunn (Project Runway /Lifetime/2004-present) - Classy and avuncular, Gunn played himself as a fashion expert on this competition show.  The phrase he made popular, "Make it work!", will probably be on his headstone.

 

Tim.gunn 

 

Sal Romano (Mad Men/AMC/2007-2015) - A closeted art director at the Sterling Cooper ad agency, Sal was unjustly fired after rebuffing the homosexual advances of the agency's biggest client.  I delighted in his rendition of Ann-Margret singing Bye-Bye Birdie (below) as well as his excitement watching Jackie Kennedy's televised tour of the White House.  I could feel the anxiety he experienced working in such an oppressively conformist, homo-unfriendly era. 

 

Sal.romano.madmen

 

Bob Benson (Mad Men/AMC/2007-2015) -  A few seasons after Sal's departure another gay character, the mysterious Bob Benson (played by hunky James Wolk) was introduced for a few seasons.  He wanted Joan to be his beard but she declined.

 

Bobbenson.madmen

 

Lloyd Lee (Entourage/HBO/2004-2011) - Agent Ari Gold's whip-smart and loyal assistant who endured Ari's demeaning comments about his sexual orientation and eventually rose to become an agent himself. 

 

Lloyd.lee.entourage

 

Brian & Steven (The Sarah Silverman Program/Comedy Central/2007-2010) - A lovingly schlubby gay couple who lived next door to Silverman.

 

Brian.steven.sarah.silverman.program

 

Richie Donado (Looking /HBO/2014-2015) - A sweet, sexy and loving character.  Although he was the youngest, he was perhaps the most grounded of all the characters.

 

Richie.looking

 

Thomas Barrow (Downton Abbey /PBS/2011-present) - He came close to being placed in the Most Annoying group.  On the one hand, he's a schemer with a chip on his shoulder, but on the other, perhaps it's because of what he had to deal with as a gay man in the 1910s and 1920s.  (Not everyone back then could be Noel Coward or Oscar Wilde.)  It's this latter consideration that held sway so I put him here (although I'd hardly call him entertaining).

 

Thomas.barrow.downton.abbey

 

Captain Ray Holt (Brooklyn Nine-Nine /Fox/2013-present) - I'm not a big fan of the show's star, Andy Samberg, but I decided to watch the show when I read that Andre Braugher was in a sitcom - and playing this gay character.

 

Brooklyn.nine-nine

 

Oscar Martinez (The Office/NBC/2005-2013) - Quiet and private, his annoying boss Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell) would find ways at staff meetings to tactlessly bring up the fact that Oscar was gay.

 

Oscar.martinez.theoffice

 

Devin Banks (30 Rock/NBC/2006-2013) - Jack Donaghy's nemesis.  Besides being devious and delightfully campy, Devin (played by Will Arnet) also had the hots for Jack (played by Alec Baldwin) - who got a charge flirting with and teasing Devin.

 

Devin.banks.30rock

 

Buddy Cole (Kids in the Hall/Comedy Central/1988-1994) - An over-the-top, tell-it-like-it-is bar fly.  At the time this type of gay representation was considered transgressive.

 

Buddycole.kidsinthehall

 

Jack McFarland (Will & Grace/NBC/1998-2007) - I considered putting him in the annoying group alongside Will Truman but I always laugh when I watch reruns of this groundbreaking Thursday night sitcom, and it's largely because of his scenes with Karen.

 

Jack.and.karen.will.grace

 

Lt. Jim Dangle (Reno: 911/Comedy Central/2003-2009) - A sight to behold in his short shorts, he had a crush on straight fellow officer Deputy Jones and was constantly frustrated by his inattention - until one episode Jones obliged him and Lt. Dangle had trouble walking the next day (but he was a happy camper).

 

Jim.dangle.reno911

 

Kip Wallace (Web Therapy) /Showtime/2011-present) - The closeted husband of Lisa Kudrow's self-centered main character, Fiona.  Apparently they never had sex in 15 years of marriage.  Victor Garber played Kip and I enjoyed seeing him in a comedic roll (and I told him so when I saw him waiting for the uptown 1 train at the 14th St. station a number of years ago.)

 

Victor.garber.webtherapy

 

Blaine & Antoine (Men on Films/Fox/1990-1994) - MOF was a regularly occurring segment on Fox's Sunday night comedy sketch show In Living Color.  Blaine, played by Damon Wayans, usually wore a tiny hat.

 

Antoine.blaine

 

Anthony Marentino (Sex & the City/HBO/1998-2004) - He was great as Charlotte's advisor on all matters concerning fashion and sex.

 

Mario.cantone.sexandcity

 

Nancy Bartlett (Roseanne /ABC/1988-1997) - Nancy was introduced back in 1992, becoming TV's first regular lesbian character.  The show would also have another gay character, Roseanne's boss, Leon, at the luncheonette (played by Martin Mull).

 

Sandra.bernhard.roseanne2

 

Craig Middlebrooks (Parks & Recreation/NBC/2009-2015) - A high-intensity employee of the Parks department (added in the show's last two seasons), this was a perfect role for Billy Eichner.

 

Billy.eichner.parksandrecreation

 

Marc St. James (Ugly Betty/ABC/2006-2010) - This ABC sitcom took off like a rocket but then fizzled out in its second, third and fourth seasons.  The character development of Marc St. James, however, went in the opposite direction, from sarcastic and mean-spirited to a more caring, well-rounded individual.  But still wide-eyed and ditzy. 

 

Michael.urie.ugly.betty

 

Carson Kressley (Queer Guy for the Straight Guy /Bravo/2003-2007) - Like Tim Gunn, Cressley is a real person.  Although flamboyant I liked him because he wasn't a bitchy queen.  Instead, he came across as a caring individual as he advised clueless hetero men how to dress with flair.

 

Carson.kressley

 

Waylon Smithers (The Simpsons/Fox/1989-present) - Or simply "Smithers", he's devoted to Mr. Burns and fantasizes about him in his dreams.

 

Smithers

 

Jonathan - (30 Rock/NBC/2006-2013) - A character with no last name, he played Jack Donaghy's overly devoted and protective executive assistant.  A human version of Smithers?

 

Jonathan30rock 

 

Besides portraying characters who are gay, more than half of the actors on these two lists are openly gay in real life.

 

GAY ACTORS WHO PLAY GAY CHARACTERS ON TV
     
Actor Show Character Played
Bryan Batt Mad Men Sal Romano
Sandra Bernhard Roseanne Nancy Bartlett
Mario Cantone Sex & the City Anthony Marentino
Chris Colfer Glee Kurt Hummel
Billy Eichner Parks & Rec Craig Middlebrook
Jesse Tyler Ferguson Modern Family Mitchell Pritchett
Robert Gant Queer as Folk Ben Bruckner
Victor Garber Web Therapy Kip Wallace
Jonathan Groff Looking Patrick Murray
Tim Gunn Project Runway Himself
Sean Hayes Will & Grace Jack MacFarland
Carson Kressley Queer Eye Himself
Nathan Lane Modern Family Pepper Saltzman
Rex Lee Entourage Lloyd Lee
Maulik  Pancholy 30 Rock Jonathan
Scott Thompson Kids in the Hall Buddy Cole
Russell Tovey Looking Kevin Matheson
Michael Urie Ugly Betty Marc St. James
     

 

 

 

 

 

 


2015 Tony Awards Fall Flat Without Neil Patrick Harris or Hugh Jackman

Alancummings.kristenchenoweth.tonyawardsI've groused in previous posts about the ubiquity of Neil Patrick Harris and Hugh Jackman at awards shows, but I must admit they were sorely missed at this year's Tony Awards (on CBS, as we were annoyingly reminded before each commercial break).  The silly banter between hosts Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming was cringe worthy.  I wanted to swat them away like flies.  Alan Cumming on his own may have been fine (although he was sometimes hard to understand); the hyper-caffeinated Chenoweth, on the other hand, was exhausting to watch (bringing to mind Anne Hathaway when she hosted the Oscars back in 2009).  

 

Kristin.chenoweth.et.tonyawards
Perhaps one of the low points in the history of the Tonys?

 AlanCummings.KingandI.tonyawards

 

MEMORABLE MOMENTS

  • At the beginning of the On the Town number, nominee Tony Yazbeck presented Anna Wintour, sans sunglasses, with flowers.  (Remind me again, what show was she in that got her seated in the VIP section?)

 

Anna.wintour.2015tonys
Anna Wintour smiles!

 

  • Fun Home's musical number Ring of Keys was so moving, it got me all choked up.  And to think this was sung by a child!

 

Funhome.2015tonys

 

  • Although Tommy Tune's lifetime achievement award wasn't part of the telecast, the 30-second clip that was shown had a great quip by him in which he said,  "Every Texas father dreams for their firstborn sons to leave Texas, go to New York and dance in the chorus of a  Broadway show!"

 

Tommytune.lifetimeachievementaward

 

  • What in the hell was Ashley (High School Musical) Tisdale wearing?  It looked like someone stole the top piece from a nun's habit or a burka.  And why was she presenting an award?  (The same could be asked of Jennifer Lopez.)

 

Ashley.tisdale.tonyawards

 

  • Matthew Morrison looked hot, and very un-Glee like, when he tore open his shirt during his number from Finding Neverland.

 

Neverland.tonyawards

 

  • The powerful performance by Lisa Howard from It Shoulda Been You (not even nominated) brought to mind Jennifer Holiday's from the 1982 Tonys when she bulldozed through And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going from Dreamgirls.

 

Lisa.howard.2015tonys

 

Jennifer.holiday.dreamgirls
Jennifer Holiday, 1982 Tony Awards

 

  • Kelli O'Hara's acceptance speech was wonderful for its excitement and gratitude and brought to mind Audra McDonald's acceptance at last year's ceremony (although it was her fifth Tony while this was O'Hara's first).

 

Kelli.ohara.2015tonys

 

  • For the first two-thirds of the show I thought Alan Cummings was saying "George Gobel" when it turned out it he was saying "Josh Groban".  Unfortunately it was painful listening to Groban struggle through You'll Never Walk Alone during the "In Memoriam" tribute.  Phylicia Rashad, however, gave it a beautiful intro (much like Meryl Streep did at this year's Academy Awards).

 

Josh.groban.2015tonys

 

  • During the "In Memoriam" tribute the biggest one-two punch was Elaine Stritch followed immediately by Marian Seldes.

 

Elaine.stritch.tonyawards

 

  • Harry Connick, Jr. - studliest presenter of the night?  Followed by Nick Jonas (standing next to Jennifer Lopez who looked relatively matronly) and Thomas Sadoski.

 

Harry.connick.jr.2015tonys

 Nickjonas.2015tonys

  Thomas.Sadoski

 

  • Tony winner Alex Sharp looked sharp in his casual, off-white/patterned tux.

 

Curious.case.ofthedog

 

  • No surprise, Broadway royalty, Bernadette Peters, looked terriffic and vied with Tony winner Helen Mirren for classiest stage presence.

 

Bernadette.peters.2015tonys 

  Helen.mirren.2015tonys2

 

  • For the second year in a row nominee Andy Karl was seated in the same far forward section of the theater, was playful when on camera and did not win in his category.

 

Andykarl
2015 nominee for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for "On the 20th Century"

 

Andy.karl.rocky
2014 nominee for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for "Rocky"

 

Finally, I leave you with a gallery of photos:

 

Onthetown.2015tonys
"On the Town's" 9 sailors a-leapin'

 

Alison.bechdel
Alison Bechdel gets her moment in the spotlight upon "Fun Home" being awarded as Best Musical.

 

Kristin.alan.tonys
One of thousands of costume changes for the hosts

 

Audience.2015tonyawards
Nominee Brandon Uranowitz ("An American in Paris") and his seat mate react differently to his name not being read as winner in the Best Actor in a Musical category.

 

Tyne.daly.tonyawards
Tyne Daly reacts to being told "I'm not your bitch" by Lisa Howard in their number from "It Shoulda Been You".

 

Max.von.essen.tony.awards
Upon seeing the camera turn to him when his name was read as one of the nominees in the Best Actor in a Musical ...

 

An.american.rhapsody
Max von Essen offers a dazzling smile.

 

Yankee.doodle.dandy
"On the Town's" Tony Yazbeck in front of the flag brought to mind Jasper John's famed "Flag" painting.


 

Funhome.michael.cirveris
Tony winner Michael Cerveris (with hair) on stage during Sydney Lucas' performance of "Ring of Keys".

2015 Oscars Photo Montage

2015oscarsI was thoroughly entertained by this year's Academy Awards telecast (despite host Neil Patrick Harris' annoying Oscar predictions routine that he dragged out for the entire show).  First, I watched it live, and then re-watched it a few more times.  I've already written a more lengthy review of what I liked, but here are a few dozen photos (taken from my TV screen) that didn't find a place in it that I thought were worthy of sharing.

 

 

Nph.oscars.host
This was NPH's first time hosting the Oscars but he's not new to Hollywood as he's appeared in 20 films, including last year's "Gone Girl" (a hit) and "A Million Ways to Die in the West" (a bomb).

 

2015oscars.moving.pictures
The show's "Moving Pictures" opening

 

2015oscars.intor
NPH surrounded by Marilyns during the opening extravaganza.

 

Davidoyelo.oscars
Although "Selma's" David Oyelowo didn't get an Oscar nomination he received the most screen time of any actor, with audience shots, time on stage to present an award and here with NPH discussing his British accent.

 

John.legend.oscars
36-year-old John Legend looks 15 years younger.

 

Julianne.moore.2015academyaw
Unlike David Oyelowo and Chris Pine, who had tears running down their face, Julianne Moore's emotions during the performance of "Glory" were limited to watery eyes.

 

Gaga.admirer.oscars
Lady Gaga wipes lipstick from the cheek of her mystery man - father, chaperone, confessor, accountant, record exec?

 

GagaOverJulieAndrews
One of the high points of the telecast was Julie Andrew's gracious reception of Lady Gaga after her rousing "Sound of Music" medley.
 
Emma.stone.2015oscars
Thought bubble: "How in the hell did J-Lo get a seat next to Meryl Streep?"

 

Reese.witherspoon.2015academyaw
Unlike others, Reese Witherspoon main-  her composure during Common's and John Legend's performance.
 
Oscars.audience
The fellow seated behind Bradley Cooper made the most of his on-camera opportunity by making eye contact with millions of viewers.
 
 
Richard.linklater.boyhood
Richard Linklater? I thought this was the president of Bolivia!

 

Miles.teller.oscars
Robert Mitchum lookalike, "Whiplash" actor Miles Teller.

 

Nicole.kidman.clapping.2015oscars
And the Oscar for Most Peculiar Way of Clapping goes to ... Nicole Kidman.

 

Zero_anthony.quinonez
"Zero", the lobby boy from "Grand Budapest Hotel".
 
 
Rita.ora.grateful
After watching Rita Ora's performance of Best Song nominee "Grateful" I bought it on iTunes.

 

Laura.dern.2015oscars
Laura Dern reacts to her second Best Actress nomination.

 

Julianne.moore.best.actress
A lovely moment between husband and wife a split second after Julianne Moore won the Oscar for Best Actress.

 

Cate.blanchett.2015oscars
Perhaps the most peculiar thing said at the podium was Cate Blanchett saying "Okie-dokey, Smokey" as she opened the envelope for Best Actor.

 

Eddie.redmayne.2015academyaw
Eddie Redmayne and wife a few seconds before he won the Oscar for Best Actor.

 

Eddie.redmayne.best.actor
And a few seconds after his name was called ...

Saluting The Kennedy Center Honors' Roster of Gay Inductees

Kennedy center honorsLike the Academy Awards and Tony Awards, a considerable number of gay men have an affinity for the Kennedy Center Honors because of its celebration of personalities in the performing arts.  Since the first awards were handed out in 1978 a steady stream of accomplished gay men have been chosen as honorees.  However, not until 2015 year was a self-proclaimed lesbian awarded the honor - Lily Tomlin.  (But rumored lesbians such as Mary Martin, Claudette Colbert, Katharine Hepburn and Dolly Parton have been honored).  The ceremony takes place in early December, with the President and First Lady in attendance (the exception has been Trump and Melania); the telecast of the event usually airs a few days after Christmas on CBS.  Interestingly, the colors of the award's sash are those of the rainbow flag.  In 2002 DC's Gay Men's Chorus performed as part of the tribute to Elizabeth Taylor.

 

Lily.tomlin
2014 honoree, Lily Tomlin

   

23 of the 213 recipients (through 2019) have been gay.  In four of the years there were two gay inductees: 1979, 1986, 1993 and 2010.  (In 1989 Claudette Colbert and Mary Martin were honorees).  The longest stretch in which no gay honorees were named was the five years between 2005-2009 (this drought might be matched next year depending on 2019's announcement).  Conversely, between 1979 and 1988 every year but one (1989) had a gay recipient.   

 

GAY HONOREES   

To be considered, a candidate must be living at the time of their induction.  Of the 23 gay honorees (listed below), eight are still alive.  The first gay honorees were Aaron Copland and Tennessee Williams in 1979.  One glaring oversight was playwright and director Arthur Laurents (who died in 2011 at the age of 93).  Perhaps it was because of his prickly personality?

 

Bill.t.jones.kennedy.center.honors
Bill T. Jones

 

Aaron Copland (1979) - composer (died in 1990, age 90)

Tennessee Williams (1979) - novelist (died in 1983, age 73)

Leonard Bernstein (1980) - composer/conductor (died in 1990, age 72)

Jerome Robbins (1981) - choreographer (died in 1998, age 79)

Virgil Thomson (1982) - composer (died in 1989, age 92)

Gian Carlo Menotti (1984) - conductor/composer (died in 2007, age 95)

Frederick Loewe (1985) – lyricist (died in 1988, age 86)

Merce Cunningham (1986) - dancer/choreographer (died in 2009, age 90)

Antony Tudor (1986) - ballet choreographer (died in 1987, age 79)

Alwin Nikolais (1987) - dancer/choreographer (died in 1993, age 82)

Alvin Ailey (1988) - dancer/choreographer (died in 1989, age 58)

Stephen Sondheim (1993) - composer/lyricist (born in 1930)

Arthur Mitchell (1993) - dancer/choreographer (died in 2018, age 84)

Edward Albee (1996) - playwright (died in 2016, age 88)

Fred Ebb & John Kander (1998) - lyricists (Ebb died in 2004, age 76; Kander is still alive, born in 1927)

Van Cliburn (2001) - pianist (died in 2013, age 78)

James Levine (2002) - conductor (born in 1943)

Elton John (2004) - singer/composer/pianist (born in 1947)

Bill T Jones (2010) - dancer/choreographer (born in 1952)

Jerry Herman (2010) - lyricist and composer (died in 2019, age 88)

Lily Tomlin (2014) - actress/comedian (born in 1939)

Michael Tilson Thomas (2019) - conductor, pianist and composer (born in 1944)

 

Michael tilson thomas

 

Other lesbians worthy of consideration for future induction may include Jodie Foster, Cherry Jones, Melissa Etheridge and Cynthia Nixon. And Johnny Mathis, Terrence McNally, Tommy Tune and Richard Chamberlain are worthy candidates on the gay male side.  

 

GAY ICONS/DIVAS

Although not gay themselves, sixteen recipients, all women, have the distinction of being gay icons.  The most recent was Cher, in 2018.  Another icon, Maria Callas, likely would have been honored but she died the year before the first Kennedy Center Honors (at the very young age of 53).

 

Barbra.streisand.kennedycenterhonors

Ella Fitzgerald (1979)

Martha Graham (1979)

Leontyne Price (1980)

Lucille Ball (1986)

Bette Davis (1987)

Katharine Hepburn (1990)

Aretha Franklin (1994)

Judith Jamison (1999)

Angela Lansbury (2000)

Chita Rivera (2002)

Elizabeth Taylor (2002)

Dolly Parton (2006)

Diana Ross (2007)

Barbra Streisand (2008)

Barbara Cook (2011)

Cher (2018)

 

Kennedycenterhonors.cbs


"The Land of Misfit Toys" - An Early Gay Anthem?

Misfit.toysThe beloved Christmas special Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer made its debut in 1964 when I was in the Second Grade.  For me the highlight was the song, The Land of Misfit Toys.  Without knowing why, I identified with this plaintive, sweet number about outcasts who were banished (through no fault of their own).  This included Herbie, the elf who wanted to be a dentist.  As we all know, Rudolph becomes the Moses of the misfits, persuading Santa to include them in his deliveries around the word alongside the "normal" toys.

 

Rudolph.reindeer

 

Herbie.the.elf.and.rudolphOf course the song's progressive message is for anyone who feels out of place and yearns to be accepted by society (however, not all of us feel that way and actively seek out the Land of Misfit Toys, such as Fire Island, Provincetown or San Francisco).  Years later the Disney TV movie High School Musical had a variation of this song, Stick with the Status Quo.  And Misfit Toys was later performed on a Christmas episode of Glee, known for tackling gay issues.  


2014 Tony Awards Recap: Having Your Cake & Eating It Too

Hughjackman.2014tonyawards2Some viewers may have braced themselves for serious withdrawal upon the news that Neil Patrick Harris wasn't hosting this year's Tony Awards.  However, the telecast offered up a two-fer.  Not only did we get strapping Hugh Jackman as host, but Neil Patrick Harris was still present as he performed and made an acceptance speech after winning a Tony.  And like NPH, Jackman was a ball of good-humored energy.  Whereas NPH is cute and impish in an elf-like way, Jackman is leading man handsome and debonair with a playful side.  And the show's opening number showed that the 45-year-old was as fit as 40-year-old NPH. 

 

HIGHLIGHTS

I enjoyed the opening although I was scratching my head over it.  After the show I discovered that the hopping idea came from the number Take Me to Broadway from the 1953 movie Small Town Girl.  (Musician Peter Wolf's 1987 music video for the song Come As You Are was also a tribute to this number.)  It might have been helpful if Hugh mentioned this fact (he did sing the title, but with no context).  Nonetheless, it was fun and I liked how Hugh interacted with the casts of the nominated musicals.  What was especially impressive was that he didn't appear to break a sweat nor was he noticeably winded.

 

Hughjackman.hopping.tonyawards 

 

I was quite entertained with Jackman's rendition of Rock Island from The Music Man, and it was further enhanced when he brought out rappers LL Cool J and TI to preform it as a rap song.

 

Hughjackman.llcoolj.ti

 

For me, the highlight of the telecast was Carole King introducing the musical number from Beautiful and then singing a duet of I Feel the Earth Move with the show's star, Jessie Mueller (who later won for her role).

 

Caroleking.2014tonyawards

 

Two award winners, Darko Tresnjak (Gentleman's Guide) and Neil Patrick Harris (Hedwig & the Angry Inch) gave their respective husbands on-camera kisses.  And when he peformed as Hedwig NPH gave his hubby a very passionate kiss (almost as passionate as the one Al Gore planted on Tipper at the 2000 Democratic Convention!)

 

Darko.tresnjak.husband.tonyawards

Neil.patrick.harris.kisses.husband

Hedwig.kiss.tonyawards

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the numbers from Rocky, Bullets Over Broadway and Beautiful.

 

Rocky.tonyawards

 

Bulletsoverboradway

 

I was touched by the last line of Lena Hall's giddy acceptance speech after winning for her performance in Hedwig -  "Friendship is magic."

 

Lenahall.tonyawards.hedwig

 

Audra McDonald always gives a heartfelt, emotionally gratifying acceptance speech and this year's was no different - for her sixth Tony Award.  (I think what gave her the edge in the voting was her role as Mother Superior in NBC's live telecast of The Sound of Music last November.)  And the camera caught her husband, Will Swenson, wiping away tears and looking very proud.

 

Audra.mcdonald.2014tonys

 Audra.mcdonalds.husband

 

I found it amusing that Kenny Leon's wife was staring directly into the camera when his nomination for Best Director of a Play was announced (he won for Raisin in the Sun).

 

Kennyleons.wife.tonyawards

 

Then there was this adorable photo bomb by the son of Ramin Karimloo (from Les Miserables) as nominee Jarrod Spector's face was being shown (for his role in Beautiful).  But by the time Karimiloo's name was announced for his nomination later in the show, the little tyke was asleep and Karimiloo playfully tried to hush the audience (and there was yet another adorable son at his side).

 

Photobomb.tonyawards

Ramin.karimloo 

 

Sutton Foster and Ru Paul were pretty in pink (bringing to mind the time when Michelle Obama and Ann Romney both wore pink dresses to one of the presidential debates).

 

Rupaul.2014tonyawards

Suttonfoster.2014tonys

 

Jackman's playful interaction with each actress nominated for Lead Actress in a Musical was fun.

 

Kelli.ohara.tonyawards

 

Sutton.foster.tonyawards

 

Bare chests!  There were four of them: Adam Jacobs from Aladdin (pictured), Andy Karl and Terrence Archie (pictured) from Rocky and Alan Cumming from Cabaret.

 

Adam.jacobs.aladdin

 

Rocky.apollocreed.broadway

 

LOWLIGHTS

Judith Light's hair was a mess (the Cameron Diaz look) but Zach Brach's was even worse.

 

Zach.braff.2014tonyawards

 

Every song Idina Menzel sings sounds the same (aka Celine Dion syndrome).

 

Idina.menzel.tonyawards

 

The number from A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Marriage left me cold.  I saw the show and this was not the best number.  And I don't think it's going to drive audiences to the box office.  

 

Gentlemans.guide.tonyawards

 

The 10th anniversary of Wicked was highlighted but it was also the 10th anniversary of Avenue Q beating out Wicked for Best Musical (that wasn't mentioned).

 

AvenueQ

 

Kenneth Branagh's charcoal suit was very shiny.

 

Kenneth.brannagh

 

During NPH's acceptance speech he told his twins that hed be back soon to spend time with them and read bedtime stories, so he's letting us know that he's not going to be in Hedwig very much longer.

While it was great to see Jennifer Hudson, who looked stunning, perform a song, the show it's from has yet to appear on Broadway.  It came near the end of the telecast, pushing it past 11:00, so those taping lost the announcement of the award for Best Musical at 11:04.  (Sting's number earlier in the telecast was also for a show not yet on Broadway.)

 

Jenniferhudson.2014tonyawards

 

GAY REPRESENTATION

At least 13 gay men and lesbians got camera time and surely there were more that I missed, or I was unsure about their sexual orientation (e.g., Warren Carlyle and David Binder).

  • Matt Bomer (presenter)
  • Alan Cumming (Cabaret)
  • Harvey Fierstein (presenter)
  • Jonathan Groff (presenter)
  • Neil Patrick Harris (preformed; award winner for Hedwig)
  • Cherry Jones (nominee)
  • Michael Mayer (Hedwig)
  • Terrence McNally (stage appearance)
  • John Cameron Mitchell (stage appearance/Hedwig)
  • Rosie O'Donnell (presenter; recipient of honorary award winner)
  • Zachary Quinto (presenter)
  • RuPaul (presenter)
  • Darko Tresnjak (award winner, Gentleman's Guide)

 

MISCELLANEOUS PHOTOS

This year I snapped photos from the TV screen (couldn't have done it without the DVR!).  Here are some miscellaneous shots I liked:

 

Hughjackman.tonys2014
Hugh Jackman looks out upon his adoring public.

 

Andy.carl.rocky
"Rocky's" playful nominee Andy Karl

 

Anawintour.tonyawards
Anna Wintour goes another year without a Tony.

 

Hughjackman.hopping.tonyawards2
Hugh begins hopping.

 

Neilpatrickharris.husband.tonyawards
Neil Patrick Harris with hubby David Burtka

 

Jenniferhudson.2014tonyawards
Jennifer Hudson belts it out.

 

Adamjacobs.tonyawards
Adam Carol and his 100-watt smile.

 

 
Lesmiz.tonyawards
Kyle Scatliffe brings the number from "Les Miz"  to a powerful end.

The A+ List of Well-Known Gay & Lesbian Celebrities

Neil.patrick.harris NeilPatrickHarrisTonyAwardsShow2011_article_story_main Nph_motherAs I perceive it, Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen DeGeneres, Anderson Cooper, Ryan Murphy and Rachel Maddow are today's most overexposed gay personalities (or, as Barbara Walters might refer to them as, the most fascinating).  However, a Google search I did on more than 300 gay celebs turned up many others who seem equally high profile (the top 50 can be found at the end of this post).

 

 

Harvey.fierstein Melissa.etheridge20 years ago there were very few "out" celebrities so it made sense that the token few, e.g., Harvey Fierstein, Melissa Etheridge and kd lang, received extensive media coverage.  Since then there's been a proliferation of openly gay celebs (a good thing), but an inordinate amount of attention still goes to a rather select group. 

 

 

Calvinklein Steve.kmetkoOf the 300+ included in this analysis, the typical celeb had 500,000 search results.  They ranged from 16,000 (for Steve Kmetko - remember him?) to 19 million (Calvin Klein).  There were thirteen well-known LGBTs whose names each generated more than 5 million search results - I guess you can call them the gay A+ List.  At the other end of the spectrum, there were 50 celebs/former celebs with fewer than 100,000 mentions.  (For some perspective, I, a mere gay mortal, had 5,000).

 

 

Natesilver TomdaleyNaturally, some of the names among the top 50 have been in the news of late, including newly out actress Ellen Page, figure skater Johnny Weir and stats guru Nate Silver (pictured, far left).  (Surprisingly, neither Michael Sam or Jason Collins were in this select group, ranking 59th and 61st).  By age, six of the top 50 were older than 65, with Giorgio Armani, at 78, the oldest.  Seven were younger than 30, with Tom Daley (pictured) being the youngest, at 19.  Ellen DeGeneres had the most search results for lesbians, but only ten others joined her.

 

 

Tim.cook.apple Annie.leibovitzActors, singers and fashion designers dominate the upper echelons of gaydom, comprising two-thirds of the top 50.  (The designers were, no doubt, boosted by their eponymous clothing labels.)  Outside of these fields we have  statistician Nate Silver; personal trainer Jillian Michaels; Apple CEO Tim Cook; photographer Annie Leibovitz; blogger Perez Hilton; interior designer Nate Berkus; and drag performer Ru Paul

   

 

Rachel.maddow Anderson.cooper.vanity.fair EllenshowAnd where do the five I thought were most overexposed rank?  Neil Patrick Harris is second; Ellen is fifth and Anderson Cooper, 30th.  Rachel Maddow and Ryan Murphy, however, are further down the list at 65th and 68th, respectively.  Still respectable but not nearly as high as I expected.

 

 

Robbie.williams Jason.wu JakeshearsWho was I surprised to see among the elite 50?  Besides Calvin Klein at #1, I was also taken aback by the inclusion of singers Robbie Williams (pictured, far right), George Michael, Mika, Tracy Chapman and Boy George; Jillian Michaels fom Biggest Loser; fashion designers Alexander Wang, Jason Wu (pictured) and Zac Posen; and British actor Steven Fry.  And those who I was surprised to see lower than the top 100 include ABC's Robin Roberts (#112); fashion guru Tim Gunn (#142); sexy Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters (#164, pictured near right); diving legend Greg Louganis (#177) and gay blogger Andy Towle (#294).

 

TOP 50 GAY PERSONALITIES
(Ranked by # of Google Search Results)
     
    Search Results
  Profession (In Millions)
Calvin Klein Fashion Designer 19.1
Neil Patrick Harris Actor 14.6
Elton John Singer/Songwriter 12.7
Marc Jacobs Fashion Designer 11.0
Ellen DeGeneres Talk Show Host 10.8
Michael Kors Fashion Designer 10.6
Robbie Williams Singer 10.0
Ricky Martin Singer   9.8
Tom Ford Fashion Designer   9.4
Mika Singer   7.1
George Michael Singer/Songwriter   6.7
Pet Shop Boys Pop Music Duo   5.8
Adam Lambert Singer   5.4
Giorgio Armani Fashion Designer   4.6
Tegan & Sara Pop Music Duo   4.5
Rosie O'Donnell TV Personality   4.3
Alexander Wang Fashion Designer   4.3
Ellen Page Actress   4.2
Frank Ocean Rap Singer   3.6
Portia de Rossi Actress   3.4
Tim Cook Business Executive   3.0
Johnny Weir Figure Skater   2.5
Jillian Michaels Trainer   2.4
Jason Wu Fashion Designer   2.4
Zachary Quinto Actor   2.3
Don Lemon News Anchor   2.3
Jodie Foster Actress   2.3
Tracy Chapman Singer/Songwriter   2.2
Perez Hilton Blogger   2.2
Anderson Cooper News Anchor   2.2
Jean Paul Gaultier Fashon Designer   2.1
Zac Posen Fashion Designer   2.0
Lily Tomlin Actress   2.0
Nate Silver Statistician   2.0
Andy Cohen Cable TV Executive   2.0
Ian McKellen Actor   1.9
Annie Leibovitz Photographer   1.8
Jesse Tyler Ferguson Actor   1.7
RuPaul Drag Performer   1.7
Boy George Singer/Songwriter   1.7
John Galliano Fashion Designer   1.7
George Takei Actor   1.7
Nate Berkus Interior Designer   1.6
Graham Norton Talk Show Host   1.6
Matt Bomer Actor   1.6
Wentworth Miller Actor   1.6
Stephen Fry Actor   1.6
Diana Nyad Swimmer   1.6
Tom Daley Diver   1.5
Chris Colfer Actor   1.5
(For period 3/20-24/2014)    

 


2014 Oscars Recap - Ellen DeGeneres Hosts a Kinder, Gentler Academy Awards

Selfie.at.oscarsAt first I wasn't enthusiastic about Ellen DeGeneres being host of the 2014 Academy Awards, but she eventually won me over (one of her charms is her ability to do this).  Her extensive mingling with the audience gave the telecast somewhat of a relaxed, "Golden Globes" feel.  Not only were the illustrious attendees good sports, they enthusiastically participated in Ellen's pizza delivery scheme and then a group selfie (right).  And I was thankful she didn't dance.

 

  • Ellen diverged from her anodyne presentation style just once, when she remarked, in the show's opening minutes, that the guy who came as Liza looked incredible.  (Liza was there, along with siblings Lorna Luft and Joey Luft, because of a tribute to The Wizard of Oz.)

 

Liza_2014oscars

  • John Travolta actually had somewhat human looking hair, but his mangling of singer Idina Menzel's name (inexplicably calling her Adela Dazeem) made his appearance a new classic Oscar moment.

 

Johntravolta.2014oscars

 

  • The cutest boy at the ceremony was Anne Hathaway.

 

Annehathaway.2014oscars

 

  • Jared Leto, made a moving acceptance speech upon winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.  However, after mentioning the troubles in Ukraine and Venezuela, he failed to say anything about Uganda and its newly instituted anti-gay laws.  Considering the subject matter of the movie he won the Oscar for, this was an unfortunate omission.

 

Uganda

 

  • Leto's tribute to his mother, who was seated next to him in the audience, brought to mind a similar heartfelt maternal tribute by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman when he won his Best Actor Oscar for Capote in 2006.

 

Philipseymourhoffman.bestactoroscar

 

  • One of the co-winners for Best Make Up, Robin Matthews (Dallas Buyers Club), made a very poignant remark during her acceptance speech about AIDS awareness among today's younger generation.
  • Kim Novak's appearance was a sadly embarrassing one.  There was a jarring disparity between the voice of an 81-year-old woman coming from a body that resembled a blow-up doll.  Her appearance and somewhat confused state reminded me of AbFab's Eddie.  Novak's appearance might not have been so distressing if she had been paired instead with Bill Murray as her co-presenter rather than Matthew McConaughey.  Then an hour later 68-year-old Goldie Hawn, desperately clinging to her once youthful days of the 1970s (or trying to compete with daughter Kate Hudson?), presented an award.  Struggling with aging is the unfortunate reality of Hollywood.

 

Kimnovak.2014oscars

 

  • Honor Roll of Dashing Men: Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Fassbender, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt and Chris Pine.

 

Leonardo.dicaprio.2014oscars

Chiwetel.2014oscars

 

  • The two best looking presenter couples: Jason Sudeikis & Kate Hudson and Chris Hemsworth & Charlize Theron.

 

Chris.hemsworth_charlize.theron

 

  • 48 persons were honored during the "In Memoriam" segment (well above the typical 25 or 30), including Shirley Temple, Deanna Durbin and Esther Williams.  It was capped off by a divine appearance by Bette Midler.

 

Bette.midler.2014oscars

 

  • Pharrell William's performance of his nominated song Happy was the most entertaining of the Best Song performances, especially when he went into the audience and danced with Lupita Nyong'o, Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.  Another Best Song performer, Idina Minzel (aka Adela Dazeem), came in for a rough landing at the end of her song, Let it Go, from the movie Frozen.  Lastly, guitarist Ezra Koenig's red socks perfectly matched the gown of singer Karen O during their performance of Moon Song from the movie Her.

 

Pharrell.williams_lupita.dyongo

Karen_O_Moon_Song_a_l

 

  • Upon receiving her Oscar for Best Actress, Cate Blanchet said that receiving the award from Daniel Day Lewis "exacerbated the honor."  Unfortunately, exacerbate means "to make something worse."  She probably meant to say something like, "enhanced the honor."

 

Cateblanchet.2014oscars 

 

  • Matthew McConaughey, who looked so dashing, gave an acceptance speech for Best Actor that not only was vapid and egocentric, but didn't once allude to the subject of his film.
  • Upon winning Best Picture, Steve McQueen, director of 12 Years a Slave,  managed to ramble on and thank two dozen people without mentioning one cast member.

 

Some reviews of the telecast criticized it for being boring.  Granted, there were no surprises as far as winners go, nonetheless I was entertained.  Those who were unenthusiastic may have been disappointed by a lack of rudeness or mean spiritedness - the norm of reality shows that blight the TV landscape.      

 

 

 

 

 


My Favorite Song by Cher

CherOf all the memorable songs by Cher (e.g., Gypsy Tramps & Thieves; The Way of Love; Believe) my favorite is a rather obscure one from her 1974 album Dark Lady called I Saw a Man & He Danced with His Wife.  September 2014 will mark 40 years since I saw her perform it on her variety show on CBS.  Presented as a mini soap opera of sorts (a very early music video?), it told the story of love lost and regained. 

 

It opens with Cher sitting alone at a club, sipping a glass of wine.  As the band begins playing she spies a former lover getting up to dance with his new wife.  Although she catches his eye, he walks by without acknowledging her.  Then two weeks later he shows up at her door and tells Cher that he left his lover because he realized he loved her more than he ever knew (sigh). 

 

Cher_vogueThis song was very different from Cher's other hits because it had a Big Band feel to it.  (The mid-70s were a time when Bette Midler and the Manhattan Transfer were making 40s-style music popular.)  Not surprisingly, I Saw a Man wasn't a hit, peaking at only #42 on the Billboard Hot 100.  However, based on hearing it this one time, I bought the 45.  Perhaps I liked it because it received no airplay so I never tired of it.  Interestingly, the writer of this song, John Durrill, also wrote her #1 hit Dark Lady.  Double click here to listen to the song.

 

This was the beginning of a fallow period in Cher's music career.  It would be five years before her next hit, Take Me Home, and then another eight years would pass before she came back in a big way with four top-10 hits in the next few years.  (And during this time she would win the Oscar for Best Actress in Moonstruck.)   But it's her little melodrama of a song from 1974 that I treasure the most.

 

Here are some other posts I've written about Cher you may find of interest:

Suitable for Framing: Cher's Classic TIME Magazine Cover

Cher + Elton + Bette + WOW! 

Cher Gives Birth to Chasity 

 


Divas & Gay Icons Who've Made Their Mark at the Super Bowl

 

Rainbow.football.helmet

 

Befitting an event that attracts more than just the most avid football fans, the Super Bowl has probably drawn its share of gay men with no interest in football due to its organizers' choice of performers, some who sang the National Anthem, others who were part of the halftime show.

 

 

SINGING OF NATIONAL ANTHEM

The National Anthem's ending is a showcase for diva embellishment.  Diana Ross was the first diva to sing it, at Super Bowl XVI in 1982.  Two years later Barry Manilow got the nod.  Then in 1991 Whitney Houston received accolades for her bombastic version in 1997 Luther Vandross joined Barry Manilow as the only other male diva to sing; Cher performed in 1999, Mariah Carey in 2002, Beyonce in 2004, Jennifer Hudson in 2009 and Christina Aguilera in 2011 (she flubbed one of the lines).  And then in 2016, Lady Gaga was handed the microphone.  In my estimation, here are the three best:

 

  • Beyonce - Sung in her hometown of Houston, this is the Super Bowl best remembered for the notorious "Nipplegate" incident at halftime between Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake.  I prefer to remember Beyonce's sterling performance instead.

 

Beyonce.superbowl.xxxix

 

  • Cher - Wearing an auburn colored wig, Cher was in the midst of her third or fourth comeback, this one propelled by her auto-tuned hit Believe (which won a Grammy for Best Dance Song).  Her Super Bowl performance, however, was without electronic frills - and quite powerful.

 

Cher.superbowl2

 

  • Jennifer Hudson.  She gave it her all, just three months after her mother, brother and nephew were murdered in Chicago.

 

Jenniferhudson.superbowl

 

  • And although Whitney's performance was powerful, she lost points because of unfortunate choice of attire - a cheesy white warm-up suit suit along with a white head band.

 

Whitney.houston.starspangledbanner

 

  • At 2014's game legendary soprano Rene Fleming sang, the first non-pop singer to do so in nine years.  Still, it should be a thrill for opera queens.

 

Rene.fleming

 

 

PERFORMING DURING HALFTIME

In the early years of the Super Bowl Carol Channing appeared during halftime at the 1970 game (likely singing Hello Dolly) and again in 1972 (joined by Ella Fitzgerald).  Then there was a long lapse before Diana Ross headlined in 1996.  Hers was most dramatic as she first appeared in a puff of smoke and then later was whisked away by a helicopter at the end of her performance (found at the 10:30 mark of this video clip).  Chakha Khan was one of a group in 1999; Tina Turner, Christina Aguilera and Toni Braxton appeared together in 2000; Britney Spears and Mary J. Blige appeared in 2001; and then eleven years went by before Madonna (in Egyptian headdress); Beyonce (in a Victoria's Secret meets dominatrix outfit);  Katy Perry (getting upstaged by her sharks) and Lady Gaga got the honors in 2012, 2013,  2015 and 2017, respectively.

 

Dianaross.superbowl.helicopter
Diana Ross

 

Beyonce 2013 superbowl
Beyonce



 

Katy perry performing at super bowl with sharks
Katy Perry
Katy Perry