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"Call Me Adam" chats with...

 

 

Monday
Jul102017

Call Redialed: Lucie Pohl: "Hi, Hitler" (NEW version) at The Cherry Lane Theatre

Lucie Pohl, Photo Credit: Mindy TuckerLucie Pohl is one of the funniest up and coming comedian/actresses/writers I have seen. I've known her for almost three years now and have seen two of her shows, both of which, left me in stitches. 

Now Lucie is revisiting her first one-woman show, with a re-worked version of Hi, Hitler, the story of Lucie finding her identity in NYC as an immigrant. Meet a German-Jew who grows up in a wild family of artists, is fascinated by the Fuehrer from age four, and is uprooted from Germany to NYC at age eight. Lucie yearns for normalcy, but being different seems to run in her bloodline and escaping her inherited high-drama-destiny might just be impossible.

Hi, Hitler will play at The Cherry Lane Theatre (38 Commerce Street) from July 11-30. Click here for tickets!

For more on Lucie be sure to visit http://www.luciepohl.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

1. This July you are bringing a re-worked version of your award winning show Hi, Hitler back to NYC. How is this version different from the 2014/2015 version of the show? The new version of Hi, Hitler has lots of new material, most of the design team is new and I am working with a new director: the absolutely amazing Kenneth Ferrone! The show is funnier, sexier and better than blueberry pie!

2. What made you want to change up the show to this new version? I have done this show over 65 times in five different countries but I always felt the show still had more to give if I would just keep digging. I always wanted to see this show on a bigger scale, with set design, proper lighting! I wrote Hi, Hitler three years ago and have learned a lot and grown as a performer so I wanted to revisit it and make a Hi, Hitler super show!

3. What excites you about debuting this updated production of Hi, Hitler? Absolutely everything! Doing a three week run of my own show at the Cherry Lane Theatre on the most beautiful street in New York City is a REAL-LIFE dream come true for me! More than anything I am excited to try out the new material, I wrote a whole new ending for the show.

Lucie Pohl, Photo Credit: Mindy Tucker4. You play over 30 characters in this show. Who's the easiest character to perform? Who's the most challenging? The easiest character to perform is my dad Klaus! He is larger than life and just like a crazy cartoon in real life so that makes it easy...The most challenging character to play is myself...Ummm, who am I? I have no idea.....

5. With all that is going on in this world over immigration and the travel ban, thanks to that moron in the White House, how do you feel your show is even more relevant than previously? Thank you for this question! I absolutely feel my show is more relevant than ever now that we have the Morange (that's what I call him - the orange moron - morange) in the White House. Him and his administration have attacked all of us immigrants! I feel angry and vulnerable and I think it's SO important to give immigrants of all kinds and backgrounds a voice right now. We are this country!

6. In this post-election life we live, how do you feel your upbringing actually prepared you for what is going on? My upbringing was intense and full of drama, in that sense I am well prepared for the ups and downs we are experiencing right now. My family has always been very political, my mother was a political prisoner in East Germany, my grandmother had to wear the yellow star, my father's parents were refugees from East Prussia, so politics was always a topic in our house growing up. I grew up with stories of speaking up and speaking out against oppressors, which makes it easier to navigate a time like this I think. When I asked my 95 year old Romanian-Jewish grandmother what she thought of Trump she said, "What do I think? I think I have already survived three mentally ill people who tried to ruin my life - Stalin, Hitler and Ceausescu and now this Trump is number four! But let me tell you something, there is always a crack you can find to live your life and speak out!"

Lucie Pohl, Photo Credit: Mindy Tucker7. During his campaign and even still now, that idiot in the White House has been compared to Hitler, some even saying, he's Hitler #2. How do you think the original Hitler would react to this new Hitler-like person? If the election were between Hitler #1 and Hitler #2, who do you think would win? Hitler is a synonym for evil. And the problem with evil is not when it's in one person, the problem is when other people enable and support that evil, normalize it. I think that's what is happening right now and that is why morange is being compared to Hitler. So, I'm not sure I can answer that question. I think it's more important to think about, educate and fight all the people who are giving someone so divisive, bigoted and dangerous, power.

8. As you say in the show, while your friends were obsessed with candy, you were obsessed with Hitler. If you could have dinner with Hitler, what would you talk about? If I could have dinner with Hitler I would poison his soup, then I would spit in his soup and then I would tell him he's a piece of shit!

9. Throughout the show, you also talk about the high-drama of your family that you feel you have inherited. What is the most dramatic thing you would say ever happened to you? The most dramatic thing that ever happened to me is when I was six years old in Hamburg, Germany and did not win a meet and greet with David Hasselhoff at his concert. That was the day I learned what real pain felt like.

10. As a German-Jew, do you ever have a dilemma with what to make for dinner? As a German-Jew everything in my life is a dilemma.

Lucie Pohl, Photo Credit: Mindy TuckerMore on Lucie:

Lucie is currently the voice of "Mercy" on Blizzard's massive hit video game Overwatch, which boasts over 30 million registered players. She has appeared in the films Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (Warner Bros.), Not Fade Away (Paramount/David Chase), and The Odd Couple (Margarethe von Trotta/Heimatfilm). She was also featured on Homeland (Showtime) and the wildly popular UK series Red Dwarf XI (Amazon).

Sunday
Jul092017

Call Answered: Amadeo Fusca: "The Comedy Blender" at The Triad + "Men are From Mars and Women are From Venus Live!"

Amadeo FuscaComedy, laughter, and variety shows oh my! As a comedian myself, I love chatting with other comics. When I learned about So You Think You Can Roast winner Amadeo Fusca's new monthly comedy variety show The Comedy Blender, I knew I had to hit that funny bone!

The Comedy Blender is a night of NYC's best comedians bringing you stand up comedy, original sketch and unique solo characters. The montly series kicks off Thursday, July 13 at The Triad Theatre in NYC (158 West 72nd Street). Showtime is 9:30pm! Click here for tickets!

On July 28, Amadeo will also be performing at The Triad in Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus Live! for one night only at 7pm and 9:30pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on Amadeo be sure to visit https://www.amadeofusca.com and follow him on Twitter!

Follow The Comedy Blender on Facebook and Twitter!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a comedian? Eddie Murphy's Delirious defintely had an effect on me and has stayed with me through today. Steve Martin & Tom Hanks also inspired me. 

2. This summer you are the host of a new monthly variety show at The Triad Theatre called The Comedy Blender. How did this variety show come together? I met Rick Newman, who runs The Triad, at the Friars Club's So You Think You Can Roast competition that I won in 2013 and we stayed in touch since then, keeping him up-to-date on what I was doing. We saw each other in March and Rick had wanted to talk to me about this idea he had based upon the Catch a Rising Star comedy club that helped launch the career of many well-known comedians. I told him I know a lot people who are on the cusp of being the next big name and it's just a matter of them getting the right audition or meeting the right person, so I pitched him the idea for this monthly variety show and he liked it. So we booked the venue, the date, and talent.

3. What excites you about hosting this monthly series? It's great being in a position to be able to put a show together and choose who I think should be part of it. There are so many talented people in the comedy world and I'm just so excited about the line-up of people I've asked to be part of it. 

Jack Black and Amadeo Fusca at the 2013 "So You Think You Can Roast" competition4. Since this is a variety show and it's been said, "Variety is the spice of life," how do you keep your life spicy? I have a girlfriend who helps me have fun. She keeps coming up with ideas of great things to do.

5. In 2013, you won the Friars Club competition, "So You Think You Can Roast." How do you feel winning this competition will help your career? The competition itself is sort of an under the radar contest, but the people that were there are big names...Amy Schumer, Bob Saget, Jeff Ross, Dennis Rodman, Richard Marx, Gene Simmons.I met some great people that I kept in touch with and if you stay in good standing with people, you never know how they might help you or what opportunities they could create for you. I won this competition and have been working since, so when I get back in touch with these people, they can see what I've been up to. Also getting the "Roast" videos has helped me book some gigs because I can send that out to producers and they get to see what I'm able to do.

6. You also are touring the country with Men are From Mars and Women are From Venus Live!, which will be playing NYC on July 28. What do you like about performing this show? What are some of the best audience responses you've gotten after the show? The show focuses on relationships, how men and women relate to each other, how we deal with each other on date night, remembering anniversaries, how we do our chores differently, and then there is a section of the show dedicated to sex. As an actor, there's so much meat to this show. When a new actor is brought in, like myself, I'm allowed to bring my own style to delivering the script, which is great. I've added some improvised moments on stage and now those moments have been implemented into the script and some of them get the biggest laughs of the night. That just adds a whole new energy to the room. I'm very phsyical when I act this show out, and I have to be, because it's a 90-minute show, so I have to be as engaging as possible. My favorite part about performing this show is the freedom and trust I've been given by the whole team. 

As I perform the show and look out in the audience, I can tell which parts people really relate to because the couples start holding hands at various points. Couples really identify with this show. After the show people come up to me after and say, oh, he did that or she does that. It is geared towards heterocouples because the show is based off the book, but I think at some point it would be great to update the script a bit and really open the material up include every kind of relationship out there.

7. Since you are a comedian and we live in very trying times these days, how do you continue to find the funny during these darker times? Once you are in a position to create content, it's important to have a night where you can make people laugh and get them to concentrate on you and your performance. If you just look at the news all day, you'll just be depressed. You have to find a way to laugh in order to move forward. 

8. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? It's a cliche answer, but working on my body and getting in shape. I keep seeing my belly pop out more and more these days, especially when I wear a t-shirt and I'm like, "What's happening down there?" So, I'd like to work on improving that by 20% actually.

Amadeo FuscaMore on Amadeo:

Hailing from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and a regular at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, Amadeo tours the country performing in the One Man Comedy Show Men are From Mars and Women are From Venus Live! In 2013, he beat out 55 other comedians to win the Friar's Club "So You Think You Can Roast?" competition. Amadeo joined the dais to roast Ricky Schroeder, NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman and Jack Black, performing alongside comic legends Sarah Silverman, Artie Lange, Bob Saget and Amy Schumer. Entertainment Weekly quoted Amadeo's as some of the funniest jokes of the event.

In addition to his live comedy, Amadeo's film and TV credits include Boardwalk Empire, Marvel's Daredevil, As The World Turns and the feature film A New York Heartbeat, starring Eric Roberts.

Friday
Jul072017

Call Answered: Paul Dooley: Movie Dad

Paul Dooley"Steven Keaton," "Mike Brady," and "Dr. Cliff Huxtable" are just some of the most famous TV dads. Paul Dooley has played "dad" to some of the biggest names in Hollywood: Molly Ringwald, Helen Hunt, Toni Collette, Mia Farrow and Julia Roberts. He's made a career out of playing the father role and now, he's written a show all about being Hollywood's most famous Dad!

Movie Dad, brings Paul's reflections on a 60 plus-year career to the Theatre West stage in Los Angeles. Paul shares his lifelong love of comedy and Buster Keaton in this intimate evening that chronicles his journey from a small West Virginia town with interweaving elements of vaudeville, silent film, clowning and stand-up. Paul also offers audiences an insider’s look at what it was like to be part of Robert Altman’s legendary stock company.

Movie Dad will play Theatre West (3333 Cahuenga Blvd West, Los Angeles CA) through July 23. Click here for tickets!

Dennis Christopher and Paul Dooley in "Breaking Away"1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Believe it or not, the first person to inspire me to become a performer was the silent movie star Buster Keaton. Many people think of him as someone who falls down, does a lot of physical comedy—but the truth is, he’s a wonderful actor and I still love him. This is all in my show, including the interesting story of how I finally met him.

2. Your big break came, after 25 years in the business when you starred in Breaking Away and you became an overnight success. What was it like to all of sudden be the toast of the town after working for so long in it? I read five pages of the BREAKING AWAY screenplay, I thought the writing was fabulous, and I knew instantly that the character was just like my own Dad. So I played it just like him. And have played Dads like him ever since. Receiving recognition for a role that meant so much to me personally was incredibly fulfilling.

3. You are well known for playing the "Dad" role to some of the biggest names in Hollywood including Molly Ringwald, Helen Hunt, Toni Collette, Mia Farrow and Julia Roberts. As you started to get cast in these kinds of roles, did it ever bother you that these are the roles you were getting or were you just so happy to be making it, you felt, if this is how I'm meant to do it, I'll take it? Playing Dads is never a problem for me. I am a Dad—I have children of my own. Playing a Dad comes naturally to me.

4. You've played so many dad roles that now you created a one-man show about it called Movie Dad which will be in LA this July. What made you decide to write a show about your time as one of Hollywood's most famous "Dads"? Many people over the years have said to me: Why don’t you write a book? I always said—if I wrote a book, and folks read it and laughed, I’d never hear the laughter. So I decided to put my story on stage.

5. In putting this show together, what did you learn about yourself and your journey in Hollywood? I learned I was way too old to memorize 90 pages of a show.

Paul Dooley and Julia Roberts in "Runaway Bride"6. While writing Movie Dad, what part made you laugh out loud with good memories and what part got you all choked up because it was just such a rough time for you? Many parts of the show brought back fond memories of funny things that happened to me and to family and friends of mine—there are also dramatic moments that were tough to relive—but you have to come see the show to know more—

7. Prior to making it in Hollywood, you had a wide variety of jobs from working as a clown, entertaining kids at birthday parties with magic, juggling, and cartooning skills. During this time, did you ever consider giving up your dream of acting or did these gigs give you the drive to keep going? I only thought about quitting every single day. But as time went on, each new job encouraged me to keep trying. Also I didn’t have any other talent!

Paul Dooley as a magician8. In addition to film, you have had quite a stage career from understudying the original "Felix" in Broadway's The Odd Couple, opposite Walter Mattau and The Three Penny Opera alongside Charlotte Rae (The Facts of Life) and Bea Arthur (Maude, The Golden Girls). Can you tell us one story about your time in each of these shows? I understudied Art Carney who was the original "Felix." Eventually I took over the role and played it opposite Walter Matthau. It was incredible to watch Neil Simon the writer and Mike Nichols the director craft this play together. Once during a performance Art Carney accidentally dropped a tray full of food and drinks onto the floor. Immediately all the actors jumped up to help pick it all up. Carney ad-libbed: "Leave it. The cat will get it." The biggest thrill doing THREE PENNY OPERA was listening to the great Lotte Lenya, Kurt Weill’s widow, sing "The Black Freighter." It was mesmerizing.

9. You were also the co-creator & head writer for the Emmy award winning PBS children's show The Electric Company (one of my favorites!). What made you want to create an entertaining/educational show specifically for children? If you can even choose one, what was your favorite segment to write? I personally loved Spidey Super Stories. The people at the Children’s Television Workshop actually chose me. I was recommended by Carl Reiner. My favorite characters that I created for the Electric Company were: Easy Reader (played by Morgan Freeman) Julia Grownup, Child Chef, and the word detective Fargo North—Decoder.

Paul Dooley and his wife Winnie Holzman10. You are married to Winnie Holzman, who created the series My So Called Life and wrote the book to Broadway's Wicked. With both of you being so successful, how do you balance work and marriage as well as fatherhood? We’ve been incredibly lucky—when one of us was busy, the other was often free. And Vice versa. So with our daughter Savannah, there was usually one of us who able to spend time with her. Either way, my relationship with Winnie has worked out perfectly!

11. In looking back over your career, what are you most proud of? What are you most ashamed of? What do you wish you did differently, if anything? Every triumph, and every failure—has contributed to the whole and I learned from all of it. So I would do it all again.

12. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? Becoming kinder to everyone. Being generous and understanding. And making every joke I think of just one percent funnier.

Paul DooleyMore on Paul:

1977 was a big year for actor Paul Dooley. That’s when he was "discovered," and after twenty-five years in show business, became an "overnight success." 

It all happened when legendary film director Robert Altman caught him on stage in the Jules Feiffer comedy Hold Me. Altman, who had achieved fame with Mash and Nashville, signed Dooley on the spot to play Carol Burnett’s husband, and the father of the bride, in his upcoming film, A Wedding. After another starring role in Altman’s A Perfect Couple, Paul landed the part that would change his life forever, in the unforgettable coming-of-age classic Breaking Away.

His hilarious portrayal of the long-suffering Dad earned him critical acclaim, and set the stage for another triumph, in the beloved John Hughes comedy, Sixteen Candles. As Molly Ringwald’s distracted yet sympathetic father, Paul endeared himself to an entire generation of young people. 

Since then, he’s played the father of some of our finest actresses, including Helen Hunt, Toni Collette, Mia Farrow and Julia Roberts (Runaway Bride). In addition to being Hollywood’s favorite Dad, Paul has become one of the busiest actors working today; creating one memorable character after another in such films as Popeye, with Robin Williams, where he appeared as the hamburger-loving "Wimpy," a part Dooley says, that he played with relish. Other films include Paternity, with Burt Reynolds, Kiss Me Goodbye, opposite Sally Field and Jeff Bridges, Happy Texas, with William H. Macy, Insomnia, with Al Pacino, and Waiting For Guffman and A Mighty Wind, both with Christopher Guest.

Paul has received two Emmy nominations for his work on the small screen: as the out-of-the-closet father on HBO’s Dream On and a memorable feisty judge on The Practice. He starred in his own TV sitcom, Coming of Age (CBS), which kicked off a series of recurring roles on other TV shows, including ER, Grace Under Fire, My So-Called Life, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Once and Again and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Despite appearances, it didn’t happen overnight. Upon graduation from West Virginia University, Paul headed for New York City in a broken-down 1948 Dodge, with just fifty dollars in his pocket, and nothing to lose. To pay the rent, he worked as a clown, entertaining kids at birthday parties with his magic, juggling, and cartooning skills. Luckily, one of his college chums was none other than Don Knotts. Already a working actor, Knotts convinced the producers of a new children’s TV show that Paul would be perfect as a comic cowboy.

Next came the New York premiere of Kurt Weill’s masterpiece, The Threepenny Opera, a job procured for him by another friend, John Astin, who was appearing in it, along with Charlotte Rae and Beatrice Arthur.

Paul's love of comedy led him to develop an act as a stand-up comic, and after several years of playing nightclubs, he landed on The Tonight Show. From there he joined Second City, the famous improvisational troupe, where his fellow actors included: Alan Arkin, Alan Alda…and several other Alans. Improvising became Paul’s passion: "I love the freedom of it. I can be doing a Shakespeare parody one minute and playing a five year old kid the next. I make my living doing movies and television, but improve I do for my soul."

While at Second City, he met director Mike Nichols, who was about to being the original Broadway production of The Odd Couple to California. Paul was cast as one of the poker playing buddies, and received kudos when he replaced Art Carney as "Felix," playing opposite Walter Matthau.

The Second City actors were suddenly in great demand on Madison Avenue, their improvisational wit beginning to change the face of commercials. Teaming up with fellow writer-performers Andrew Duncan and Lynne Lipton, he formed a company: All Over Creation, and over the next ten years, Paul appeared in over five hundred TV commercials, and nearly a thousand radio spots.

Eventually deciding to use his comedic talents "for good, instead of evil," Paul became the co-creator and head writer of The Electric Company, the Emmy award-winning children’s program on PBS. Throughout all this, Paul continued to perform onstage in New York, including his much lauded portrayal of Casey Stengel, in a one-man show about the life of the eccentric baseball coach.

Paul shares his home in Los Angeles, as well as his computer, with his wife, Winnie Holzman, also a writer: "My wife is very talented. She created a wonderful television series, the highly acclaimed, My So-Called Life, and the Broadway musical Wicked." In 2013, they co-wrote and produced Assisted Living, a touching and funny play that premiered in Los Angeles.

Last year, Paul created and starred in a one-man show, Upright and Personal, about his 60 years in show business. It ran for several months at Theatre West in Los Angeles and was such a success that he decided to bring it back for a second year this July.

Paul has four children: Robin, Adam, Peter, and Savannah; and is the proud grandfather of three. "Looks like this father thing is working out," he says with a smile.

Thursday
Jul062017

Call Redialed: Jackie Beat: Birthday Bitch! at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

Jackie BeatI am beyond thrilled that Jackie Beat answered my call yet again! I love interviewing Jackie Beat. She keeps me laughing the whole time with her brilliant sense of humor! In this interview we get the party started with a pre-birthday celebration by talking about her new show coming to The Laurie Beechman Theatre entitled Birthday Bitch! 

Everyone knows that Jackie Beat is a big bitch. And a talented bitch. A shady bitch. A fierce bitch. A sick bitch. But this July, Jackie Beat is also a BIRTHDAY BITCH! To celebrate her birthday weekend, Miss Beat is invading New York, unwrapping some new parody songs and sharing some of her greatest hits. So here are the ground rules: Do not make eye contact.  Do not ask "how old?" Laugh loudly. Drink. Gifts optional.

Birthday Bitch! will play The Laurie Beechman Theatre (407 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue, in the basement of the West Bank Cafe) July 22 at 8pm & July 23 at 4pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on Jackie be sure to visit http://missjackiebeat.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter!

For more shows from Spin Cycle visit http://spincyclenyc.com and follow them on Twitter!

Jackie Beat1. This July, you are once again returning to the Laurie Beechman Theatre with your new show Birthday Bitch! What are you looking forward to about celebrating your birthday at The Laurie Beechman Theatre with your fans? Well, all joking aside, there is no place I would rather be! Except maybe in bed with my dogs watching Netflix. Or at a grand opening of a new Arby's - with unlimited free Beef & Cheddar sandwiches. But after those options, on stage in full clown singing my balls off is definitely my third choice for best place to celebrate getting one year closer to death!

2. For some people, their birthday is a time for renewal and at this bash, you will be unwrapping some new parodies. I will leave the parodies as a surprise for those who attend your show, but what I want to know is, what do you hope to unwrap for yourself either professionally or personally that you have not gotten to yet? Time to get serious kids. I would really like to unwrap some peace-of-mind. It may be hard to believe, seeing how I have been doing this for close to thirty years now, but what with Drag Race and the mainstream popularity of drag in general, it's gotten harder. I'm like everyone else and I often compare myself to others. And when those others are half my age and have been on a wildly-popular TV show, sometimes it can get to me. But then I take a deep breath and think, "Hey, you're Jackie Beat goddamn it!" Then I yell, "Snap out of it!" in my best Cher voice and slap myself across the face. So yeah, a little much-needed boost of self-confidence would be a great birthday present. And I realize it's something that only I can give to myself. And if I can't have that, maybe a $50 gift certificate for Arby's?

Jackie Beat3. One thing attendees should know is that there are some ground rules for your Birthday Bitch! show: Do not make eye contact. Do not ask "how old?" Laugh loudly. Drink. Gifts optional. What will happen if someone breaks these rules? Are there different punishments for breaking each rule? GIFTS OPTIONAL!? Are you fucking new? Gifts are mandatory. I put the MAN in mandatory. And as far as punishment for breaking my rules, I think people are well aware of just how painful being read to filth in front of an entire roomful of fellow sodomites can be. Se be on your best behavior, kids! And bring presents.

4. What are some gifts you would like to receive this year? (Think of this as your registry). I really do love a nice gift card. You know, Starbucks, Bed Bath & Beyond, Trader Joe's. I'll avoid mentioning Arby's yet again so as not to make anyone think I'm shamelessly trying to land a lucrative endorsement deal with the deliciously trashy fast-food chain. I appreciate fan art, but - let's be honest - if it really looks like me I'm probably just going to get depressed. I also love accessories and makeup, but frankly, I have enough to last me the rest of my life. That's right, I have a 6-month supply! See what I did there? I guess if you really love me, you could start a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to have Lady Bunny brutally murdered. And not just brutally, but SLOWLY. Happy Birthday to me!

Jackie Beat5. You have been described as a big bitch. And a talented bitch. A shady bitch. A fierce bitch. A sick bitch. Out of everything you've done in your career, was there one or two things that made you feel as though it took more talent than something else? If so, what were those things that took more talent? Well, first of all I will say this: I'm very proud of becoming a successful drag queen before it was socially acceptable. I mean, there were Gay bars - leather bars in particular - that wouldn't even let drag queens in the door! Now they all have their RuPaul's Drag Race viewing parties and every event has a drag queen hosting and/or performing. Don't get me wrong, that's progress! After all, the only difference between a drag queen and a leather queen in their choice of fabric. All I am saying is that back in the day drag only appealed to a very specific kind of drama class/glee club outcast/misfit if you will. Now it's the cool kids! Which, again, is great! And, trust me, no one became a drag queen to make money! Also, me and Sherry Vine and Coco Peru and Varla Jean Merman and Lady Bunny and so many others couldn't just go onto YouTube and watch makeup tutorials.

But I guess what I most proud of is that I am a drag queen who can sing a rock song with a live band, play Bea Arthur as "Dorothy Zbornak" in a stage version of The Golden Girls, put on a 75-minute solo show and write material for people like Margaret Cho and Ross Mathews. I'm very well-rounded! But most of the credit for that goes to Arby's.

6. What is the shadiest thing you've ever done? What is the most fierce thing you've done? I'm honestly not that shady. And I'm sure there are some people who are rolling their eyes right now reading that, but it's true. Anyone who really knows me knows that I am a very loving person. Listen, we all have our moments. And I have certainly opened my big fat mouth and/or posted a Tweet before thinking that I later regretted. Unfortunately, that's the flip-side of being a comedian. What works on stage - saying the first and/or worst thing that pops into your head - doesn't always work in real life. I've had to apologize many times, trust me. That's why I feel for people like Kathy Griffin and Bill Maher. We want our comedians to be outrageous and push the envelope and then when they make a mistake or go too far, we crucify them. It's like getting mad at someone for pulling your hair or calling you a filthy whore during sex. Hey, it was done in the heat of the moment. I went too far. I'm sorry!

And as far as the fiercest thing, I'd have to say refusing to water-down my political beliefs and my unbridled hatred of Donald Trump. On the Drag Queens of Comedy Tour I sang a song that ripped him a new one and occasionally there would be someone in the audience who voted for him who would get upset. In Chicago an older drag queen dripping in rhinestones and wearing a tiara made a big scene and stormed out during my number. I mean, can you imagine?

Jackie Beat7. I can't believe we have done two prior interviews together and I never asked you how did you come up with your persona Jackie Beat? Oh God, it's such a long fucking story! When I first moved to LA way back in the 1980's, I considered myself a serious artist and poet. I used to go to this one open mic poetry night in Hollywood week after week and sign up, but because they always gave B-List celebrities priority, I never got to read my stuff. Well, one week I got so pissed off that I got in drag. I just put on a black turtleneck, a black skirt, black boots, black wig & a black beret. I wrote a "Beatnik" poem - which was essentially just a high-concept stand-up comedy routine. Well, not only did they not let me read my poem, they wouldn't even let me in the club! So I went to WeHo, to the gay bar Rage, and it was a talent contest that night. I decided to read my poem there. They asked me my name for the sign-up list and I just thought of the most Sixties thing I could think of: Jackie Beat. It was part Jack Kerouac, part Jackie Kennedy. Anyway, to make a long story short - TOO LATE! - I won the contest and the rest is history.

8. Since you are the Birthday Bitch! what is your birthday wish for your fans who continue to support you? Just keep laughing. Don't be so touchy and easily offended. And let's please fight the real enemy, not each other. If a comedian says something, take a moment to consider the context. Is it irony? Are they perhaps portraying an ignorant "character?" Are they playing devil's advocate? Or is the only possible conclusion that they are in fact a horrible transphobic racist monster who just accidentally revealed how they truly feel? Do the math. It's NEVER that last one, people.

9. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? Eat 1% less Arby's!

Jackie BeatMore on Jackie:

Jackie Beat is the self-professed bastard child of "Weird" Al Yankovic and buxom Bette Midler. An award-winning drag darling, Jackie Beat has been wowing unsuspecting audiences since 1989.  She has toured with Roseanne Barr -- as the comic legend’s opening act -- including a 7-week run at The New York New York in Las Vegas; written for TV (Fashion Police, Hello Ross, Hype! and others) and collaborated on special material with the like of Roseanne, Rosie O’Donnell and Jennifer Coolidge; appeared in countless TV shows (Sex and the City), Movies (Grief, Wigstock The Movie, Flawless, Adam & Steve) and Off-Broadway hits (Valley of the Dolls, Tell-Tale!). She has been named Best Drag Queen by New York Press and Best Live Performance by HX Magazine. Jackie is also a columnist, lead singer for the electro-rock band, Dirty Sanchez, and the subject of the documentary film My Name is Jackie Beat including commentary from Joan Rivers, Margaret Cho, and Roseanne.

Friday
Jun302017

Call Answered: Marc Jordan Cohen: Daddy Issues, a web series

Marc Jordan Cohen, Photo Credit: Allan MaldonadoAs a spin instructor Marc Jordan Cohen inspires me. I have been taking Marc's class at CYC Fitness on and off for several months and I can guarantee you, not only has he helped me get in shape, he has left with lots of food for thought. When I found out Marc was writing, producing, and starring in his own web series, Daddy Issues, I immediately said to him, we must do an interview to promote this!

Daddy Issues is a web series about three friends who start an escort business. It's a show about resilience, love, family, and learning to accept yourself and those around you for who they are. It's about relationships, connection, and finding hope within each other.

I saw the pilot episode and could not be more passionate about a new project. Daddy Issues is sure to be a great series. After the first episode, I wrote Marc and told him how I wanted more! Marc was already one step ahead of me. He put together this great Kickstarter campaign to get the rest of Season 1 made! So, let's help Marc continue to make his dreams come true and allow me to watch more episodes! Donate to Daddy Issues' Kickstarter here!

For more on Marc be sure to visit http://www.marcjordancohen.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer/writer? I’ve been performing since I was seven years old. I wouldn’t say anyone inspired me because it was something that I had to do. We had a family friend growing up that owned a community theatre, and they were looking for boys for a production of The Princess and the Pea. My dad took me to watch a rehearsal and I knew immediately that I wanted to be on that stage. Ever since that show I knew this was what I was put on this earth to do. As a writer, my mother is my daily inspiration. She is a painter but with metaphors, alliteration and memories. She’s currently working on her own memoir and we often bounce ideas off each other and she is my main editor and critic.

Marc Jordan Cohen, Melanie Porras and Brian Swinney in "Daddy Issues", Photo Credit: Brian Brigantti2. You are developing a web series called Daddy Issues, with each episode being about 10 minutes in length. Why did you want to make your own web series? What do you like about this short format episode? After graduating NYU, I needed to take a break from the theatre world and figure out what I wanted. I went on a few auditions after the summer ended, but I felt unfulfilled. I felt stuck because I don’t have representation and I wasn’t excited about any auditions. So I started writing as my secondary creative outlet. I’ve always been told I should create my own content and I wasn’t going to wait for someone to hand me a job, so I made my own. Daddy Issues is simply what was born out of free writes and my childhood experience.

With the need for instant gratification and the short attention span of my generation, I believe that this short format or web content is the best and most pleasing way to digest entertainment. I mean, look at Vine and Youtube–people would rather watch 6 second to 3 minute videos than an hour drama. Even with Netflix, people are eager to binge and be done with a show as fast as possible.

3. To create a 10 minute episode, how many hours of filming does that come out to? How hard is it to cut those hours into 10 minute episodes? Has there been a scene you really wanted in an episode, but because of time constraints, you just were able to get it in there? It’s crazy to think that one 10 minute episode, at least this first one, was filmed over five days totaling roughly 12-14 hours. I didn’t have to cut anything for time constraint (yet) because I write the scripts to be around 10 pages in screenplay format which comes out to be exactly the length I want it to be.

Melanie Porras, Marc Jordan Cohen and Brian Swinney in "Daddy Issues", Photo Credit: Brian Brigantti4. After watching the pilot episode, I love the complexity of the series, the multi-layer story lines. You did a great job of setting up the characters and their starting points for this series. The end of the pilot episode, definitely left me wanting more. What made you want to create this show? Why did  you title it Daddy Issues? Thank you. That was the goal! Each episode following, especially the first three, leave you with a bit of a twist or question mark over your head. Originally, it was very autobiographical and too personal. It was more of a therapeutic experience for me, and it still is, but I added the plot of an escort business as a layer to remove my life from the show. I titled it Daddy Issues because it immediately has people asking the question, "What is THAT about?" and it’s also the connection that unites "Matt," "Destiny" and "Danny." I wanted to create something that resonated with everyone. We all have daddy issues, as I like to say. But, I also wanted to write something LGBTQ+ focused that doesn’t center on sexuality being a problem. So many shows have the "gay best friend" trope, or the designated "sassy black friend." Gender, race, sexuality, etc. isn’t the focus. Ultimately, this show is about people discovering who they are by connecting to each other and learning from one another.

Melanie Porras, Marc Jordan Cohen and Brian Swinney in "Daddy Issues", Photo Credit: Brian Brigantti5. You will be releasing the first episode of Daddy's Issues on Father's Day. Then you will be doing a crowd-funding campaign to film the rest of the season. Why are you choosing to go the crowd-funding route to make this series? How do you feel the crowd-funding will make the series more special as opposed to seeking out private donations? First off, I’m nervous to be asking anyone to back this project. There’s always that little voice telling you you’re not good enough, that people won’t like what you’re doing, etc. but we all have that voice. So, I had to silence it and just go with my gut. I believe we all can relate to this show in one way or another, and I want everyone to feel a part of this project. Having it funded by people who truly want to see it come to fruition will keep the passion in my passion project. If I just had someone throw money at it, it could possibly be blown up to a mainstream level that: 1. I’m not big enough for and 2. could lose creative license to. It’s also uplifting and validating to see people engage with the series before it exists and to see their excitement of what's to come.

6. Let's play with the title of the show for a bit. What are some of your "Daddy Issues" from childhood, but now as an adult, you were able to resolve? Well, not to go too into it, but they’re definitely addressed in the show. I wasn’t always close with my dad. We didn’t understand each other growing up and I think it had to do in part with me being uncomfortable and confused with my sexuality. But, as I grew up and learned to love myself, I’ve become closer with him and realized there are just some things he won’t ever be able to understand about me, as a gay man. He’s never been marginalized his entire life, as a white cis heterosexual privileged male. I’m not sure I’ve been able to "resolve" the issues I have, but this show is one way I continue to work through them. My awareness of my "issues" are more important than the actual solving of them I believe, otherwise my job as a creative human would be complete, right?

Marc Jordan Cohen, Melanie Porras and Brian Swinney in "Daddy Issues", Photo Credit: Brian Brigantti7. In the first episode, your character seems to be joining the world of escorts. If you were to bring this into reality, in what instance do you think you would sell your body or soul to someone else? Oh wow. Well, personally I’m not sure I would ever physically sell myself. Luckily I’ve never had to contemplate it. I do know people that have had to, and I respect them so much for their shamelessness, strength and tenacity to survive by whatever means necessary. I don’t think I would ever sell my soul because it’s too sacred, and I’d rather struggle for my goals. However, if Jake Gyllenhaal wanted to pay me, I wouldn’t complain.

8. At the end of the pilot I get the feeling some kind of deal is being made, though I don't know what the deal is in the show because so far there is just the pilot episode. If you were to make a deal with the devil, what kind of deal would you make? Jake Gyllenhaal’s hand in marriage. Kidding aside, I’d probably make a deal to always find happiness everywhere I go even through the most painful parts in my life. I know that doesn’t sound like something the devil would provide, but truly all I could ever ask for is to find positivity and hope daily, through all the stress and anxiety of life, I’d take the deal, whatever it costs.

Marc Jordan Cohen, Photo Credit: Alisha Siegel9. There is a great quote during the premiere episode you say at the end of your spin class (which I think you've actually said in your classes). You say, "All great changes are preceded by chaos." What change or changes in your life were first preceded by chaos? One of my favorite Deepak Chopra quotes. I feel like I’m in the chaos right now. It’s partially why I included that quote in the pilot as a reminder to myself to keep pushing through. I'm doing all of this on my own–writing, acting, directing, marketing, scheduling (with some help from a few generous friends), but it feels like a tornado. So, I’m trying to stay focused, meditate and repeat that mantra to myself.

10. In addition to being an actor/writer, you are also a spin instructor. How do you feel acting/writing has influenced your style of instruction and then how does being a spin instructor help your acting/writing? A very interesting question! At the source of my being, I’m a performer. When I’m teaching at Cyc, I’m center stage of the Richard Rodgers theater giving my best performance sometimes 12 times a week. I think the most important thing that they lend to each other is that the show must go on, I must write, I must act, I must fake it till I make it. Even when I don’t feel like teaching, or I’m having a shitty day, I remind myself at least one person is depending on me, or needs me to better their day. I’d say writing and acting is what influences my teaching style because it is self reflective and for my own well being. That’s something I always make sure my riders know–that this is their time, their workout, and to find the joy and excitement rather than punish themselves or do it for anyone else. The most important relationship you have is the on with yourself and as Mama Ru says, "If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gon’ love somebody else?"

11. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? My patience. Like I said before, my generation is all about instant gratification and I’m always trying to get to the end result, but I need to be better at living in the moment, working through the struggle, and bettering myself one step at a time. I find I am happier when I focus on the one task in front of me rather than inducing myself with the stress of what’s going to happen 3 months from now.

Marc Jordan Cohen, Photo Credit: Brian BriganttiMore on Marc:

Marc Jordan Cohen recently graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ New Studio on Broadway with a BFA in Drama. He’s been performing since he was seven years old and has always known his purpose was to lead a creative life and connect with other people. From the serene shores of Newport Beach, California, Marc always strived for the fast pace of New York City his entire life. There’s an energy fueled by the determination of the city’s people that lend him to feel more motivated and excited to create. Currently Marc can be found performing on a different kind of stage instructing indoor cycling at Cyc Fitness. When he’s not on the bike, he’s writing, creating, and planning what’s next. Right now, it’s his new web series Daddy Issues. He hopes to one day marry–I mean, work alongside Jake Gyllenhaal.