With six big personalities vying for camera time in one of the gayest places on earth, the season premiere of The Real Friends of WeHo brought some goss and gall for viewers to gag on. Here are five moments from last night’s first episode that made us go “Say whuuuuut?!!?”
Issa Rae thinks Curtis Hamilton can act like a real “a**hole”
Early in the first episode, LGBTQ+ ally and TV creator Issa Rae chats with Curtis Hamilton, a recently out Black actor. When Rae brings up the possibility of Hamilton acting in the new season of her show Rap Shit, she tells him, “You know you play an asshole really well even though you’re, like, the nicest f*cker around!”
He laughs and says, “I f*ckin’ hate you.”
“It’s the mustache,” she says, laughing as his jaw drops and eyebrows raise.
Rae’s correct that Hamilton seems like a genuinely nice guy. Early into the episode, he says he turned down the show four times before agreeing to take part — he only agreed to provide positive on-screen representation for Black gay men. But, considering his acting career and the fact that he only came out to his family last Christmas, he worries the reality show may only hurt him rather than help it.
Todrick Hall admits that he didn’t pay his dancers in his most popular music video
As one of the gay community’s most prolific and visible performers, Hall has become a lightning rod for controversy. The show doesn’t tiptoe around some of the allegations against him, including accusations that he’s actually renting the house he claims to own and that he behaved badly on Celebrity Big Brother.
Hall specifically addresses accusations that he didn’t pay the dancers in his “Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels” music video. He tells Drag Race alumni Bob the Drag Queen and Monet X Change that his call for dancers specifically said that it was an “non-paying exposure job.”
“I’m entirely self-funded,” Hall says in the episode. “I pay for everything. Behind closed doors, I’m hot gluing, stapling, taping my costumes together, making everything, like, literally in my living room and putting it on camera.”
While that may be true, not paying performers still raises eyebrows, especially since, as a successful choreographer, Hall surely knows how hard it is for artists to receive proper compensation for their talent. Also, this one allegation about unpaid dancers is just the iceberg tip of accusations against Hall — Hall says he joined the show to defy negative public expectations about him.
Jaymes Vaughan was only asked to be on the show because his more famous husband refused
While Jaymes Vaughan has worked for years as an entertainment news broadcaster, he’s nowhere near as famous as his hunky husband Jonathan Bennett, a gay actor best known as the heartthrob in Tina Fey’s 2004 comedy Mean Girls.
This isn’t a read: Vaughan himself says early into the episode that he wouldn’t even be in The Real Friends of WeHo if he weren’t Bennett’s husband. In fact, he says the show offered the position to Bennett first.
Sadly, Vaughan mostly fades into the wallpaper of the first episode, upstaged by the big personalities and melodrama. But hopefully, the handsome cub will get more screen time and scandal in the coming episodes.
A successful CEO comes off as a jerk because of his serious social anxiety
Dorión Renaud — an actor and CEO of Buttah Skincare, a beauty product brand for Black people — definitely brings the drama in episode one when he gets into a heated exchange with fellow cast member Joey Zauzig.
When Renaud and the other WeHo pals attend Zauzig’s party celebrating his engagement to muscular pocket gay Brian Grossman, Renaud comes off as cold and judgey when he admits to Zauzig’s friends that he wouldn’t normally hang out with people like them. His seemingly rude comment makes sense, however, when he admits that — like a lot of us — he feels major social anxiety after being isolated for so long during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, his mega-awkward comment is part of his re-learning how to interact after two years of fear and relative solitude.
Misunderstanding Renaud’s anxious isolation from the rest of the chatty WeHo friends, Zauzig confronts Renaud and asks him why he’s not being more supportive, especially since he’s a guest in Zauzig’s home. Renaud answers that he is being supportive just by showing up, and that if Zauzig is so bothered by, he’ll just f*cking leave — duh-rah-mah!
Joey Zauzig is a big d*ck slut, apparently
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“I’m a f*cking open book,” Zauzig says, swearing barely one second into his interview. “I’m promiscuous Joey, I’m sex Joey, I’m also loving Joey, I’m also big-hearted Joey, I’m also big d*ck Joey. There’s a million versions, but they’re all pretty much heart-on-my-sleeve.”
Apparently eager to continue talking about big d*cks, he adds, “It’s like dealing with a big d*ck for the first time you get to, like, take it slow and then like ease it in. And then once it’s in baby, you can go wild.”
Well alrighty then! Now we understand a big part of why his fiancé loves him.
Hall later says that he likes Zauzig even though he knows he’s messy. “I think what you see is what you get,” Hall says. “And in a place where so many people can disguise themselves as f*cking sheep when they’re actually a snake, I’d rather be friends with somebody who I know who they are from the beginning. And if Joey is a snake, he’s probably a loyal one.”
The Real Friends of WeHo airs Fridays at 8PM on MTV.