in quotes

SNL’s First Openly Gay Performer Looks Back At Breaking Ground On Television

terry-sweeneyIt was such a big deal. The cover of People magazine was ‘Rock Hudson Has AIDS.’ There was an AIDS frenzy going on. You didn’t even understand how you got it. If you had a gay waiter, you wondered if he washed his hands. There was a lot of misinformation and hysteria. But I said to Lorne, “I am openly gay and I‘m not going to go in the closet or give interviews about my fiancé who died and I never got over it or ‘I don’t have time to find the right person.’ ” I’d been to so many funerals and I wasn’t going to join in the shame by hiding in the closet. It would have been a disservice to my friends who had died, my friends who were sick. If you were gay, you were always going to memorials or to visit people in hospitals. Straight people were able to go merrily along their way, but this disease was picking off talented gay people one by one. I thought, ‘I’m not gonna do that. I don’t care if this is my big break. At the end of my life, I want to live with myself.’ I didn’t sign the morals clause in my contract. I just said no. I have to give Lorne [Michaels] and [NBC exec] Brandon Tartikoff credit for going along with that.”

 

Terry Sweeney, who cracked up audiences during his stint on Saturday Night Live, most notably for his hilariously spot-on take on former First Lady Nancy Reagan (see proof below), discussing his career and new book, Irritable Bowels and The People Who Give You Them in an interview with Michael Musto