If Stephen Guarino’s name isn’t instantly recognizable, you likely know his scene-stealing work in films (the popular BearCity comedies) and on TV (Logo’s The Big Gay Sketch Show). The out comic actor made his most unforgettable impression as Penny’s best gay pal Derrick (scream it with me, “DRAMA!”) in the gone-too-soon sitcom Happy Endings (if you missed the series during its original run, Logo is presenting a marathon today). Guarino’s kept busy since the show’s cancellation and will appear in the much-anticipated return of HBO’s The Comeback as a cocky restaurant host who spars with Valerie Cherish. Even more exciting, though, is his new weekly series The Straight Out Report, on which he’ll make like Stephen Colbert and semi-politely bicker with straight co-host Mike E. Winfield (“Late Show with David Letterman”) on the cultural highs and lows of the past week. The show premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on Logo and will feature special guest Roy Haylock, better known as reigning draglebrity Bianca del Rio. Guarino chatted with Queerty about the new show, his busy career as an out actor and why Neil Patrick Harris needs to share the wealth.
Queerty: How would you describe The Straight Report?
Stephen Guarino: A platform for me to show off and vomit out all of my semi-precious opinions while battling with Mike’s hilarious sincerity and then eventually coming to a consensus that appeases us and every gay and straight person in the world. No wait not appease…annoy.
Why should people watch it?
Nobody should watch anything. They should go out in the world and change the infrastructure of crumbling societies and save the environment. Buuuuuut if you ain’t gonna do that until next week you should watch our show because it’s funny as hell.
You know, like unexpected graphic male nudity, let’s say in an email…like the one i just sent you…you’ve got mail.
Since your cohost Mike is straight, how much of your opinions on topics and trends is specifically related to your different sexual orientations?
Well, he likes Beyonce because she’s hot and I like Beyonce because it’s the law. So I’d guess about half, we have more in common than you think. For example, we both love getting paid to do TV shows.
What are some of the pop culture trends you currently find annoying?
The word “trending”….oh you mean like what’s happening in the world? We used to call that “time” or “life.” Other than that I thought the “Grumpy Cat” meme was cute, but I do not need a movie about it starring Aubrey Plaza.
Who are some of the LGBT performers you admire?
Super young gay kids that have the balls to put out crazy stupid youtube videos, Willam, on the cusp of fame people like Drew Droege, old school types like Nathan Lane, and in gay porn Conner Maguire, Conner Habib…all the Conners really. My dream is to meet Jennifer Saunders, writer and star of Absolutely Fabulous. I wrote her a letter 12 years ago, still have it. Couldn’t figure out how regular mail works.
You’re the go-to actor for the best gay friend in TV sitcoms. What affect has this had on your career?
Thank you for the compliment. It has only been positive. I have a total blast doing it. I have never felt humiliated…I save that for the bedroom. I suppose my career could stand to be a touch more diversified, but that’s like super hard work. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
What other sort of characters do you want to play? Is there a straight character inside you screaming to get out?
I have played many straight characters on stage. I have more flexibility there. On TV there are enough actors in the system that they can pretty much cast exact types. I did Around the World in 80 Days Off Broadway last year playing a Cockney detective and at the Public Shakespeare Lab, I performed Richard II, Hotspur, Benedict, and Cassius from Julius Caesar. I mean I played ’em all with a dick in my mouth, but I played ’em!
It is a funny toss up: Either Derrick from three seasons of Happy Endings on ABC or this small gay independent movie I did called BearCity that is a bedside bible now to the Bear community. If it’s the first they say “OMG you were so funny and I loved the witty banter of the stellar ensemble cast” and if it’s the second they say “Was that real pee in the shower scene?” I won the coveted OutFest Best Actor award for the latter.
When you meet people in real life, how do you let them know you’re not Derrick?
I am not saying I am that butch, but I am noooothing like Derrick. He is fun, outgoing, enthusiastic, well-dressed, and hangs out with lots of women. There are two sides to me: My real self and the self that books jobs.
Besides yourself, who is the hottest gay guy in pop culture right now and why?
Neil Patrick Harris presents Neil Patrick Harris in this year’s production of “Are you there Neil Patrick Harris? It’s me Neil Patrick Harris!” And for that role he won two Neil Patty awards! SHARE WITH THE REST OF US NPH!
Watch Stephen behind-the-scenes of The Straight Report and some of his most amahzing moments on Happy Endings below.