I did a profile in December of the veteran
character actor Jason
Stuart. As a result, his representation put me in touch with the
Vancouver-based V-Rag Magazine. Jason
was set to perform there for WinterPride and the publication was looking for a
writer do a promotional piece on him.
Since the age of eight, Jason Stuart has been on stage as both an actor and a stand-up comedian.
As an actor, he has so far amassed more than 150 film and TV credits but several years ago, his manager talked him into doing stand-up comedy – something he didn’t expect to become a second career.
Since that time, he’s performed in venues all over the United States from the Riot Act Comedy Theatre in Washington, DC to the famed Laugh Factory in Hollywood, where he currently calls home.
Stuart is the first openly gay comedian to successfully headline mainstream comedy clubs in the United States and is bringing his unique stylings to Gay Whistler’s WinterPride on February 9th, where he’ll headline Comedy Night.
We met with Jason at a coffee shop in West Hollywood to discuss his particular brand of comedy. If the experience of interviewing him is any indication of what we can expect from him on Comedy Night, then be prepared to be thoroughly entertained.
“It’s about me. It’s about my life,” he begins as he breaks off a piece of muffin. “What’s going with me, how I feel about things. It’s about getting older, it’s about dating. It’s about my family. It’s about pop culture. It’s about politics. It’s about time. It’s about space. It’s about the times you slap your face. Do you remember that?”
I didn’t, but I do remember from watching several of his performances online that he also talks a lot about his mom.
“There’s always something about her. She’s insane. She’s five minutes from an OJ trial.”
Jason casually tosses off that line and pauses while I laugh. He takes notice of an aesthetically pleasing young man nearby watching the American series Justified on his computer and starts asking him questions.
“Well, that didn’t work out,” he says to me a few minutes later after finding out the young man is 22. “I thought he was older.”
Most people would have just stared at the young man from afar like I had done prior to Jason’s arrival, but Jason goes for the comedy. “I would love to be 22 again,” he continues.
“And know what I know now? That would be great.”
“That’s different, but he looks pissed at us.”
“I don’t care. He’s only 22. I’m breaking up with him now.”
We can only assume where the young man’s proclivities lay but Jason’s exchange with him reminded me of his penchant for finding a poor unsuspecting straight guy in the audience and repeatedly, mercilessly and good-naturedly ribbing him.
“Not me. That must have been someone else,” he responds cheekily when I bring this up to him.
Regardless of the audience or the venue, Jason also talks a lot about being gay.
“I’m just myself. I just headlined the Riot Act Comedy Theatre in Washington, DC. Much more straight people than gay people came. They seemed more shocked. They like jokes, straight people. Gay people like details. That’s the difference.”
Being out also make a difference, which Jason did 18 years ago.
“You’re a much better artist if you’re out. You’re being yourself. You use all of you are. You use your own experiences. If you’re in the closet, it’s very difficult.”
Jason notices the young man of the unknown proclivities get up. “He doesn’t even care,” Jason comments as he watches him leave without so much as a nod in our general direction.
He then takes notice of another customer in line. “He’s wearing crocs, this guy. Those are such a weird shape.”
“I don’t like them.”
“Am I not answering the questions? I’m sorry,” Jason says as he turns his attention back to me but sees another customer behind me. “He’s not straight,” he comments.
“No. Not here.”
“Very small hands,” Jason observes before yet another customer diverts his attention. “Is that hair or a hat?” he asks me. He tells me to turn around and look at the cups above the customer’s head so as to not give it away that we are actually looking at his hair.
“Those are awful,” I comment.
“You said that loud. It’s their product,” Jason replies. Even though I’m referring to the guy’s hair, most people would probably assume I was referring to the cups being sold by the coffee shop.
“What are they going to do?” I ask.
Jason tilts his head. “What was the question again?”
“I haven’t asked the next one yet.”
“Good. I’m not behind.”
I then asked Jason about some of his other projects outside of performing stand-up.
“Like what?” he asks.
“Oh yes. Michael Ferrara asked me to do this benefit for gay kids five or six years ago so I started doing that to support the youth,” Jason explains about the comedy benefit he hosts every year in March at the Laugh Factory on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.
He goes on further to tell me about the first Screen Actors Guild LGBT Committee, which he started.
“It was time to get some support and now the UCLA Williams Institute is doing their first survey on out actors.”
“Are you still lecturing?”
“Occasionally. I do it a couple times a year at Fortune 500 companies and colleges about being gay in the workplace. I actually started doing the lectures because of prejudice because I couldn’t get hired in certain colleges.”
2012 will start out strongly for Jason, as he has three films coming out – Bear City 2, the prison drama K11 and the horror film Guest House. He’s also playing a supporting role as an agent in the upcoming new webseries Bitter Bartender.
On top of all this, he’s also been cast in two more films – DVD License to Kill with Sean Young and Fred Willard as well as a satire on Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte simply titled Hush Up.
In the meantime, catch him in person at Gay Whistler’s WinterPride Comedy Night on February 9 – an experience that should be just as much fun and hilarious as interviewing him was.
Also check out his stand-up comedy special for Here! TV called Making it in the Middle, which is available on DVD. The title comes from his self-proclaimed inability to fit in anywhere.
“I’m not a stereotype. I’m not flamboyantly gay. I’m not really Mister Macho. I’m not really so Jewish. I’m not a French maitre’d,” he states.
For more information and to keep updated on all things Jason Stuart, check out his website at www.jasonstuart.com
“And we’re done?” he asks.
Brought to you by GS Gourmet Sweets.