The Redhead Gay

Kevin Allison, the lone gay of the '90s sketch group The State , dishes on the group's formation, their fallout with Les Moonves, and bouncing back after hitting bottom.



Generations seem to have sketch comedy shows that define them. The Baby Boomers have Monty Python and the original cast of Saturday Night Live . And for Generation X it was The State , a short-lived comedy series on MTV created by a group of friends at NYU in the 1990s. If you don't remember The State , you will know most of its offspring. Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant went on to write big-budget comedies like Night At the Museum and The Pacifier , not to mention creating and starring in Reno 911! a series still running on Comedy Central. David Wain directed and cowrote Wet Hot American Summer and The Ten . Michael Showalter has been in Sex and the City , starred in films like The Baxter , and most recently he and Michael Ian Black have launched a new comedy series called Michael and Michael Have Issues , which premiered last week. But one of the members you have not heard from in perhaps some time is Kevin Allison, who just happens to be the group's only gay member. The sometimes flamboyant and always over-the-top Allison wrote some of the group's more absurd and memorable sketches, and as the long-anticipated DVD compilation of The State has finally been released, I sat down with the 39-year-old Allison to find out where the comedian has been keeping himself and what he thinks now looking back on The State in its entirety. Allison reveals why being gay may have actually hurt his career, but not for the reasons one might assume, why the cast members really broke up, and how he met his husband, on top of a telephone pole. it looks like the impossible has finally happened. Hell has frozen over. The complete series of The State is finally coming out on DVD. KevinAllison: Yes, it's finally over. Thank goodness.

How many years have you been trying to get this thing out? You know...I don't even know. It might have been as much as two years ago now. We all sat down together to do commentary tracks and it was really fun. There was actually a group of us together in a little recording room in New York with a phone patched to a group in L.A. sitting there. So it was kind of chaotic. Um, I mean it is so much fun looking back at this show [ laughter ].

Have you not seen it in a while?Oh, no. I mean, I teach a lot of sketch comedy. So I will refer to specific sketches a lot -- show them to classes, ask them if they can brainstorm on how they can improve on them. But I hadn't actually sat through entire episodes, and I don't think anyone had in years. So that was really fun because we could observe how much we've changed -- performers and writers. I mean, we were so big, you know. We were doing everything so big back then because there were 11 of us, and we were just struggling to get in front of that camera.