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.




And how long was The State on the air?We were actually on MTV for what they considered four seasons. It was, I think, 30 or 32 episodes -- somewhere in there. It's so damn tragic. They have actually offered us 30 more episodes but with no raise in pay. We were like, "Well, screw you!" You know, we were very big for our britches. We thought we could make this leap into network. We were all ready to go to ABC -- right up against Saturday Night Live. Right as soon as we quit MTV, ABC said, "You know what? On second thought, no." So we went with our hats in our hands to CBS. They gave us a Halloween special. I think it was actually a series of specials. Les Moonves was just coming in at this point, looked at us and said, "I don't want a young sketch comedy group." We also happened to manage to...I don't know if I want to drag this into's in the Details magazine thing.

Yes, there was an infamous racist remark that you repeated to Details made by a network executive.His name was John Pike. He was an old CBS guy, and we managed to get him fired for quoting some racist comments he made. So it was just a disaster. We did not handle any of that very well. I mean, not that the comments that John Pike made to us were appropriate.

Right, and you basically got him fired, or did you lobby to get him fired?No. Not at all, because he was our executive.

Really shot yourself in the foot on that one? [ Laughs ] Yeah, we managed to get the only guy in our court at CBS FIRED.

Not good. Not good. So then when that happened it all stopped? They fired us, and then we made the exact same mistake again with movies. We had a chance to work in independent movies, and then we got an offer -- some million something offer. A sign your life away for five years or something to Disney -- and we did that. And for a year and a half, they strung us along. Every time we give them a treatment, they would say, "No, no. We want Animal House ." So we'd write Animal House in space, Animal House underwater. They'd say, "No, no. You don't get it. We want Animal House . As in scene three: rebel guy in dark jacket meets bimbo blond. We were like, "Why did you hire us? Why did you hire us? So eventually what happened was, the group had this unspoken -- rather clearly spoken -- rule. No one could take significant film or TV work without consulting the group first because it would mean that all the rest of us would have to… it would kind of mean the end of us because schedules would start to get fucked up.

Right, so you're not working? Absolutely. Then three of the folks went to do Viva Variety at Comedy Central and there were several years there when things were very tense between all of us because of it.

Because they did this on their own or because you let them?No, they revealed to the group, "We pitched a show to Comedy Central, and they're going to do it. So, the group is over."