Kathy Najimy: Sister Act

Funny lady and gay rights advocate Kathy Najimy dusts off high school memories of singing Burt Bacharach and Hal David tunes with best gay Steve in her new musical tribute.




I actually became a fan of Bacharach and David thanks to their frequent inclusion on Idol, plus the soundtrack for My Best Friend's Wedding, which sounds even gayer when I say it out loud.
You must be young. Some of our cast members hadn't heard any of these songs, but this material is timeless. It flows from generation to generation because these songs are still so relevant when contemporary artists sing them. It's sexy, funny, and hip forever.

Tell me about your experience being a part of Marc Shaiman's Prop. 8: The Musical for FunnyOrDie.com.
There were some big stars, but there was a sense of no hierarchy and no egos. Nobody cared what they had to sing or what their part was, and everyone was in the hallway doing their own hair and makeup. And John C. Reilly, man? Seriously, that dude was in a Tennessee Williams play: He was so in character, making sure everyone was doing what they were supposed to be doing. [Laughs] There was something quietly unanimous about it all, and it was very moving, especially for someone like me who's so passionate about marrying entertainment with politics.

I read that you were originally approached to host GSN's new version of The Newlywed Game, but Carnie Wilson ultimately took the gig. Did that decision have anything to do with the show's policy on gay couples or its sponsor eHarmony's previous gay exclusion?
The producers told me, "We've modernized the show: There will be couples with kids from previous marriages, there will be couples of different races... I said, "Then of course you're going to have same-sex couples." And they said, "Well, no, because then we would have to honor all civil unions and common-law marriages." And I said, "No, I'm saying two people of the same sex who are legally married, like a lesbian couple from Connecticut. They do exist in this country in different states. There's no way I could be the host of this unless that was in place." So they said, "Let us look into it." They finally came back and said, "We talked to [GSN parent company] Sony, and they promised they would do that, but it'll take some time. We'll just get through the first season, and by the second season it'll be in place." I said, "I totally hear you, but I cannot be involved in a project where gay people aren't welcome." The next day I got an e-mail that Sony had said, "OK, yes." The twist to the story is that I ended up not taking the job [for other reasons], but the good news is that Sony changed the rules for The Newlywed Game! So everyone should encourage married gay couples to audition and write letters of support to Sony. And I think it'll make them keep their word.

Tags: film