Jonny McGovern: Gay Pimp of All Media

The queer comedian talks about The Big Gay Sketch Show, getting famous from music videos in the dark days before YouTube, and his popular podcast Gay Pimpin' With Jonny McGovern, highlighted on a new best-of CD

BY Alonso Duralde

March 10 2009 12:00 AM ET

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Who do you think is funny? Who are your comedy idols?

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with Lucille Ball. My bedroom
was like a shrine, with Lucille Ball and the casts of
The Golden Girls

and
227

cut up and put on my walls. It was so faggoty. Everyone else my
age had pictures of rock stars or sexy ladies, and I was all,
"Oh. Bea Arthur, you're so beautiful." [
Laughs

] I really do think that watching
Golden Girls

can be like a master class in delivery and timing. And when I
was a kid, I was really loving what Whoopi Goldberg was doing,
when she was doing those one-woman shows back in the day. I
still enjoy her on
The View

, but back in the day, she was someone I looked to in my early
career as to who I wanted to emulate as to how she got her big
break. She took acting classes and did her one-person show
characters in class to get attention, and I followed that same
path, but sadly, I was not cast in
The Color Purple

by Steven Spielberg. (laughs) That's where our roads
divide.

Has any of your material, especially with the podcast, been
controversial? I mean, being a skinny guy playing an enormously
fat guy has to be one of the last queer taboos, much less the
racial and trans material you guys get into.

Not from
The Big Gay Sketch Show

. I mean, certainly we had a lot of racy stuff, especially in
season two, but I haven't had anybody get angry with me
about any of that kind of stuff. It's all pretty much love from
the fans out there. There have been times over my career in the
past when people have accused me of pandering to some idea that
gay guys are all about sex -- there was criticism of the Gay
Pimp that it was all [in televangelist voice] "dancing
go-go boys and drag queens and rhinestones!" And it's
like, "Lighten up, bitch. We're having fun."
That's the only kind of criticism that people give me, that
whatever I do, it's shining a bad light because it's too
frivolous. But I think there's a lot of room for frivolity in
the world today and
plenty

of room for rhinestones, go-go boys and drag queens.

If you could do anything, whether it was touring or TV or
writing or the podcast, where do you want all this to go?

Ultimately, I love doing TV. Filming
The Big Gay Sketch Show

has been a blast, and that's what I'd like to do more of. If
the podcast could lead to a TV show, like Howard Stern did,
that would be a blast. Or I love late-night or even daytime
talk shows, so you and your grandma could have a nice cup of
tea in the afternoon with your Gay Pimp, Jonny McGovern. [
Laughs

]

Tags: television

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