Colman Domingo: Big Gay Showstopper
BY Brandon Voss
April 13 2010 6:00 PM ET
Much like his blindingly illuminated RuPaul impersonation on Logo’s The Big Gay Sketch Show, which begins its third season April 13, Colman Domingo is enjoying the ever-brightening spotlight. After appearing in the Tony-winning Broadway musical Passing Strange, he reprised his roles in Spike Lee’s subsequent film adaptation, which was released on DVD in January. Domingo also won a GLAAD Media Award last month for his autobiographical off-Broadway solo show, A Boy and His Soul. The Philadelphia native now stars in The Scottsboro Boys, a controversial John Kander and Fred Ebb musical about a landmark civil rights case, which plays off-Broadway’s Vineyard Theatre through April 18 and reopens on Broadway next season. Between lunch dates with Mr. Lee and Mr. Kander, Domingo discusses the big responsibilities of being the only black soul on The Big Gay Sketch Show and the only gay soul in just about everything else.
The Advocate: As seen in a preview clip that’s already gone viral, you play RuPaul in a RuPaul’s Drag Race parody from The Big Gay Sketch Show’s new season. That’s very ballsy of you guys to mock another Logo show.
Colman Domingo: RuPaul’s Drag Race is on such a great high, and sometimes it’s nice to spoof one of your own. It’s done with such great humor and love, so we’re honoring it in our own special way. RuPaul is strong and hilarious, but it’s also a fact that he’s over-lit like old-school Joan Crawford, so we wanted to kick that up a bit.
I know that clip’s been teased during RuPaul’s Drag Race commercial breaks, but has Ru definitely seen your impersonation?
I’m sure he’s heard about it, but I’m not sure he’s seen it yet. I assume so.
Well, watch out, because you know you’ll run into him sooner or later.
[Laughs] Yeah, she may cut me.
Your breakout character last season was Maya Angelou, but you probably don’t have to worry about her watching Logo.
Who knows? Maybe some gay friends of hers turned her on to it. I’m sure she’s got a good sense of humor, so Maya would totally get it. My Maya’s going to be making a big splashy return this season.
Which other new characters can we expect from you?
Whoopi Goldberg, Tyra Banks, and Beyoncé. Beyoncé will be battling Svetlana in a dance-off. I’m going to be playing even more women because I’m now the only African-American actor on the show. Erica Ash isn’t on the show anymore, so now I’ll be playing all the black men and women.
What’s it like to be the sole black member of a sketch troupe?
I’m always very conscious of what I’m doing and where the joke is, but our writing team is also very responsible. We spoof, but we also have a great respect for the characters that we portray. I’m not playing any crazy thugs or anything, and it’s all in light fun. Everyone welcomes my perspective, so I’ll absolutely say something if I think a sketch is leaning toward being hateful or offensive. Even as she reads “missed connections” on Craigslist, I want to make sure Maya Angelou’s saying things that are funny but not too vulgar.
And as a bonus, you don’t have to compete with anyone when it’s time for someone to spoof Beyoncé.
Yes, I don’t have to fight anyone for the black characters anymore. Erica Ash and I used to go to the mat! Now I get ’em all. I want to go for the Asian and Latino characters too.
How hands-on was executive producer Rosie O’Donnell this season?
She was even more involved this season when it comes to the sketches that we chose and things like that. We also have a huge list of celebrity folks dropping by this season, so it’s been a lot of fun.
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