Mother of (Re)Invention



JOAN AND MELISSA X390 (WETV) | ADVOCATE.COMSpeaking of becoming a Californian, of all the sights I thought I’d never see, watching you sit on a beach and rub sunscreen on your grandson’s topless Swedish nanny ranks pretty high.
[Laughs] How about that? She handed me that sunscreen and asked me to put it on her.

Level with me — some of these situations have to be staged. How much of your show is actually organic?
All of it! We haven’t had to stage anything. The network would actually call and ask if these things are real or if we made them up. I’m telling you no. Some of these other series are a little planned. I mean, how many times can you walk into your house and find your sister having anal sex with your husband? We haven’t had to do any of that, thank God.

I’m skeptical that you really slept in Melissa’s tiny guest bedroom. Are you sure you didn’t sneak out to the Four Seasons when the cameras weren’t rolling?
Oh, God, no. You can’t, because then the whole thing becomes a sham. As I learned in my documentary, if it’s going to be reality, it had damn well better be reality. Our reality is so wacko. The day we wrapped. Cooper broke his arm. Three days after we wrapped one of the characters found out he’s Jewish and wants to have a bar mitzvah. I was like, Oh, fuck, we just wrapped. Couldn’t you have found out you’re a Jew six weeks ago?

Tell him to postpone the bar mitzvah until season 2.
Season 2! That’s exactly what I said to Melissa. We’ll have the bar mitzvah in season 2.

Melissa comes off as a very grounded person and a great mother to Cooper. How do you feel about second-generation celebrities such as Charlie Sheen, who has children yet is hanging out with porn stars and having briefcases of cocaine delivered to his house?
I think he’s an ass. When you have a child, darling, you’d better start setting an example. Childhood for you is over when you have a child. I find it outrageous to be carrying on like that. I also think that when you get the gold ring you have an obligation. The old studio system made you have an obligation to live a clean life and be the example. What am I going to tell my grandson who watches Two and Half Men? I just think he’s awful.

The last time you spoke to The Advocate you suggested that young gay performers should remain in the closet if they want to play straight romantic characters. Last December Richard Chamberlain spoke with us and agreed with you. Do you stand by that statement?
Yes. You are supposed to be a heartthrob, and you want the little teenage girls’ hearts to go pitter-patter. That’s what brings in the money. You know what? Let them stay in the closet and send a big check to AIDS research. Let them come out like Ricky Martin did, when you want to come out. However, if it isn’t going to affect your career and if you’re not the heartthrob, then shame on you for not coming out.

Last year Carrie Fisher told us that in some cases the public knows a veteran actor is gay and is OK with it. Do you agree?
If it doesn’t affect your career, shame on you, shame on you for not coming out. There are certain people who say, “I’m not gay, I’m not a lesbian,” and you want to scream, “Stop it, stop it!” But if your livelihood is dependent on teenage girls buying your records, then it’s your decision.

Tags: television