Randy Harrison: Randy Does Andy

Queer as Folk’s Randy Harrison discusses his new role as late art legend Andy Warhol in Yale Rep’s POP! and his own status as a reluctant “post-gay” pop icon — plus his secret nude photos and the possibility of a QAF reunion.

BY Brandon Voss

December 04 2009 7:55 AM ET

When The Advocate interviewed you in 2002, you said that you were scared you might be “perceived as a poster boy for something” because you “never really had any goals of activism.” Considering how much the marriage equality debate has heated up since then, have you found yourself becoming more political?
I always have been political, but I’m political personally and not as a celebrity. I’ll go march in Washington with my friends, but I’m not going to go as Randy Harrison the spokesperson because I’m not comfortable playing that role. But I’m active like any human being should be.

You also told The Advocate, “Besides the fact that I sleep with men, I have very little sense of being part of the community of homosexual people, for whatever reason. I have a group of six friends, two of whom are gay.” Now that you’re in your 30s, do you feel more connected with the gay community? Or, at the very least, have you made more gay friends?
[Laughs] I don’t have any more gay friends! Maybe I feel slightly more connected, but not really. I don’t feel hugely different about it. I’m still not engaged with gay nightlife, but I am a gay person who wants equal rights, so I’m engaged with that. All my friends, straight or gay, are engaged with that.

For a Vanity Fair cover story in 2003 called “Gay-Per-View TV,” you participated in a glamorous photo shoot that featured the major cast members of Queer as Folk, Will & Grace, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, The L Word, and Boy Meets Boy. What was it like to play such a major part in that watershed moment for our mainstream media visibility when you didn’t even feel a part of your community?
For me, it all felt like a fluke. Now, looking back, I can sort of see how that kind of visibility was progress to some extent, but I remember doing that shoot and just wanting it to be over.

Are you serious? In one photo you’re inches away from Megan Mullally and hanging on Thom Filicia while Jennifer Beals is serving face in the corner. That shoot looks like it was a blast.
Really? Oh, my God, no. My memory of it is that it was stressful and nerve-racking. But I have a difficult time with photo shoots period.

Do you wish you could’ve achieved your current marketability in the theater world without actually having to do Queer as Folk?
Not really, because the only reason I’m financially stable is from having worked in television. I’m sure Queer as Folk opened up a lot of doors for me, even if it closed some too, so I’m grateful for it.

Tags: Theater