Gay Dad Alec Mapa Says Goodbye to Glamorous

BY Jami Smith

November 07 2011 7:00 AM ET

Having
a kid can change your life, and for gay comedian Alec Mapa, it can change your
bathroom too.

Mapa
has appeared on virtually every popular show on television, including Roseanne,
Seinfeld, Friends, Dharma & Greg,
and more recently, Desperate Housewives,
Ugly Betty, and Gossip Queens.
Mapa is now appearing in a one-man show centering on his biggest accomplishment
— becoming a father. Baby Daddy runs February 9 to 11 at the Laurie Beechman Theater in New York
City.

He spoke
with The Advocate
about life as a new dad, why his home’s glam has turned to grime, and how
circuit parties helped prepare him for fatherhood.

The
Advocate:
November is National Adoption Month. Did you ever think that
you would become a spokesperson for gay parenting?

Alec
Mapa:
Never.
You have to understand that my role models as a kid were Lucille
Ball, Gilda Radner, Bette Midler, Cher, Lily Tomlin, and Carol Burnett. I was
gonna be a glamorous, funny lady. I like to think that I achieved some
semblance of  that. But in all my daydreams I really didn't think
I was  going to be a parent or married. It just wasn't on my radar as
a gay kid. Driving down Sunset and seeing my family on a banner
promoting LGBT  parenting is an experience so bizarre and
surreal. I'm still processing it. Having said that, as a little boy I
always played with dolls and all my imaginary play was about keeping house, so
my life right now makes perfect sense. 

 Is
parenting as glamorous as it sounds? Any tips for new parents on how to stay
fabulous while raising a toddler?

If there's
a way of making poop, barf, and pee glamorous, let me know.
There's no parenting manual, class, or piece of literature that
fully illustrates what a mess one little boy can make.
My husband always ran a fairly tidy house, but now the
effort of keeping things neat is sisyphean. We used to have a super-gay
bathroom with gorgeous towels and bubble baths and cucumber water. It was like
a spa at the Four Seasons. Now it's like a Porta Potti at Mardi Gras. Zion was 5
when he came to live with us, but his frustration level was infantile. As a gay man who's
been on a lot  of gay cruises  and circuit parties, I'm no
stranger to infantile behavior. Talking a toddler through a tantrum
is pretty much the same thing as talking a circuit queen out of a K
hole. Keep a calm, cool voice, maintain eye contact, and get them some
place where they can't hurt themselves. 

 Is
“America’s Gaysian Sweetheart” strict?

Yes. I'm
not doing my son any favors by letting him act like a brat. It's not
natural for little boys to have manners or sit still. They have to be
taught — unless they're gay.  

 Your
character from Desperate Housewives
, Vern, knew a thing or two about
pageants. Do you think you would make a good pageant dad?
 

Seriously, I think kiddie pageants are bad for everyone.  

 If
there was an
Adopt a Celebrity program and you got Kim Kardashian,
what fatherly advice would you give her?

“If
you want privacy, turn off the fucking camera.” I once saw Britney
Spears at a Starbucks being besieged by the paparazzi and thought, Lady,
do you
really need a frappuccino every goddamn day? Buy a blender.

 You
grew up gay in a traditional and Catholic household. It sounds like the makings
of a successful comedian. Was comedy always an outlet?

Humor
always defuses tense situations, and I found early on
I was always able to get away with murder if I made people laugh. Consequently,
my son has also learned that cracking me up is the quickest way
to get out of trouble. I yelled at him in a grocery store because he was
running into people. "Be considerate, this isn't a playground.
You're not the only person here." He sighed and said, "And the
Oscar goes to ... "  It was hard to stay mad after that. 

 My
favorite tweet of yours lately is, “I wouldn't count Rick Perry out just yet.
You can totally be an incomprehensible idiot from Texas and become President.
Twice.” Which GOP candidate do you fear most?

I grew
up with Anita Bryant, Dan White, and John Briggs on the TV telling
people that gays were evil. I lived through the callous disregard of Ronald Reagan and
the smiling maliciousness of Jerry Falwell when all my friends were dying
of AIDS. The political pendulum will always swing from the left to the right,
but each time it swings back it seems like homophobia is less socially
acceptable. It's getting harder and harder to equate any kind of
hatred with intelligence. So, in answer to your question, I'm not all that
afraid of anybody. What did Gandhi say? “First they ignore you, then
they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” I like to think
we're about to win. 

 You
just shot a pilot for a new show. Can you give us a tease?

I just
shot a reality show pilot. It's a runway fashion show competition for
dogs. It's going to be a huge. 

 

 

 See Alec Mapa in action in videos on the following pages. 

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Tags: Comedy

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