'Daddy, Find Your Light': Alec Mapa on Baby Daddy, Fatherhood, and Auntie Mame
I recently had a candid talk with the hilarious Alec Mapa, the gay star of stage and screen, about his forthcoming comedy special Baby Daddy. In it, he discusses everything from gay sex to fatherhood, and it will be debuting March 15 at Outfest Fusion in Los Angeles (and I will be there too!), which you can buy tickets to here.
Frank Lowe: Hi!
Alec Mapa: Well, hello — I feel like I already know you because of Twitter. (follow @AlecMapa)
Technically you’re popping my interview cherry for The Advocate, so I’m thrilled it’s starting with you. I’m a total fan.
Mmm, OK! [In a “hey, hunty” kind of tone]
So, you have this new stand-up special called Baby Daddy. What’s the story behind it?
I originally made Baby Daddy just to give myself a damn job! 2012 was a slim year, TV-wise, so I wrote this and traveled the country performing it. Sure enough, it has become super timely, with all of the antigay initiatives popping up and the head of the Catholic League on CNN saying we’re harmful to children and the only purpose to marriage is to start a family. We’re kind of a voice in the wilderness now, saying “We’re not who you say we are.”
Exactly, and they’re terrified of us gay parents.
It’s so much easier to discriminate against a nameless, faceless person. But when you present yourself in the media as “I’m a father, and I’m married, and this is what it looks like — our kid is a foster child that we adopted when he was 5 years old,” it becomes a completely different story.
Your son is now 9. Has he seen the show?
He’s seen the beginning and the end, which he’s featured in. Unfortunately, the middle is inappropriate.
I live for inappropriate!
I felt it was important to talk about sexuality in a really frank way, because we are kind of asexual on television. I talk about my sex life and how we’re tired and how it’s a big deal to go out. So yeah, I talk about fucking. I designed the special in such a way, and if you like the [little snicker laugh] dirty stuff …
Then you’re gonna get that. And if you like kids, there’s another half of the special that talks about the process of foster adopting. Even if you hate kids, you’re gonna love the show.
What is your favorite bit from Baby Daddy?
There’s a YouTube preview [which you can see below]. My favorite has always been “I’m Asian, my son’s black, my husband’s white — we look like the last two minutes of It’s a Small World.”
Your show has an underlying positive message that gay parenting is just parenting. Have you received a lot of positive feedback from the gay community?
Oh, absolutely. The most gratifying part of doing this special is that I’ve had gay men come up to me at foster adoption seminars and say, “I saw your show and I signed up to become a certified foster parent.” That has happened more than a number of times, and to me that is the most important thing.
Speaking of parenting, what has been the biggest eye-opener about becoming a parent?
It’s always changing! You could conquer one thing, one little blip, and it’s always changing. Just when you get used to them liking Thomas the Train and you go crazy and buy all this Thomas the Train shit, he’s on to Cartoon Network. He’s not the same person he was a month ago.
Do you and your husband have different roles with your son?
Well, I’m kind of operatic, because I’m Filipino. I get mad real fast and also over it real fast. I’m more apt to blow up, and my husband is more of the slow burn. I’m Daddy and he’s Papa. So if you’re in trouble with Papa, you’re screwed. If you get in trouble with me, I’ll yell like crazy and then we’ll be making up and cuddling 10 minutes from now.
What’s the best advice you’ve given your son?
Kids are so-o-o smart. You don’t think they’re listening or taking in anything, but they catch everything. You know, all of our friends are circus people. They’re all drag queens, stand-up comics, and they’re over here all the time. It’s like the opening scene from Auntie Mame — there’s a lot of colorful language. So my son was getting in trouble for saying “fuck” at school because I don’t censor my friends. I sat him down and said, “You have so much time to be an adult but literally no time to be a kid, so just enjoy it!” I heard him repeating it to other kids the next day.
What would it take for your son to freak you out?
The way for him to really rebel against me, and this is my worst nightmare, is if he ends up with a Bible Belt girl from Orange County [Calif.]. Some Orange County, Saddleback Church Bible-thumper, that’s a perfect way to get back at me. It would totally be Auntie Mame all over again.
I have a theory that in 15 years it will actually be cool to have gay parents. What are your thoughts on this?
I’m sure you’re right. When Zion was in school, kids would come up to him and be like, “You have two dads?” And he would be like, “Yeah,” and that would be it. They would just kind of shrug their shoulders and that was it.
Final question: fuck/marry/kill — Anderson Cooper, Ryan Gosling, Neil Patrick Harris?
Wow. Wow. OK, umm ... I wanna marry Anderson Cooper because he’s heir to the Vanderbilt fortune. I absolutely wanna have sex with Ryan Gosling. And unfortunately, as much as I love NPH, he’d be toast.