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Take one fabricated American (who happens to be an ape), throw him into the world of gay culture, and watch what he'll do to get ahead in show business. In Monday night's episode of MTV's new faux-reality show Warren the Ape, Warren goes gay to resuscitate his fledgling acting career. Already in addiction counseling with Dr. Drew Pinsky (a series regular), Warren tries to put one over on the good doc and Access Hollywood's Nancy O'Dell, who also appears in the episode. Perez Hilton also pops up in a pivotal cameo doing what Perez does best: "blabbing all to the world!"
The Advocate caught up with Warren the Ape's co-creator, producer, writer, and star, Dan Milano (pictured), for this look at how coming out of the closet in Hollywood can actually boost your career... or can it?
The Advocate: Warren the Ape is actually a spin-off of your original series, Greg the Bunny, on Fox. How did Warren come to get his own show?
Dan Milano: After the Fox series was canceled, there was nothing for us for a while till 2010, when we spun Warren off into his own show. And the premise of the show is, Warren the Ape's sitcom was canceled in 2001, which it was, and he turned to drugs and alcohol. Dr. Drew Pinsky is his therapist, and he is trying desperately to put his life back together. It's obviously fantasy, but basing it on as much truth as possible, because the sitcom was real. We are trying to mirror what has happened to us over the years, except making Warren a fictional character.
I think what's interesting -- as with gay men, there are certain "labels" that Warren does not like either.
Yes, that is right. He is a person of fabric. They don't like being called "Sox." One of the points I did want to make about Warren is that labels don't matter. Warren is a passionate individual with a veracious appetite, whether he is drunk or sober. He is just promiscuous, and that is the only label you can put on him.
So, why the gay angle for this episode?
We have depicted Warren as "straight," but in this episode his being seen as homosexual by the media is a ploy for attention. He would be the first person to say that Neil Patrick Harris was a faker. That somehow, this was his ticket to making headlines. We think it's an ironic twist because we know there was a time in Hollywood when it was quite the opposite, where every male actor wanted to be seen as heterosexual. Literally, in our episode, when Warren was younger he made a gay porno. It's not something he is particularly ashamed of, but he doesn't think it is good for his career. So when Perez Hilton outs him in the episode, it's a big moment.
- Warren the Ape airs Monday nights at 10:30 Eastern/9:30 Central and is repeated throughout the week. The latest episode is also streaming online on MTV.com the next day and will be available on iTunes.
There was this great punch line that "Well, we are all amongst friends, as long as this does not leave this room." Then Warren looks over and Perez is blogging on his laptop. Warren is publicly outed, and the satire is, Warren is doing the opposite of what most people do. He is covering up the fact that he is basically heterosexual. Then this gay producer says to him, "Listen, there are a lot of casting directors that want to help out gay actors in Hollywood, and Ang Lee is very interested in you for this role." The second he hears he can gain from saying he is gay, Warren changes his tune. Suddenly he goes, "This is the ticket to my comeback."
And then the tip of the iceberg, all of sudden a no-name like Warren the Ape is named the grand marshal of the West Hollywood gay pride parade, which actually is fitting, because often we scratch our heads at how some of the past grand marshals got picked and why!
These things are all done in good name, but in Hollywood, they are done for a reason, and there is always something behind it. So then, is it really so much of a stretch that this stupid little monkey puppet supposedly comes out on Access Hollywood with Nancy O'Dell, and the next day he is the grand marshal at the gay pride parade? It's just absurd, but yet it's not so far off from real life.
But Warren's world unravels when the Icky Twins expose him for the fraud he is on the gay pride float! How did the Icky Twins get involved?
Honestly, we were looking to get Tila Tequila. We wanted someone who represented the same absurdity and the same "Oh, I kissed a girl, and now I am a media sensation" type. We ended up with the Icky Twins because they had a relationship with MTV. There was a rumor at one point that they were lesbians, but I don't know if there is any truth to that. We stuck them in these bikinis and put them on this float, and they had to kiss each other on the float. Suddenly, you are led to believe, because Warren gets an immediate erection, it invalidated everything he has done. The public is fickle, and they immediately turn on him, and in that moment he loses everything.Were you ever concerned that this whole episode would be offensive to the gay audience?
We felt good about it. We have friends and members of our crew who are gay, and everybody really felt it was OK. I would hate to think that anything we did was offensive to anyone. We are trying to say something about the ridiculousness of the industry we are in.
In closing, why should we watch tonight's episode?
Rather than make a personal appeal and single out the LGBT community and appeal to them as a demographic, I just want to appeal to them as audience members. So I would earnestly say, I think you should watch my show because it's really funny, and if you think it is funny, do tell a friend, because we could use the support. We are anxiously waiting to see if we are being picked-up. It's been a labor of love and very challenging. It feels like I am working with a happy family. So I am sure we are going to get canceled! [Laughs.]