You know the terminology and everything.
Yeah, well, I’ve gotten a lot of gross tweets sent to me.
Have you gotten any homophobic feedback about your playing a gay character?
I split my time between New York and L.A., so I haven’t been put in a situation where I’d be around idiots like that, but believe me, there’s a bar fight down the road for me. I see it happening.
I hope you win.
Oh, I’m going to lose, but it’ll still be a fun bar fight.
Have you learned anything about gay people that you didn’t know before playing Max?
No, because I don’t really play Max with any sort of homosexual intuition at all. It’s hard to learn anything when you’re playing an idiot.
To borrow a Happy Endings term, you weren’t one of those “gaycists” who think that all gay people are the same?
Coming from a liberal Jewish background, there were gays in my life since I was four years old. It was just part of the way I grew up, so I never thought twice about it. I never thought it was odd, weird, or even out of the ordinary. So most information about gay people, I already pretty much knew.
Max has talked about dates, hit on guys, and even made an offhand comment about his “spank bank,” but we haven’t seen him enjoy a lot of physical intimacy. Has that been a conscious decision to make the gay character more palatable for conservative viewers?
Maybe on the network’s part. Disney [ABC’s parent company] happens to be a very conservative brand. I know about all the fuss that was made over Modern Family’s kiss, so that’s probably part of the network’s decision. But again, it’s really out of my control. I try not to think too hard about the politics so I can just go in there and be as funny as I can.
Will we see more intimacy for Max this season?
Naturally, you would, right? Going into another season, I think you’re going to see them all in places and situations that they haven’t been before.
One episode originally included a kiss between Max and his date Ian, but it was inevitably cut. Some viewers worried that the network was neutering the gay character. Were you surprised that people were watching the show so carefully?
I’m always shocked when anyone says they watch the show. Not that I don’t believe in the show, but it’s just such a new thing for me. As far as the kiss goes with Ian, I think they cut it because they didn’t need it. When the character Dave dates a new girl, you don’t see that much affection there either. Affection on television can be overrated, especially in a comedy, when you’re mostly just going for the laugh. That kind of thing just takes up time when there could be a joke.
To be fair, you did get a smooch from your costar Zachary Knighton. Was it good for you?
I wouldn’t say good. It’s always weird when you have to kiss a dude because your facial hair interlocks. It’s like Velcro.
Was that one of your first same-sex kisses?
No, it wasn’t. Coming from the Upright Citizens Brigade, I’ve kissed my share of fat, hairy dudes.
Some fans of the show want Max to get a boyfriend this season, but I prefer to see him do the walk of shame and talk about his hookups with confused college students.
Yeah, Max is single right now, so that’s what he’s into. It’s fun to get to play that.
If you could choose which actor played your next love interest, whom would you cast?
Cedric the Entertainer. That’s my type.
Will Max get a job this season? I don’t fully understand how Max pays his bills.
Before season 2, his friend Brad kind of supported him. A lot of season 2 centers on how he’s going to pay the rent.
Max dressed as Snooki for a Halloween flashback last season. Was that fun or miserable?
Oh, I hate dressing in drag. It’s the fuckin’ worst, man. I don’t know how women put eyeliner on. If I never have to put eyeliner on again, I’ll be happy, but something tells me I’ll probably have to. People want to see chubby Jews in drag.
Happy Endings airs Wed., 9:30 p.m. EST, on ABC. Happy Endings: The Complete First Season is now available on DVD.