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Guy Branum: Many Gay Men Aren't Comfortable With Gay Comedians

Guy Branum:There's Always a Place in Gay Community for The Deeply Hot

The writer and TV host reflects on why so many queer men have myopic views on who's funny and who's hot.

When I ask comedian Guy Branum what questions he wishes he was asked more often, he immediately answers, "Would you like to have sex with me right now in this bathroom?"

The creator and host of TruTV's Talk Show the Game Show has always been funny. But he knows which comedians we choose to laugh at is a serious matter.

"The gay male community, we still look to female comics -- straight female comics -- or drag queens as comedy performers," the writer tells The Advocate. "There aren't really significant gay male stand-up comedians."

Why are gay men so afraid to hear people talk about their shared experiences?

"We are uncomfortable with the representation of other gay people because it's close," Branum says. "There is this ease and comfort of seeing yourself through the funhouse mirror of a straight woman. There's enough distance that it's safe."

It's not that Branum has had trouble standing next to that mirror; the foreword of his new memoir, My Life as a Goddess, is written by Mindy Kaling (he was a writer on her eponymous TV show). And he made a name for himself as a panelist on Chelsea Lately.

"All the mentorship I have gotten eventually in comedy has come from amazing women like Chelsea Handler or Mindy or Joan Rivers or Sarah Silverman," he explains. "They're my favorite comics. They're the comics I grew up loving. But we exist too."

And Branum is acutely aware of the extremely limited image of gay men that the community, including this publication, allows to exist in the public eye.

"There is always a place in our community for the deeply hot, never forget that," he says. "How many hot straight guys have been on the cover of The Advocate when they had a movie coming out? And how many times has Billy Eichner been on the cover of The Advocate or Out?"

Even the gay men we idolize have to look a certain way, Branum posits.

"The enthusiasm that everyone had for [Olympians] Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy -- like these are people that we should be proud of, and we are," Branum says. "It will make me happy when we are able to do that for people who are slightly less hot."

But Branum is very pleased there are songs in the Billboard Hot 100 sung by men about men (even if they're performed by the very hot and very thin).

"We have hot pop stars of our own," he says. "And they might actually have sex with you. That's what's really important. Troye Sivan may actually have sex with you."

Gay sex has already played a role in the release of Branum's book, particularly its promotion.

"I just hired some go-go boys to rub on each other and hold my book and tell gay guys, 'You're so shallow, the only way you'll pay attention to this book is if we do this.'" Branum says. "I put it up online and it got a lot of nice attention, so I was like, Oh, I'll pay the money and boost this, and after it ran four times, it got flagged for inappropriate sexual content, and they wouldn't run the promotion anymore."

Noting that the content would be deemed PG-13 if it the contact was between a man and woman, Branum roasts social media platforms for their outdated editing. "Construing all gay sexual contact as being dirty bad -- it screws up the minds of kids," he warns. "You should be able to see gay guys in swimsuits kiss and not be scandalized by it."

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