The Fast Road to Hell (Ep. 188 - The Nutcracker)

This Week's Guest: Woody Shticks

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My guest this week has been under a lot of pressure in his life. Raised in an oppressive religious community, he had to deal with ex-gay scammers, a parent who was abusing other kids, and more guilt than any person should ever have to deal with. On top of that, he had a highly active libido that came out in... unusual ways, culminating in the invention of a truly unique form of erotic folk art -- and a career path requiring a lot of vulnerability and very little clothing.

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BTW, I hope you'll join us for the next Sewers of Paris live chat. It's on Saturday August 25th at 2pm pacific featuring guest Londyn Bradshaw. You can find a link at the top of the Sewers of Paris twitter feed -- that's @sewersofparis. And head over to to see clips of the stuff we talk about on each episode.

Also! If you're in Seattle, come check out the live comedy show that host along with some fantastically funny drag queens. It's called Queens of Adventure, and features queens on an epic Dungeons & Dragons quest. Tickets are now on sale for our August 30 show. And we're also appearing on a panel at PAX West on September 1st at 9:30pm in the Hippogriff Theater -- I hope we'll see you there! Get details and tickets at

This Week's Recommendation: Kimmy Schmidt

Thanks again to Woody for joining me. Head over to instagram to check him out. Thoroughly. He mentioned having gone to a pray-away-the-gay scammer, and being told he was too gay to be a successful actor. Hearing about that reminded me of an episode from season 1 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt -- episode 10, in which Titus hires an acting coach in order to book an acting job as a mad scientist/romantic lead.

Every episode of Kimmy Schmidt is extremely weird and extremely gay, this one in particular. Not only does it have the whole learn-to-act-straight storyline, there's also an extended running joke about a homoerotic 1930s musical called Daddy's Boy. It's one of my favorite episodes of the entire run of the series.

What makes it extra-ridiculous is the depiction of the pressure applied to actors like Titus -- he needs to be believably straight so audiences will accept his character marrying a cyclops woman at what is essentially a haunted house dinner theater. That is obviously dumb, but not THAT much dumber than the pressures applied to actors in real life to remain closeted, to police their every movement and word, and to base their careers on the constant aspiration to arbitrary signifiers of heterosexuality.

Titus the character manages to successfully feign straightness by the end of the episode. But Tituss Burgess, the real-life actor, is successful for the exact opposite reason: He's loudly queer, whether on 30 Rock or on Kimmy Schmidt or singing Poor Unfortunate Souls -- look up that video on YouTube -- or on various talk show appearances. He's found fame not by straightening himself out but by leaning into flamboyance.