Category Archives: Breaking

Conner Bobay’s Cock

Our Ask Billy question comes from Chet in Detroit: “I’m totally in love with Conner Bobay – he’s my ultimate twink.  I hear he’s been naked on his website.  Do you have any photos or videos?”

Thanks to my fans, I learned something.  Apparently Conner Bobay is one of those social media stars who sings, blogs, and poses in underwear.  Once I saw he has an OnlyFans site, I knew he had to also be peddling nudes (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  Sure enough, last week there was a dick-slip.  Upon further investigating, I seem to have found several other sizeable additions to the collection.  Check them out on BillyMasters.com.

When Conner is grabbing his own [BLANK], it’s definitely time to end another column.  Have you noticed our nude subjects keep getting younger and younger?  But you won’t find any underaged boys on www.BillyMasters.com – the site that doesn’t interest Kevin Spacey!  If you have a question, send it along to Billy@BillyMasters.com, and I promise to get back to you before Will Little and his girlfriend appear in the musical version of The Notebook!  So, until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

More Bad News for Jussie

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Jussie Smollett’s recent birthday.  He took to social media to say, “Grateful for LOVE.  Grateful for y’all.  Grateful for another year around the sun.”  Alas, he’s not getting much love from Chicago.  On Jussie’s birthday, Judge Michael Toomin called for a special prosecutor to examine the entire Smollett “incident”, including how it was handled by authorities.  Toomin specifically targeted Jussie: “In perhaps the most prominent display of his acting potential, Smollett conceived a fantasy that propelled him from the role of a sympathetic victim of a vicious homophobic attack to that of a charlatan who fermented a hoax the equal of any twisted television intrigue.”  I’m not sure, but I think that was a compliment to Jussie as an actor.  Judge Toomin added that a special prosecutor was needed “to restore the public’s confidence in our criminal justice system”.

Nicholas Sparks Scandal

Then there’s Nicholas Sparks – author of those dreadfully saccharine and syrupy stories where straight white people fall in love after overcoming horrific obstacles.  Last week, Broadway producers announced that they were doing a reading of a new musical based on The Notebook.  This has the potential of being a huge moneymaker for the author.  But not so fast.  The very next day, the former headmaster of the Christian school Sparks founded claimed that the author tried to ban LGBT clubs and protests.  In fact, the former headmaster is suing Sparks, stating that he “unapologetically marginalized, bullied, and harassed members of the school community whose religious views and/or identities did not conform to their religiously driven, bigoted preconceptions.”  What would one expect from Epiphany School?  Yes, that’s the name of the school.  And Sparks did found it, so it’s his way or the highway (likely not the highway to heaven).  In an e-mail, Sparks accused the headmaster of having “an agenda that strives to make homosexuality open and accepted”.  Lest you think his vitriol was limited to the gays, Nick also said the school had few minority students because they were “too poor and can’t do the academic work”. 

Once this story went public, Sparks did some fancy footwork via Twitter: “As someone who has spent the better part of my life as a writer who understands the power of words, I regret and apologize that mine have potentially hurt young people and members of the LGBTQ community, including my friends and colleagues in that community.”  Being Sparks, he goes on and on, but you get the gist.  In fact, the only thing he didn’t address was the racist accusations.  Anyhoo, the producers of the musical were satisfied, and said (in part), “We are encouraged that Mr. Sparks has made a strong statement of support of the LGBTQ+ community today.”  And, on with the show.

Things Look Up for Spacey

It has been nearly three years since Kevin Spacey allegedly groped an underage busboy at the Club Car club in Nantucket.  For those of you who don’t get out much, lemme briefly recap.  Kevin was at this bar and took a shine to an 18-year-old busboy named Will Little.  Little texted his girlfriend saying that Spacey was “hanging around me in the bar.  He got my number and asked me to come out with him.”  Red Flag No. 1 – how did Spacey get his number?  From another employee?  Perhaps from a bathroom wall?  Or, most likely, from the busboy himself.  Who knows.  Will’s girlfriend texted back, “Are you kidding?  Sounds like he’s hitting on you” – because this girl isn’t stupid.  Little texted back, “I think he is.  He’s grabbing my leg and [BLANK]” – the word has been redacted, but I think we all know what [BLANK] is.  Then Will texted back, “I’m not gay – but I think Spacey is.”  Red Flag No. 2 – why is Will telling his girlfriend “I’m not gay”?  Doesn’t she already know that?  Or does she?  Then Will said, “He’s grabbed my [BLANK] 8 times.  He’s pissed I’m texting.  I told him I had a girlfriend”.  Red Flag No. 3 – how long is a “not gay” guy going to hang out with someone grabbing their [BLANK]?  Your choices are: a) long enough for him to grab you eight times, b) as long as he keeps buying the drinks, or c) I’m not gay.

Let me stop for a moment to make one thing perfectly clear – I believe Will Little.  I completely believe that Spacey was predatory towards this underaged guy.  But why did Will stay?  That’s my question.  Another question was brought up to me on NECN’s The Take – why were the bartenders serving a fellow employee who they knew was not of age?  Seems to me there are more questions than answers.

Some of those questions could be answered with Will’s cell phone.  It’s been alleged by Spacey’s attorney that the timeline of the messages as well as the content is crucial.  Specifically, the lawyer points out that Will’s final message to his “girlfriend” said, “I got the autographs and a hell of a story.”  The mouthpiece contends that the text messages do not “indicate the interaction was unwelcomed.”   It’s also been reported that Mr. Little’s mother may have redacted certain content on the phone that didn’t paint her son in a particularly positive light.  The judge ordered that the phone be turned over to Spacey’s team for examination by July 8th.  So far, they have not complied.  Why not?  While the police did examine the phone, their records indicate it was returned to Will’s father.  But Mr. Little says he has no recollection of ever receiving the phone back.  The family’s attorney claims that they have “searched all the places where such a phone may have been stored.  They have not found the phone.”  The judge has ordered Mr. Little to appear in court if the phone doesn’t turn up.  Something smells rotten in Nantucket.

9 To 5 Sequel Update

BTW, Lily, Dolly and Jane still plan on reuniting for a 9 to 5 sequel.  Last week, Dolly told CNN’s Robin Meade, “We’ve got two scripts and we’re waiting for the last rewrite.  So as soon as we all sign off on that, I’d say in the next few months we’ll be in production.”  A few months ago, Jane Fonda said the same thing.  “Right now, Dolly, Lily and I are all intending to be in it.”  Fingers crossed.

DeCaro Knows Drag

I went to several Pride-related events in Hollywood, including a book signing for Frank DeCaro’s encyclopedic volume, Drag: Combing Through the Big Wigs of Show Business.  What an entertaining and informative book – certainly a “must” for anyone reading this column.  Why, it is simply staggering the amount of information you learn.  In addition to the current drag divas, I was interested in reading about the people who paved the way – because, we all know that without drag queens, we’d have no Stonewall.  The event I went to at Barnes & Noble at The Grove was standing room only and featured the grand dame of Los Angeles drag, Momma.  On the dais we had Bruce Vilanch (who apparently is the go-to when it comes to writing material for men in drag on television), Alaska Thunderfuck, and the reigning Best in DragReba Ariba.  The panel discussion was fascinating (I’ll link to it on BillyMasters.com) and special celebs like Jack PlotnickMelissa PetermanTom LenkDrew DroegeCarolyn Hennesy, and others made it truly a celebration.  Go out and buy Frank’s book NOW!

Do you remember Bicentennial Moments?  They were little PSAs that ran on network TV.  I don’t remember exactly when – I believe it was sometime in the mid-‘70s.  Anyhoo, here’s your Gay Pride moment.  Didya know actor Michael Gross – yes, Michael J. Fox’s dad on Family Ties – made his Broadway debut in the original production of Bent?  And in drag?  Gross was also at DeCaro’s book signing, and we had a long conversation about him getting the role of Greta.  The story is included in Frank’s book.

Tomlin Trailblazer

The Hollywood Museum is a magical place filled with oodles of memorabilia and special theme events.  A few weeks ago, I told you about their seventh annual exhibit Real to Reel: Portrayals and Perceptions of LGBTs in Hollywood.  This exhibit kicks off Pride Month in LA, and I was thrilled to be at the gala opening, where some special awards were given out.  Most notably, Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner were named Hollywood Trailblazers.  The honor made the duo chuckle.  “Neither one of us has ever had a good sense of direction, so being perceived to be blazing a trail we find very flattering – it implies we knew where we were going!”  Other notables at the event were Fran DrescherSam HarrisLisa VanderpumpTyler HenryJudy TenutaRoslyn KindKate LinderKevin SpirtasAnita and Bonnie PointerDawn Wells, and the rest.

Is Mayor Pete Anti-Fisting

A former member of the Indiana House of Representatives has attacked Mayor Pete Buttigieg for possibly being “too gay”.  Don Boys’ post, called “Pete, Since You Brought It Up, How ‘Gay’ Are You?”, says that for Buttigieg to be a legitimate candidate for president, he must first denounce both fisting and rimming.  Is that in the job description?  ‘Cause I’m curious what Trump has denounced.  Watersports spring to mind.  Boys went further by stating, “Voters should know that a homosexual president may not live to finish his term.”  I’ve got news for him – a few heterosexual presidents didn’t finish THEIR terms!  Boys continues, “Moreover, 70 percent of homosexuals admit to having at least one STD plus they are infected with other contagious diseases such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, etc.  About 20 percent of homosexual men are infected with HIV and about half of them do not know it.  Don’t voters have a right, even an obligation, to know a candidate’s health status since the candidate’s health is always an issue?  Is a homosexual candidate an exception?  If so, why?”  While I certainly cannot speak for the candidates, I’d venture to guess that Mayor Pete will allow an STD screening if Donald does.  Although, Trump may get a bit too excited at the thought of Pete peeing!

Madden Uncovered

Our Ask Billy question comes from Thomas in San Francisco: “I just saw Rocketman and thought Richard Madden [the actor who plays Elton’s boyfriend/manager] was so sexy.  Is he really gay?  What a body!”

I don’t believe Richard Madden’s sexual orientation is much of a secret.  Last week the venerable New York Times asked if he and actor Brandon Flynn are “an item”: “Madden shrugged, unbothered by the question but in no hurry to answer it, either.  ‘I just keep my personal life personal.  I’ve never talked about my relationships.’”  I think that says it all.  His body is on full display in the UK series Bodyguard.  The sight of Madden’s bare bottom on the BBC caused the usually unflappable Brits to become…well, flapped.  Check it out on BillyMasters.com.

 

Inside The Tony Awards

Of course, every year we have the clash of LA Pride and the Tony Awards.  This year, the Tonys won out.  While there wasn’t much gossip to report, let me congratulate Mart Crowley for winning Best Revival of a Play for his Boys in the Band – a play that basically wouldn’t have been written were it not for Natalie Wood…but that’s another story for another time.  In accepting her Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award for Humanitarian Efforts, our beloved Judith Light made a point of acknowledging us.  “It has long been my privilege to support the HIV/AIDS and the LGBTQ+ communities, so to be honored in this way tonight is extremely humbling.”  And speaking of our community, is it just me or was LaTanya Richardson Jackson wearing a gay pride coat?  Or was she auditioning for a touring company of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat?  Speaking of clothes, bravo to my dear friend, the amazingly talented Bob Mackie for Best Costumes for The Cher Show!

Straight Pride

Here we are, in the midst of Gay Pride Month, and what’s our first story about?  A Straight Pride Parade…in my native Boston.  Oh, the shame.  Don’t they already have a Straight Pride Parade in Boston?  The Saint Patrick’s Day Parade!!!  Oops, they’ve let the gays into that one, too.  In the broadest sense, I don’t have a problem with the idea of Straight Pride.  I enjoy both straight and gay men – as long as they enjoy me.  But the way this is being couched – as if straight people are an “oppressed majority” (their words) – makes me feel it borders on homophobic.  Unless, of course, members of the LGBT community are welcomed to join in, just like our straight allies are invited and encouraged to join in our Pride parades.  If not, it’s beginning to smell a lot like Charlottesville.

Paula Abdul Rocks LA Pride

LA Pride kicked off with a spectacular free concert on the fairgrounds headlined by Paula Abdul.  Anyone who thought this would be some quick hit-and-run appearance doesn’t know Paula.  She was onstage for well over an hour.  She performed every hit, she told stories, she brought folks onstage to dance, she had amazing videos and dynamic dancers who tossed her around as if she were a rag doll.  The only thing she didn’t do was sing – which is ironic because at certain times, she had TWO microphones!  She’d struggle to be heard speaking, but when a song started, suddenly the vocals were crystal clear.  Ultimately it didn’t really matter.  Like Britney, who goes to hear Paula sing?  She put on a great show, as you can see from clips on BillyMasters.com.  BTW, this was a good chance for Abdul to try out the act in advance of her Vegas residency.  She’ll be going into the Flamingo on August 13th.  I have two tips for Paula – get a coach to work on the monologues about your life and perhaps sing a little.

Footsie With A Stranger

Could it be that a certain star of stage and screen (both large and small) is having his privates made public by a perturbed ex-paramour?  So say people who have seen the photos circulating and recognize the fastidious fella by, of all things, his feet!  And you know what they say about large feet.  Find out for yourself on BillyMasters.com.

Madonna Bombs Tel Aviv

With the release of Rocketman, director Dexter Fletcher has revealed his next dream subject.  “I’d do Madonna.  That sounds like a real rollercoaster ride!  It would be extraordinary.  I don’t know how happy she’d be about that.  But what an extraordinary life that would be.  If I was to tackle any other icon like that, it would be her.  She’s extraordinary.”  Anyone looking to buy Dexter a gift might consider a thesaurus.  It would be…“extraordinary”.

Speaking of Madge, I was shocked to see her performance on the Eurovision finals live from Tel Aviv (and I’m talking about the real live performance you can see on BillyMasters.com, not the doctored performance on most other websites).  What in the name of everything holy was she thinking?  First, she comes out wearing that ridiculous eye patch (she’s apparently still channeling Madame X, or perhaps it was a misguided tribute to Moshe Dayan).  Then there was “Like a Prayer”, not the hardest song to sing.  The word “caterwauling” comes to mind.  Frankly, I think William Hong could have done a better job!  As she cavorted onstage with kids the square root of her age, it hit me – she’s turning into Mamie Van Doren.  For you youngsters, Mamie was a sex symbol in the ‘50s and ‘60s.  As she got older, she couldn’t quite let go of the pin-up image and continued to wear questionable outfits for her age and body type, culminating in a shocking photo session in her backyard, where the 80-year-old danced around topless, wearing an Indian headdress.  Even more shocking, the photographer for the session was her son!  That goes above and beyond filial duties if you ask me.  I don’t think Rocco is in danger, but I think David better sleep with one eye open!

By the by, since there are no new ideas in Hollywood, MGM has announced that they will produce a feature film about the life of Boy George.  I have one word for them – Taboo.

Lea Opens for Rosie

In lighter lesbian news, Lea DeLaria is single and happy about it.  She recently spoke with Wendy Williams about her scuttled wedding plans.  She revealed she was the one who was dumped – although it ended amicably.  Eh, lesbians!  “She did everything right – Chelsea Fairless is a class act.”  Speaking of acts, DeLaria is taking her act to Provincetown.  She bought the venue formerly known as The Pied, and rechristened it The Club.  It’s in one of the best locations in town, and will now be a jazz club with all the usual accoutrements – food, drink, entertainment.  She says it will be different than most Ptown venues.  “There’ll be no cover charge.  People can come in and hear live entertainment from world-class jazz musicians, have a drink and small noshes until we close.”  I suspect she’ll be charging a cover when she brings in headliners.  Like for July 4th weekend, she’s snagged Rosie O’Donnell!  Ro will perform July 5-7, and Lea DeLaria will be her opening act.  Which begs the question – will this be the first time Lea’s opened for Rosie?  Perhaps we’ll find out at the show.

A Schocking Set of Nudes

The difference between a flirt and a tease is that a tease won’t follow through.  I, Billy Masters, am more of a flirt.  In fact, I’m what you’d call a sure thing.  Alas, I feel as if I’ve been teasing you with these weekly reports about Aaron Schock.  So let’s say right off the bat – I’m delivering.  To catch you up, the hunky former Congressman has been everywhere since the video of him seemingly fishing around in the pants of a male dance partner at Coachella went viral.  Apparently he’s been busy in public and in private.  For months, people have whispered of clandestine same-sex hookups with guys he’s encountered on various apps.  Nothing came of those whispers…until now.

A veritable treasure trove of unidentified nude photos just fell into our hot little hands – and, naturally, you can see them on BillyMasters.com.  Aside from the obvious resemblance to our Downton Abbey loving subject, what I find intriguing is that most of them focus on the guy in question’s ass.  The person in these photos vehemently says he’s a top – although more than one of his prospective partners has said that the person in the pics “prefers topping”, but says he will bottom.  Kinda like a vegan who occasionally has a pot roast!  Back to these butt photos – let’s just say they show angles that typically only turn up in proctological examinations.  In addition to the nude pix at various angles showing a body and face that bear a striking resemblance to the proudly straight Schock, we also received a jerk-off video.  Again, lots of focus on the ass, but we do see him fully aroused…in addition to his face.  What will he do for an encore?  After all, it is Pride Month.

Austin: More Than An Ass

Our Ask Billy question comes from Stephen in San Francisco: “I know lots of people hate him, but I think Austin Armacost is so dreamy.  I’ve always heard he has a small dick.  Then he posted a nude photo and it looks pretty big.  So, you have to find out – is the pic photoshopped or is it really that big?”

For those who don’t know, Austin Armacost is a model of some minor note.  More notable is his appearance on a handful of reality television shows, including the short-lived The A-List: New York, where we learned he had a minor tryst with Reichen Lehmkuhl (you’d think that would put the question of size to rest).  Later, he was on Celebrity Big Brother UK.  Most of his risqué shoots have focused on his derrière, which is certainly his largest asset.  But what of the elusive flip side?  The photo in question was posted on Austin’s website, but photos can be easily doctored.  Less easy to fudge is video, and we’ve gotten our hands on some footage where Austin shakes his moneymaker – proving it’s either real or held on with Super Glue.  See for yourself on BillyMasters.com.

 

Black Misses Daley’s Dive

I don’t think Dustin Lance Black is all too keen on the Brits right now.  Last week, he skipped seeing hubby Tom Daley take the gold in the Diving World Series at the London Aquatic Centre.  DLB said, “Sadly, organisers at @britishswimming have succeeded in creating a toxic environment for our family at their events so we can’t be there in person on this very special London morning.”  The organizers shot back saying that the couple’s son’s stroller was a health and safety concern.  “British Swimming is extremely disappointed that Tom’s husband felt that he couldn’t be at the London Aquatic Centre to support Tom yesterday.”  Lance shot back, “This situation had little to nothing to do with a pram.  I never asked to bring one in, and we certainly had no interest in being poolside with one.  Anyone there plainly saw that our son was on my lap.  This pram story is a lie.”

The next day, he later told the Times of London that the problem was initially about the buggy.  He was told he couldn’t bring it poolside for the reasons stated, so he took the child out of the buggy and had him either on the floor or his lap.  Officials then told him people were complaining about the buggy.  The situation escalated.  “A woman was thinking of throwing me out for causing a scene.  She accused me of swearing.  I didn’t.  They told Tom as soon as he was off the podium.”  Black was so distraught that he stayed away for the rest of the weekend.

Schock’s Speedo Suitor

Meanwhile on the West Coast, Aaron Schock continues to make headlines – which is impressive since he isn’t even in office.  The disgraced former Congressman is rumored to have moved to the West Hollywood area and repeatedly pops up in places one wouldn’t typically expect someone so vehemently “not gay”.  Like, for instance, the pool at the swanky Standard Hotel…which, I hasten to add, is a hot spot for gays and straights alike.  The photos snapped showed Schock in the company of a hot Speedo-wearing sidekick who was reportedly on Scruff at the time (for those who don’t know, Scruff is a “dating app” for people looking for a quick date).  He was also photographed chatting up other hot guys, as you’ll see on BillyMasters.com.  It should be noted that Aaron and all these other men are equally hot and would certainly have much in common – were Schock gay, of course.

I’m sure Aaron is happy that the official trailer from the upcoming Downton Abbey flick just dropped – as the kids say.  You’ll remember, Schock went to great lengths to give his former congressional office the Downton touch.  How it was paid for, alas, is one of the reasons he resigned.

Vanderpump’s Lie Detector

Community ally Lisa Vanderpump is facing some heat.  On a recent episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Vanderpump was taking a lie detector test (I don’t watch, so I don’t know why).  When they strapped her in, she said, “Just don’t ask me if Erika’s tucking or something like that, because there are some things I can’t lie about.”  The comment was aimed at fellow Housewife Erika Jayne – who has never identified as transgender.  Candis Cayne jumped in saying, “Oh come on @lisavanderpump joking about @erikajayne “tucking”  Ugly Trans jokes marginalizing our community are not acceptable.  Being an ally doesn’t give you a free pass To make transphobic remarks.  Do better”  Vanderpump quickly apologized.  “It was not my intention to belittle the trans community with my poor choice of words directed towards Erika.  I have nothing but respect and love for trans people around the world, as I have been a staunch supporter, provided employment, offered emotional support and championed LGBTQ issues.”  Most applauded her addressing the issue immediately.

By the by, The Hollywood Museum is celebrating Pride month with their seventh annual exhibit, Real to Reel: Portrayals and Perceptions of LGBTQs in Hollywood.  At the opening on June 6th, the Hollywood Legacy award is going to…Lisa Vanderpump!  The Hollywood Future award will go to Tyler Henry – but I’m sure he already knew he was gonna get it.  You can get more information about the exhibit at TheHollywoodMuseum.com.

Tovey Wants More Gay Sex

One of the best things I saw last year was A Very English Scandal, a three-part miniseries from the BBC (you can watch it on Amazon).  I highly urge you to check it out, not only for the outstanding performances by everyone (especially Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw, who won a Golden Globe), but also for the crackerjack true story which was riveting.  Much of the credit goes to director Stephen Frears and writer Russell T Davies, who also brought us Queer as Folk as well as pivotal work on Doctor Who and Torchwood.

Which leads us to our Ask Billy question from Thom in Baltimore: “What is this new show that Russell Tovey is in?  He said it had graphic gay sex, so I don’t want to miss it.”

Tovey is in a new BBC series called Years and Years, written by Russell T Davies (HBO will run it at a later date).  The first episode takes place in the near future, after Brexit and during Donald Trump’s second term (God forbid).  What Tovey said was, “Everything has to be shown because, otherwise, if you don’t show diversity, if you don’t show gay sex, if you don’t show men in love, or women in love, or whatever, then how the hell do you normalize it?”  I note he didn’t mention that the show also features a sex robot!  As to the gay sex scene in question, it comes towards the end of the first episode and, well, check it out on BillyMasters.com.

Hemsworth To Strip

Speaking of packages, we hear that Chris Hemsworth is gearing up to play a stripper in an upcoming $40 million flick for Paramount.  Down Under Cover will find Hemsworth and Tiffany Haddish playing police detectives who team up to crack a string of casino heists.  The main suspects are a group of Aussie male strippers – kinda like Thunder From Down Under.  So, naturally, Hemsworth has to go undercover as a stripper.  Is it just me, or does this sound like a gender-bending take on Miss Congeniality?  Not that I’m complaining.  The film was announced last week at the Cannes Film Festival and will begin shooting in February.

Mayer And Mendes’ Undies

Last week, John Mayer was on SiriusXM with Andy Cohen and shared a “clickbait story” – meaning it’s so salacious, people will click on it.  He provided the headline: “How Shawn Mendes’ underwear ended up in John Mayer’s hotel room.”  Yes, I’d click on that – but I’d also know it would end up being some innocuous anecdote.  One day, Mayer was in the studio with Mendes.  Shawn asked Mayer, “Hey, man, do you think you could, like, Postmates underwear?  Can I Postmates underwear?  I’m out of underwear.”  Since I’m not of the iAnything persuasion, I had to look up “Postmates”.  Be that as it may, Mayer said he’d be happy to ask his assistant to go shopping for undies.  The assistant came back with a dozen pairs of various size Medium boxer briefs in a bag (not a CK in the bunch).  They finished up in the studio, and Shawn left…sans undies.  So Mayer brought the underwear back to his hotel room.  The end.  What I got out of this story is that nobody wants to be in possession of underwear John Mayer was anywhere near – even underwear still in its package.

Billy, Norman & George Laugh

On the other hand, there’s Still Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate, which dropped last week on Netflix.  The almost unbearable 3+ hours of taping at the Dolby Theatre were magically distilled into an entertaining one-hour special, ending with a number of priceless outtakes.  I should confess that I am prominently seen sitting in the front row with Norman Lear and Laugh-In creator George Schlatter (stills can be found on BillyMasters.com).  To share a lesson in Television 101, I’ll repeat a story from the taping.  About two hours into the show, a weary Lear leaned over and said to Schlatter, “Can you believe – we created being funny on television?”  A just-as-weary Schlatter replied, “Yeah, and they’re KILLING it!”  He added, “But we can fix it in post”.  Let that be a lesson to all of you out there – having great material is important, but you need someone really talented to make it watchable.

A Fresh Blind Item

 

Could it be that a certain semi-star is spiraling out of control?  So say people close to the actress who claim she has as much in common with the name of her last megahit as she does with a Jeffrey Osborne song.  While all her success should thrill her, she’s dangerously close to the borderline and possibly requires medical intervention.  Some are concerned for her well-being, while those in her clan have a blasé attitude.  You only have one life to live.

Latest Theatre Reviews

The reboot of NYPD Blue featuring our own Bill Brochtrup had hoped to find a slot on ABC’s schedule, but the network sent it back for retooling and hopes to consider it as a mid-season replacement.  Happily, Bill is busy in the West Coast premiere of Michael McKeever’s play Daniel’s Husband.  I’m sure it says something about the Fountain Theatre that they snagged the rights to this play so quickly after its off-Broadway run.  And with a truly exceptional cast led by Brochtrup, I’m not surprised.  The play poses this question – just because gay people can get married and be like “everybody else”, should they?  Either way, what are the consequences?  The Fountain Theatre’s production is absolutely breathtaking – on the off nights, they could make a fortune renting it out as an AirBnB.  The performances are exceptional – not a weak link in the bunch.  I highly recommend seeing this timely and provocative play if you’re in the area.  It runs through June 23rd, and you can get tix at FountainTheatre.com.

I’ve previously told you how excited I was about the national tour of Falsettos – even though PBS televised the Broadway revival.  Since I saw it on Broadway, on TV, and now on tour, I can sum up the reason to buy a ticket in three words – Max von Essen.  Although Christian Borle was superb in the Broadway revival, Max has a little something extra.  His years of experience, challenging roles, and paying his dues give him a gravitas as Marvin, while somehow maintaining a boyish charm and innocence.  I easily see him as a brilliant Bobby in Company soon.  His singing voice is, as always, solid with no notable break (save for one actual “falsetto” note towards the end).  It was truly a staggering performance.  Speaking of staggering, Nick Adams has never looked better (but he wore much less in Priscilla).  He’s a fine actor and may sing the role better than Andrew Rannells.  But while Adams is by far a more appealing performer, Rannells has the edge in delivering perhaps the definitive Whizzer.  All in all, if you haven’t seen this show, it’s a perfect production and cast to catch when it comes to a city near you.

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Way back when, performers were often called stars of stage, screen, and television.  Well, throw in radio and that sums up Charles Busch to a T.  On several occasions, the divine Charles has appeared with LA Theatre Works, a group that has recorded well over 500 plays for posterity.  This week, he returns to record Die, Mommie, Die! for four performances May 17-19, and you can get tix on their website LATW.org.  He recently quipped, “I’ve played Angela Arden on film, stage and radio.  I just gotta figure out a way of bringing it to TV.”  There’s still time!

Falwell’s Pool Boy

Then there’s the story about Jerry Falwell Jr. and the pool boy.  So many questions.  Let’s start with the basics – who is Jerry Falwell Jr.?  Don’t confuse him with his father – co-founder of the Moral Majority (which is neither), a televangelist, and, if I’m not mistaken, stole the PTL Club right out from under Jim and Tammy Faye and then went down a water slide fully clothed.  This story isn’t about him.  This is about his spawn.  From what I’ve read, Junior is kinda like a smarter Donald Jr. – well, who isn’t?  In fact, Falwell was the first evangelical leader to endorse Trump.  Not only that, he actually compared Donald to Winston Churchill!  Oh, the humanity.

Back to the pool boy.  This story came out thanks to Tom Arnold.  Remember when Arnold was doing that TV show trying to discredit Trump?  Somehow he got a phone interview with the president’s lackey/patsy Michael Cohen, who admitted that someone was extorting money out of Falwell by using photos that would “typically be kept between husband and wife”.  Well, THAT got my attention.  The pics were allegedly being peddled to the more salacious press, but Cohen got them quashed – but not before saving one.  “I actually have one of the photos – it’s terrible,” says Cohen.  Why did he save one?  As a memento?  More likely, an insurance policy.

Shortly before Cohen was allegedly hired by the Falwells to take care of this mess, the religious couple was entangled with Giancarlo Granda, who is described as a former pool attendant at the Fontainebleau.  While the Falwells were staying at the swanky hotel, Junior “befriended” Granda – at least, that’s the word court documents use.  They were friendly enough for Falwell to give Giancarlo a $1.8 million loan!  That money was used to buy a Miami Beach “hostel” – an establishment which has been termed as “gay friendly”.  The timing has led people to speculate that the photos came from Granda in return for this “loan”.  Naturally, Granda’s lawyer firmly denies any connection between Granda and Cohen, or Granda and the photos in question.  The lawyer also asked the media to stop referring to his client as a “pool boy”.  He’d rather be known as a Georgetown University grad student.  And, apparently, owner of a “gay friendly” hostel in South Beach.

Miss Ross Cries #MeToo

I recently read headlines stating that Diane Ross had a run-in with TSA.  My initial thought was that this must be a summer rerun – remember those?  Didn’t this happen a while back?  So I searched the extensive archives on BillyMasters.com where I found every lurid detail from the September 1999 incident.  That one took place in London’s Heathrow Airport, when Ross objected to being patted down by security.  In retaliation, she reportedly grabbed the female officer’s breasts and said, “How do you like it?”  The officer liked it enough to detain her.

But, no, there’s a brand-new TSA incident.  We first heard about it via Ross’ Tweet: “OK so on one hand I’m treated like royalty in New Orleans and at the airport I was treated like shit.”  She followed that up by saying TSA was “over the top”.  “It’s not what was done but how.  I am feeling violated – I still feel her hands between my legs, front and back (saying to me ‘it her job’).  Really mixed emotions.  I always like to see the good things but not feeling good right now.”  Maybe it’s like Halley’s Comet – something that happens to Ross every 20 years.

LA Valley of the Dolls

I recently went to a special live benefit reading of Valley of the Dolls which starred Sheryl Lee Ralph as Helen Lawson and Wilson Cruz as Neely O’Hara.  To see Wilson pull off Deena Jones’ wig was heaven.  However, it was Alec Mapa who stole the show.  As Anne, he mimicked Barbara Parkins’ stilted line delivery to a T.  Rounding out the glamorous trio was Bruce Vilanch as Jennifer, who pined over “Tony” with all the music of a buxom Sharon Tate.  Marissa Jaret Winokur was great as Miss Steinberg, but it was her giggling at everything onstage which made me laugh out loud.  Gordon Thomson (from the original Dynasty) played Lyon with suave assurance.  Joan Van Ark was Miriam and told me, “What I really want to play is Helen Lawson – wasn’t Sheryl Lee incredible?”  A lithe Greg Louganis played Tony Polar, Tom Lenk was Mel, Mo Gaffney took on Mr. Bellamy, and Joely Fisher was the narrator.  The event benefited the LA LGBT Center and the Alcott Center for Mental Health Services.  And, naturally, I will run photos from the event on my website.

Hell Froze Over @90210

Someone returning to the fold is Shannen Doherty, who just signed on for the 90210 reboot!  Well, it’s not really a reboot.  It’s a semi-scripted reality show about the actors from the original 90210 coming together to try and put on a revival – and dealing with their real-life relationships along the way.  Needless to say, there is baggage to sift through (read: Shannen vs. Tori), so this may be fun.

Smollett’s Night Terrors

I’ve avoided it as long as I could – back to Jussie Smollett.  Do you want me to start with the good news or the bad news?  OK, the good news is that Jussie will no longer have to commute back and forth to Chicago – a city he’s not particularly welcomed in.  While FOX renewed Empire, there are no plans for Jussie to return to the show.  But it’s not all bleak for Smollett.  The network did extend his contract through next season – while also saying there are no plans for him to appear in any episodes.  Sigh, why can’t I get a job where someone pays me to stay home?

Lest you think Smollett’s troubles are behind him, a judge has subpoenaed prosecutor Kim Foxx in regard to how she handled the case – specifically, why she dropped all charges against Jussie (something we’re all wondering).  Meanwhile, the actor’s brother has revealed Jussie is having trouble sleeping due to “night terrors”.  You know what might help?  A brisk 2AM stroll to his local Subway sandwich shop!

Taking a break from all the Empire drama, creator Lee Daniels revealed some details about his gay superhero flick to CNN’s Van Jones.  “It’s true!  It’s called Superbitch.  I found him on Instagram of all places.  He does back flips and he has a cape and he does karate and, oh my God, he’s going to be a hero.  I’m not putting that much money behind it…a couple million dollars for a gay superhero movie is pretty f—king exciting.”  Jones replied, “With a name like Superbitch, you ain’t gotta promote it.”

Buttigieg Sex Scandal

 

“There’s a whole lot of sins that will keep you out of the Kingdom of God. 
Here’s just a sample: sexually immoral can’t get in; idolaters can’t get in;
adulterers can’t get in.  Men who practice homosexuality, and the term
that Paul uses there, he uses two different terms: one for the active participant,
and the other for the passive.  In the homosexual community,
one is called the bottom; the other is called the top.” 
  
– 
American Family Association radio host Bryan Fischer explains more over the free airwaves than
anyone teaches in Sex Ed.  Who knew the apostle Paul got specific about tops and bottoms?

As you know, I typically don’t get embroiled in the political arena.  But in my capacity as a television pundit (my latest appearance on The Take can be seen if you click here), I’ve been asked for my “take” on the Democratic candidates for president.  I may have predicted Miss Gillibrand would go low, but the story circulating about Pete Buttigieg is so low, it’s ludicrous.  In an inept attempt to smear Mayor Pete, a right-wing operative hired a Michigan college student to say he had been sexually assaulted by Buttigieg.  I hate to say “as if”, but AS IF!  The 21-year-old agreed when he was told the operative would buy him “any house I wanted” – an offer nobody has ever made me!  At the last moment, the kid felt that lying would “cost me the two most important things to me: honesty and integrity.”  See, this is why nobody has ever made this offer to moi!  Even before the fakery was revealed, some Republicans were skeptical.  “Not a fan of Mayor Pete but this whole thing seems shady as hell,” Tweeted Gregory T. Angelo, former head of the Log Cabin Republicans.  Thank God – some sanity!  And, while not germane to the story, might I just add that the 21-year-old in question is not what I’d call a looker – as you’ll see on my website.

Then evangelical Franklin Graham called upon Peter (which is apparently the name he prefers) to “repent”.  I’m sure Buttigieg was just as shocked when he heard Rick Santorum respond saying, “If he’s gonna say that about Pete Buttigieg, then he needs to when Donald Trump’s accusations come up about marital infidelity and other things that is [yes, he said “is”] equally sinful.  He should be equal and vociferous in calling out a similar sin.”  When asked if infidelity is the same kind of sin as homosexuality, Santorum said, “Well, that’s what the Christian religion teaches.  Both are violations of the traditional and sacred bonds of marriage, that outside of marriage is sinful behavior, yes.”

What’s In Noah’s CKs?

We started this column with a Noah, and now our Ask Billy question is about another.  Gary in Florida says, “What do you know about Noah Centineo?  I hear he’s got some nude videos out there.  Please find them.”

First I had to figure out who Noah Centineo is.  Apparently he was on the last three seasons of The Fosters.  He’s also modeled for Calvin Klein undies and is currently in the Netflix release The Perfect Date, which was originally developed as a Zac Efron project about 10 years ago.  As to the racy video, turns out there are two different clips of Noah pleasuring himself, which seems to me to be some of his best work – but I’m no expert.  It’s certainly an extensive piece of work, as you’ll see on BillyMasters.com.

 

Wendy’s Hubby’s BoyToy

I was wondering how long we’d have to wait for a gay angle on the Wendy Williams divorce story.  And now, one guy – R&B singer Aveon Falstar – says he was Mr. Wendy Williams’ boy toy.  In an interview (which you can watch on our website), Falstar claims that he had sex with Kevin Hunter on several occasions while signed to Hunter’s management company.  He claims that it started when he was staying at Hunter’s New Jersey townhouse.  He was on the bed asleep and naked.  Hunter came in and without provocation performed oral sex on him.  And apparently this was not an isolated encounter.  According to Aveon, they were naked in a sauna making out and performing oral sex on each other.  And then, according to Aveon, “We did each other in the butt.”  I should mention that Falstar is now married to a woman.  Of course, at the time of the incident, so was Hunter!  By the by, Aveon was also born a hermaphrodite, but we can only handle one story at a time.

Is Smollett In or Out?

Jussie Smollett.  Two months ago, the Empire actor was attacked by two Trump
supporters who turned out to be Nigerian weightlifters.  But then, Jussie was arrested
for working with them to fake a hate crime.  But then, the charges were dropped
for no reason.  And then, Jussie said the brothers really did attack him,
but they were in whiteface.  And now, the story’s starting to get weird…
I don’t know who’s writing The Jussie Smollett Story, but they deserve a raise.” 
  
– 
Trevor Noah’s take on the latest twists and turns in the Jussie Smollett’s story –
which we’ll cover later in this column.

On to Jussie Smollett.  Since I know you’re not watching Empire anymore, I can tell you that his character got married last week.  For these last two episodes of the season, he’ll be on his honeymoon.  While no official decision has been made about whether the show or Jussie will be back next season, his co-stars have banded together and issued a statement asking that Smollett be rehired.  “We understand the past months have been difficult to process – sometimes the headlines brought more confusion than clarity, yet we now have a conclusion to this ordeal.”  The letter continues: “Throughout Empire’s five seasons working with Jussie and watching how he has conducted himself throughout this traumatic event, we have come to know not just the character Jussie portrays, but also truly come to know Jussie’s personal character.  He is kind.  He is compassionate.  He is honest and above all he is filled with integrity.”  I dunno about all THAT!  The letter also says, “He is also innocent and no longer subject to legal uncertainty with the criminal charges against him having been dropped.  We are confident in his lawyer’s assurance that the case was dismissed because it would not have prevailed.”

Of course, Jussie’s legal problems are far from over.  The City of Chicago is suing him for the cost of the investigation.  And now those hot Nigerian brothers are suing Jussie’s lawyers in federal court for defamation.  They claim that Smollett paid them “a sum of money to stage the attack to benefit himself” and that he “directed every aspect of the attack, including the location and the noose.”  They’re suing the lawyers because they “made these comments knowing they were untrue to distract from Mr. Smollett’s farce and to promote themselves and the Geragos & Geragos Law Firm.  Statements indicating Plaintiffs criminally battered Mr. Smollett without his consent are patently false and defamatory, as Mr. Smollett originated, planned, and orchestrated the attack.” 

And then there’s a gay angle.  Around the time of the “attack”, one of the brothers spent the night at Jussie’s place.  Jussie is gay, and the brother (Abel) plays the stand-in for Jussie’s love interest – which led to some sex rumors.  In the suit, Abel (who suddenly goes by the name Bola) says that just a rumor of someone having gay sex could put their entire family at risk.  “Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Nigeria, which can result in 14 years of imprisonment.  If the accused is married, the punishment is death by stoning”.  Note to self – don’t do a layover in Nigeria!  Is it just me, or is Jussie’s life far more interesting than anything they’re writing on Empire?

More on Schock’s Cock

Last week, I told you all about disgraced former Representative Aaron Schock’s same-sex lip-lock at Coachella (video can be found on BillyMasters.com).  Along with the clip of him rummaging around in his dance partner’s shorts, there was also a photo of him with a group of very hot shirtless men.  We told you that two of the guys were a notable West Hollywood personal trainer and his boyfriend.  All I knew about the other couple was that they were wearing fanny packs.  They’ve now identified themselves as Will Rossi and Rob Massi, who use hashtags #gayboyfriends and #fitcouple.  Well, they are shocked that they’ve been dragged into this scandal.  “Will and I wanted to take a photo with our friends at Coachella, to celebrate our last day there.  Being polite, we allowed Aaron – who was basically a stranger to us and someone we just met – to include himself in our photo”. 

Of course, this isn’t some gigantic group photo.  It’s a photo of five hot shirtless guys.  And Schock, “basically a stranger”, is in the center.  When I take photos with a small gathering of friends, I rarely invite strangers to get in the center.  Well, there was that one time in Chicago…and he didn’t stay a stranger for long.  “We would not have allowed Aaron to join the photo, nor would we have associated with him if we had more knowledge of his beliefs and past actions.  For our own political ignorance, we are deeply sorry.”  From this part, it sounds like they barely knew the hot shirtless guy’s name at the time.  Not that I’m blaming them – it seems perfectly reasonable to moi.  They sum up by saying, “We hope Aaron does decide to come out publicly and live the gay life he so freely enjoyed at Coachella.”  Sounds like they may know more than they’re saying.

Provincetown Preview

Speaking of summer, I know many of my readers enjoy heading to Provincetown each year.  So, let me clue you in on some of the performers who are booked.  Since the Crown & Anchor got the jump on everyone, it’s a good place to start.  After all, the venerable complex truly wears the crown when it comes to Ptown – and entertainment is no different.  People like Lisa LampanelliSandra BernhardFran DrescherMargaret ChoLeslie JordanLorna LuftLinda LavinLucie Arnaz Jr will be headlining.  Seasonal performers like Thirsty BurlingtonPam Ann, and Dina Martina make the Crown sizzle all summer long.  Calendar and tickets can be found on OnlyAtTheCrown.com.

After some concerns last summer, the Provincetown Art House is back for another season.  Their headliners include Auntie Marilyn MayeSeth RudetskyJessie MuellerGavin CreelLiz CallawayFaith Prince, and Michael Cerveris, plus a special show by Debra Messing and Kathy Najimy – proving once and for all that they are not the same person.  Well-Strung is only there for a week, but resident performers include Judy GoldMiss Conception, and Varla Jean Merman.  Oh, and Steve Grand’s show is provocatively titled From Top to Bottom.  Let’s hope Mr. Grand finally shows us a bit of versatility this season.  Tix and deets at PtownArtHouse.com.

More Boys in the Band

Last summer, the 50th anniversary revival of The Boys in the Band was a hit on Broadway.  It broke box office records and recouped its investment, thanked in no small part to an all-star cast and expert direction by Joe Mantello.  The original cast made history by also appearing in the 1970 film version.  This revival will follow suit when it is made into a film, courtesy of Netflix (once again, produced by Ryan Murphy).  The entire ensemble – Jim ParsonsZachary QuintoMatt BomerAndrew RannellsTuc WatkinsCharlie CarverRobin de JesusMichael Benjamin Washington and Brian Hutchison – will spend their second summer together shooting this film in LA.  It’ll hit the air in early 2020.

Nick Kissed a Boy

Someone else shared a kiss with a guy and liked it.  Our favorite Bachelor is Nick Viall, who has been on the show about five times.  Sometimes he gets picked, sometimes he does the picking, sometimes he takes himself out of the running, but no matter the scenario, he always ends up alone.  Last week, he was on a podcast and revealed, “I made out with my first guy yesterday.  It was hot.”  When asked if he was nervous, he said, “I was a little bit.”  He also confirmed there was tongue.  And then added, “It moved” – in that Seinfeld way, letting us know he had at least some arousal.  No other details are available, but since he was filming for Funny or Die Productions, I assume we’ll all get to see it eventually.

Coachella Gets Schocked

Once again, everyone is talking about disgraced former Representative Aaron Schock.  Despite all outward appearances, Schock has never once said he’s gay.  In fact, while in office he supported several pieces of anti-gay legislation.  But politics is a complicated business and to have any power, you say what your constituents want to hear.  For instance, I know my fans want to hear me call out Schock for being a closet queen, but I won’t do it – no siree.  There’s always a chance he actually believes what he says.  Plus, there are gays who support Trump and are Republicans – so, what can I say about them?  Not much…unless they’re hot.

But, back to the item at hand.  Schock was photographed at Coachella in a group of five hot shirtless guys who have been described as “A-List Gays”, which sounds like a terrible show.  Two of the buffer bods belonged to openly gay WeHo trainer Keith Anthony and his boyfriend Tyler Tixier.  Does this mean they’re all friends?  Or do hot gay shirtless guys with single-digit body fat somehow find each other like homing pigeons…or bats?  Then a video was leaked which allegedly shows Schock dancing with and kissing another shirtless guy.  And, wait a minute – did Schock’s hands disappear into his partner’s pants?  I think it did.  I don’t know who the other guy is.  To be honest, from the poor lighting and awkward angle, I wouldn’t bet my life on the first guy being Schock.  What I can do is post the video (and the photos) on BillyMasters.com and you can decide for yourself.

I would hope it’s abundantly clear that I am no expert on Coachella.  The last time I was in Palm Springs was for Carol Channing’s memorial service, and I was one of the youngest people there.  At Coachella, I’d likely be one of the oldest.  You can keep the hip crowd.  I prefer the hip-replacement crowd – they can’t run as fast!

Billy, Biden & Camilla

Let’s start with a clarification.  On a recent appearance on NECN’s The Take, I did not mean to imply that Joe Biden’s running mate should be Camilla Parker-Bowles.  Channeling my inner Joan Rivers, I explained, “CamillaKamala – whatever!”  You can see the full interview on NECN.com or at BillyMasters.com.

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When we’re already looking forward to the summer, it’s definitely time to end yet another column.  Did I mention that New England Cable News dubbed me The Gossip King?  So, my loyal subjects, check out www.BillyMasters.com – the site where you needn’t stand on ceremony.  In fact, I always have time for my fans.  Reach out and touch me at Billy@BillyMasters.com, and I promise to get back to you before Schock gets his hands out of my pants!  Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

The Pope’s Pee Pee

Our Ask Billy question comes from Henry in Chicago: “I just saw some photos of Jude Law in a white Speedo.  Are they recent?  Damn, he still looks hot.”

Thank you for bringing this up.  This past year, Jude Law filmed The New Pope – which is a sequel to the 2017 HBO series called The Young Pope.  At the end of that limited series, Law’s character appeared to have a stroke and died.  But I guess not – at least judging from the numerous photos we’ve snagged of him in a mighty skimpy Speedo.  You’ll think you died and went to heaven when you see the pics on BillyMasters.com.

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When Popes are strutting in see-through Speedos, it’s time to end yet another column.  So, did I piss off enough people?  Liberals, conservatives, daytime talk fans, and the pious?  Check, check, check, and check!  That’s what we do here at www.BillyMasters.com – even on the brink of Easter/Passover.  If you have a question, send it to Billy@BillyMasters.com, and I promise to get back to you before I round third (preferably with Jude Law).  So, until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

Runaway Neverland Train

The media has poked some holes in allegations presented in Leaving Neverland.  The biggest issue surrounds two of James Safechuck’s claims.  First, he said that the sexual abuse stopped when he was 14 – implying Jackson was only interested in pre-pubescent boys.  He also says that they had sex in a room above the Neverland train station.  But he turned 14 in 1992, and the train station wasn’t built until 1994.  Oops!  Another wrinkle is that Jackson spent most of 1994 living in NYC’s Trump Tower.  Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed pushed back, saying there was no proof when the train station was built – until he was presented with proof.  Reed then Tweeted, “Yeah there seems to be no doubt about the station date.  The date they have wrong is the end of the abuse.”  You mean, the date Safechuck claimed the abuse ended?  Which also would change the whole hypothesis of the doc?  I realize that one discrepancy doesn’t mean the rest didn’t happen, but it does throw everything into question.

Ring Around Wendy

Then there’s Wendy Williams.  After weeks, months, years of speculation, Wendy has filed for divorce from Kevin Hunter.  It seems like forever that the press has been reporting that he has a mistress.  But I suppose it all got real when that other woman got pregnant!  Not coincidentally, that’s when Wendy went MIA from her talk show and ended up in a sober house.  But even then, she put the kibosh on speculation that the couple was splitting up.  She’d point to her wedding band and say, “Don’t ask me about mine until you see this gone – and it ain’t going anywhere.  Not in this lifetime.”  Apparently a lifetime is roughly a month – that band of gold is now gone.  This ain’t Kevin’s first time cheating.  Wendy previously revealed he had an affair when she was pregnant with Kevin Jr.  In her 2001 memoir Wendy’s Got the Heat, she talked about what it would take to make her walk away from the marriage.  “The only thing that would make me walk out for good is if he lied about anything – if he was in love, if she was just as successful at what she does as I am in my career, if she had his baby.”  To be continued, I’m sure.

Sara’s Out

Daytime drama is not limited to The View.  Sara Gilbert just announced that she will be leaving The Talk.  Although she created the show, she was barely comfortable being on the panel, let alone hosting.  But with the abrupt departure of Mrs. Moonves, she stepped up and has proven to be an effective leader.  However, it was never an effortless fit.  The workload has gotten to her, and she feels the need to cut back – leaving an inconsolable Sharon Osbourne (as the sole remaining original co-host) also contemplating jumping ship.  So, when people call The View a train wreck, remember it has survived for 22 years.  The Talk is just ending its ninth.

What a year it’s been for Gilbert.  In two instances, she was forced to step into shoes somewhat larger than her own.  As we said, she helmed The Talk.  At the same time, she produced the reboot of Roseanne.  And, with Barr’s departure, her character became the focal point of The Conners.  That show was just renewed, but not everyone is happy.  And by “not everyone”, we mean Roseanne.  Although Barr’s Tweet is what led to her premature ejection, she puts much of the blame on Gilbert chiming in and saying the views in her Tweet were “abhorrent and do not reflect the beliefs of our cast and crew or anyone associated with our show.”  According to Roseanne, “She destroyed the show and my life with that tweet.  She will never get enough until she consumes my liver with a fine Chianti.”  In response, Sara said this: “While I’m extremely disappointed and heartbroken over the dissolution of the original show, she will always be family, and I will always love Roseanne.”  Sad, sad, sad.

Rock, Paper, Pence

I was flabbergasted when I read that Karen Pence – Mike Pence’s handsome wife – felt that openly gay presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg was bringing up her husband for publicity.  She took issue with Mayor Pete mentioning Pence’s support for conversion therapy.  The specific quote which set her off was this: “That’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand, that if you have a problem with who I am, your quarrel is not with me.  Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”  Mrs. Pence and her daughter Charlotte were promoting that precious little bunny book on Brian Kilmeade’s radio program.  Karen said, “It’s kind of funny because I don’t think the vice president does have a problem with him.  But I think it’s helping Pete to get some notoriety.”

In case you don’t know, prior to becoming vice president, Pence was the governor of Indiana, and Buttigieg is mayor of South Bend.  It should be noted that Pence never specifically attacked Mayor Pete – just like it should be noted that Mayor Pete didn’t call out Mr. Pence; he called out “the Mike Pences of the world”.  But Mrs. Pence might actually be onto something.  Pete Buttigieg is currently polling third in New Hampshire – behind Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, who hasn’t even declared his candidacy.

Grindr’s For Sale

Do you have a spare $100 million?  If so, you could buy Grindr.  Yes, the popular “gay dating” app is for sale – and not necessarily by choice.  The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has ruled that the ownership of the California-based app by a Chinese gaming company is a security risk.  Apparently, the government is concerned that the personal data of users could be compromised.

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When I’m the only one who hasn’t been compromised on Grindr, it’s time to end yet another column.  If you’re looking for online fun where the risks are minimal, check out www.BillyMasters.com – the site that always plays safe.  If you have a question for me, send it along to Billy@BillyMasters.com, and I promise to get back to you before China offers me millions for my website!  Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

Impromptu Nanny Reunion

Speaking of our favorite Nanny, I caught up with Fran last week at the opening of Renée Taylor’s one-woman show My Life on a Diet at the Wallis Annenberg Center in Beverly Hills.  Fran (accompanied by her dashing ex-hubby Peter Marc Jacobson) enthusiastically talked about her upcoming return to sitcom television.  A pilot of Uninsured was ordered by NBC, and the cast just had their first table read.  “And everyone is so nice,” gushed Fran.  “If it’s not going to be fun, why bother?”  And she sure knows about fun – Drescher has been on the road lately performing her own show, Schmoozing with Fran Drescher.  She spends half of the show onstage alone telling stories.  And then, Peter comes out to interview her and also take questions from the audience.  I have heard the show has been a smash hit on the road – so much so that she’s gonna be at Town Hall in Provincetown this summer, courtesy of Rick Murray and The Crown & Anchor.  You can grab tickets for the August 10th show at OnlyAtTheCrown.com.

Back to Renée Taylor.  Quite simply, she’s a national treasure.  What a lady!  The 86-year-old effortlessly weaves her way through a lifetime of struggles with her weight – which mirrored many of the other struggles in her life and career.  Ironically, once she accepted herself, fame, fortune and love arrived at roughly the same time.  There’s a lesson in there somewhere.  The love Taylor has for the audience was reciprocated by the capacity audience, led by Drescher and other members of The Nanny cast.  Also in the crowd were veteran actors Hal Linden and Barbara Eden, who recently appeared together in Love Letters.  My Life on a Diet is in the midst of a national tour.  It plays here in Beverly Hills until April 14th.  For more dates and info, check out MyLifeOnADietPlay.com.  And, of course, I’ll run photos from the opening on BillyMasters.com.

Chicago Sues Smollett

In a more recent scandal, Jussie Smollett’s troubles are far from over.  The Mayor Rahm Emanuel made good on his promise to sue the actor for $130,000.  “Mr. Smollett has refused to reimburse the City of Chicago for the cost of police overtime spent investigating his false police report on January 29, 2019.  The Law Department is now drafting a civil complaint that will be filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County.  Once it is filed, the Law Department will send a courtesy copy of the complaint to Mr. Smollett’s LA based legal team.”  For his part, Smollett has gotten more brazen and is sinking his heels in deeper to defend his innocence.  He had his legal eagle Mark Geragos draft a letter, stating that his client “would not be intimidated”.  He then threatened to call Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to testify – something I don’t believe either of them would mind.  We’re not sure if Jussie would be quite so eager, since Geragos ends his statement by saying, “Mr. Smollett’s preference remains, however, that this matter be closed and that he be allowed to move on with his life.”  My preference would be that I be allowed to sleep with Jussie’s Empire brothers, but that ain’t happening either!

Classic Hasselbeck Meltown

If you’re anything like me (and I believe many of you are), you have been waiting with bated breath for the tell-all book about The View.  Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View could only have been written by a gay man.  That gay man, Ramin Setoodeh, had unprecedented access to virtually every member of the talk show – both behind and in front of the camera.  He had previously written various pieces for VarietyVanity Fair and other publications.  Once the book was announced, virtually everyone was willing to go on the record – the only holdouts of note were Whoopi Goldberg and Elisabeth Hasselbeck.  Even to someone like me who has had more access than most to the inner workings of ABC’s venerable daytime drama, much of this was news.  Quotes by Barbara Walters herself, executive producer Bill Geddie, and others will shock and titillate you. 

One of the biggest scandals recounted in the book stems from the time after Meredith had left, Star had been fired, and Rosie had yet to début as moderator (although she was backstage).  On the panel with Barbara that day were Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and guest host Lisa Loeb.  The prime Hot Topic was that the morning-after pill had been approved by the FDA.  Hasselbeck made it clear in the pre-show meeting that she was passionately against the pill.  Alas, her passion was a bit out of control.  Lizzie got more vitriolic than Walters was comfortable with, and the grande dame attempted several times to calm things down.  Finally, Walters scolded, “Could you stop now?  We have to go on and we have to learn how to discuss these things in some sort of rational way.”

The show went to commercial, Elisabeth quickly left the set and first erupted to Behar – forgetting, of course, that they all still had their mikes on.  “Fuck that!  I’m not going to sit there and get reprimanded on the air!”  Joy attempted to calm her down, but Elisabeth kept complaining about “that woman”, and stormed off to her dressing room saying she quit.  Meanwhile, a producer told Barbara (who was also still miked) that Elisabeth wouldn’t come back on the air.  “She has to!  Bill, she has to.  This is why we shouldn’t have done this discussion.”  Then Behar came back and confirmed the news.  Barbara’s response?  “Well, that’s ridiculous.”  Geddie darted downstairs to Hasselbeck’s dressing room to avert a disaster – bear in mind, it’s only a three-minute commercial break.  He does some fast talking, lying, cajoling, and gets her to return – with Barbara alternately apologizing and defending herself.  In case anyone doubts the veracity of this combustible scene, turns out that “someone” made a copy of the audio from everyone’s mikes in the sound booth.  To hear it all transpire in real time, check out BillyMasters.com.

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