Category Archives: Breaking

Lambert’s New Beau

I get oodles of Ask Billy question each week.  Although I answer each and every one, sometimes they aren’t fit for print.  And sometimes I simply don’t have an answer.  Those unanswered letters sit in a pile and haunt me, awaiting the perfect reply.  After waiting a month, Gary in Detroit is finally getting his answer: “Who was Adam Lambert’s hot date at the Oscars?  Young, curly hair, cute.  Lots of pics online but no one named him.”

And that’s because nobody had his name…until now.  The boyfriend in question is 24-year-old model/customer service rep Javi Costa Polo from Mallorca, Spain, but currently living here in the States.  When someone asked if they were finally official, Lambert quipped, “Honey, we have been official for months.  IG isn’t the gatekeeper of our truth!”  Since they’ve gone public, we’ve got photos of them – together and separately – on BillyMasters.com.

EH Prays the Gay Away

We all know there was tension when Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Rosie O’Donnell were both co-hosts on The View.  But was it sexual?  In the upcoming Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View by our very own Ramin Setoodeh, Ro reveals the depth of her crush.  “I loved her,” she says.  Joy Behar pipes in, “I think there were underlying lesbian undertones on both parts.”  Both parts – hmm.  Rosie adds, “I think this is something that will hurt her if you write it.  She was the MVP of a Division 1 softball team for two years that won the finals.  There are not many, in my life, girls with such athletic talent on sports teams that are traditionally male that aren’t at least a little bit gay.”  Getting back to her feelings, O’Donnell clarifies, “There was a little bit of a crush.  But not that I wanted to kiss her.  I want to support, raise, elevate her, like she was the freshman star shortstop and I was the captain of the team…but it was in no way sexualized.” 

Needless to say, these revelations make Lizzie very uncomfortable.  “The truth is, what she said, if you took her words and replaced ‘Rosie’ for ‘Ronald’, there would be an objectification of women in the workplace.  So that’s disturbing and it’s wrong.  Whether you’re a man or whether you’re a woman, and you’re objectifying women in the workplace, it’s wrong.”  Have I missed a memo?  I think there’s a difference between “objectifying” and “having a crush” – especially one which isn’t acted upon.  What Hasselbeck did when she heard this news is also telling.  “I’ll be very honest.  I read it and I immediately started praying.  Because I’m like, ‘How am I going to handle this?’”  So, lemme get this straight – Hasselbeck actually attempted to pray the gay away?

Since Elisabeth was writing her own book, she is not included in the View tell-all.  To the best of my knowledge, every co-host participated except for Hasselbeck and Jenny McCarthy.  There are loads of juicy stories in the book…but we’ll get to those another time.  And most of them involve BW…but don’t tell her (well, first you’d have to tell her that she’s BW!).

Papal Snatch Back

The Pope is suddenly against people kissing his ring – a tradition that dates back centuries.  The Pontiff feels the practice is “non-hygienic” – ‘cause Heaven knows where that ring’s been.  Call me old-fashioned, but I like a bit of theatricality with my religion.  And I’ve never heard a Catholic priest turn down anything oral!  But you know what I also like?  A sassy Pope!  Have you seen recent videos of the Pope’s meet-and-greets?  Well, I’m sure that’s not what the Vatican calls ‘em, but people line up to meet the Pope, he extends his hand, they lean in to kiss the ring, and BANG – he snatches it back with a smile which seems to say, “Gotcha!”  I’m all about a Papal snatch-back!

Smollett Gets Off

“’I’ve been getting in shape for tonight with the Jussie Smollett workout.  You hire two
trainers and sweat for eight weeks.  It wipes out all your belly fat…and credibility.” 
  
– 
Sean Hayes begins his acceptance speech at the GLAAD Awards.

With the stroke of a pen, Jussie Smollett’s troubles came to an end – at least legally.  All 16 criminal charges against him were dropped.  But that doesn’t mean he isn’t guilty – according to the guy who dropped the charges!  Joseph Magats, First Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney, says, “I do not believe he is innocent.  We stand behind the Chicago Police Department’s investigation and our decision to approve charges in this case.  We did not exonerate Mr. Smollett.  The charges were dropped in return for Mr. Smollett’s agreement to do community service and forfeit his $10,000 bond to the City of Chicago.  Without the completion of these terms, the charges would not have been dropped.  This outcome was met under the same criteria that would occur for and is available to any defendant with similar circumstances.”  Except, of course, the court records were sealed – something which likely would not have happened to “any defendant” unless their “similar circumstances” were deep pockets, celebrity, and lawyer Mark Geragos.  This may not have been a “plea deal”, but make no mistake – it was most certainly a deal.

Ironically, it’s not even a deal anyone is happy about.  Let’s start with the City of Chicago, which has sent a letter to Smollett’s attorney along with a bill for $130,000 to cover the costs of the investigation.  The letter implies prosecution should the bill be ignored.  The letter was initiated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.  The next person unhappy with the deal may surprise you – Smollett himself!  His lawyer released a statement: “It is the Mayor and the Police Chief who owe Jussie an apology for dragging an innocent man’s character through the mud.  Jussie has paid enough.”  In fact, he believes he paid more than enough.  Smollett’s attorney has indicated that he’s considering suing the City of Chicago.  So, he’s lucky and stupid!  But you know the biggest surprise?  Donald The Art of the Deal Trump is unhappy with the deal Jussie got!  “FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago.  It is an embarrassment to our Nation.”  Do you realize how fucked you are when Donald Trump considers you an embarrassment?  Sadly, it’s also the first thing Trump has been right about.

I know what you’re all thinking – what about those hot Nigerian brothers?  Jussie’s lawyer reiterated that he paid them for “nutrition and physical training”.  As to what happens to them, I’m guessing nothing.  They cooperated with the authorities and provided them with the evidence in that sealed case file.  So while they are free, my hunch is you won’t see them hanging around the set of Empire.  But I have two words of advice for them – gay porn.

Beau Shows Off

Our Ask Billy question is a response to last week’s column.  Kevin in Baltimore writes, “Thanks for the JO video of Tyler Posey.  But I think his [Now Apocalypse] co-star Beau Mirchoff is even hotter.  Didn’t you once have a video of him?”

You’re right – I completely forgot about that!  Last July, I told you about Beau – best known from Desperate Housewives and Awkward.  Apparently, he indulged in several online masturbation scenes, which some unknown paramour leaked.  But, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth – especially since Beau resembles another part of the horse.  See for yourself on BillyMasters.com.

colorbar1When we’re wrapping things up with a Beau, it’s time to end yet another column.  Here’s one little tidbit that I got out of Barbra’s interview which I never knew before – Streisand turned down Michael Jackson’s request to record a duet!  Those are the little things you’ll discover when you check out www.BillyMasters.com – site that also delivers such big things.  For your burning questions, write to me at Billy@BillyMasters.com, and I promise to get back to you before Babs records her own version of “Bad”. Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

So Long Dearie

I just returned from Palm Springs where I attended Remembering Carol: A Tribute to Carol Channing.  This was a bittersweet event – but happily far more sweet than bitter.  The bitter, of course, is that our beloved Carol is no longer with us.  But, my God, the room was filled with such love and warmth that it was truly as if she never left.  It was certainly not lost on me that it took a dozen luminaries to create a feeling Channing could do simply by walking into a room.  Those gathered shared songs and stories about someone who was truly unique.  People like Carole CookLily TomlinTyne DalyRuta LeeDavis Gaines, and Kristin Chenoweth.  Despite the star power in that theatre, there was only one way to end the celebration – with a video of Carol herself singing the eleven o’clock number from Hello, Dolly!.  To our beloved Carol – so long dearie.

Gruber and Frying Pan

Remember Nick Gruber?  He was the former “model” (he said euphemistically) who was once the paramour of Calvin Klein.  Then he tried to get a reality show with some other “winner” (ditto).  Last week, he found himself in court for – get ready for it – beating up someone with a frying pan.  On September 3, 2018, Nick allegedly hit an unnamed man with a frying pan and refused to allow him to leave an apartment on East 76th Street in NYC which belonged to co-defendant, Brandon Steele.  According to court documents, “The victim was treated at Lenox Hill Hospital for several broken bones to the back, as well as a nearly severed ear and injuries to the orbital bone that could, potentially, affect vision.”  Nick has been charged with second-degree assault and unlawful imprisonment – which you may recall is what Boy George was charged with after he handcuffed that hooker to a bed. 

Why is an incident that happened over six months ago in the news?  Because on March 5, 2019, Gruber allegedly broke into an apartment in the same building and stole a bag of methamphetamines!  However, Nick says he was subletting the apartment – except the super didn’t know him (but, may I say in his defense, been there, done that).  Gruber is out on $5K bail and due back in court on April 4th.  By the way, a photographer from the New York Post wanted to take his picture in court.  Nick’s only concern was, “How does my hair look?”  Priorities.

Streisand on Jackson

“’It didn’t kill them’  @BarbraStreisand did you really say that?!”   
– 
Dan Reed, director of Leaving Neverland, responding to Streisand’s comments on the documenta

I look high and low for a quote to kick off each column.  This week, it came courtesy of Miss Barbra Streisand.  However, it also requires a bit more discussion.  In an interview with The Times of London, she talked about the documentary Leaving Neverland.  Babs says she believes James Safechuck and Wade Robson.  When asked her feelings about Michael Jackson, she said, “It’s a combination of feelings.  I feel bad for the children.  I feel bad for him.  I blame, I guess, the parents, who would allow their children to sleep with him.  Why would Michael need these little children dressed like him and in the shows and the dancing and the hats?”  I think what they were wearing is less germane to the scenario than what they weren’t, but I see where she’s going.  Alas, then she got herself into trouble: “His sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has.  You can say ‘molested’, but those children, as you heard say, they were thrilled to be there.  They both married and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them.”  There’s that sympathetic Babs we know and love.

Needless to say, this led to quite a bit of outrage.  Streisand attempted to clarify with a statement: “To be crystal clear, there is no situation or circumstance where it is OK for the innocence of children to be taken advantage of by anyone.  The stories these two young men shared were painful to hear, and I feel nothing but sympathy for them.  The single most important role of being a parent is to protect their children.  It’s clear that the parents of these two young men were also victimized and seduced by fame and fantasy.” 

Then Miss Ross got involved.  She Tweeted, “This is what’s on my heart this morning.  I believe and trust that Michael Jackson was and is a magnificent incredible force to me and to many others.  STOP IN THE NAME OF LOVE.”  There’s that sympathetic Diane we know and love.  But, riddle me this – would she have let Michael babysit her two sons?  Well, if the sons were nine years old, white and blond?

Pocket Full of Posey

Not to be outdone, Tyler Posey is enjoying Starz’s Now Apocalypse.  Once again, he’s batting for our team.  “I was excited to play a gay character, because I’m really comfortable with my sexuality.”  How comfortable?  “As soon as I committed to the project, I was all in.  I’m shoving my tongue down some dude’s throat, and I don’t know how much else I can say, but we jerked off in the alley in the first episode.  Bring it on.”

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This leads to a very quick Ask Billy question from Morris in NYC: “Tyler Posey is SO hot on Now Apocalypse.  I really wanna see his dick.  I bet he’s packin’.  Has he done a nude scene?”

Not officially.  But, of course, we do have photos of his dick.  We’ve even got a video of it in action – courtesy of an online chat he had where he pleasured himself to climax.  You can do the same on BillyMasters.com.

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When we’re bringing you a pocket full of Posey, it’s time to end yet another column.  You can find all this and more on www.BillyMasters.com – the site that always delivers the starz.  If you’ve got a question, send it along to Billy@BillyMasters.com, and I promise to get back to you before someone uses the Lou Pearlman documentary as their Magic Mike audition tape.  So, until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

The Lou Pearlman Story

Lance Bass produced a documentary called The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story.  The doc features many members of bands led by the shamed, jailed, and now deceased impresario.  But one name is conspicuously absent.  For years it’s been rumored that Nick Carter got the lion’s share of “attention” from Lou – attention which is said to have scarred him.  He skipped this project, so we won’t hear his story.  We’ll have to settle for Ashley Parker Angel from O-Town, who is best known for long, luxurious footage filmed in the shower – kinda like that previously virginal bachelor.  We’re told Lou had all the unedited footage squirreled away for his own “use”. 

There is a Carter who is in the flick – Aaron Carter.  It’s said that Lou focused on him once Nick started growing pubes.  And, of course, Aaron ain’t one to turn down publicity.  In fact, he posted a photo of himself recently with the following caption: “I think I look fucking great!”  Check him out on our website and decide for yourself.

If Aaron thinks he looks so freaking good, I’ve got a job for him – The Magic Mike Musical is currently holding auditions for men 18-30 “in excellent physical shape”.  They are accepting video submissions that include “a brief pop/rock song not longer than one minute in length that shows off range” (sorry, Aaron) and “a brief contemporary or hip-hop dance clip no longer than two minutes in length that shows off athleticism, technique, and any specialty skills (gymnastics, tumbling, etc.).  No nudity.”  To think I was about to volunteer my services to screen the videos.  You had me, then you lost me.

Saint Patrick’s Pow Wow

Vice President Mike Pence invited the Irish Prime Minister to his home for a Saint Patrick’s Day brunch.  Nothing strange about that – except the Irish Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, is gay and brought his male partner.  And, of course, Pence has supported conversion therapy.  Maybe it was all a plot – get the Irish gays drunk on beer, corned beef and cabbage, and then try to convert them with Mrs. Pence in a seductive flannel teddy.  If that was the plan, it failed miserably.  Turns out, Pence and Varadkar met last year, and the VP invited Leo and his partner to visit.  So that’s what they did.  Varadkar made a speech about how the world has changed since he was young.  “I stand here leader of my country, flawed and human, but judged by my political actions and not my sexual orientation, my skin tone, gender, or religious beliefs.  And I don’t believe my country is the only one in the world where this story is possible.  It is found in every country where freedom and liberty are cherished.  We are, after all, all God’s children.”  And that, kiddies, is how you do it.  If you end with a bit about God, what’s Pence gonna say?

College Admissions Scam

I’m terribly disappointed in Felicity Huffman when it comes to this whole college admissions scandal.  Frankly, I expected more from her.  But since I’m capable of having two contradictory thoughts at the same time, I must also admit that I feel bad for her.  Yes, she did something wrong.  But how can you lump in Huffman’s $15K payment to bump up her daughter’s SAT scores with parents who paid half a MILLION dollars to get their daughters into college?  I have absolutely no respect for Lori Loughlin and designer Mossimo Giannulli – and that was even before this scandal broke.  And before I saw those videos of her bitch daughter who I suspect has done many things with an oar that didn’t include sculling.  But really, Feds?  You send a SWAT team to Felicity’s house at dawn in bulletproof vests to bring her in like she’s El Chapo, while Loughlin blithely flies in from her latest/last Hallmark set in Canada?  Oh, the humanity!  I’m rooting for Felicity to just pay a fine and be done with this.  But Loughlin and Moss should be locked up and forced to watch When Calls the Heart on an endless loop.

Still Laugh-In

Last week, I went to a gala evening at the Dolby Theatre celebrating the 50th anniversary of Laugh-In.  For Still Laugh-In: The Stars CelebrateNetflix hoped to assemble the remaining living cast members.  They were one short – no Goldie (for reasons well known to them, or so I’m told).  In the role of Goldie Hawn we got Miss Loni Anderson (no, not in a bikini).  Happily, we did have Lily Tomlin (who did two new Ernestine and Edith Ann sketches – both of which were pre-taped), Jo Anne Worley (who was chewing up the scenery) and Ruth Buzzi (who currently bears a striking resemblance to Ruth Bader Ginsberg).  The event was hosted by Tiffany Haddish and self-proclaimed sword swallower, Neil Patrick Harris.  Guest stars included Jay LenoBilly CrystalBill MaherChelsea HandlerCheri Oteri, and a bunch of others who I must say neither Bruce Vilanch nor I could place.  The low point was a musical number by the two Ritas – Moreno and Wilson.  And we had to sit through it twice.  I loves me some Moreno, but this was not good.  The spunky Latina made sure to let the audience know it wasn’t her fault.  “I’m not taking the blame for this shit – we’ve been sitting back there in the freezing cold for two hours!”

The evening ran very long and towards the end, people were leaving.  At one point, I was pulled from my seat and asked to sit in the front row next to Norman Lear – talk about television royalty!  Two seats over was Laugh-In creator, George Schlatter – who recognized me and said hi.  All I kept thinking was, FINALLY I’m the young one!  Then Norman leaned over to George and said, “Can you believe we created being funny on television?”  George said, “Yeah, and they’re KILLING it!  But we can fix it in post!”  Priceless.  The special will air later this season.

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Mad About Mean Gays

If you’re a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race, you’ll wanna catch Peaches Christ’s touring production of Mean Gays!  The outrageous parody features a cavalcade of stars, including Kim ChiWillamPeaches and Laganja Estranja.  The capacity crowd at LA’s Montalban Theatre could not have been more enthusiastic – especially with the surprise appearance of Daniel Franzese, who was in the film Mean Girls.  I eagerly await their next endeavor – a mash-up of First Wives Club and Fight Club called First Wives Fight Club.  For dates and tix, check out PeachesChrist.com.

At long last Mad About You is returning to TV, although it’s not gonna be on a channel anyone’s ever heard of.  The reboot has been picked up by Spectrum, which used to be Time Warner Cable.  I know what you’re wondering – is it gonna be on public access?  Nope.  This new channel is called Spectrum Originals, which you can get if you have Spectrum, or you can pay to see it online.  Who knows how this will work.  I’m told that the limited series will have no commercials, it picks up Paul and Jamie as empty nesters, and Helen Hunt will direct the first episode (she directed the finale to the original sitcom).  Look for it to debut next season.

RIP Luke Perry

Now we move onto the tragic news about Luke Perry.  52 years old, in good health, massive stroke, medically induced coma, and then dead.  Having just crossed the half-a-century mark, this story hits a bit too close to home.  But here’s something I didn’t know – he had his stroke while waiting to be picked up to go to the memorial service of Young and the Restless actor Kristoff St. John…who also died at 52.  Talk about eerie.  All sorts of lovely stories about Luke have come out.  Ian Ziering reminisced about when he and wife Erin were shooting maternity pictures in their backyard.  Luke showed up with tools and supplies – he decided Ian needed a fenced-in area to keep the imminent arrival safe.  The other story which tugged at my heartstrings was when Perry gave his son’s dinosaur blanket to Jarrod Emick when he had a baby boy.  It came with a card: “Walker – Welcome to the world.  Good to have you aboard.  This blanket belonged to my son when he was your age.  It kept him warm many nights, and all of these dinosaurs are friendly and will protect you.  Mom & Dad – I wish you all the very best.  Now your life has really started.  Best wishes always, Luke.”  I think that pretty much sums up the kinda guy he was.

Loving Neverland

One of the statistics I have cited lo these two-plus decades is that most men have their first sexual experience with other men.  I realize this is not particularly scandalous to the men reading this column.  But we are talking all men – straight and gay alike.  Before you go all Corey Feldman on me, the term “sexual experience” often refers to a “circle jerk”, which figures into so many art films in my collection.  This came back to me when I read about the proliferation of jerk-off clubs targeting straight men.  Before you rush off to buy a membership, it should be noted that these clubs have strict policies against any oral or anal interaction, and one must keep one’s hands to oneself.  Kinda takes all the fun out of it.

This inevitably leads to a discussion about Leaving Neverland.  I can’t imagine anything in there shocked or even surprised my readers.  Learning that Michael taught these boys how to masturbate fits into the aforementioned statistic.  But the similarity ends there.  Beyond all that sex stuff – which I believed – these boys (now men) truly loved Michael Jackson.  What troubles most people about this – aside from, of course, the idea of falling in love with one’s abuser – is that these men identify themselves as heterosexual.  Not only heterosexual, but married with children.  I have had numerous discussions with people who cannot comprehend how any of this is possible.  But what this doc hammered home was how it is possible to have two completely contradictory feelings at the same time.  Kudos to Oprah’s after-show for focusing primarily on Wade and Jimmy’s emotional turmoil.  Again, putting the sex aside, these boys who had no romantic experience fell totally in love with Michael and saw themselves tossed aside when the latest Culkin came down the pike.  I know how I feel when someone stops returning my calls, or simply moves on.  I can’t imagine what someone their age felt like.  I suspect this emotional upheaval is what has caused the most psychological damage, and I feel for them…but not in that JO club kinda way.

Kiddie Pageant Celebration

Now that awards season is over, I can get back to my normal life – and part of that normal life is going to theatre.  The Celebration Theatre is one of my favorite places – it brought us Naked Boys Singing, so that’s gotta count for something.  The first show of the season is Born to Win, written by Matthew Wilkas (that’s Mrs. Gus Kenworthy to you) and Mark Setlock and starring Wilkas and Drew Droege.  It’s a spoof on the cutthroat world of kiddie beauty pageants, a subject rife for parody.  The play milks the premise with over-the-top performances, clever staging, and actors playing numerous roles.  Don’t even get me started on how they handle the kiddie aspect without actually having kids (for the most part).  Are there holes in the show?  Absolutely – if you think about it, the entire conceit falls apart, which is unfortunate because these problems could have been solved in the writing.  As to the cast, Drew Droege can do virtually anything.  Here he is utilized exceptionally well and gives a performance worthy of Charles Busch (whose plays he often stars in).  Mr. Wilkas – well, he sure is purty.  And he’s a good actor.  Is parody or farce his strong suit?  Well…he sure is purty.  The play runs through March 31st, and I heartily recommend it.  At 90 minutes and $25 for tickets, what’s not to like?  Grab those tix at CelebrationTheatre.com.

A Gay Morman Cougar

A gay popped up in the strangest place – at a Brigham Young University football game!  Charlie Bird is not a football player – he’s the team’s mascot.  Or, rather, he was – from 2015 to 2018.  He says, “I never planned on coming out as Cosmo the Cougar.  I never dreamed I would one day have enough courage to come out publicly as gay.  Today I did both in an article with Deseret News.  I hope that by some of my experiences I can help start conversations that increase empathy and understanding between the LGBTQ community and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Even more important, I wish to give hope to other people in my situation that may feel isolated and alone.  Please check out the article and let me know what you think.  Huge shout out to my teammates, coach, and BYU athletics for their love and support.  I will forever bleed blue.”  Which leads to the obvious question – what do you call a gay cougar?  I think chicken hawk will suffice.

Mirren Wants Some Mamoas

Lots of people were drooling over Jason Momoa at the Oscars – including the positively lactating Dame Helen Mirren.  And you know what would go well with some powdered milk?  Girl Scout cookies.  And this gave little Charlotte Holmberg from Colorado an idea.  The ingenious ingénue did a bit of Photoshopping and turned her beloved Samoas into Momoas adorned with Jason’s shirtless torso.  Suddenly, her cookies were selling like hot cakes…which I realize is a mixed metaphor, but that’s how it goes sometimes.  Her best customers were other girls in her class – who likely have posters of unicorns adorning their bedroom walls.  When asked about the situation, Jason said, “I love Girl Scout cookies.  I was, like, waiting to get some free ones.  I’d love some.”  He better get them quickly.  A spokesperson for the Scouts backpedaled and said not many were sold and packaging was confined to a “limited number…for friends and family.”  Yeah, right.  For legal reasons, I’m sure.

Marx/Jonas Connection

I recently watched a documentary about the Marx Brothers – now, stay with me.  I promise to make this relevant.  I was particularly interested in a comment Groucho made well past the brothers’ prime.  He said that at least half of their classic films were made because Chico needed money to cover gambling debts.  And the brothers needed Groucho for them to be successful (and he could use the money to pay alimony to multiple wives).  As it turns out, Harpo was the most stable one with a healthy marriage and personal life.  This anecdote came back to me when I heard about this Jonas Brothers reunion.  Nick is clearly Groucho – the one you need to get a record deal.  And Kevin is probably Harpo.  Does that make Joe Chico?  To really solidify this connection and make it stick, I still have to calculate how many Marx Brothers would have slept with Taylor Swift.

 

Essence of Jenifer

 

Last week, I accompanied Jenifer Lewis to the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards.  When asked how she felt, Jenifer said, “Well, I’m honored.  I’m honored to be honored.”  Now, who else could pull that off?  Her award was presented by original Dreamgirls Sheryl Lee Ralph and Loretta Devine, along with Jenifer’s daughter Charmaine.  The other honorees were Regina HallKiKi Layne, and Amandla Stenberg.  Some of the people in attendance were my dear Sherri ShepherdAngela BassettIyanla VanzantCCH PounderRegina KingSpike LeeBilly Porter, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and even Puff Daddy (who I was sitting next to).  The event was hosted by Kelly Rowland, who remembered me from hosting LA Pride.  How did this little white boy from Boston, Massachusetts end up in the middle of a gala event celebrating Black women?  Dare to dream.

Despite the wattage of the room, Jenifer managed to weave her unique magic, steal the show, and touch upon a story we covered earlier.  “I was asked on the carpet so many times, ‘What do you think, Miss Lewis?’  I have no comment.  Today is a day to celebrate.  But this is what you will be hearing tomorrow.”  She then sang her latest song.  “Before you lie to us, remember Rosa sat on that bus.  Before you tell your tale, remember Mandela sat in that jail.  Before you do anything, remember Dr. Martin Luther King.  Before you connive and steal, I dare you to Google Emmett Till.  Before another dawn, and I speak to everyone, remember whose shoulders you stand on.”

Inside The Anchor’s Anus

After Jussie’s “attack”, there was some speculation that it was a drug or sexual hookup gone wrong (and after seeing those pics of the Nigerian brothers on BillyMasters.com, I can picture that).  But there is a case in the news which is a gay hookup and a drug situation gone wrong.  This is regarding KTLA’s Chris Burrous.  At the end of last year, the anchor was found unresponsive in a Glendale motel.  Turns out, the married father had hooked up with a guy through Grindr (they’d played together before) and met at the motel.  Allegedly, Burrous got there first, set up the room with what is called “DJ-style lighting”, and had S&M toys – including a leather mask he was wearing.  Otherwise, he was nude when his playmate arrived.  Reportedly, the 43-year-old newsman had inserted a rock of crystal meth in his ass, gave his partner some GHB, and was using poppers.  Later, he inserted a second rock you-know-where.  Then…well, let’s just say his paramour turned him into a human puppet.  Unbeknownst to the partner, Burrows had at some point vomited in his mask, and you know what that means – no refund.  Let this be a lesson for you…when you’re gonna do a Kukla, Fran and Ollie impersonation, have 911 on speed dial!

The Case Against Jussie

I suspect we’ll be talking about Jussie Smollett for weeks/months to come.  And the story keeps getting worse.  Now that the details have taken over mainstream media, I almost don’t feel the need to enumerate every twist and turn.  Suffice it to say, he did it.  There, I said it.  I hate to say it, but that’s that.  Once the grand jury sent the case to trial, I knew there was obviously some sort of proof we didn’t know about.  And, of course, more has come out.  Like what, you may ask?  First, there’s the text message to one of the Nigerian brothers sent three days before the attack saying, “Might need your help on the low.  You around to meet up and talk face to face?”  Perhaps more damning is the personal check for $3,500 which he wrote to the brothers.  Doesn’t he watch Dateline?  You never write a personal check!  By the by, his text message history also showed that since the spring of 2018, Jussie was getting MDMA from the brothers – not that there’s anything wrong with that.  And, while not germane to this case, it does tickle me every time the media refers to the “Subway restaurant” – like it’s got a Michelin rating!

FOX, which had initially stood behind Jussie, is now declining all comment.  While Empire had insisted they would not alter their planned trajectory for the show, they are now writing Smollett out of the last two episodes of the season.  Once again, I reiterate that someone is innocent until proven guilty – even though I’ve already said that I believe he did it.  And I will be shocked if the proof doesn’t bear that out.  What will happen next?  I cannot imagine Jussie wants this to go to trial, so I suspect some sort of plea deal is being floated to the DA.  If that doesn’t work, he may simply plead guilty.  How will he go on after that?  More to the point, will he.

Oscars Recap

“I’m not crying because I’m on my period or anything. 
I can’t believe a film about menstruation won an Oscar!”
  
– 
Rayka Zehtabchi during the acceptance speech for
Best Documentary Short Subject for Period. End Of Sentence..

Another Oscars go down in history as…well, the word that springs to mind is “uneventful”.  You know you’re in trouble when it took a quip about the female menstrual cycle to grab the attention of this very sexually active gay man.  Speaking of being grabbed, I couldn’t help but notice that none of the four winners for Bohemian Rhapsody thanked the person responsible for those wins.  So I’ll say it – thank you, Bryan Singer.

An Oscar highlight was the performance by Queen.  And even I learned something.  Did you know that Adam Lambert was in Bohemian Rhapsody?  He’s the guy who hooked up with Freddie Mercury in the truck stop restroom.  Since he’s now lead singer of the band, it’s like he had sex with himself – probably not the first time.

It seems each year notable people are inevitably omitted from the In Memoriam segment, and this year was no different.  Egregiously absent was Carol Channing, who was also an Oscar nominee!  And, where was Kaye Ballard?  Oh, the humanity!  I can understand skipping Sondra Locke – they probably wanna stay on Clint’s good side!

Let me give some advice to all singers out there.  When the note is flat, you know what doesn’t help cover it up?  Holding it longer and screaming.  And, for heaven’s sake, learn the lyrics.  It’s pretty obvious who is hugging the TelePrompTer for words and who is actually connecting with the song and the audience.

In the month leading up to the Oscars, there was lots of talk about how the Academy could trim the festivities.  One of the most controversial considerations was to give out certain awards during commercials.  Another plan was to ditch performances of most nominated songs and allow only two – Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper warbling “Shallow” (from A Star Is Born) and Kendrick Lamar singing “All the Stars” (from Black Panther).  Now, I think I’ve made it clear I am not a Lady Gaga devotee.  Not that I have anything against her, I simply don’t get all the hoopla.  However, even I must give credit where credit is due.  Gaga insisted that if ALL nominated songs were not included, she would not perform.  So, we can thank Gaga for Bette Midler’s performance of “The Place Where Lost Things Go” (which happened because Emily Blunt was skittish about performing live).

I know what you’re thinking – why wasn’t “All the Stars” performed during the Oscar telecast?  We’re told that decision came from Kendrick Lamar, himself.  Apparently, he was touring for the past month and didn’t feel he could get an Oscar-worthy performance together.  So, he simply took a pass.

Timing was not on Gaga’s side with her engagement to fiancé Christian Carino imploding days before the Academy Awards.  However, they seem to still be on speaking terms.  When they ran into each other at CAA’s pre-Oscars soirée, they said a quick hello.  FYI, her Oscar date was longtime manager, Bobby Campbell.

Shawn Spreads for Calvin

Since we’re running short of space, I’ll answer the most popular Ask Billy question of the week.  Many of you have written in wondering if I had any photos from Shawn Mendes’ underwear shoot for Calvin Klein.  A handful of snaps from the spread have fallen into my hands and, naturally, you can find them on BillyMasters.com.

Benanti – The Fairest Lady

Since I was at Lincoln Center, I sauntered across the plaza and FINALLY saw the revival of My Fair Lady.  I went primarily for the luminous Laura Benanti, who is fulfilling a lifelong dream by playing Eliza Doolittle.  To say the role fit like a glove isn’t quite right – it was actually more like second skin.  Obviously she can sing beautifully.  But, more than that – she acted the role to perfection.  Her commitment is peerless and her ability is inestimable.  I just wish her Eliza were a trifle less dour and had a bit more charm and spunk – especially in her early scenes.  But my hunch is that’s a remnant of the person Benanti replaces in the cast – or perhaps part of director Bartlett Sher’s vision, which takes a serious look at gender roles and sexual dynamics.  It makes the show more timely than ever.  Truly, it’s impossible to fault anything in this luxurious production.  The sets, the orchestra, the costumes, the cast – everything is simply perfection.  In fact, if NBC is seriously looking for a family-friendly musical to do live, this is it – cast and all.  Having Harry Hadden-Paton opposite Benanti is a stroke of luck.  Not only does he fit the traditional role of Higgins to a T, the duo’s constantly evolving dynamics work on every level.  And, what can one say about Rosemary Harris – it is simply an honor to be in her presence.  Benanti has extended her run through July 7th, and it would be a crime to miss this piece of magic should you be in NYC.

Jussie and the Nigerian Brothers

Jussie, Jussie, Jussie.  I tried.  Really, I did.  I wanted to believe that you had been attacked – not because I wanted anyone to harm you, but because I didn’t want to think that anyone would stage such a thing.  I defended you when people I love and respect told me something about this story wasn’t quite kosher (not to bring the Jews into it).  I looked the other way when asked to believe that you went to a Subway sandwich shop at 2AM.  I even fought every instinct I have to yell bullshit when you said you went there to buy a salad.  But, damn, this is getting harder.

More and more evidence seems to be pointing to Jussie not only lying about the attack, but perhaps manufacturing it.  “We can confirm that the information received from the individuals questioned by police earlier in the Empire case has in fact shifted the trajectory of the investigation,” said the Chicago PD.  And who were those “individuals”?  Nigerian brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, who are aspiring models and personal trainers.  In fact, one of them is Jussie’s personal trainer, and one or both have appeared on Empire!  They claim that Jussie paid them $4,000 to stage the assault, which the trio rehearsed for days.  The police found some receipts in their apartment.  The MAGA hat allegedly was purchased at Uptown Beauty Supply, while the rope allegedly put around Smollett’s neck was purchased at Crafty Beaver Hardware Store – and if there’s one thing you can be sure of, never cross a crafty beaver.  According to the brothers, Jussie paid for those items.  In case you don’t believe they’re credible, this little tidbit might change your mind – when the police told Jussie the two were in custody, he refused to press charges against them because he knew them and felt bad for them.  Now, I dunno about feeling bad, but I’m feeling something since I came across some exceptionally hot shirtless pics of the brothers – which, of course, you can find on BillyMasters.com.  I’m now wondering what else they may have done during those long rehearsals.

The news against Jussie gets worse.  After the brothers were questioned and agreed to cooperate with law enforcement, they were released – one assumes with an immunity deal firmly in place.  The cops are still watching them – primarily to make sure they have no contact with Smollett.  Meanwhile, they’ve asked Jussie to come in for a re-interview, which is never a good sign.  We hear that he has not made himself available “in a timely fashion” – uh-oh.  He’s probably concerned about reports that a grand jury is being convened to hear the case.  Some are even speculating that Empire creator – and one of Jussie’s most vehement supporters – Lee Daniels might be implicated.  Jussie’s lawyer says, “As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with.”  The mouthpiece adds that the actor “angrily denies complicity in attack”.  And he should – filing a false police report could land him three years in the pokey…and three years of non-consensual poking.

If the brothers’ story ends up being true and Jussie orchestrated this whole debacle, he’s done a huge disservice to everyone who has ever been attacked; everyone who is at risk of being attacked; everyone who feels marginalized, ostracized, and politicized.  And to come out after this “attack” and do a concert in West Hollywood to rally support from people who loved and stood by him…well, it’s almost unforgivable.  But, people are innocent until proven guilty.  If all these twists and turns are wrong and Jussie was the victim…well, all I can say is, “Oops!”

Jake & Sedale’s Bangs

Our Ask Billy question comes from Wade in Fort Lauderdale: “When is this new movie with Jake Gyllenhaal coming out?  I keep seeing previews for it and Jake’s naked.  But I don’t see it playing anywhere.”

It’s already out – on Netflix.  Since the film is about the art world, one review was titled, “Jake Gyllenhaal’s Naked Body is the Greatest Work of Art in Velvet Buzzsaw”.  And I concur – except for Jake’s unfortunate bangs.  Yes, there is a good amount of nudity.  Although he isn’t actually full frontal, he is certainly full backal.  And he’s in good company.  One of his love interests is played by retired basketball player Sedale Threatt Jr.  Yes, he’s a he – and a mighty hot he who gives at least a hint of everything…as you’ll see on BillyMasters.com.

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When Pecker has a peck of prick pics to publish in public, it’s time to end yet another column.  Well, it’s finally here.  50.  And as I celebrate being half a century old, I am reminded of something my pal Belinda Carlisle said when she turned 50.  She talked about wanting to retire from The Go-Go’s.  “I know I don’t want to be doing it when I’m in my mid-fifties.  I’d like to end it on a high note, with a little dignity.”  So who knows how much longer I’ll be writing – although I hasten to add that Babe performed with The Go-Go’s this past summer on the eve of her 60th birthday.  So, perhaps I ain’t going anywhere.  But, for the time being, you can grab some sizzling hot dish on www.BillyMasters.com – the site that doesn’t look its age.  If you have a question, send an e-mail to Billy@BillyMasters.com, and I promise to get back to you before I eat my weight in Churro Donuts!  Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.

Model vs. Footballer

Someone who may or may not be gay is a member of the Oakland Raiders.  For those of you who don’t know, the Oakland Raiders are a football team; and football is that game they play in between all those spiffy Super Bowl commercials.  A “model”, Malik Joseph, posted a text message thread in which he tells P.J. Hall that before they had sex, he should have told him that he had a girlfriend!  However, Hall’s reps say that Malik threatened to claim they had a sexual relationship in order to extort the football player.  So we have a he said/he said situation on our hands.  Interestingly enough, while Hall’s people say Malik’s accusations are “defamatory and slanderous” and that he has a history of such behavior, they don’t seem to be taking any legal action.  Hmm.

Kyle XY Was Pressured

Matt Dallas claims he too was threatened – or, at the very least, pressured.  He posted a video Q&A with hubby, Blue Hamilton.  The Kyle XY star was asked if he was ever advised to keep his sexuality a secret.  “I was told to stay in the closet, not talk about my sexuality, to be on every red carpet with a girl on my arm because you could not be successful if you were openly gay in the entertainment industry, at least in front of the camera… Because of the advice that was given to me to stay in the closet, I became very disconnected from who I was, and there’s a lot of residual stuff that to this day that I still deal with where I find myself sometimes being, ‘oh, I sound too gay’, or ‘I’m acting too gay’ because it was so drilled into my brain.”

Pecker & Penis Pics

With all the talk last week about David Pecker running photos of Jeff Bezos’ penis, few have mentioned the connection with Ronan Farrow.  To recap, the Amazon founder claims that AMI, the parent company of The National Enquirer (published by Pecker), were trying to get him to refute his assertions that their exposé of his romantic affair was politically motivated.  He says that’s why Pecker threatened to publicly publish pics of Bezos’ pubics.  Allegedly, Trump has Pecker in his pocket and has been using AMI to take down Bezos and his publication, The Washington Post.  Did you follow that?

Into this mess walks our very own Ronan Satchel Farrow Sinatra Allen O’Sullivan.  He Tweeted that The National Enquirer made a similar threat against him.  “I and at least one other prominent journalist involved in breaking stories about the National Enquirer’s arrangement with Trump fielded similar ‘stop digging or we’ll ruin you’ blackmail efforts from AMI.  (I did not engage as I don’t cut deals with subjects of ongoing reporting.)”  So, the question remains – does The Enquirer have pics of Ronan’s rod?

And Then There Was One

I don’t regularly watch Flipping Out.  In fact, I try to avoid it.  So, I didn’t realize Jeff and Gage were not married – but who cares?  If straights can have kids out of wedlock and be sued by their surrogates, why not gays?  I found out the couple wasn’t married because Jeff announced that Gage had moved out last week.  He says that for most of the past year, Gage had been in a separate bedroom and the two have primarily been friends with benefits – the benefit, if you ask me, is that you get your own room!  I don’t have a dog in this fight (no offense), but I’d like to make one general observation: one doesn’t marry a Gage.  One has meaningless sex with a Gage.  Hot, meaningless, nasty sex.  I once slept with someone named Brick.  I can’t swear that was his real name – I never checked his papers.  The Gages and Bricks of the world are the guys you fool around with in the bathroom while your boyfriend is waiting at the table in the restaurant.  You want a drama-free life?  Marry someone with a name out of the Bible.  Except Lazarus – every time you think you’re done, he’ll spring back to life and you’ll never get any sleep.

Smollett’s Attack

The big gay story last week was the attack on Empire star Jussie Smollett.  I was kinda shocked at the reaction.  First, some of my dearest childhood friends questioned if the attack really took place, or if Jussie was simply looking for publicity.  “Something doesn’t ring true,” one said on Facebook.  Yeah, because if I were looking for publicity, I’d tie a noose around my neck and douse myself in bleach!  Then someone pointed out to me the social media posts by organizations that used this attack as an opportunity to promote themselves.  Shameful.

As of the writing of this column, here’s what we know.  On the evening of Monday, January 28th, Jussie had flown from New York to Chicago – where Empire shoots and where Smollett has an apartment.  Around 2AM, he was hungry and went to a 24-hour Subway (and, if I might inject a bit of levity into this difficult story, let me note that nothing good happens at a Subway at 2AM).  When he left the Subway (presumably with his sub), two white men wearing ski masks approached him and yelled out, “Aren’t you that faggot Empire nigger?”  They then attacked Jussie, put a rope around his neck, and poured bleach on him, saying “This is MAGA country” as they ran away.  After reporting the crime to the police, Jussie got himself to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where he was treated for a fractured rib.  A couple of days later, Chicago Police released a photo of “persons of interest” that shows two men on a neighboring street around the time of the attack.

I will admit, all of this raises several questions – who is walking around Chicago at 2AM with a noose and bleach?  There is speculation that Smollett was targeted, as he had earlier received a letter which was sent to the Empire set and threatened, “You will die black fag,” with a return address that simply said “MAGA”.  Also, a woman who lives in Smollett’s building says that when she took her dog out to pee at 12:30AM, she saw a suspicious man lingering.  On the flip side, Smollett says that at the time of the attack, he was talking to his manager on his cell phone.  So, the police asked to examine the phone – Jussie declined.  Police say he was not obligated to share the handset or phone records.  And, frankly, as a gay man, I don’t think I’d want the fuzz looking into the bowels of my mobile, either.

BTW, Smollett had a concert scheduled for February 2nd at the legendary Troubadour in West Hollywood.  Despite some concerns, the concert took place, although the scheduled meet-and-greet was cancelled.  “I’m not fully healed yet, but I’m going to and I’m going to stand strong with you all,” Jussie told the capacity crowd.  “I had to be here tonight.  I couldn’t let those motherfuckers win!  So I will also stand for love, I will never stand for anything other than that.  Regardless of what anyone else says, I will only stand for love and I hope you will all stand with me.”

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One of the people speaking out on Smollett’s behalf has been Empire creator Lee Daniels.  “It’s taken me a minute to come to social media about this because, Jussie, you are my son.  You didn’t deserve nor anybody deserves to have a noose put around your neck, to have bleach thrown on you, to be called ‘die faggot nigga’ or whatever they said to you. You are better than that. We are better than that. America is better than that. It starts at home. It starts at home, yo. We have to love each other regardless of what sexual orientation we are because it shows we are united on a united front and no racist f— can come in and do the things that they did to you. Hold your head up, Jussie. I’m with you. I’ll be there in a minute. It’s just another fucking day in America.”

Frankie’s Throuple

If there’s one thing that works out less often than being a virgin, it’s being in a throuple.  And I’m not talking about casual encounters, in which case I say the more, the merrier.  But if you think being in a relationship with one person is hard, try two.  Frankie Grande tried his share of combinations before going public around Halloween as being the proverbial third wheel to a very hot couple.  Apparently it wasn’t all smooth sailing.  “You have double the highs, double the excitement, but also double the lows, double the drama.”  Those heady days have passed.  “I am single.  I’ve been single for about a month now.”  Probably spending most of his time in a sitz bath!

Super Bowl Stories

“At least we got a brief opportunity to look at Levine’s 2 percent body fat.”  
– 
Esquire Magazine on Adam Levine’s halftime performance during the Super Bowl.

Since this column is being filed on Super Bowl Sunday, one would think this proud Bostonian living in LA would be watching.  And I am – but primarily to see the cheerleaders.  Although I have a personal connection with someone cheering for the Pats, it’s the Los Angeles Rams that are making history.  This will be the first Super Bowl to feature male cheerleaders!  Last year, Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies auditioned or tried out or whatever one does to become a cheerleader.  They not only joined the LA Rams squad, they’re at the Super Bowl.  Congrats.

Rent Live or Das Boot

The much ballyhooed Rent: Live was a bit less live than planned.  Towards the end of Saturday’s dress rehearsal, Brennin Hunt broke his foot, thus thwarting most of the live telecast.  That’s why dress rehearsals are recorded – just in case.  So, the FOX telecast featured the cast saying, “We have rallied together to rework the final act so that all of us – including Brennin and the original Broadway cast of Rent – can perform it for you…live.”  Ultimately, only the final 15 minutes of the telecast was live – although the show was performed live for the in-studio audience – with Brennin in a wheelchair (we’ll share some footage on BillyMasters.com).  As to the original cast, they came out and sang the reprise of “Seasons of Love” – which, to be charitable, was more than enough.

Ultimately, the major star was the show itself; and the production.  Set on a sprawling soundstage, the camera work integrated the live audience seamlessly.  And there were little touches I appreciated – including a laugh at the expense of Mark’s original sweater.  While the cast was uniformly adequate for a TV adaptation miked within an inch of its life, I’ll focus on the positives and send kudos out to two people.  First, the fabulous Valentina as Angel.  The role was performed spectacularly, even if the singing was undeniably weak.  The all-around MVP (including vocals) was Brandon Victor Dixon as Tom Collins.  All in all, I expected nothing less – or, for that matter, more.

Jackson Doc at Sundance

There’s been lots of buzz about Michael Jackson.  First was news of Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough, a stage musical based on his life which will debut at the Nederlander Theatre in Chicago on October 29th.  Then there’s the new documentary which premiered at Sundance.  Leaving Neverland clocks in at four hours and shines a light on the accusations of Jackson sexually abusing young boys.  There are two main subjects.  James Safechuck says that Jackson often gave him jewelry in return for “engaging in sexual acts” – one of which was a wedding ring he was given during a “mock wedding”!  Choreographer Wade Robson says that Jackson once told him, “You and I were brought together by God” – and then tried to anally penetrate him when he was 14!  Striking back, the Jackson camp points out that both Robson and Safechuck previously testified that Michael never did anything inappropriate.  Since then, both filed unsuccessful lawsuits against the estate.  Oh, did I mention that Jackson allegedly called semen “duck butter”?  Based on that alone, I’m calling this a “must see”.  Thank God HBO will air it later this year.

Old Queen Drama

It was both a good and bad week for Queen – the band.  The film Bohemian Rhapsody garnered five Oscar nominations.  But once again, issues surfaced regarding Bryan Singer – who ultimately directed about 99.9 percent of the flick.  The renewed interest was courtesy of a lengthy piece in The Atlantic which, according to Singer, “rehashed claims from bogus lawsuits filed by a disreputable cast of individuals willing to lie for money or attention.  And it is no surprise that, with Bohemian Rhapsody being an award-winning hit, this homophobic smear piece has been conveniently timed to take advantage of its success.”  Singer’s lawyer says that the auteur “categorically denies ever having sex with, or a preference for, underage men.”  What I found amusing is that the article in question was commissioned by Esquire…but they refused to run it after it had been fact-checked!

I always believe people are innocent until proven guilty – unless I don’t like them, in which case facts are completely irrelevant.  Apparently, facts aren’t important to lots of people out there.  Someone posted on Brian May’s Instagram account that he should unfollow Singer.  May responded, “You need to look after your own business and stop telling me what to do.  And you need to learn to respect the fact that a man or woman is innocent until proven guilty.”  Users on social media came down on the Queen guitarist for defending an alleged sexual predator.   This led May to issue an apology.  He said, in part, “I am mortified to discover the effect my words produced.  I had no idea that saying someone was innocent until proven guilty could be interpreted as ‘defending’ Bryan Singer.  I had absolutely no intention of doing that.  I guess I must be naïve, because also it has never occurred to me that ‘following’ a person on Instagram could be interpreted as approving of that person.  The only reason I followed Bryan Singer was that we were working with him on a project.  That situation came to an end when Mr. Singer was removed during the shooting of the film, but I suppose unfollowing him never occurred to me as a necessity.  Now, because of this misunderstanding, I have unfollowed.”

Celebrity Big Brother

I am not a devotee of Big Brother but, I must confess, I got hooked when my pals Marissa Jaret Winokur and Ross Mathews competed on Celebrity Big Brother last year.  When I saw this year’s crop of “celebrities”, I knew I’d tune in.  After week one, here are my thoughts.  First, in what other group would Ryan Lochte be considered “the brains”?  I was perplexed when he kept talking about wanting to evict Diana.  Who the hell is Diana?  Turns out, he meant Dina – as in Lohan!  Then Ryan formed a ride-or-die alliance with our own Jonathan Bennett – who ultimately took the fall for Lochte’s bad decisions.  But here’s the most important thing I learned – who knew Bennett has a severe issue with flatulence?  That’s the real value of these shows.  Sitting at home, you think you’d want to be Bennett’s boyfriend.  But I bet after one night of him farting away in bed, you’d be done!  The nightly After Dark edition of the show frequently finds the celebs playing endless hours of poker.  When Ryan described Jonathan’s hand as a “possible straight”, Bennett quipped, “Not since college”.  Bada-bing!

Brant Buffs Up

For our quickie Ask Billy question, Howie in Tulsa says, “You mentioned watching a Brant Daugherty film.  Did you see how buffed he’s gotten?  WOW – there must be some nudes out there.”

I did some snooping and snagged some snaps of a buffed Brant.  His new and improved physique coincided with his casting in Fifty Shades Freed (not that they showed much).  While he’s deflated somewhat since the 2016 filming, we can show you the results on BillyMasters.com.

RIP Carol Channing

It’s impossible for this column to not acknowledge the passing of Carol Channing.  I came into her orbit many times over the years.  Most recently, I interviewed her prior to an appearance she did with Tommy Tune at Town Hall in Provincetown in 2014.  On Facebook, I wrote about that evening and posted a photo of Carol, Marilyn Maye and myself – because it’s rare when I’m the youngest person in a photo!  For you, I have a different anecdote.  In 1999, I was backstage at the re-opening of the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood.  Carol was 78 at the time and hadn’t been well.  She shuffled over to a chair in the wings all hunched over and waited for her cue.  After a while, she was helped into position, all the while holding onto the curtain.  She was introduced, more or less thrust into the spotlight, and suddenly she was perfectly erect – a word I try to work into every column.  She sang, danced, and appeared full of life.  When she was out of that spotlight and back in the wings, she immediately hunched over and was back to shuffling.  That’s when I realized that Channing was one of those people who lived to entertain, and lived for the stage.  She never gave less than everything she had – and then some.  Rest in peace, Carol.

Griffin vs. Cheadle

Here’s something nobody saw coming – a Kathy Griffin/Don Cheadle feud.  It started when Don posted a pic of a Sleeping Giant cap (self-described as a “campaign to make bigotry and sexism less profitable”).  Griffin Tweeted the following: “Oh GREAT Don.  I will never forgive you for your nasty tweet the day my smear campaign started.  You know it was a f-king smear campaign and you have never taken a moment to apologize.  Some liberal you are.  Yes, my memory is long my ex friend.  Shame on you.  I kept a list.  Fear me.”  Cheadle replied, “Huh?”.  Kathy said for him to check his Twitter feed from May 30-31, 2017.  I started scrolling back but gave up after 15 minutes – Don is pretty prolific on Twitter, and I have carpal tunnel.  But I did see he Tweeted back to Kathy with a six-point response, the big take-away being in point number one.  “we had one conversation on a flight about our mutual disgust for individual 1.  I don’t ‘friend’ that quickly so we can’t really be ‘exes’.”  Kathy then confirmed that fact in a Tweet to a fan.  “We had a good conversation one time.  I guess he was just full of s—.”  But fret not – the next day, the two made up…via Twitter, of course.

Chris Hansen Caught

They say bad things come in threes – unless you’re referring to the triplets from Bratislava I vacationed with in Fort Lauderdale last week.  We have a trio of bad stories about Chris Hansen, the former NBC anchor best known for hosting To Catch a Predator.  First we heard he’s being evicted from his New York City apartment where he hasn’t paid rent since August (his rent is $3,600/month, quite reasonable by NYC standards).  Then we found out he’s been charged with “issuing bad checks” – which might explain why he hasn’t paid rent.  Turns out, the problem goes back to 2015 when Hansen was trying to relaunch To Catch a Predator via Kickstarter with a campaign target of $75K – or, what he calls roughly two years of rent!  Contributors were promised various perks, including some custom-made shirts, mugs, etc.  The guy he hired to make the tchotchkes was paid with a bad check…to the tune of $13K!  But, here’s the kicker (so to speak) – the fundraising brought in $89K, which means Hansen got to keep the money.  What did contributors receive?  The phrase that comes to mind is, “I Contributed to Chris Hansen’s Kickstarter Campaign and I Didn’t Even Get a T-Shirt!”

The latest twist is that Hansen’s wife Mary Joan filed for divorce after 30 years of marriage.  I’m shocked she hung in there this long.  I thought she’d have left Chris back in 2011 when the National Enquirer got a video showing him in a hotel with a reporter 20 years his junior.  Back then, the only one who dumped him was NBC – where he’d been for 20 years.  He probably convinced his wife he only stopped by for some lemonade.

Will Lucas Name Names

Last week, gay porn impresario Michael Lucas made some news.  First it was announced that he will retire from “performing” in 2020.  “Porn stars come and go, but the best ones stay in our memories and on our hard drives for a long time until they fade away,” said his publicist, Len Evans.  But it was the next statement which raised more than a few eyebrows.  “Michael is also in search of a co-author to publish a juicy autobiography that will include a steamy chapter about a few top Hollywood celebs who paid him to have sex with them when he was an escort in the late ‘90s.”  Let’s gloss over the difference between a co-author and a publisher – naming names got my attention.  That is, until Lucas retracted the story and fired Evans.

To fill in the blanks (something Lucas is known for), Michael Tweeted the following: “The story that ran today and attributed to me by former publicist is absolutely false.  I spent 45 minutes on the phone explaining why I would never do that and they still felt the need to give it to you.  Needless to say I am perplexed by their motivation and they were fired immediately.  I am considering legal action against them.  What is true is that I’m planning to retire in 2020.  What is absolutely false is that I would ever write or consider writing a ‘tell all’ book and naming names of my clients.  I consider that relationship sacred and I would never violate their confidence or my integrity.  Period.  I have nothing but the greatest respect and gratitude for the people who trusted me with their intimate secrets and I will take those secrets to the grave.”

Brochtrup Back to Blue

I am thrilled by news of the return of NYPD Blue – especially since the new show will include PPA John Irvin, once again played by my dear friend, Bill Brochtrup.  When he made the announcement on Facebook, I said that the time had certainly come for him to bare his bottom.  I mean, if it was good enough for Dennis Franz and John Wesley Shipp, why not?  Brochtrup said, “Yeah, keep that rumor alive.”  Darling, that’s what I do.

Criss is Filipino

Days before the GlobesDarren Criss talked about how he will no longer play gay roles.  “I want to make sure I won’t be another straight boy taking a gay man’s role,” says the 31-year-old.  However, fellow Golden Globe winner Ben Whishaw said, “I think there needs to be greater equality.  I would like to see more gay actors playing straight roles.”  So, riddle me this – if gay actors are playing the gay roles AND the straight roles, what on Earth will Darren Criss do for a living?  On second thought, don’t answer that.

Am I the only one who didn’t know Darren is Filipino?  He proclaimed himself the first Filipino-American to win a Golden Globe.  Is that true?  Has someone done genetic testing on all previous winners?  Are the Golden Globes in bed with Ancestry.com?  Perhaps, like gays, Criss is the first OPENLY Filipino-American to win a Golden Globe.  Turns out Andrew Cunanan was Filipino-American, so maybe it’s a win/win.  But I’ll have to run this by Whishaw.

Chalamet’s Harness

I’m going into this year’s awards season somewhat perplexed.  Not to say I didn’t enjoy the Golden Globes – but not to say I did.  Let’s start by talking about Timothée Chalamet.  Question – should we credit Adam Rippon with making harnesses acceptable awards show attire?  ‘Cause he is the first person I recall wearing a harness.  And, perhaps, the last.  Chalamet insists he was not wearing a harness.  “I thought it was a bib,” the actor told Ellen.  Which begs the question, a bib?  Really, Timmy?  And not just any bib, but a sequined bib.  And that’s where I’m confused – I thought perhaps he was paying homage to The Sound of Music by wearing lederhosen!

Madonna at Stonewall

Madonna made a surprise appearance at NYC’s Stonewall Inn on New Year’s Eve.  Perhaps it wasn’t a complete surprise – the day before, the Inn posted on Instagram, “We are insanely proud to announce Madonna is a Stonewall Ambassador supporting Stonewall Day + the 50th anniversary of Stonewall!”  On the night, Madonna resembled the fun, kicky Material Girl we all grew up loving.  She had a crazy bow in her hair and lots of clunky, dangling jewelry.  She donned glasses to read her lengthy remarks about how the Stonewall Inn is the birthplace of Pride.  And then she sang an acoustic version of “Like a Prayer” with her son David playing guitar, which almost made you long for the days Madonna showed off her guitar skills.  You can see the video on BillyMasters.com.

Fayewatch 2019

Since our last column was written on New Year’s Eve, I wasn’t able to tell you about Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen on CNN.  Not only was Andy almost arrested, but he almost took down the entire network with him in what I am calling Umbrella-Gate.  The Times Square Alliance banned umbrellas from the area because…well, because the world is insane.  I’m not saying that you couldn’t do some damage with an umbrella, but I’m against banning anything that Mary Poppins uses to fly.  However, since it was pouring rain in New York, Andy began the telecast with a see-through plastic dome umbrella on the telecast – kinda like the ones your mom used to get for free with the purchase of L’eggs.  After 90 minutes of bickering back and forth and Andy welcoming being arrested, the Alliance said if Cohen didn’t close the umbrella, CNN would be banned from future New Year’s Eve telecasts.  Times have certainly changed – it took a photo with a Halloween mask for Kathy Griffin to get banned!

The duo welcomed an in-person special guest – Faye Dunaway.  So, welcome to our first Fayewatch of 2019.  Faye’s presence warranted the return of Cohen’s umbrella.  “I have to give you an umbrella because you look too clean and crisp,” Andy gushed.  When asked if it was her first visit to Times Square for New Year’s Eve, Faye cackled, “Oh, yes, absolutely.  It may be my last.  No, it’s nice to be here.  We’re in New York, for God’s sake!”  This “interview”, such as it was, had a several great moments.  First, Anderson said one of his favorite movies was one Faye did with Robert Redford.  “I’m blanking on the name,” said the newsman.  Cut to Faye, who looked like a Dunaway in the headlights – “Now you’re making me blank on it.”  Talk about a gaggle of senior moments!  They continued talking about a movie neither of them could name.  Meanwhile, I’m screaming at my TV, Three Days of the Condor!  Anderson finally remembered it, and Faye smiled through those store-bought teeth and repeated the name.  Priceless.  Then Anderson mentioned that The Academy hadn’t yet settled on a host for the Oscars.  “What about you?” said Cooper.  Faye had a look on her face that basically said, “Look, I can’t remember the names of movies I’ve BEEN in.  And, may I remind you of the last time I was on the Oscars?  La La Land!”

Faye’s main purpose for stopped by was to let the international viewing audience know that she would be back on Broadway playing Katharine Hepburn in Tea at Five by my dear friend Matthew Lombardo (and kudos to Faye for mentioning his name on CNN – writers usually get overlooked).  At this point, Cohen really stepped in it when he said, “You beat Katharine Hepburn for an Academy Award, if I remember.”  Faye peered at him and said, “How did you know that?”  How indeed.  Dunaway got her first nomination for Bonnie and Clyde and lost to Hepburn.  When she won her Oscar for Network, Hepburn wasn’t nominated.  So, Andy, I’m calling this one our first ever Faye-Pas.  To her credit, Faye didn’t accept the compliment.  She simply said, “I didn’t, unfortunately.”

Heart of Hart

If the Golden Globes taught us anything, it’s that not just anyone can host.  The Oscars may be more than a month away, but they are still host-less.  So, Ellen DeGeneres decided to flex her considerable power to strong-arm Kevin Hart back into the job – and strong-arm the viewing audience into accepting him.  Apparently, Ellen and Kevin are good friends, and she thinks his past homophobic rants should not preclude him from the job.  In what was presented as a spontaneous interview on her show, Ellen asked Hart about the controversy and why he stepped down.  He then rambled on and on about…well, really, about nothing.  She then allegedly surprised him by saying that she spoke up on his behalf to The Academy.  I don’t know who she spoke to at The Academy – it may very well have been a receptionist, or even a temp.  “We want him to host, whatever we can do, we would be thrilled, and he should host,” said whomever answers the phone at The Academy.

This pissed off many people – specifically gay people.  Who was Ellen to speak on behalf of the gay community?  Maybe she is friends with Kevin and forgives him, but not everyone agrees.  Don Lemon – whose opinion is germane if for no other reason than he is a black, gay man – said he doesn’t think Hart should be allowed to host.  Lemon said Hart’s past “jokes” actually do represent the views of many black fathers of gay children.  “That is a joke to Kevin.  But the truth is, that is a reality for many little boys in the United States.  Somewhere, a black dad is beating his black son.”  Lemon added, “Apologizing and moving on does not make the world a better place for people who are gay or people who are transgender.  Being an ally does.”

Let me say I don’t have a dog in this fight.  I really don’t have any strong feelings about Kevin Hart – although I stand by my earlier statement that if you aren’t tall enough to get on Space Mountain, you can’t host the Oscars.  Beyond that, I have no idea in the heart of Hart if he is homophobic or not.  What I do know is that comics will say anything for a laugh – and I suspect Kevin Hart’s core audience would laugh at homophobic comments.  So, while I don’t know if he’s homophobic, I do know he thought the comments were funny.  Likewise, I think his non-apology apology seems to be what he thinks people want to hear.  To get the gig, he has to appear contrite, so that’s what he’s doing – with a fair amount of indignation that we’d even think he was really homophobic.

The real question is, can people evolve?  I suppose they do.  Politicians do.  People like Obama and Clinton changed their stance on gay marriage as their view “evolved” (although, like comics, I think politicians play to their audience).  Ultimately, I believe in the free market.  If The Academy wants Kevin Hart to host and he wants to host, he should host.  And if people don’t like him, believe he is homophobic, or don’t buy his apology, they should not watch the Oscars.  Kevin solved the problem for us – he (again) took himself out of the running to host…for now.

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