I’m glad Joy Behar took on the storm on her HNL show last night surrounding Ramin Setoodeh’s Newsweek piece claiming that out actors playing straight roles are not convincing once the audience knows they are gay.
You try to keep an open mind with this stuff but frankly, I’m not at all impressed with Setoodeh and don’t think he proves his thesis. When Behar mentions the openly gay Neil Patrick Harris playing straight on How I Met Your Mother, the writer quickly points out that NPH got the role when he was straight.
Also participating in the segment are out actress Amanda Bearse who played a sexually aggressive straight woman on Married With Children for more than a decade (and came out as a lesbian in the middle of the show’s run) and writer Dan Savage who is usually very good but a bit tepid in this segment.
Bearse says Setoodeah makes an “absolutely ridiculous statement” that gay actors can’t play straight. “I think an article like the one you just wrote is going to keep a lot more people in the closet as opposed to encouraging them to come out and be honest about who they are.”
Savage agrees with Setoodeh that movie audiences still don’t accept a gay playing straight but disagrees on him about theater audiences. Setoodeh had claimed that Sean Hayes (pictured above, left) was not convincing as a love interest for Kristen Chenoweth in the current Broadway production of Promises, Promises.
Behar pointed out that the oh-so-gay Charles Nelson Reilly played straight in the original Broadway production of Hello Dolly.
Bearse said she hadn’t yet seen Hayes in Promises, Promises but points out: “He was just nominated for Tony, right? So somebody out there must think he’s doing all right.