Time sure does fly by! It's been 5 years since I first interviewed comedian Justin Sayre and so much has happened to him! He's now a writer on the CBS hit comedy 2 Broke Girls, just published his debut book Husky and comedy CD The Gay Agenda as well as his iTunes podcast Sparkle & Circulate with Justin Sayre and he continues presenting his monthly comedy series The Meeting* at Joe's Pub, which is having it's annual holiday show, The Seventh Annual Holiday Spectacular on Sunday, December 20 at 9:30pm and Monday December 21 at 7pm! Click here for tickets!
1. I can't believe it's been 5 years since we last spoke! So much has happened for you in these past few years. So, let's start with the fact that you are a writer on CBS' 2 Broke Girls, one of my favorite shows on television! How did you get to be a writer on this show? What was it like to come on as a writer later in the run of the show as opposed to starting out from season 1? What was your reaction the first time you heard your writing uttered by the cast? Well it’s been a whirlwind. Michael Patrick King saw a video of mine and called our mutual friend Bridget Everett. I happened to be in Los Angeles at the time performing with Earl Dax and we had a meeting. Three months later I moved out to Los Angeles, and started work at 2 Broke Girls. I can say that of course it was a challenge, the writers had already established a voice for the show, but they wanted something I had to offer in the mix. It was really through the support of Michael and my other bosses like Michelle Nader and Liz Astrof that I was able to find my voice in the show and thrive there. I am so deeply grateful to all of them. And then to have jokes get the touch of such a talented group of performers, it’s truly a dream come true. I can say honestly that I get to work with one of the most talented groups in Hollywood. They can do everything.
2. The Meeting* has continued to be a success playing at Joe's Pub. You are gearing up for The Meeting's* annual holiday show. What will make this concert different from previous years? What is the craziest thing to happen thus far during one of the shows? Well every year is different, as is every month at The Meeting*. But this holiday is going to be spectacular! We’re doing two shows, with a different cast each night! We’re bringing back some wonderful performers whom we’ve had before like the gorgeous Molly Pope and the spectacular Mark Nadler, but also some new friends like David Cale and some great surprises, I can’t yet talk about here. As for crazy things happening, I think my two favorite this year, were the audience booing me over Nick Jonas. I was criticizing his sort of gay bating, and they did not like it. I love that! I love that the show is still such an exchange, it’s such a conversation.
3. What is your favorite part about spending the holidays in NYC? What are some of your holiday traditions? I love seeing my friends mostly. I don’t really go and see the tree or anything like that. I much prefer quiet nights laughing and talking to friends listening to Nat King Cole by the light of string lights. That’s the cozy Christmas I’m looking forward to.
4. What comedians inspire you today? Well Amy Schumer I love and Louis CK certainly. But I’m also so inspired by friends like John Early and Erin Markey and Cole Escola. I’m pushed by contemporaries so much. They’re all so gifted and bring so much to the table.
5. You are also about to release your debut comedy album…The Gay Agenda. What is your gay agenda and how often do people follow it? Why should people get excited about this album? This album is sort of a greatest hits of The Meeting* and I think it’s a great addition to the work we’ve put out on the internet. It’s been a wonderful process guided by Dan Fortune, my producer and friend, and I think people will absolutely love it.
6. Additionally, you have your podcast Sparkle & Circulate with Justin Sayre on iTunes, featuring interviews with Randy Harrison, Justin Vivian Bond, Michael Musto, Frank DeCaro, Jeffery Self, Kim David Smith and R&B legend Sarah Dash. If you were conducting this interview, what question would you ask that I haven't asked? Oh you’re doing a far better job than I. I would have asked what I had for lunch. I’m not an interviewer at all, I’m just a talker.
7. As if this isn't all enough, you also just released your book, Husky, which is targeted towards young adults about "Davis" a 12-year-old who's having trouble accepting himself and his changing sexuality. Is this book based upon your own experience? How do you feel your book will help kids going through this situation? What did writing this book do for you? This book is not an autobiography, but some of the feelings were mine. But that’s something that I try to do in all my work. I don’t like writing myself, because I have a limited view of what that is. I like writing a character that speaks to my heart in some way and following them along their adventure. I hope that Husky offers kids the thrill of recognition, to know that they’re not alone. Doing that creates readers for life and if I contribute to that in any small way, I would be forever pleased.
8. With all you have going on, how do you stay healthy and strong during these busy cycles? I walk quite a bit. Always with a pen just in case. I’m getting a bit into Yoga as well.
9. If you had to choose one event in your life that you turned from hurtful to hilarious, what event would that be? How did you find the humor in such a painful event? Well there have been many actually. There’s an old adage that Comedy is Tragedy plus time, and I believe that’s ultimately true. Nothing need be off topic or taboo, you can explore the depth of yourself and still make a joke about it. Sometimes that’s the joke in itself. I’ve taken a lot of sadness and turned it into routines or jokes and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
10. In our last interview, we talked about your favorite place in NYC to go on a date. Now, I want to know, what does it take a win your heart? At this point, I more interested in kindness more than anything else. How we are kind, how kindness finds its way into all our interactions. It’s enticing and appealing and I search for it more and more. Finding someone who cares about other people and thinks that that’s an important part of being alive, is incredibly appealing to me.
Justin Sayre was described by Michael Musto in The Village Voice as "Oscar Wilde meets Whoopi Goldberg." Edge New York said "Comedian, raconteur, performing artist, gay rights activist and sexual outlaw: I’m not sure Justin Sayre is classifiable. The veteran performer is on his way to becoming a Downtown Manhattan institution along the lines of Charles Ludlum or Charles Busch." Justin is a child of Forty Fort, Pennsylvania who demonstrated a supernatural instinct for "camp" at an early age. With a voice straight out the MGM finishing school for girls, he moved to New York believing it was still 1947. He was terribly misinformed. As an actor, he has worked and studied with some of the finest professionals in the city. As a comedian, Sayre is regular guest at Homo-Comicus at the Gotham Comedy Club and contributing writer to "Murray Hill’s ShowBiz" on MTVX. As a gay, Justin has excelled at scarf placement, devilish quips, and a healthy but firm love of the American musical. An evening of his short plays, Justin Sayre Is Alive and Well…Writing – called one of the "Top 10 Events on the New York Stage" by the New York Daily News – sold out two shows at Ars Nova in 2012. Sayre’s play, The Click of the Lock, was a finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Conference and debuted at The Cherry Lane Theatre starring Randy Harrison. Sayre is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and Flavorwire, as well offering playful and witty love advice at The Date Report. He is currently a staff writer for 2 Broke Girls on CBS-TV and recently appeared opposite Lisa Kudrow on HBO’s The Comeback. Husky, his debut young adult novel, was just released by Penguin Books.