Call Redialed: Joe Gulla: "GAY.PORN.MAFIA" Downtown Urban Arts Festival
Joe Gulla has been one of my biggest supporters since day one! I'm always up for supporting his plays because they are well written, funny, inquisitive, and leave me wanting more.
His latest outing GAY.PORN.MAFIA, directed by Brian Rardin, is a collection of his award-winning, nationally (and internationally) produced short comedies. They consist of Gayfever, Fall and Rise, Reel Wood, Knock Off! and Sleeping With The Fish.
GAY.PORN.MAFIA will be part of the Downtown Urban Arts Festival. It will play in the festival on Saturday, April 14 at 7pm at New York Live Arts Theater (219 West 19th Street). In addition to Joe himself, the cast includes Jeff Riberdy, Todd Gutera, Lou Liberatore, Andrea Cordaro, Aaron Dalla Villa and Emily Dinova.
The show is already SOLD OUT, but a waitlist will be started at 1pm on April 14. Call 212-924-0077 to sign up!
1. On April 14, you are presenting your new play GAY.PORN.MAFIA as part of the Downtown Urban Arts Festival. What are you looking forward to in presenting this show to NY audiences? I'm excited on many levels, Adam! But, you see, GAY.PORN.MAFIA is actually a collection of my award-winning, nationally (and internationally)-produced short comedies. I've seen a lot of these plays awarded and produced across the country. I'm thrilled to offer them in my hometown as a collection. It is great to have that much more control over them! Oh…and I also appear in one!
2. Typically the shows of yours that I've seen (The Bronx Queen Trilogy: The Bronx Queen, Faggy at 50, and Daddy), are just you, seated on a stage, reading your plays. Garbo was the first show of yours that had a full cast. Now, GAY.PORN.MAFIA is being staged with a full cast. What do you like most about working with a full cast as opposed to your solo outings? We fall in love with theatre because of the “community” aspect, right? There is nothing like that feeling of camaraderie. So, Adam, I'm definitely enjoying the team element of preparing this show. My father used to say that I was the most "social loner” he ever met. I think that is an accurate assessment. I'm certainly a person who has made an art out of being solitary. Obviously, that part of my personality is put to good use when I do my solo shows.
But, I feel blessed that I can go back and forth. There is an unbelievable amount of satisfaction when you’ve handled an entire audience by yourself…a deep and fulfilling sense of accomplishment. But, it is equally wonderful to celebrate with people in the dressing room! By the way, Adam…wait until you experience my phenomenal cast! I am going to name them in order of appearance, so as not to show favoritism. Here goes: Jeff Riberdy, Todd Gutera, Lou Liberatore, Andrea Cordaro, Aaron Dalla Villa and Emily Divona. Jesus! They’re the perfect combination of talent and attractiveness! The Casting Gods arrived in full force for my director, Brian Rardin and me! We found a quality “mob”! (See what I did there, Adam!)
3. GAY.PORN.MAFIA is a collection of 5 of your nationally and internationally produced short comedies. How did these five shows = the one title GAY.PORN.MAFIA? Love this question! I wanted the show to have a provocative title. Simple as that. The plays themselves are provocative. GAY.PORN.MAFIA was perfect because all of the plays have at least ONE of those themes: “Gay," “Porn” and/or “Mafia”!
4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing GAY.PORN.MAFIA? My solo shows, like The Bronx Queen, are funny, but they're also thoughtful and occasionally deep/sad! The plays in GAY.PORN.MAFIA are written mostly to engender laughs. I want people to leave having had some really hearty laughs. A gut-buster here. A chuckle there. There’s also opportunities for a tear to be shed. GAY.PORN.MAFIA is not super serious. But, that's not to say it's gravitas-free!
5. In this play, there is an unexpected encounter with a hot, skydiving priest. I went skydiving for my 40th birthday in Las Vegas. It was the most freeing experience of my life! If you went skydiving, what would you be letting go of as you were free-falling before inflating the parachute? Then, as you look at beyond the yonder after the parachute is inflated, what would be the most beautiful thing you'd be looking over in your life? God bless you, Adam! I will NOT be skydiving anytime soon! A friend of mine tried to convince me once and the very next week he shared a story on Facebook about his parachute not opening up and how he had to use the emergency parachute. He ended up hanging in a tree for hours! I was like, “Thank God, you are alive…and, um, please do not pursue a career in Sales!” But, I love your question and I am going to answer it metaphorically!
If I was ever free-falling, I'd want to use the opportunity to let go of people that don’t have my best interest in mind. What a burden to continue carrying people like that! I’d have so much extra time. There’s still a lot of Milan Kundera I haven’t read. Also, I can use my newfound "extra time" to check out some of Tennessee Williams’ lesser-known works. For instance, I’ve never really given Night of the Iguana the attention it deserves!
Parachute inflated and floating downward, I'd look back on my life and realize that I was ALWAYS supported. Even when I felt alone, I never was! That’s a wonderful realization, Mr. Rothenberg. It also provides an almost perfect “parachute analogy” for your interview question! My friend in the tree would certainly not be able to wax as poetic! Ha!
6. Now, I have to ask, have you ever hooked up with a member of the clergy? If so, what was it like? Did you see God? I never hooked up with a clergyman, but I DID hook up with a mortician! Did I see God? No! But I saw a man that was comfortable having sex near formaldehyde.
7. What has been your hottest sexual encounter? My assigned college roommate was a Full On, Italian, Muscle Jock/Guido! I assumed he would mock me and call me a fag! He didn’t! But, he DID provide the answer to Question 7!
8. Let's break this title down in the next few questions..."Gay" - What's your favorite thing about being gay? Who's your favorite gay actor? My favorite thing about being gay is that I am programmed to avoid drugstore moisturizer! My favorite gay actor? Easy! Javier Bardem! (Penelope and I have an understanding!)
9. "Porn" - What's your favorite porn to watch? If you could star in your own porn movie, what would you title it and what would the plot be? I love straight porn! It’s my fave! Hmmmm…My porn movie title would be: Deep Throat IV: Raspy Nights! It’s the story of an Oversexed, Majorly Hung, Bronx-Born, Italian, Power Bottom who is constantly explaining to customer service operators that he doesn’t have a cold!
10. "Mafia" - Do you know anyone in the "Mafia"? Who do you consider to be your "Mafia" (meaning posse)? Put it this way, Adam: I would know a lot MORE people in the Mafia if I spent LESS time with my friends in Private Sanitation!
As for my current “Mafia”, I run with the BEST there is…THE MOTHER FREAKIN’, DOWN, DIRTY, SEXY ASS…“GAY.PORN.MAFIA"!!!
Thank you for always being so great, Adam! You KNOW that I have been a fan of your blog since Day One! I am so proud of your incredible success and I am honored that you are such a big supporter of my work!
More on Joe:
Joe Gulla is a regular performer at Joe's Pub at The Public Theater. His play, GARBO won the 2017 Downtown Urban Arts Festival "Audience Award." Previously, Joe's The Bronx Queen won the 2016 DUAF "Audience Award." As an actor, Joe played "Joey" in San Francisco's Tony & Tina's Wedding for many years and "Frankie" in Off-Broadway's My Big Gay Italian Wedding. He also starred on NBC's LOST, one of television's first adventure reality series.