How I Met My Mentor

Co-authored with Belinda Carroll

When I was a tiny gaybee -- before I became a stand-up comic -- I used to watch a lot of stand-up comedy. Especially LGBT comedy. So in 2007, about a year before I tried stand up for the first time, I saw Jason Stuart on LOGO's Wisecrack. I instantly loved him. A gay Don Rickles, he both spit the truth and charmed; his razor sharp wit keeping the audience laughing throughout.

I worked with Jason in Portland, Oregon for the annual LGBT Pride show, and subsequently we ended up working together a lot since. When I first met Jason I wondered, was he going to be as acerbic as his stage persona? I had no idea he was such a prolific character actor with over 175 TV and film credits! Is he going to demand 120 obscure things in his rider and 500 million dollars in small bills? (I read a lot of To my surprise, he was soft spoken and almost apologetic about his fame. Or as he puts it, his 'kinda maybe fame", while in the same breath talking about working in his newest endeavor, LOVE IS STRANGE, with such luminaries as John Lithgow, Alfred Molina and Marisa Tomei. Because of course, we all do films with John Lithgow everyday - not!

What transpired was a fast friendship with lot of laughs. It ends up Stuart is as funny off stage as he is on. So when I sat down with him to talk about Mentor as well as our upcoming shows, I felt like I was talking to a close friend.

Belinda: So what do you have coming up? You have like a million things going on now! And your own web series!

[Jason laughs]

Belinda: It's on that new network Gay Direct called MENTOR.

Jason: Mentor is about me and my friends. Sorta LOUIE meets CURB YOUR ENTHUSIUM. A few years back I started mentoring youth, so I created a series with Paul Elia & Alexandra Paul about my experiences. I wanted to give back, but I what really got was them mentoring me.

Belinda:And you have so many films coming out all over the place, right?

Jason: No, just a couple [of films]. One is called BIG GAY LOVE. I play a republican gay guy and I'm the put upon husband with a kid I don't really want. (coming out on DVD in December. (Belinda Laughs] TANGERINE about drag kids in Hollywood; and of course, LOVE IS STRANGE as well as DIRTY with Roger Guinevere Smith where I play a straight guy. Also I'm in one of James Franco's film HOLY LAND. Oh yea, i'm working on HUSH UP SWEET CHARLOTTE with Mink Stole & Varla Jean Merman. My first parody film.

Belinda: So I'm guessing you're not busy at all. Lol. Are you trying to have a dating life too on top of it?

Jason: I'm single and ready to mingle. I just hope to find some boy that is ready to do what he's told. [Belinda laughs]

Belinda: I get that. I was in Eugene at University of Oregon this weekend and there was this girl in the front row, and she was a cute little butch, and I said, " How old are you?" and she said 'nineteen' and I said, "Oh you are soft and tender- like veal." [Jason laughs]

Jason: That's so funny.

Belinda: I have to tell you why I wanted you to do this interview.

Jason: Go ahead.

Belinda: Because my friend Tere [Joyce] contacted me about it and as soon as she asked me I was like "Oh my god, I've loved him since I saw him on Logo!"

Jason: Awww, Really? I love her.

Belinda: Haven't I told you that?

Jason: Noooo.

Belinda: Oh yeah, I had that [Wisecrack] on TIVO and watched it several times. I loved it. But you're also a mentor to youth LGBT, you have your podcast Absolutely Jason Stuart, and you've had people on like Carrie Preston, Francis Fisher and my favorite, Nelly from Little House on The Prairie. [Alison Arngrim].

Jason: Oh yeah, I just had her [Alison Arngrim] on! We are doing the horror film LAZY SUSAN together.

Belinda: I was raised in a religious household, so we could watch anything with Michael Landon. So that was special to me. Because at that point TV was magic.

Jason: Isn't it still? I still get excited.

Belinda: I am a huge fan girl actually. And it doesn't have to be a TV person. I just worked in Eugene with Edna Vazquez. She's an extraordinarily talented Spanish guitar singer/songwriter, and she's very quiet. But she's got this otherworldly voice. And I am just, "I can't talk to you, because I like you"

Belinda: So, Mentor is coming out on Gay Direct NOV 5th. I've seen the episodes, and thought they were hilarious. Also, I know you well enough to know that is exactly as you are in person. Including the lecture about smoking! What has been your favorite part of making Mentor?

Jason: What I loved about it is that it is just how it happened in real life and we were able to make art out of it. What I adore about the Internet is that it lets me control my own destiny and lets me create on my terms. Instead getting someone else to play with us, we can just play with ourselves! *Laughs*