Jason Stuart
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Jason Stuart

Los Angeles, California, United States | AFTRA

Los Angeles, California, United States | AFTRA
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May
23
Jason Stuart @ http://www.jasonstuart.com/appearances.htm

None, None, USA

None, None, USA

Feb
13
Jason Stuart @ OUTmedia's QUEER RIOT! @ INDIANA UNIVERSITY

Indiana, Indiana, USA

Indiana, Indiana, USA

Feb
12
Jason Stuart @ Delaware Valley College

Doylestown, Pennsylvania, USA

Doylestown, Pennsylvania, USA

Music

Press


What do I say about finding a new hill to climb? I am over 40 (OK, way over 40) and wondering where I fit in as a gay comedian and actor, as an artist... as a man. Friends are getting sick, my dad passed away, and I realize time is passing and I can't go back. There is no redo.

It is hard enough for anyone to get old, but being an older gay man in show business is like being invisible in the good ol' U.S.A. But I am not alone: Women actresses my age have an even harder time than I do. My lesbian sisters are rarely seen in film and TV, at any age.

What's next? I have hope. Three of my most recent films were helmed by directors under 30 who actually honored that I was older. Ironically, it is more my peers who are ageists, refusing to release their stereotype of what middle-aged is. They even seen miffed at the possibility of "why not?" Why not cast this part older? After all, the baby boomers are all over 50 years old next year, so what entertainment will they pay for if Hollywood remains obsessed with the 18-to-25 demographic?

I challenge the media to start the conversation with and about people over 40. We have the money to spend. Make us use it!

Meryl Streep said it best on 60 Minutes: We talked people over 40 out of going to the movies. We told them not to go. As Jessica Lange stated, "I'm ready to do my best work, and there are no parts written for me." What are the boomers going to watch if the media doesn't put us onscreen, telling our stories?

So let's let them know we want to go to the movies, see great theater, buy songs, read books and watch comedy in the clubs! Let's support the entertainment out there that celebrates age, experience and history.

But remember, it is also up to us to make the change happen: Get out there and create your art! Write, sing, publish.

And lastly, to the media: Listen.
- Huffington Post


I went to Hancock Park Elementary School with Jodie Foster. I first noticed her sitting on a bench all alone. Many of the kids would not play with her because her brother Buddy was on the TV series MAYBERRY R.F.D. This made her different and that's not what you want to be in school. I was drawn to her, as I was to all artists, because I wanted to be in show business. I felt alone and different. She did too.

Decades later, I saw her again, but this time on TV, no longer alone. Sunday Jan 13th was my birthday, and it was also the night of the Golden Globes. I got a present I did not expect. When I came out 20 years ago on The Geraldo Show and told the world that I was a gay man who happened to be an actor and comedian, I was so scared that my mouth was dry and I was afraid I would not be able to speak. But I was willing to risk my career and let the chips fall where they may. Jodie Foster did the same thing in a much bigger way on Sunday Night.

She said,

In those very quaint days, a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends, and family, coworkers and then gradually, proudly, to everyone who knew her. To everyone she actually met. But now, apparently I'm told, that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance and a prime time reality show.
And then she proudly thanked her ex-partner, a woman. Yes, I wish she had said the word "gay". Yes, I wish she had come out years ago. I agree with Wilson Cruz's critique that Jodie was too flip with her comments and presented it as a non-issue, when it is a big deal to all of us not-so-famous gays and lesbians. But, the fact that she spoke of her coming out speech on a major award show, when she could have just thanked the usual suspects, is life changing for me. Jodie could have said nothing, but instead she spoke of here ex partner Cydney Bernard and their two children, which they are co-raising. Her words really affected this over-40 actor who has felt the sting of not being the actor industry folks cast in roles that my straight counterparts get to play all the time. She made me feel less alone as an Out and not-so-young-anymore performer.
Jodie seems willing to give up being a movie star and just be an artist. She mentioned how she may not be on the stage like this again. Perhaps she feels that, being 50, her best acting parts are behind her, and she won't be honored like this again. Perhaps she feels she will no longer be considered for the female leads in major studio pictures because she is a lesbian. Perhaps she realized being an out, gay woman is more important than being in showbiz and she is willing to risk her career, like I was 20 years ago. I mention this brilliant actress in the same breath as I mention myself, a working Joe, with all due respect.

Like Jodie Foster, most actors who come out nowadays are already a success -- for example, Neil Patrick Harris, who now stars in the TV series How I Met Your Mother and more recently, Jim Parsons, star of The Big Bang Theory. Not to diminish them by any means -- I am thrilled they have joined Elton John, Wanda Sykes, Ian McKellan, Rosie O'Donnell and of course Ellen DeGeneres, who told the world they were gay after they became famous. But we must not overlook people like Jane Lynch, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Harvey Fierstein and Wilson Cruz, came out at the beginning of their careers. That takes great selflessness and courage.

My hope is that those of us who break the ground get to walk on it. I know that Jodie Foster's speech last Sunday will help us do that.

Congrats to my old school chum! Welcome to the Out Actor Club!
- Huffington Post


I went to Hancock Park Elementary School with Jodie Foster. I first noticed her sitting on a bench all alone. Many of the kids would not play with her because her brother Buddy was on the TV series MAYBERRY R.F.D. This made her different and that's not what you want to be in school. I was drawn to her, as I was to all artists, because I wanted to be in show business. I felt alone and different. She did too.

Decades later, I saw her again, but this time on TV, no longer alone. Sunday Jan 13th was my birthday, and it was also the night of the Golden Globes. I got a present I did not expect. When I came out 20 years ago on The Geraldo Show and told the world that I was a gay man who happened to be an actor and comedian, I was so scared that my mouth was dry and I was afraid I would not be able to speak. But I was willing to risk my career and let the chips fall where they may. Jodie Foster did the same thing in a much bigger way on Sunday Night.

She said,

In those very quaint days, a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends, and family, coworkers and then gradually, proudly, to everyone who knew her. To everyone she actually met. But now, apparently I'm told, that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance and a prime time reality show.
And then she proudly thanked her ex-partner, a woman. Yes, I wish she had said the word "gay". Yes, I wish she had come out years ago. I agree with Wilson Cruz's critique that Jodie was too flip with her comments and presented it as a non-issue, when it is a big deal to all of us not-so-famous gays and lesbians. But, the fact that she spoke of her coming out speech on a major award show, when she could have just thanked the usual suspects, is life changing for me. Jodie could have said nothing, but instead she spoke of here ex partner Cydney Bernard and their two children, which they are co-raising. Her words really affected this over-40 actor who has felt the sting of not being the actor industry folks cast in roles that my straight counterparts get to play all the time. She made me feel less alone as an Out and not-so-young-anymore performer.
Jodie seems willing to give up being a movie star and just be an artist. She mentioned how she may not be on the stage like this again. Perhaps she feels that, being 50, her best acting parts are behind her, and she won't be honored like this again. Perhaps she feels she will no longer be considered for the female leads in major studio pictures because she is a lesbian. Perhaps she realized being an out, gay woman is more important than being in showbiz and she is willing to risk her career, like I was 20 years ago. I mention this brilliant actress in the same breath as I mention myself, a working Joe, with all due respect.

Like Jodie Foster, most actors who come out nowadays are already a success -- for example, Neil Patrick Harris, who now stars in the TV series How I Met Your Mother and more recently, Jim Parsons, star of The Big Bang Theory. Not to diminish them by any means -- I am thrilled they have joined Elton John, Wanda Sykes, Ian McKellan, Rosie O'Donnell and of course Ellen DeGeneres, who told the world they were gay after they became famous. But we must not overlook people like Jane Lynch, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Harvey Fierstein and Wilson Cruz, came out at the beginning of their careers. That takes great selflessness and courage.

My hope is that those of us who break the ground get to walk on it. I know that Jodie Foster's speech last Sunday will help us do that.

Congrats to my old school chum! Welcome to the Out Actor Club!
- Huffington Post


Jason Stuart could be Dr. Phil’s brother. There’s such a compelling resemblance. Like Dr. Phil, Jason reaches out to help others, but in just a wee-bit dissimilar manner. Jason gives of himself to others. Wait! I must clarify. That statement could easily be taken in a whole different fashion than I intended. However, the veteran standup comic would probably delight in this sexual innuendo.
Jason has volunteered continually for the HIV/AIDS community ever since he did his first AIDS Walk in 1984. He boasts to me that he still has the T-shirt from that event. Losing numerous friends to the epidemic, Jason frequently lectures on safer sex to youths around the country and to kids that he mentors through Lifeworks Mentoring Program, where he’s been active for seven years. He also produces its annual comedy show benefit. Jason’s involved with other causes as well, including homelessness, marriage equality, and LGBT rights. He’s also the national chairman of the first ever SAG/AFTRA LGBT Committee, which he co-founded. The group is presently working on an out actor survey—a first—from the Williams Institute at UCLA.
This character actor has appeared in over forty television shows including Charmed, Will & Grace, George Lopez, Entourage, and My Wife and Kids. His roles include those in films such as Kindergarten Cop, Vegas Vacation, and Gia, an AIDS-themed biopic. Also listed on his CV are loads of independent films and one that he produced, wrote, and starred in, 10 Attitudes. Watch for his new films, Holy Land, produced by James Franco, and Goodbye World, co-starring Adrian Grenier, Ben McKenzie, and rapper Kid Cudi. He’s slated to direct a film, Mentor, which stars one of the kids he mentors, Paul Elia.
Jason’s attraction to performance was secured early on by watching his favorite sitcoms I Love Lucy, All in the Family and Mary Tyler Moore. His inspiration was kindled by studying the work of Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Don Rickles, and Joan Rivers. He began his entertainment career as a standup comic in the early eighties, but what garnered him more respectability and recognition was his coming out on The Geraldo Show in 1993. Not too shabby for a boy who started off as Stuart Ted Greif, a student at Hancock Park Elementary School in Los Angeles, with fellow classmate Jodie Foster!
Dann Dulin:?Did you really go to school with Jodie Foster?!
Jason Stuart: Yes, and I loved that she came out at the Golden Globes. I so respect her for that.
And though he was a bit older than me and I didn’t know him well, I used to pass Timothy Hutton in the hallways at Fairfax High School [in Los Angeles].
When I toss out the word “AIDS,” what comes to mind?
The loss of a generation. It reminds me of the strength of the gay community; the support we gave to one another, and continue to give, at one of the most difficult times.
Where did you first hear about the epidemic?
It was Gay Pride, 1984. I remember it well. I was dating this hot Latino guy with a Mohawk and everyone was talking about this gay cancer. Then Rock Hudson died and everything changed. It was a sad, scary time for me.
I know you’ve lost many friends to AIDS; tell me about one that left an impact.
My first close friend, Barry Robins. He played “Cotton” in Bless the Beasts and the Children and was on Broadway in The King and I. I was so young when I met him but he left such a deep impression on me. He mentored me and gave me so much education about the theater and love and life. I think I was in love with him but he would not let it go anywhere, which saved my life. He even gave me his old car when my car died. He was so generous with his time when I needed it so badly.
When Barry got really sick he stopped seeing people, including me. I was devastated. I remember going by his apartment, knocking on his door, and he would not answer it. He would tell me, “Go away. It’s better that way.” I respected his wishes. To this day I regret that. But I do forgive myself. I had never been in that situation before and didn’t have the smarts to listen to my heart—as I do now. I was so young, a baby. If it were today, I would go back the next day.
What stage production about the epidemic blew you away?
In the early eighties I saw Brad Davis in New York and later Richard Dreyfuss and Bruce Davison in Los Angeles perform in The Normal Heart. It changed my life. I saw what being an advocate really is. It taught me about stepping up to the plate and…just showing up. To simply say, “I’m here, What do you need?” I have not been able to do all I wanted to do. I am just a working Joe, a middle-class actor and comedian who’s way over forty, but who thinks it’s important to be an active member of the LGBT community.
Why do you care?
It’s a big part of my life to do service. Giving back is who I am. It gives me depth, and light in my life.
In a nutshell, what do you tell the young kids you mentor about safer sex?
I let them know the fight is not ove - A & U


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jason-stuart/george-clooney-obama-fundraiser_b_1511331.html - Huffington Post


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jason-stuart/george-clooney-obama-fundraiser_b_1511331.html - Huffington Post


I could have been Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Tyler Clementi or any of the other teens that recently ended their young, precious lives. I grew up in the 1970s when being gay was still considered to be a mental illness by some. I would go to sleep hoping not to wake up, simply because I liked men. While much has changed over the last 30 years, feelings of isolation remain, much of it brought on by peers.

Like those boys and so many others, I was bullied in school. I guess my locker had some pheromone that attracted people that hated people that were somewhat different, because in the first week of 7th grade a kid scraped the word "fag" on my locker with something sharp like a pocket knife or a nail. Even though I could only see that word when I fumbled with the combination, the sadness and loneliness that the word made me feel lingered in the back of my mind every day of those horrific three years, a feeling that continued until I finally came out publicly on television in 1993. This one act and other daily forms of abuse by my classmates changed my life and my ability to learn and participate in friendships and relationships. The fear that I had because I was different was so strong it convinced me not to attend college; I was not prepared for what the repercussions might be if people knew I was gay.

When I was in my 30s and starting to act, I was completely guarded with my secret, convinced I had to suppress it and pretend it was non-existent. It was so detrimental to me that I only wanted to be with other "professional" actors, where I felt safe. Where I knew that as long as I was in this box of mine, life was going to be safer. "Just DON'T be yourself." That's what I believed and in doing so, I missed so many potential experiences and relationships that I will never know what could have been.

I regret not having the experience of going though the same things at the same time as my peers. Folks often say, "You can go to college now." Of course, it wouldn't be the same. I often travel to universities to do stand-up or lecture, and I learn so much just being around students, faculty and members of gay-straight alliances. Recently, after a performance, I had a good cry when I was back in my hotel because I had been in the presence of these students who are not afraid of being out and accepting who they are. It impressed me immensely.

When I was 21, I made a call to a suicide prevention lifeline because I realized I needed help. I was starting to have thoughts of suicide and I needed someone to stop me, to save my life. I began seeing a counselor after that, who I knew kept everything confidential, but even with my back to her chair, I sat there and lied that I was bi-sexual, uncomfortable to even speak the truth to a professional. It was too hard and I was afraid for my life.

Career-wise, I wanted to be an actor while some in the industry would say I was "too light in the loafers." Memories of all these kids who beat me up and humiliated me all through school came back to me repeatedly in my early years of pursuing my career. Being afraid of people and re-learning how to trust them is a daily reminder of where and how far I have come.

Now I am an actor, a comedian and an advocate for equality. I have been able to get past my childhood and work in my chosen profession. I also have been able to give back to my community by being chair of the Screen Actors Guild National LGBT Actors Committee and a mentor for LifeWorks, which supports LGBTQ youth between the ages of 12-24. I have also produced and performed in a comedy benefit for the past five years to raise money for these kids and to show them there is hope out there.

Doing service for others and accepting the support of others has been my way of healing. I have been able to overcome my feelings of not being "enough." I came to realize that the thoughts in my head are just that and can go out as easily as they entered those many years ago. I can create a new life story by which to live my life. It's 2010 and I don't have to be that kid in the 1970s who was abused and suicidal anymore. I often wish I could take that kid by the hand and show him the life I have now and tell him, "It will get better. I'm someone. Someone with a life and someone that matters. Just like you do."

- The Huffington Post


I could have been Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Tyler Clementi or any of the other teens that recently ended their young, precious lives. I grew up in the 1970s when being gay was still considered to be a mental illness by some. I would go to sleep hoping not to wake up, simply because I liked men. While much has changed over the last 30 years, feelings of isolation remain, much of it brought on by peers.

Like those boys and so many others, I was bullied in school. I guess my locker had some pheromone that attracted people that hated people that were somewhat different, because in the first week of 7th grade a kid scraped the word "fag" on my locker with something sharp like a pocket knife or a nail. Even though I could only see that word when I fumbled with the combination, the sadness and loneliness that the word made me feel lingered in the back of my mind every day of those horrific three years, a feeling that continued until I finally came out publicly on television in 1993. This one act and other daily forms of abuse by my classmates changed my life and my ability to learn and participate in friendships and relationships. The fear that I had because I was different was so strong it convinced me not to attend college; I was not prepared for what the repercussions might be if people knew I was gay.

When I was in my 30s and starting to act, I was completely guarded with my secret, convinced I had to suppress it and pretend it was non-existent. It was so detrimental to me that I only wanted to be with other "professional" actors, where I felt safe. Where I knew that as long as I was in this box of mine, life was going to be safer. "Just DON'T be yourself." That's what I believed and in doing so, I missed so many potential experiences and relationships that I will never know what could have been.

I regret not having the experience of going though the same things at the same time as my peers. Folks often say, "You can go to college now." Of course, it wouldn't be the same. I often travel to universities to do stand-up or lecture, and I learn so much just being around students, faculty and members of gay-straight alliances. Recently, after a performance, I had a good cry when I was back in my hotel because I had been in the presence of these students who are not afraid of being out and accepting who they are. It impressed me immensely.

When I was 21, I made a call to a suicide prevention lifeline because I realized I needed help. I was starting to have thoughts of suicide and I needed someone to stop me, to save my life. I began seeing a counselor after that, who I knew kept everything confidential, but even with my back to her chair, I sat there and lied that I was bi-sexual, uncomfortable to even speak the truth to a professional. It was too hard and I was afraid for my life.

Career-wise, I wanted to be an actor while some in the industry would say I was "too light in the loafers." Memories of all these kids who beat me up and humiliated me all through school came back to me repeatedly in my early years of pursuing my career. Being afraid of people and re-learning how to trust them is a daily reminder of where and how far I have come.

Now I am an actor, a comedian and an advocate for equality. I have been able to get past my childhood and work in my chosen profession. I also have been able to give back to my community by being chair of the Screen Actors Guild National LGBT Actors Committee and a mentor for LifeWorks, which supports LGBTQ youth between the ages of 12-24. I have also produced and performed in a comedy benefit for the past five years to raise money for these kids and to show them there is hope out there.

Doing service for others and accepting the support of others has been my way of healing. I have been able to overcome my feelings of not being "enough." I came to realize that the thoughts in my head are just that and can go out as easily as they entered those many years ago. I can create a new life story by which to live my life. It's 2010 and I don't have to be that kid in the 1970s who was abused and suicidal anymore. I often wish I could take that kid by the hand and show him the life I have now and tell him, "It will get better. I'm someone. Someone with a life and someone that matters. Just like you do."

- The Huffington Post


I was the first openly gay comedian to headline mainstream comedy clubs and had a lot of success in the 90s touring around the good old USA. I worked in comedy clubs around the country for over twenty years. Five years ago I was booked at Zanies Comedy Club in Chicago; what we call an "A" rooms in the comedy biz. It was November and only a frigid three degrees below zero. It was a disaster. The comedy club forgot to pick me up at the airport. When they finally picked me up they took me to the wrong hotel. Two of the three radio appearances were canceled because Clear Channel decided it did not want guests; they wanted to play music that they had deals with at big Fortune 500 companies. My PR at the local gay bar was a nightmare and the music was so loud people did not know what the hell I was doing there! It snowed so much, and it was so cold that people were not going out anywhere let alone to a comedy club. So, I spent the week in my hotel crying and wondering what I was doing with my life.

I needed to change my life's direction. I decided I wanted to act more; which was really my passion. Stand-Up had become no longer fun to perform. It was like my day job, at night. I had a fan send an email saying he wanted to get into stand up. I asked, "Who do you wanna make laugh? He said "everybody". I replied "Have you met everybody, I have…" I also wanted to do more big-ticket gay events, college gigs and theatre gigs so I'd be home more to find Mr. Right. Well, I got my passion back for stand up and have been cast in over forty film & TV shows in the last few years. I also got to perform comedy at some of the best gay events in the country and doubled that in the coming years!

Soon after I got a got a call from Michael Ferrera, who created a group called Lifeworks, that mentors gay youth and they wanted me to perform at their' comedy benefit. I asked, "What was the venue?" They didn't have one… "Well, who were the other comics?" He told me they did not have any. This was how I become the Event Chair. I called my home based-comedy club I worked at in Hollywood, The Laugh Factory (where we used to do the event) and all my friends, who happened to be the top openly gay comedians in the country, right away. Our first show was a big fat success!

In Los Angeles, it is not easy to do a charity event; especially when you are a gay man. Most of the guys want to see Margret Cho, Kathy Griffin, drag queens and the women only seem to support each other at their own events. I wanted to do comedy events for all of us …gay, lesbian bisexual, and transgender people; and our allies. I also invited all my famous actor, singers and reality star friends to come and show up to pose for some pictures, sign some autographs and hang out. Since we created this meet & greet VIP reception it has become a staple in our annual benefit. The celebrities included were: Chad Allen (Dr. Quinn), Allison Arngrim (Little House on The Prairie), Chaz Bono (Becoming Chaz), Jim J Bullock (Too Close For Comfort), Francis Fisher (Titanic), Elaine Hendrix (Parent Trap), Geri Jewell (Facts Of Life), Jane Lynch (Glee), Alexandra Paul (Baywatch), Jack Plotnick (Girls Will Be Girls), Jason Simmons (Baywatch), and Doug Spearman (Noah's Arc), to name a few.

In the last five years our cast of comedians has been like a "who's who?" in gay comedy including: Ant, Michele Balan, Gloria Bigelow, Poppy Champlin, Erin Foley, Mo Gaffeny, Julie Goldman, Ian Harvie, Andre Kelly, Carol Leifer, Wendy Liebman, Alec Mapa , Rick Overton, Coco Peru, Hal Sparks, Amy Stiller, Judy Tenuta, Scott Thompson, Tony Tripoli, Sandra Valls, Bruce Vilanch, Suzanne Westenhoefer and me! It was so thrilling to share all my friends' talent with our community. I have so grateful to them for giving there talent to us for free of charge.

This organization gave me a sense of community and place to give back. Lifeworks mentors kids between the ages of twelve to twenty-four. When I was that age, I was floating in the wind. Not knowing how or where I was going to get what I wanted and needed. I did not have a mentor or anyone to show me the way. I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out how to live as an openly gay man. Lifework does that for our youth. It gives them a place to go and be with kids their own age to create a sense of belonging, a community.

If I had this kind of support as a youth I would of saved so much time. I might not have had to go to the suicide prevention center and tell a woman I never met that I wanted to die because I was gay. I would have felt like I had place to go and meet with people like me going through the same things at the same time as I was. I would of not been so alone.

A few years back we moved into the Gay & Lesbian Center and this year we will be performing at our show at the Renberg Theatre at The Village. We have grown and we will be doing two shows this time at 5pm & 8pm with a VIP reception at 6:30pm with food & drinks on Sunday, Marc - The Huffington Post


Much has been said and written about the recent Newsweek article "Straight Jacket: Heterosexual actors play gay all the time. Why doesn't it ever work in reverse?" Contributor Ramin Setoodeh contends that audiences do not accept openly gay actors playing straight roles, such as Sean Hayes in Promises, Promises and Glee's Jonathan Groff, while offering no proof to support this claim other than his own discomfort.

You may agree or disagree with Setoodeh's assessment of a performance (clearly Tony voters disagreed), but he moves beyond that assessment to blame the sexual orientation of the actor in making the roles unbelievable. The writer postulates that out actors make unconvincing heterosexuals, an empirically unsupportable idea due to the subjective nature of audience responses. But Setoodeh, an out gay man himself, makes it very clear where he falls on the matter.

To bolster his case, he dismisses straight roles played by Neil Patrick Harris and Portia de Rossi as "broad" (so he won't count them), and conveniently overlooks Sean Hayes' perfectly believable turn as Jerry Lewis, Emmy-winner Cherry Jones, Academy Award-nominee Ian McKellen, Lily Tomlin on Damages, T.R. Knight on Grey's Anatomy, Dan Butler on Frasier, and Jane Lynch as Meryl Streep's straight sister in Julie and Julia, among others

As an out professional actor and chair of the Screen Actors Guild National LGBT Actors Committee, I reject the notion that openly gay actors are restricted in the roles they can play, and I am proud that so many people, gay and straight, have spoken out about Setoodeh and Newsweek to say the same.

I am a fan of Glee, and feel that Jonathan Groff is perfect for the role he was cast. The fact that Setoodeh can't accept him may say more about his own discomfort with being gay than it does about Groff, but the author's mean-spirited jab could potentially be damaging to the actor's livelihood in the future.

Since the furor erupted over Setoodeh's article, both he and Newsweek have attempted (with little success) to re-frame the wrongheaded argument as a "dialogue starter" that will help move the needle. And maybe that is proving to be true on some level.

What Setoodeh has unwittingly done is pull the curtain back to reveal those who are gay and self-hating. We are now used to revelations of self-loathing politicians who pass anti-gay laws by day while leading a secret gay life. But Setoodeh's article has launched a dialogue about certain gays who inhabit the entertainment industry -- agents, managers, casting directors, publicists and the like -- who make it difficult for out actors and may be actively engaging in their oppression.

Glee creator Ryan Murphy, a gay man, has emerged from this debate as a role model for the industry. He wrote that when casting his show, actors "are encouraged to read for all roles, no matter what their sexual orientation, color or gender. Who cares who you are or who you sleep with...frankly, it's none of our business or concern. The actor with the best audition should get the part."

Murphy gets that it takes talent for any actor to make a character believable, and that actors play roles quite different from themselves, otherwise it wouldn't be acting.

Our SAG LGBT Actors Committee was formed to provide support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender actors who work in this business. Our committee will continue to fight to end fear that being open about who you are means the end of your career, but it's an uphill battle when some of our biggest detractors, like Setoodeh, are members of our own community.

It's damaging words like his that continue to be used to pressure actors to stay in the closet, and place doubt in those in positions of power about their casting choices. At the end of the day, though, if Setoodeh can't accept a gay actor in a straight role, then that's really his problem, isn't it? And he needs to keep that in the closet.

Actor/Comedian Jason Stuart is chair of the Screen Actors Guild National LGBT Actors Committee. He was most recently seen on The Closer, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, House, and his own stand up special Jason Stuart: Making it to the Middle.

- HUFFINGTON POST


The Newsweek Debate
By Jason Stuart
MAY 20, 2010


Many of you have likely heard about the recent Newsweek article "Straight Jacket: Heterosexual actors play gay all the time. Why doesn't it ever work in reverse?" Contributor Ramin Setoodeh contends that audiences do not accept openly gay actors playing straight roles, such as Sean Hayes in "Promises, Promises" and Jonathan Groff of "Glee," while offering no proof to support this claim other than his own discomfort.

As an out professional actor and chair of the Screen Actors Guild National LGBT Actors Committee, I am offended by Setoodeh's attack and proud that our union rejects the notion that openly gay actors are restricted in the roles they can play. I am equally proud that so many people, gay and straight, have spoken out about Setoodeh and Newsweek to say the same.

It has been important for SAG to have a voice in this discussion on behalf of all my fellow brothers and sisters. Our union works tirelessly to advocate diverse hiring of underrepresented groups—including minorities, women, and performers with disabilities—in the entertainment industry. And our union demands that all performers have equal employment opportunities, insisting that qualified individuals are hired regardless of how they may identify. I am an actor; it's not who I am but what I can play that counts.

The SAG LGBT Actors Committee was created to provide support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender actors so that they don't need to feel as if they must hide who they are in order to work in this business. But it is harmful attitudes like those of Setoodeh, an out gay man himself—given a national platform by Newsweek—that are used to pressure actors to stay in the closet, and perhaps worse, place doubt in those in positions of power about their casting choices.

Since the furor over the article erupted, a dialogue has evolved about gays who inhabit the entertainment industry—agents, managers, casting directors, publicists, and the like—who make it difficult for out actors and, some believe, actively engage in holding them back.

To help break this cycle, our SAG committee and the SAG Affirmative Action & Diversity Department regularly meet with entertainment executives to quell fears of the "big pink elephant in the room," as Setoodeh so gracefully wrote. The committee annually hosts an Out in Hollywood event—last year partnering with the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation—which brings together out casting directors, producers, and actors to discuss the state of the industry for LGBT actors. We also host a variety of screenings, roundtable discussions and film festival panels in Hollywood and New York to not only celebrate the out actor but also challenge those in hiring positions who may have preconceived notions about casting an LGBT actor.

"Glee" creator Ryan Murphy, a gay man, has emerged from this Newsweek debate as a role model for those in the industry to follow. He wrote that when casting his show, actors "are encouraged to read for all roles, no matter what their sexual orientation, color, or gender. Who cares who you are or who you sleep with…frankly, it's none of our business or concern. The actor with the best audition should get the part."

Unfortunately, not every showrunner is as committed to diversity. Murphy gets that it takes talent for any actor to make a character believable and that actors play roles quite different from themselves, otherwise it wouldn't be acting—and he has a hit show to prove it.

Our work is clearly not done, and our union will continue to fight to end fear within the acting community that being open about who you are means the end of your career. But it's an uphill battle when some of our biggest detractors, like Setoodeh, are members of our own community.


Actor-comedian Jason Stuart is chair of the Screen Actors Guild National LGBT Actors Committee. He was most recently seen on "The Closer," "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "House," and his own standup special "Jason Stuart: Making It to the Middle."

- BACKSTAGE


"Simply Fantastic.. warmed the hearts of the entire college community... hilarious performance." - Western Michigan University


SAG blasts Newsweek's 'Jacket'
Guild rejects notion that gay actors are confined to gay roles
May 13, 2010
By DAVE MCNARY, Variety
The Screen Actors Guild has blasted Newsweek's controversial "Straight Jacket" article in which contributor Ramin Setoodeh contends that auds do not accept openly gay actors playing straight roles.

"Screen Actors Guild rejects the notion that lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) actors are restricted in the roles they can play," SAG said in a statement Thursday.

In the article, Newsweek associate editor Setoodeh discussed Sean Hayes' performance on Broadway in a revival of "Promises, Promises" and Glee" cast member Jonathan Groff. "Glee" creator Ryan Murphy has called for a boycott of the magazine; the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has urged Newsweek to issue an apology, and Kristin Chenoweth, Hayes' co-star, has called the article "homophobic."

GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios said, "Whether he intended it to or not, Ramin Setoodeh's article in Newsweek sends a false and damaging message about gay actors by endorsing the idea that there are limits to the roles they are able to play."

Newsweek responded by saying that Setoodeh wrote "a thoughtful, honest essay on a controversial topic. It's unfortunate that his argument has been misunderstood and he has been unfairly accused of bigotry."

Jason Stuart, chair of the SAG National LGBT Actors Committee, said in a statement that Setoodeh's "wrongheaded argument sends a damaging and false message that we are limited in the roles we are able to play."

Stuart said the SAG committee was formed to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender actors so they no longer need to feel as if they must hide who they are in order to work.

"Unfortunately, harmful attitudes like those of Setoodeh are used to pressure actors to stay in the closet," Stuart added. "Our work is clearly not done, and we will continue to fight to end fear within the acting community that being open about who you are means the end of your career. I'm an actor; it's not who I am but what I can play that counts."

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG deputy national exec director and general counsel, said the guild's committed to supporting all members in their pursuit of work in order to attain full inclusion within the industry. " SAG will continue to demand that all performers have equal employment opportunities and insist that qualified individuals are hired regardless of how they may identify," Crabtree-Ireland added.
- VARIETY


"One of the funniest comedians I have ever seen! Nothing short of fantastic is what I call your show!" - Lynn University


Jason Stuart's, "Back to the Middle" - Interview
May 18th, 2010
By Colin Murphy, The Vital Voice
At long last the wait is over as openly gay actor and comedian, Jason Stuart returns to The Lou for two-shows-only, May 21-22 at The Gaslight Theatre (358 N. Boyle).

Many will remember Stuart's wildly popular 1990s Coming Out Comedy Tour where he became the first openly gay comic to headline mainstream comedy clubs both here and around the county. In fact the funny man sold out so many St. Louis shows that the West Port Plaza club had to add additional dates.

"You guys in St. Louis gave me so much love and so much confidence in being able to be who I was," said Stuart. "You guys put me out into the country in a really good way and I got a lot of work because of it with the Funny Bone comedy chain."

Stuart is excited to return to St. Louis with his new tour, Jason Stuart: Making It To The Middle and promises an OUTrageously fun evening.

A prolific actor with over 100 film and television credits; the chair of the Screen Actors Guild National LGBT Actors Committee has appeared in myriad roles, including House, Will & Grace, George Lopez, and Charmed, to name a few .

Vital VOICE recently caught up with Stuart via telephone where he talked about his coming out, his comedy, and the controversial Newsweek story attacking openly gay actors:

Colin Murphy: Many people will remember you from your Coming Out Tour at West Port's Funny Bone in the 1990s. When you were first starting that tour as an openly gay comic, were you concerned how you would be received in the Midwest?

Jason Stuart: It wasn't the Midwest that I was worried about. I think what I was worried about is how it [coming out] would impact on my career—whether I would have lost all of my entire inner dreams and what I wanted to do. I mean people have this stereotype of the Midwest; but you have to realize, I toured in the Midwest ten years before that as a closeted act. So this idea of separating audiences because of where they live was not my experience.

CM: What compelled you to come out—what was the catalyst?

JS: It was exhausting. It's hard to live in the closet—there's hat boxes and shit in the way—you're standing on boxes of shoes and you're behind the leather jacket. Then somebody opens up the closet and light goes on for a second and then immediately goes right back off and you don't really get to see things clearly. I mean I've lived totally in the closet—I've lived sort of half-and-half and then I've lived totally out—and I would never go back.

All I really ever wanted to do was be an actor; and being a comedian was sort of a stepping stone to that, but I had gotten very successful doing it and not really realizing that I had a talent for that. So my hope was that being who I was would be accepting to people. It's so interesting that we're talking today about this because I don't know if you read the Newsweek article...

CM: Yes—let's talk about that. I don't know what was more frustrating—the fact that the writer said gay men can't play believable straight roles or that it was a gay man who wrote it?

JS: Well both—did you read the piece in Daily Variety? When I read this [Newsweek] article by this gay man, who's a journalist, basically disparaging Sean Hayes' performance because he knew that he was gay—if John Ritter had played that role or Jerry Lewis in the 1960s had played that role; both of them very feminine in their work as actors, both of them heterosexual men—I don't think that he would have said that. Just because someone is effete in some sort of way is not always equated with homosexuality. Secondly—he even says in his article that the audience was really digging his performance. It's a fun, saucy musical and he was also nominated for a Tony award for the role—let's get that into the equation—which he didn't even say in the article…

And I was so frustrated because so much has gone on in the last ten years, and I can only speak from my own experience. Last year I guest starred on The Closer and I played a very big role as a heterosexual; I've had a role in a show called It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and played a heterosexual; I played a cop in a movie for the first time in a film called The Truth About Layla with Catherine Hicks from 7th Heaven. I've been able to have opportunities in addition to gay roles and other more effete roles—and I never want to stop playing gay parts. But if I waited around for just the gay roles I wouldn't be able to make a living.

So many of the things he said so mortified me—like the idea that Neil Patrick Harris and Portia de Rossi on their sitcom were caricatures because they were working in comedy. So almost disparaging the idea that comedy is not as real as drama and not to be viewed in the same way. There's so many he things that he attacked on so many levels and what he is basically saying is that it's OK for heterosexual, white, Christian men to play anythi - VITAL VOICE MAGAZINE


"One of the best... captivated the audience with energy and enthusiasm. The crowd loved your show!" - University of Central Florida


"Enjoyed how you handled their serious questions and made them comfortable... outstanding co-operation and attitude." - Northern Illinois University


Jason Stuart is still 'Looking for Mr. Right'

BY OLIVIA FORTSON
Staff Writer

When Jason Stuart called us last week from LA., he was in a salon getting fluffed and buffed in preparation for a photo shoot the next day.

The actor has recurring roles on TV shows including "Fat Actress" and "My Wife and Kids," and he's made a name for himself on the independent movie circuit (he just finished filming "Easier, Softer Way" with Mekhi Phifer and Danny Masterson).

But his roots are in standup comedy, which is why he's in Charlotte this week. His "Looking For Mr. Right" tour started Wednesday at the Comedy Zone with a benefit for the Charlotte Lesbian & Gay Community Center. Stuart is the first openly gay comedian to headline a show at the Comedy Zone; his performance there continues with shows at 8 and 10:15 p.m. today and Saturday.

We talked to Stuart about how serious he is about finding the perfect man, what he really thinks about some of the famous people he's worked with, and what to expect at his show.

Q. Among the many stars you've worked with are veterans Faye Dunaway and Joan Rivers, and new star Mekhi Phifer. What do you think of them?
Faye Dunaway is amazing. The funniest thing about her is that she kept pulling her Oscar out of her purse and saying, "I won this." Joan is just so sweet and she's been there, so she treats everyone with respect. She's the grandmother of comedy. Mekhi is gorgeous, smart and sexy.

Q. How did you come up with the idea for your tour?
I’m looking for the right man, state by state. I really want to get married. I say to straight people that it's the year 2005 and if you let us marry each other, then we'll stop marrying you.

Q. What can audiences expect at your show?
My show is for everyone - gay or straight. I'm not dirty I'm just flirtatious. I talk about my family, dating, gay marriage, politics and pop culture. I talk about my life and things that have happened to me.

Q. What are the. characteristics of your Mr. Right?
He has to have a career that he likes. And a car, one that he doesn't live in. And he has to be willing to relocate to LA. Hopefully he'll come to me during this tour because me going to them has not worked at all!

Q. Why did you decide to do a benefit for the Lesbian & Gay Community Center?
I always call the club where I'm performing and get information about gay groups there so I can be supportive of my community. The Lesbian & Gay Community Center offers all kinds of help to people who are coming out, people who are HIV-positive. You can make a donation to them at any of my Charlotte shows.

Q. When did you publicly admit you were gay?
I came out 12 years ago on the "Geraldo" show. I'm not some white trash on "The Jerry Springer Show," so I told my family first.

Q. On your Web site (www.jasonstuart.com) you talk about being Jewish. Did that make a difference in how your family reacted?
My parents are weekend Jews. If there's a wedding, funeral or bar mitzvah, they're there. Otherwise, we're just like you. My sister is an Orthodox Jew. She walks around like she's in the road company of "Fiddler on the Roof." She hasn't spoken to me. I live a few miles from her and she has four children I've never met. But my mom and dad are terrific. My dad asked me why I can't just be gay and shut up about it. I told him that I make a lot of money talking about it so now he tells me to keep talking.

Q. When you're auditioning for a role, do you audition just for gay characters?
I don't care whether the character is gay or straight. I take what l can get. - The Charlotte Observer


"One of the best... captivated the audience with energy and enthusiasm. The crowd loved your show!" - University of Central Florida


Comic 'looking for Mr. Right' to try his luck here

By Nick Crews

Five days before he returns to Crackers Comedy Club Downtown Jason Stuart wants to give heartfelt thanks where he thinks it's due. "I want to say 'thank you' to Indianapolis for proving everybody wrong, and showing that an openly gay man can be a big success in a mainstream comedy club in your city."

Stuart's reference is to his last Indianapolis gig that brought big crowds and bigger laughs - to Crackers last year. His appearance this week is the comic's third engagement at the club. It's a gig, Stuart says, that took him years to get.

"They didn't think I was going to do well there at all," said Stuart from his home in Los Angeles. "It took maybe 10 years of asking this woman to hire me (in Indianapolis), and when she did, we did so well. It's been wonderful."

Stuart began doing stand up comedy in 1983. In 1993 he "came out" on Gerald Rivera’s talk show. Since then, in addition to his stand up, Stuart has performed many acting roles; recently, he guest-starred on "House" and Showtime's improv-style comedy "Fat Actress" starring Kirstie Alley.

He's also appeared on "Will & Grace," "Charmed" and "Strong Medicine," among other television shows. Stuart is perhaps best known as Dr. Thomas, the gay shrink on the ABC sitcom "My Wife & Kids."

Stuart's film roles have included "Easier, Softer Way" with Mekhi Phifer, and "Coffee Date" with Wilson Cruz and Sally Kirkland. In "Gone Postal," Stuart plays a fussy postal assistant manager alongside star Lee Meriwether.

Veteran comic though he is, Stuart admits that recent world events have sometimes make it hard to laugh. "But (comedy) is my job, so I have to be able to do it no matter what," said Stuart. "Sometimes when you don't feel like it, you go onstage and people give me so much love and laughter that it turns me around. I've had that happen a hundred times."

Stuart says his latest foray into stand-up - "The Looking For Mr. Right Comedy Tour" - brings to. Crackers an act associated with finding a worthwhile man: something that's been on his mind a lot lately. "I talk about dating. There's a lot of new stuff about my family, politics, the war," said Stuart. - IndyStar.Com


Comic 'looking for Mr. Right' to try his luck here

By Nick Crews

Five days before he returns to Crackers Comedy Club Downtown Jason Stuart wants to give heartfelt thanks where he thinks it's due. "I want to say 'thank you' to Indianapolis for proving everybody wrong, and showing that an openly gay man can be a big success in a mainstream comedy club in your city."

Stuart's reference is to his last Indianapolis gig that brought big crowds and bigger laughs - to Crackers last year. His appearance this week is the comic's third engagement at the club. It's a gig, Stuart says, that took him years to get.

"They didn't think I was going to do well there at all," said Stuart from his home in Los Angeles. "It took maybe 10 years of asking this woman to hire me (in Indianapolis), and when she did, we did so well. It's been wonderful."

Stuart began doing stand up comedy in 1983. In 1993 he "came out" on Gerald Rivera’s talk show. Since then, in addition to his stand up, Stuart has performed many acting roles; recently, he guest-starred on "House" and Showtime's improv-style comedy "Fat Actress" starring Kirstie Alley.

He's also appeared on "Will & Grace," "Charmed" and "Strong Medicine," among other television shows. Stuart is perhaps best known as Dr. Thomas, the gay shrink on the ABC sitcom "My Wife & Kids."

Stuart's film roles have included "Easier, Softer Way" with Mekhi Phifer, and "Coffee Date" with Wilson Cruz and Sally Kirkland. In "Gone Postal," Stuart plays a fussy postal assistant manager alongside star Lee Meriwether.

Veteran comic though he is, Stuart admits that recent world events have sometimes make it hard to laugh. "But (comedy) is my job, so I have to be able to do it no matter what," said Stuart. "Sometimes when you don't feel like it, you go onstage and people give me so much love and laughter that it turns me around. I've had that happen a hundred times."

Stuart says his latest foray into stand-up - "The Looking For Mr. Right Comedy Tour" - brings to. Crackers an act associated with finding a worthwhile man: something that's been on his mind a lot lately. "I talk about dating. There's a lot of new stuff about my family, politics, the war," said Stuart. - IndyStar.Com


Discography

Stand-Up Comedy CD "Gay Comedy Without A Dress"

Stand-Up Comedy Cable Special "Jason Stuart: Making it to the Middle" now on DVD

TV shows like ITS ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA, ENTOURAGE, THE CLOSER, HOUSE, GEORGE LOPEZ, WILL & GRACE, EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS, CHARMED,
MY WIFE & KIDS to name a few

Photos

Bio

When you think one of the most prolific character actors, who’s also an outrageous openly gay stand-up comedian, one name comes to mind…. Jason Stuart. Stuart has been making people laugh out loud with his hysterical performances all over the country since coming out in 1993. He has accomplished what few other gay comics have ever achieved: brutal honesty with humor in a world that’s not always kind. Not only is Stuart an all-out crowd pleaser, but he transcends the boundaries of race, gender and sexual orientation with his edgy comedic style. Stuart’s material about his experiences as a single Jewish gay man living in Hollywood is original, cutting edge and just plain funny.

Stuart has performed at all of the top comedy clubs & comedy festivals and hundreds
of gay events & prides, colleges & universities, and even on Broadway. Since Stuart makes such a strong connection with his audience, he is in high demand by corporate programs with his lecture, "Coming Out In Hollywood", on being openly gay in the workplace. Most recently, appeared on the comedy shows "One Night Stand-Up", "Comics Unleashed", "Wisecrack" and his won hour cable special "Jason Stuart: Making It To The Middle"

Although his semi-celebrity came via stand-up, Stuart is also well-known for his work as an actor playing gay & straight roles on over 100 popular film & television shows. Stuart has wowed audiences on the TV screen with guest roles in hits such shows as "Entourage", "The Closer", "Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia", "Will & Grace", "George Lopez", "Everybody Hates Chris", "House" and "Charmed", to name a few. He is best known playing “Dr. Thomas”, the gay family therapist on "My Wife and Kids".

As a character actor, filmmakers say his talent is a cross between the depth of Philip Seymour Hoffman, the comedy timing of John Ritter and the quirkiness of Steve Buscemi. He has worked with heavy hitters George Clooney, Faye Dunaway, Angelina Jolie, Damon Wayans, Drew Carey, George Lopez, David Spade and even Arnold Schwarzenegger. Stuart was featured in the comedy hit "A Day Without a Mexican" and the HBO award winning drama "Gia". Among the big studio pictures he appeared in, "Kindergarten Cop" and "Vegas Vacation" are favorites among TV fans.

Stuart has become a major player in the independent film world after being nominated for a Gay International Film Award for best supporting actor in "Coffee Date". Proving that he is more than just an actor and comedian, Stuart also produced and starred in his own totally improvised independent film "10 Attitudes". This award winning romantic comedy proved to be a huge success both in the U.S. and abroad. in addition to recently was seen in remake of "Edgar Allan Poe’s The Pit & the Pendulum" where he plays the villain. "Home Invasion with Haylie Duff & C. Thomas Howell and the gay romantic comedies "Walk A Mile In My Pradas" and "Finding Mr. Wright"

Stuart uses his talents as an openly gay actor and comedian to support the community by performing at countless benefits for issues from AIDS to the homeless. He is the Chairman of the first ever Screen Actors Guild LGBT Committee, and also chairs the comedy shows for Lifeworks Mentoring Program.

Stuart uses his talents as an openly gay actor and comedian to support the community by performing at countless benefits for issues from AIDS to the homeless. He is the Chairman of the first ever Screen Actors Guild LGBT Committee, and also chairs the comedy shows for Lifeworks Mentoring Program. http://www.lifeworksLA.org

His groundbreaking stand up comedy and his versatility as an actor make his career an amazing ride.