The CBS/CW/Showtime panels are wrapping up at the Television Critics Association press junket in Beverly Hills, and to celebrate their interesting bevy of new shows, we quizzed a bunch of the networks’ stars and asked them to name their favorite gay entertainers of all time. We caught Robin Williams (who stars in the new sitcom The Crazy Ones with Sarah Michelle Gellar), Tyra Banks (whose next season of America’s Next Top Model will feature eight competing male models), Arsenio Hall (whose new talk show debuts September 9), LL Cool J, Aisha Tyler, Toni Collette (of the new drama Hostages), and my beloved Julie Chen. Check out their gay idols of choice below.
Years ago I worked with Wayland Flowers and Madame. We did Laugh-In together, the second Laugh-In. Wayland himself was such a sweet guy, and Madame was the most vicious c*nt in the world. Madame was just incredible. It was just incredibly nasty. He had Jiffy too, the black puppet. Ventriloquists, a lot of them have this thing — someone once told me there was a ventriloquist backstage literally yelling at his puppet. “You let me DOWN out there!” It’s a f*cking dummy! But Madame, she was just… the other side of Wayland.
George Michael. Because I knew something was different and interesting about him. I knew he was extra special. I had such a crush on him like nobody’s frickin’ business. I was just like, “Why do I feel so comfortable with him?” I’m that little prepubescent teenage girl feeling so comfortable with him. It was probably because he was gay. I think young girls, their first crushes are gay men. It’s a non-threat. Now I look at it and think, “Oh my God, he was gay. That’s why I liked him. It was safe and he was gorgeous and stunning, and that amazing voice. And he was shaking that ass.” He really resonated with me. Later I was in his music video “Too Funky.” I went from being in love with him to being like, “You’re fierce, bitch!” This 180. He was so stunning. To have that crush, then have more of a kinship with him — I mean, I was stunned by him. It was a dramatic video because he and Thierry Mugler were just fighting so much. I was like, “Oh my God! Oh My God! This is so uncomfortable.” It was an interesting set. That video [was different] than “Black Or White” [the video she's in with Michael Jackson] because I lied to my friends and said I hung out with Michael Jackson that day, and he wasn’t on set. They taught me the dance move on “Black or White” and thought, “I got this. I got rhythm.” But I actually messed up and stuck my tongue out, and John Landis kept that take.
I don’t think I have to go much further than say Elton John. As a matter of fact, I don’t wear glasses, but you will see that in 75% of my pictures I’m wearing huge frames. That had to have been part of Elton’s effect on pop culture. I don’t wear glasses, I don’t have bad eyesight. What the f*ck is this about? It’s Elton sh*t!
Currently, I have a little crush on Sean Hayes. He was just on the show [The Talk] and he is so lovable, adorable, funny, brilliant, and honest. He’s got everything: He’s good-looking and funny and smart and likable and talented. He’s up there.
LL Cool J
Boy George. Because when I was growing up, I just thought he was a really cool artist and I was too young to understand sexuality. I just thought he was a cool person. And a pretty person. I didn’t know if he was a girl or boy. I thought his songs were great, and I was so into him. After him, it’d be George Michael. He’s very, very talented, and I’ll always like Wham! I thought it was cool. “Father Figure” was something else! And for Boy George, “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” I LOVED that record. That was the one.
That is a hard, hard question! Can I confer? Well, If I were 8 years old, it’d definitely be Boy George.
I love Ru [Paul] so much. What he’s done not just for the gay community and also the drag community, not to mention self-esteem for everyone — not just LGBT, but everyone. I just feel like what he represents is extraordinary. I love how brave he is. He did my podcast and was so honest on it and so forthcoming. I’m obsessed with him. I’m in love with him. Even when I think about him, I tear up. I also feel like the amount of bravery he’s had to employ in his own life, and everything he’s done and continues to do — I do love Dan Savage too! I know he’s controversial, but I met him the other day and was so, so excited. I love him, I love him, I love him. He’s really polarizing in the gay and straight communities, but I said to someone the other day, the great thing about him is he’s so freaking out.