Circle Jerks, Ian Huntley, Gay Rodeo's, Rosemary West, Date Rape and Murder, Eric Mendendez, Porn Stars - these are some of the things that crop up when discussing Scott Capurro's career over a relaxed cup of Earl Gray. It's strange because if you would have simply seen Capurro on the long forgotten That Gay Show you wouldn't understand the depth of which his stand up comedy shows or his books go to. Designer Magazine caught up with Scott to find out all the details from his early days as a closeted comic through to his new play about his correspondence with Eric Menendez of famed parent killers the Menendez Brothers.
Q: I guess for a lot of people who are unaware of the
rest of your work, or who maybe recognize the face but can't place it,
the place a lot of UK Readers will have heard from you would have been
That Gay Show. You basically did the segments where you'd interview porn
stars or strippers and the like
A: We did a lot of things. The gay cruising tour, I liked that one. The circle jerk club where one of the guys wore a bag over his head while we were filming him. It was this masturbation club in San Francisco where they all just sat in a circle on stools and jacked off for hours. And then there was the Gay Rodeo in Oklahoma City.
I thought they were great because even though a lot of them took place on either coast, either California, LA or San Francisco, I noticed a lot of diversity amongst gay people that I hadn't really noticed before. Especially in the gay rodeo. When I was there I met a lot of gay people who had never been to california and had no intention of going there. They think people that live in California are crazy and they would never even think of going there, almost as conservative in an odd way as the heterosexuals they're surrounded by.
I thought That Gay Show had a lot of potential. I always
wanted it to be an Alternative Show as opposed to just a gay show. There
were a lot of times we couldn't interview women cos they didn't want women
on the screen - it was like 'gay...male'. We were doing a feature about
a Gay Poodle Parlour and this woman came in and had her poodle serviced.
And she was fantastic, huge hair, huge personality, outrageous...we interviewed
and we couldn't use any of that because they didn't want women on the show.
Q: Were there any other difficulties like this?
A: It's so much hard work and then you see it and it's like all that stuff we shot. We did some stuff up here in Manchester about me in a boys school and I confront the headmaster about why they don't talk about homosexuality in class. He reacted and I reacted and we were there all day. I did some personal memory stuff about me being at school when I was 12 and they couldn't use any of that. 12 hours shooting and it all got thrown away.
Q: You've been playing Comedy Shows, both on the straight
circuit and on the gay circuit, for close to 10 years in the UK. Do you
notice the same differences between London and the provinces
A: It really is London versus England. You play a gay bar in Gloucester on Valentines night and you see a whole other world. The faggots and lesbians hate each other and they'll sit on entirely opposite sides of the room. Or dykes will heckle you if you make any remark about women because they see you being male as being a misogynist. The only people there having fun are the straight women, of course, because they're drunk and dancing with their gay buddies. It's so stifled and such a constipated atmosphere.
Q: Looking through your CV there's a surprising number
of TV Comedy shows you've done over in the UK.
A: The best comedy shows i've done in Britain are the ones that have been produced at the Comedy Store. They know what they're doing cos they've done it so many times, they have a 5 camera shoot and the audience are really up for it and they're drunk. It's important that an audience for a TV show feels comfortable. So many times here they film comedy shows in studios, they wheel 'em in and wheel 'em out, don't give 'em booze or food, the comics are drunk or coked to the gills and the whole thing looks a bit of a mess.
Q: I heard you offended people the other night with
a joke about Ian Huntley. What exactly happened?
A: I do think people are more conscious about what they tell or listen to. I tried to tell an Ian Huntley joke the other night and a woman had a f**king nervous breakdown on the first row. I had read that Ian Huntley gets 200 marriage proposals a week and Rosemary West just broke off an engagement to a corrections officer...cos he was worried about the press, not because he'd read some details about her case and read that this woman stabbed her daughter to death five times. What kind of people do this? Why does someone propose to Ian Huntley other than the fact that Ian Huntley's really hot, which he is. And when I said this, this f**king woman really lost it. And I said 'the bit has more to it, just f**king relax. I will tear you apart if you don't shut your f**king mouth'. I don't put up with it, but she was the club promoters girl friend and she felt obligated. The audience was a bit chilled by it and I was like come on, the case has been closed for two years. I'm not condoning his behaviour.
It's funny because people still get iffy about jokes about
the Royals, about diana. You know what people get most angry about...it's
not about cock sucking, I can use the word n*gger 8 times in a row, chink
bothers them a little bit...religion is the thing that really gets them.
They've been making fun of religion in comedy for over 50 years, but they
still get iffy about it. But then I talk about sucking off jesus and about
what a hot gay icon he is.
Q: Do you get the same reaction over the States or
is just the UK that's offended by the mouth of Scott Capurro?
A: Well, i've been banned from radio over there so many times for saying all kinds of shit. But having said that maybe it's cos i'm American that people find it offensive. Particularly about the Royals, but I don't think people like Americans coming over here telling them what the world's like. And I also think that because i'm American people consider me a racist the minute as I open my mouth, which is fair enough - America is all about race.
But I think it works in my favour. I don't get heckled
very often. They shut their f**king mouths and sit back and listen. It's
always been that way here though. I think it's also because I deal with
subject matter, it's not 'Hey how you all doing? Where you all from?' like
Q: So how did you get started in comedy. You must have
done the whole 'Where you all from?' shtick at some point?
A: I was a closeted actor living in LA, doing stand-up and pretending I was straight on stage. I hated it. In the mid 80s there were no gay comics around, So I moved to San Francisco in 1988 to pursue my acting stuff. A gay club had just opened and suddenly they were flying out of the wood work - queer comics, queer actors, queer playwrights. It became a real hub. It was called Josie's and I started doing stand up there on the openly gay circuit.
I never had the intention of becoming a stand-up comic.
I came over here in 1994 and started doing a few shows and the promoter
really liked me and suggested I should come back and do Edinburgh. I did
and won the Perrier Newcomer Award in my first year there.
Q: Which do you prefer - stand up or TV?
A: I want to do television because i write books. I've written a book that got published and i've written another and the only way for me to sell books is to be on TV. Live performances are fun, but a hard way to make a living unless you're Peter Kay with a TV show and playing to 20,000 people a night. I'm 42 and i've had enough performing live.
"Fowl Play" is Comedy novel about murder and date rape.
It's about this guy who kills someone by mistake and then has to conceal
the murder and doesn't know what to do. I guess it sounds like i'm obsessed
with murder, but i'm not really. I'm interested in people's hypocrisy,
i'm like when people really do the things they do rather than what they
say. People say a lot of shit. I love asking guys on the front row if they
ever been online to meet someone or women if they want to marry their boyfriends
and playing with them.
Q: The next time you return to the UK in a big way
is Edinburgh later in the year for the play you've wrote. Could you tell
us a little bit about it?
A: It's about my correspondence with Eric Menendez who killed his parents in 1989 with his brother Lyle. I wrote him some letters and I wrote a play about it. They were real letters and he did actually write back and the plays about how we choose the wrong people to fall in love with. His letters were much more expressive than mine were. I lied to him about myself and then he started telling me stuff. The correspondence was actually over a couple of years till 1998 when he got married and when his wife took control of the correspondence I never heard from him again. The reason I knew was because he always used to hand write the letters and then suddenly I got a typed letter saying he could no longer be reached, I was convinced it was her who wrote it. His wife funnily enough was a juror from the first trial.
Were premiering the play in San Francisco for 2 weeks when I go back home and then we'll be bringing it to Montreal and Edinburgh. And then i'm back in the UK for some tour dates in October and November.
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