Whether hosting on Logo or helping kids in trouble,
Mr. Jackson never says never
by David Goldberg
On June 17, smack dab in the middle of their biggest year ever, LogoTV airs the third annual NewNowNext Awards. Buffy reruns and a new RuPaul drag series have helped to put the network on the map, and to make their awards show stand out, they’ve hired Broadway’s Golden (and pretty) Boy, Cheyenne Jackson, to host. The star of Finnian’s Rainbow and Xanadu and TV’s 30 Rock chatted with OutSmart before the awards.
David Goldberg: What makes the NewNowNext Awards different from other awards shows, such as the MTV Movie Awards?
Cheyenne Jackson: It’s the only awards show that honors what is going to be hot next year. It spots trends and highlights artists that we think will make a splash in the very near future. Oh, and we have drag queens, lots and lots of drag queens.
Which stars are you excited to meet at the show?
Excited to meet Paula Abdul. She is an absolute pro and proves how hard work and tenacity can carry you through this business. Also, strangely excited to meet the drag queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race. I know all their names and think it’s a brilliant reality show. Kudos to RuPaul. It’s good f—ing television. Also want to meet Jesus Luz, just to look at his gorgeous punim up close, and want to meet Dan Black and Agnes as well.
Your NewNowNext cohost, Niecy Nash, has been on the two most fabulous reality series on TV, RuPaul’s Drag Race and Dancing with the Stars [DWTS]. Would you ever consider judging alongside RuPaul or dancing for the mirrorball?
I was asked to judge RuPaul’s Drag Race last year, but I couldn’t get to L.A. in time, as I was filming 30 Rock. Maybe this year. DWTS? Maybe…never say never in this business. I do look smashing in a white Onesie leotard. Although I would probably have to be pixilated for prime time, as it could get a little PG-13.
You recently recorded “Blessing,” which benefits the Trevor Project and the Hetrick-Martin Institute. Could you tell us more about those charities and why you choose to support them?
I became an ambassador for HMI last year after going to an event and being moved to take some action. I contacted them and subsequently spent some time touring the facility and the Harvey Milk High School, meeting the kids and the staff who work there—inspiring doesn’t even begin to cover it. They are a haven for the young GLBT community who have nowhere to go—some homeless, some kicked out of their homes because their parents found out they are gay. I highly recommend reaching out to them and see what you can do to help. It will change your life. I’ve done some work with the Trevor Project in the past and, again, what these folks do for GLBT youth is astonishing. The testimonials from the workers of the 24-hour suicide prevention line will break your heart and open your mind.
ABC did not pick up your sitcom It Takes a Village. You would have played a gay character. Do you feel pressure from the gay community to play gay roles?
No. I choose roles based on how well they are written, and what I feel I can bring to them to make them come to life. Whether I’m playing gay, straight, or guido, all I care about is that I can make the material feel truthful.
Congratulations on your Drama Desk nomination for outstanding lead actor in a musical. What other musical do you dream of starring in?
Thanks. Very proud of Finian’s Rainbow and all involved. As for what’s next, musically, I want someone to write something new for me. So I’m waiting for that next great part.
Your best episode of 30 Rock involved a bizarre sexual relationship with Liz. Are you coming back next season? Maybe this time to charm Jenna?
I hope they bring Danny back. He is really fun to play, and I adore my castmates. Danny and Jenna are a little like oil and water, but that would make for good comedy, so I’m game.
The third annual NewNowNext Awards air Thursday, June 17, at 9 p.m. (central) on Logo (www.logotv.com).
David Goldberg is a frequent contributor to OutSmart magazine.