Open Mike with Mike Bullard
Hal Sparks ~ October 15, 2001
The announcer introduced Mike and the Band.
This was Hal's second appearance on the show, and he seemed very relaxed and informal with Mike and the staff at Open Mike. A friend who was at the taping mentioned that Hal chatted with the band during the commercials, and signed autographs and took pictures with the fans as well.
Subway is the new sponsor of the Mike Bullard show, so before Hal came out, they had two women in bikinis come out carrying a huge (six-foot long) submarine sandwich. Mike did his usual schtick with them, making jokes about the sub, etc. One of the girls, Judy, barely said two words to him and was laughing quite a bit.
When Hal finally appeared, he had a napkin tucked into his shirt, and he was eating a small section of subway sandwich.
Once he was sitting down, Hal explained that he had to wrestle the sandwich away from Judy! LOL He joked that she ate the rest of it. Mike asked if he had bumped into Judy backstage, but Hal said he hadn't. "She loved you, though!" he teased, referring to the fact that Judy hadn't said much to Mike. The audience clapped and Mike had a good laugh at this.
Hal said, "You know, if Canadians started picking on foreigners much sooner, we wouldn't be in all this mess." Mike apologized, saying he thought Judy was mute. "No one that beautiful is mute," Hal said. Mike countered, "No one that beautiful is moot." When Hal gave him a funny look, Mike said they were a couple of literate types, then joked that he was calling security. "Gendarmes! Gendarmes!" he yelled.
Mike thanked him for being there, and mentioned that Peter Paige had been on the week before. Mike said that he 'loves the queer folk,' and Hal replied, "and they love you!" giving Mike a cute little smile. Mike then pointed out that Hal is the odd man out on the cast, since he's straight. Hal said he's not the only one... then joked, "It's a facade... we're all straight, we're just going for that big gay buck. A lot of expendable income. The people at Showtime are going, 'How do we mind that?' " He rubbed his hands together gleefully, imitating the executives.
Mike said that led him to the next question, "Is the salary bigger on a gay show?" This was the perfect set-up for Hal's response, "No, but the perks make up for it." Ba-dum-bump!! LOL Hal then got up and did this crazy little dance, prompting the drummer Winston for accompaniment.
Mike joked with him after he sat back down, saying "I want to thank you on two levels: one, that was really good; and two, I didn't know our drummer's name." Mike added that he found it funny that Judy seemed to know him. Winston looked offended, and the audience reacted in kind. "I guess he drums in that band," Mike said. Hal got him back, saying "She knows men who respect women." Touché!
Hal and Mike are good friends, and Mike gave him a little ribbing, "I must say, I'm really enjoying your little performance tonight." Hal replied, "Oh yes, I'm so different out here, aren't I?"
They talked about Hal being from the states, and Mike mentioned that he had met Hal's cousin in the green room; he is visiting from Cleveland. He flew up to Canada, and Mike wanted to know if Hal had been on a plane recently. "Yeah, I was lucky enough to be booked on a plane the day America started it's little 'action'." He said it's a bit nerve-wracking to be getting your ticket punched and be told 'you might be a target.' He joked with the airport personnel, "Do I even have to bother to fill out the forms to come into Canada?" He said he was walking through the airport in Los Angeles, feeling nervous, because he was going to be transferring in Washington Dulles ("I think my travel agent really hates me") and he looks up and there's Al Gore, with a little beard and a carry-on bag, and Hal felt so much better. "Well, you know, if they didn't get him, they're not getting me!" The shock on Hal's face was, "My president!" Mike figured Mr. Gore was probably banging his head saying, 'It could have been me, it could have been me,' and Hal said he was probably clapping his hands with relief and joy, saying, "It could have been me! It could have been me!"
Mike asked, "What's your take on the current situation?" and Hal said, "Well, you know, many of us thought it couldn't happen to . . . " he paused, then said, "We're talking about the Michael Jackson video, right?" Everyone laughed. "Right!" said Mike, playing along. Hal went on to make fun of the video, and Michael's extensive plastic surgery. "Have you guys SEEN that thing? Oh my god! He said that Michael wears a hat tipped down over his face, which is the smartest thing he's done since 1982, probably to hide what had happened to him. There were groans in response to this, but Hal said he would have some sympathy for Michael if it wasn't something he had done to himself!! "I sent money to Mark Hamill," he added, "but Michael did it to himself again and again."
He said Marlon Brando is in the video too. Hal speculated that he was thinking, "Who else is weirder than me?" He said Marlon's probably sitting at home going, "Maybe they'll think I'm normal." Hal joked about Michael's dance style, saying, "I don't look enough like a freak; maybe if I had a hump!" They both agreed that they liked Michael's older stuff better, including his old face. "It's almost like he's a mob witness, rather than a pop star," Mike said. Hal said he got Michael's old face on ebay, along with the Elephant Man's bones, for $42.50 Canadian!
Mike said "Let's talk about Queer As Folk." Hal bowed his head and somewhat reluctantly said, "Okaayyyy...." they all laughed. Mike said "Let's go from Michael Jackson, to Queer As Folk." Hal said, "Coincidence? I think not!" Mike said, "Let's go from 'queer folk' to 'Queer As Folk.' Hal said the show is really fantastic (Mike interjected that he 'loves it' -- and I still don't believe he really watches it, considering he thought Michael never had sex all last season). "We're cranking right along, we're in the second season and we're on episode 5... of course I get the first sex scene of the new season." Mike said "because you were the guy who wasn't getting any last season." Hal begged to differ, saying that Scott Lowell gets less than he does, technically, because Michael had a boyfriend, so he had live-in sex. But this year, he's the sacrificial lamb. He then stood up, and imitated the crew kicking his butt to get going, but of course the audience misinterpreted the motion and Hal said that they were all thinking with their minds in the gutter or something! "You people are sick," he joked. He said "We were filming today... I apologize for taking up so much of your street here in Toronto."
Mike said that Hal must be getting a lot of interesting things in the mail. Hal said most of the stuff he gets is from women, because most of their audience is straight women, and therefore most of their 'crazy' audience is straight women. He mentioned a few scary things that get sent in the mail, and imitated a rather obsessed fan saying how much they admired him. "I thought you might like to have my toenails; by the way, I'm outside your apartment window." Then he admitted, "I haven't had any stalkers since I came up to Toronto." Mike said, "Yeah, cry me a river; here we get the whole toe!" Hal joked about the rather retiring attitude of us Northern folk, saying "The Canadian stalkers just kind of follow you and say 'sorry'... 'I'm over here in the bushes, don't want to scare you, eh, sorry.' They're the sweetest stalkers in the world."
Mike said Hal does a lot of nude scenes, and he was almost embarrassed to admit he had seen many of them. "Is it a difficult thing for you? Because I've seen them, and this is difficult for me." Hal said something he has said in many interviews, which is that when you meet people on the street who say "I love your show" it means "I've seen you naked!" and the weird thing is when it's a 12 year-old kid. "We put it on pay cable in the states; you guys have it on open stations! Mike joked about the name "Showcase" being a great name for a network with shows about gay people.
He asked Hal, "Are you getting a lot of movie offers now?" Hal said "Yeah, that's an interesting thing... I did a movie during the hiatus that was shot us here, Bleacher Bums, and it's been chosen to be in the Chicago film festival." There was a big round of applause, and Hal said, "I couldn't get enough of Toronto, I got an apartment up here." Mike said, "Where is it?" (joking about the stalkers and how they'd love to have his address, of course).
Hal said "I have to say something about Canada that is one of the more wonderful things that struck me and my head almost fell off. You guys actually closed down Queen Street for a book fair." When Mike was like, "Yeah," (no big deal kind of thing) Hal repeated, "No, you don't understand, you closed down a street for a BOOK fair." He was joking that with books, you actually have to go through the activity of reading them... you guys are selling them, and people are buying them." Mike joked in response, "Actually it's an overdue book festival... it's a criminal act in Canada. The library sets up the whole thing, and then we round 'em up and throw them in the hoosegow." Hal laughed because Mike had used the words 'hootenany' and 'hoosegow' . . . Mike said that they got a letter from the Network that they weren't using enough "H" words, and Hal was like 'Huh?' so Mike said, "Continue honey!" LOL
Hal didn't know where they were, so Mike asked "What other movies are you in?" Hal mentioned 'Dude, Where's My Car?' (in a bubble wrap jumpsuit) and when there was a rather lacklustre response from the audience, Hal said, "Great, three people saw it!" and Mike said no, everyone saw it, they all loved it... "In fact, it was the featured film at the Toronto Film festival." Mike kept repeating the title of the movie, and said it did huge business; it made $58 million. Hal says, "Yeah, Canadian." ha ha Hal said, "Your money might not technically be worth as much, but I thnk it's way prettier, and that evens it out. It's like a cartoon strip about a character named 'queenie' and her boyfriend, that old guy... what's his name? Phillip." LOL
Mike thanked Hal for being on, and invited him to stick around for the next segment and torment Simon Whitfield, the trialthlete. He then joked, "Provided he didn't meet Judy and go off to make a new life for himself."
Later, when Simon came out, he was talking about all of his training and the medals he won. Hal was asking him if he approaches the people who just do track, or ride bikes, or just swim, and yell, "WUSSY!" Do you heckle people who just do one sport? Simon said he does, but joked that the response he gets is that he deos all three things quite poorly.
He's not competing right now, or at least "not at this moment" Simon said. Laughing, Hal said "that's a good thing." Simon talked about racing on his bike in Australia, and Hal said, "You race in a different direction down there, right?" Simon said, "That's the hardest part."
Mike was also talking to him while Hal was joking, and he said, "I'm getting it from both sides, here." Hal says "Ignore him," and Simon turned to pretend he was talking to Hal. Mike tried to bribe him saying, "I'll send a stretch limo to bring you back." and Simon said, "With Judy?" Hal joked, "Maybe he'll take a cab."
Finally, Emm Gryner was the musical guest -- she sang a remake of Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me" in her own unique style while playing the piano, accompanied by a cellist.