Open Mike with Mike Bullard
Peter Paige ~ October 8, 2001
Roger Ashby, the show's announcer, introduced Mike and the Band.
During the monologue, Mike announced that apparently it's now okay (politically correct) to ask people if they're gay. He said that as a matter of fact, Statistics Canada is conducting a 'closet door to closet door survey.' Ha ha
Monday was Thanksgiving in Canada, so Open Mike with Mike Bullard was pre-taped on Friday evening. Mike was making turkey references throughout the show to give the illusion that it was being taped after the holiday. Before the first commercial break, he spoke with Roger who was standing off-stage, and then mentioned the upcoming guests.
Mike: We have a great show for you tonight, ladies and gentlemen; we have a special Thanksgiving dinner presentation by Elizabeth Baird, which I guess explains the turkey backstage; actor Pete Paige [yes, he called him Pete--more on that later] star of the series Queer As Folk, which I guess explains the 'stuffing' backstage... [he paused, as if he were not prepared for the joke on the cue card, and ad-libbed] What the hell is that? [The audience made a collective groan which turned into a booing sound] Hey... I don't write 'em, I just read 'em.
After the commercial, Mike introduced Peter, and he sauntered out on stage in his inimitable way... doing a little 'jog' and grinning at the crowd.
Mike: Ladies and Gentlemen our first guest stars in the hit show 'Queer As Folk' and can be seen on the cover of Genre magazine; and here it is ladies and gentlemen; please welcome Peter Paige.
He looked great in a dark chocolate brown shirt and pants, what appeared to be mid-calf patent leather boots, and funky eye glasses. Yum!
Peter shook Mike's hand and made his way around the desk, waving hello to the audience before getting himself settled. He seemed very relaxed, and his voice is much lower and less 'effeminate' than that of his character, Emmett.
Mike: Nice to have you here, Pete.
Peter: Thank you, nice to be here.
Mike [picking up Genre magazine]: Now I was reading this today, and I could barely get past the cover; my friend, you are quite buff.
Peter: Hey thanks! You know, that cover, actually, the makeup artist on Queer As Folk, who spends a lot of time looking at my body, because quite frankly, I'm naked all the time, she goes, 'Wow, yeah... is that your body?' I was like, 'Thanks a lot, yeah, that's my body.'
Mike: Look at those abs... those pecs are incredible. Are they Teflon?
Peter: [laughing, nodding] Yeah!
Mike: I'll tell you, quite frankly, I work out like a mother, and I've still got...
Peter: You work out like *my* mother?
Mike: No, no, I work out like *a* mother.
Peter (still going with the joke): That's not good. I mean, my mother's great, but you know, every once in a while on the Nordic track...
Mike: No, I don't work out like your mother, but I've got 'man boobs,' you know what I mean?
Peter: The saggy kind? [Peter held his hands up to his chest as if cupping imaginary breasts]
Mike: Yeah, no matter what you do, you can't seem to get them to firm up and stand at attention.
Peter [changing the subject]: You know what? First of all, there are a couple of things I want to talk to you about.
Peter: So, I'm fairly new in Canada, I'm from the States, and we came up here to shoot the show...
Mike: It's in its second season.
Peter: It is, we're very excited about that. [getting back to the topic at hand] Now, you have a job, you seem to have a very good job... it's your show, Open Mike with Mike Bullard, yet I see you on TV selling a lot of stuff.
Mike: Yeah, that's right.
Peter: What's that about?
[For those who don't watch late-night TV in Canada, Mike Bullard does infomercials for several products, including a weight-loss program]
Mike: Well you're from the United States where they pay rather handsomely for show biz.
Peter: Ohhhh.... no, but you see I'm on cable, where we don't get paid at all. We do it for ‘art.' [audience laughs]
Mike: You're on Showtime in the US. But you continue to do it for art, and I'll continue to hock products.
Peter [laughing]: Good for you!
Peter: I have to talk to you about one other thing, if I may. There was a little joke about stuffing?
Mike: Yeah... perhaps you heard me say I don't write those cards, I just read them.
Peter: Yeah, okay, I got that, I just... you know, I was thinking, there's some ‘gay etiquette' that maybe we should review.
Mike [interested]: Oh let's discuss it.
Peter: We don't like stuffing; we prefer things like, "Rump Ranger," or "Butt Pirate," that's always good [the audience was giggling at this, so Peter looked up and smiled] Come on, work with me people! [they all burst out laughing] Are you horrified?
Mike [leaning over to the microphone on his desk]: If you're just tuning in now, Peter is gay.
Peter: I'm allowed to say something like that. I'm on the cover of Genre.
Mike: I've been on the cover of FAB myself.
Peter: Have you?
Mike [joking]: Centerfold in Fab, first issue.
Peter: Wow. Nice.
Mike: I like to keep people guessing.
Peter: Good, well you should.. You're a handsome fellow.
Mike: Well there's a lot of gay products out there and I want to start hocking them. A lot of dough there, a lot of dough-ray-me. [audience laughs]
Peter: There *is* a lot of dough.
Mike: I don't even know what gay products are. Are there gay products and heterosexual products? I have no idea.
Peter: There probably are a few.
Peter: Oh, here's the other gay thing. Gay guys usually don't like to be called by the short version of their name.
Peter: You referred to me as Pete Paige; Pete's fine, I'm not offended in the least. I have some straight friends who do that; but it's always a sure sign of a gay man if you say, 'Hey Mike!' and he says [tipping his head to the side and grinning sweetly], 'Michael.' You always know. 'Hey Steve!' [responding] 'Steven.' [imitating the person realizing he's gay]: 'Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize. How's your boyfriend?'
Mike: I've said many times in this country too, if you get five Canadians into a public place, and one of them exhibits personality, that's often the gay one too.
Peter: Ah, interesting.
Mike: Yeah, it is. This only holds true for Canadians.
Peter: Well I've only really spent time in Toronto.
Mike: Toronto's pretty much the common denominator of Canada.
Mike: How do you like Toronto?
Peter: I like it very much, I have to say; it's too freakin' COLD! Could you do something about that?
Mike: Sure I could. I'll start selling thermometers with the wrong information, how's that? [everyone laughs]
Peter: If Toronto were in Mexico, I'd move here in a heartbeat. Forever and ever and ever, I love it. It's a great city. It's just too freaking cold.
Mike: It's funny the way things work because if Toronto were in Mexico, none of us would live there. We would all live in Mexico. That's just the way it works around here. Horribly, horribly treated people.
Peter: I don't think so! You're a very well treated people. First of all, Canadian brother – George Bush, did you hear that comment? Everyone in Canada got very offended when George Bush was making a speech about the war and he left Canada off the list for extraordinary support – and it has been extraordinary, I have to say, I've been very, very moved by people's response to the whole tragedy, seeing American flags around town, it's been really wonderful but people were a little upset, and then George Bush said, 'I didn't think I *had* to mention Canada because you're my brother.' So, I just thought, 'brother'... there you go... [Peter then held out his hand to Mike, and they shook while the audience applauded.]
Peter: It wasn't the best explanation I've ever heard, but...
Mike: No, but it was well done.
Peter: [grinning] Uh yeah.
Mike: The man has really given the appearance of presidential timbre, and that's all that counts.
Peter [agreeing, tongue-in-cheek]: He has given the appearance of presidential timbre.
Mike: Where are you from in the US?
Peter: You ready? It's a long list... Connecticut, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Alabama, North Carolina, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, California, and now Toronto.
Mike: Was it hard getting the tar and feathers off? Sounds like you've been run out of every place you've ever been.
Peter [laughing]: Being on the lam, yeah, it's been tough.
Mike: Why is that? Were you an Army brat?
Peter: Just a brat. Divorced parents, they moved a lot. My dad's in the insurance business...
Mike: What were you doing, following them, trying to tack them down?
Peter: Yeah, exactly. [looking like a lost little boy] "Mommy?"
Peter: Yeah, I just came home from school every day, right on time, to make sure they were still there.
Mike: So are you enjoying the night life here in Toronto? It's an exciting city.
Peter: It is, it's a really fun city. I don't go out a whole lot. I mean, if you haven't seen Queer As Folk, it's the story of five gay guys and two lesbians who live in Pittsburgh, and we party a lot...
Mike: Your character is out every single night. By the way, I love the show, I should mention that.
Peter: Thank you very much. That's very nice of you to say. [big cheers from the audience!] Very proud of it. I feel very fortunate to have a show that I believe in both artistically and politically...
Mike: Speaking of politically, the show, it's certainly not politically correct, which is fine by me, because I find it more entertaining that way; but have you had people fall on one side or the other; the gay populus saying ‘this a fair portrayal of us,' and others saying, ‘No, I don't like it, it's stereotypical and it bothers me?'
Peter: Absolutely, there's no doubt. But you know what? I love being a part of stuff like that. I mean, I read the pilot script when I was first in casting and I was like [in a high-pitched, exctied voice], ‘Wow! Are we really going to do this? It's kind of dirty!'
Mike: For some, it's pretty hot... I've been sitting there alone, watching, going, 'You know, if you squint... it's pretty damn good stuff!'
Peter: Yeah [Laughing]
Mike: I always say to myself, 'Why couldn't Dallas have been like this?' It's quite incredible.
Peter: If they'd done it on Showtime, they would have.
Mike: It's beyond pushing the envelope.
Peter: We made a whole new envelope. We ripped the envelope open and we laid down on top of it.
Mike: You brought a clip of the show.
Peter: I did... Emmett takes Ted, his best friend, to get an HIV test; Ted has had unsafe sex with someone who he has just found out is HIV positive so he's very, very nervous, and in comes the nurse.
Mike: Let's take a look at it...
[audience claps loudly!]
Peter: Thank you! Emmett's a great guy... he's really outrageous, he's really over the top, but he's smart.
Mike: He's also sensitive.
Mike: Not like that other guy Brian.
Peter: I work with him, every day. I know, he can be tough.
Mike: He's bad news, that fellow. He reminds me of a lot of guys I went to school with, just take, take, take, never give. Bad, bad guy.
Peter: He's learning now, he's grown up a little bit.
Mike: We'll see him evolve over the years.
Peter: That's sort of the point.
Mike: So let me ask you about stereotypes now... do you worry, as a man, playing a gay man on television, you may be typecast, and make it difficult for you.
Peter: Well, here's the deal; I'm an openly gay actor, playing the biggest fruit on the gayest show in the history of television; so I'm going to go with 'yes,' I worry about that a little bit; but I sort of subscribe to the theory that the only rules that apply to you are the rules you play by and I've already got a lot of support for that; I feel like it's a really good time to be who I am doing what I'm doing; I shot a movie this summer playing just a good old straight boy (not unlike yourself) and...
Mike: Well, let's not assume. [audience laughs]
Peter: Alright, if you want to talk later... we'll get your wife on a conference call...
Mike: And please, when we do talk later, call me Michael.
Peter[laughing at the reference to gay men not wanting to be called by the short version of their name]: Well done, well done.
Mike: Yeah, you're probably right. It's probably more beneficial to you, when you think about it, in the end; and thank god you're not filming it *in* Pittsburgh! Peter: Oh, boy oh boy...do you air in Pittsburgh?
Peter: Oh thank GOD we're not airing in Pittsburgh. Or, shooting in Pittsburgh.
Mike: Speaking of ‘air' and ‘Pittsburgh' they shouldn't be in the same sentence. I want to thank you very much for coming by, and say hello to my friend Hal Sparks.
Peter: I certainly will.
Mike: Peter Paige, ladies and gentlemen... we'll be right back with Emo Phillips.
Emo Phillips was introduced... he came out wearing a bizarre black and silver outfit, and shook hands with Peter before settling down.
The first thing Mike said to Emo was, "Peter was complaining about the cold weather here. How do you find the autumn?" Emo turns to Peter and says, "You wuss!"
(Check out the bottom of Peter's shoes... too funky!)
Mike kept telling Emo to call him "Michael" and Peter thought this was hilarious.
Emo did his impression of a French existentialist seagull by putting his arms up like the wings of a bird and squawking, "Pourquoi?! Pourquoi?!" (In French that means "Why?! Why?!")
Peter said that the joke probably doesn't go over very well in the States, and Emo agreed. LOL
At one point, Mike touched Emo's knee, and then apologized for doing so; he said he saw Emo touching Peter and wanted to connect. So Emo puts his hands on the other two men, and said "It's a brotherhood thing," and Peter remarks, "This is more action than I've gotten in weeks!" Emo says, "I believe him!"
Peter stayed in his seat for a full two segments, and at the commercial break even went over to talk to some fans in the audience and sign an autograph.