Interview with Brian Gallivan: The Man, The Myth, The Sassy Gay Friend


    Brian GallivanBrian Gallivan has been really busy lately. He's recently completed work on Laguna Playhouse's The Second City: Can You Be More Pacific?, a show that had him camped in Laguna for the entirety of its run. He's been balancing shows at The Second City, iO West, and Upright Citizen's Brigade, where he performs with The Smokes and Soundtrack. And, when he isn't in shows or doing various film work, he's writing, writing, writing.

    Oh, and he's the Sassy Gay Friend.

    If you've been hiding from the internet for months, you may not be familiar with Brian's hilarious creation, an entity that has blown up into a full fledged Internet meme.

    One of Brian's hilarious Sassy Gay Friend videos:

    Brian, who is a very comforting presence (not to mention tall), is very down to earth and incredibly intelligent. This past week, we met up with him to speak about the differences between him and Sassy Gay Friend, what exactly happens in "Shakespeare Land," and Shelley Long.

    As expected, we were tickled with everything he had to say:

    Kyle Fitzpatick: As Sassy Gay Friend’s creator, what do you call him? Do you call him Sassy? Do you call him Sassy Gay Friend? That seems like a lot… Brian Gallivan: I actually never called him anything and just recently decided his name is Sassy.

    Sassy? Yes.

    Sassy—one word, like Madonna or Prince. He has a lot of girl friends with issues. Is that just in the foundation of the people he likes or does he just attract these dramatic women? You know what it is: I think everyone has issues. But, ladies and gays talk about their issues with each other—and, help each other with their issues. Straight guys have as many issues. Like, Hamlet is a straight guy and he just talked to himself and blah, blah, blah never solves anything.

    And we all know what happened to Hamlet. Yeah! Ladies are willing to listen.

    They are more in touch with themselves and each other. Yes.

    So, everyone should be gay or a woman? Right!

    I agree. Most of these women are royalty or are of some sort of royal blood—is that high maintenance? What comes with the territory there? I do think that because they are in royal families or powerful families or a successful family, that because of that success, the bigger their problems seem to them. If you were a commoner, you’d be like “I’m going to kill myself because I have the plague”—you’d have real problems. Sassy Gay Friend doesn’t help anyone with real problems: just rich people and their relationship troubles.

    Is he rich? You’ve seen his scarf and shirt.

    I trust its Hermès? You trust? It’s the Hollywood Costume Shop.

    OH, okay…he…he’d like an Hermès scarf—who wouldn’t like an Hermes scarf?! He would. Sassy Gay Friend actually has better style than I do; but, unfortunately, sometimes he has to wear my clothes. So, if you look in the video, he’s wearing my Diesel jeans—which are fine. But, like my ten-year-old sneakers that are faded and torn.

    I don’t think you really see the sneakers. Well, is the shirt—is it a ladies’ shirt? Uh…it’s a man’s shirt from somewhere on Melrose. Melrose is very gender neutral.

    It’s a very friendly place. What do you guys do for fun? If you and Sassy were to go out, what would you guys do? Where are your “spots”? We’ve never gone out together. I can tell you where he would go for fun. Sassy goes to pubs in Shakespeare Land with the ladies, after he saves them. Then he looks for that bi-curious man who might be hanging out at the pub—like an Antonio from Twelfth Night. He saved Sebastian, which was a little creepy.

    Does he go and get Cosmos at these pubs? Also, I don’t think there are any gay pubs in Shakespeare Land. Every pub is gay in Shakespeare Land.

    Touché. What is one celebrity or popular figure that Sassy would die to see—or one that you would die to see? I would love to meet Shelley Long from "Cheers" and Troop Beverly Hills. I would love for Shelley Long to be in one of the videos. I started the character at Second City and she used to work at Second City. And, she was supposed to go to the fiftieth anniversary celebration they had in December [2009], but she ended up not going and I was very disappointed. I feel like her character Diane from Cheers (yes, going back here) was a combination of a woman and a sassy gay friend. She was very, very smart—and had to deal with her complicated love feelings. She would try to fight and be sensible, but had to give in to love. It’s hard to be your own Sassy Gay Friend!

    What does Sassy think of you? Sassy would love to get a hold of me and say “Lighten up! Have some fun! You stress about your comedy videos and your comedy career—just try to make people laugh.”

    What is some advice that you guys, as a team that has never met in person, have for women everywhere? (And, gay men everywhere?) “Love yourself”—oh, that’s Ru Paul! There’s nothing new to say! But, when I—Brian Gallivan—coach improv, I tell improvisers to “Love each other in your scenes: it will be more fun.” Sassy’s advice? “Don’t kill yourself over a guy.”

    That is very sound advice, especially for the up and coming sassy gay friends. Do you consider yourself a sassy gay friend? I’m a gay friend—he’s way more sassy than I am.

    There’s a line you have to cross in sassiness. If I have a couple of drinks, I can get pretty sassy.

    Last question: what kind of animal would you be and why? And, what kind of animal would Sassy be? I always wanted to be a dolphin. I used to do these weird dives in the ocean when I was a kid and my mom would be like, “You’re just like a dolphin!” and I’d say, “I AM: I am like a dolphin!” Just seems like a sleek, fun animal. I think sassy would be a mama lion, fiercely protective of her cubs, like he is of his lady friends. He has to make sure they are okay.

    Here's one more Sassy Gay Friend video for you to enjoy!