Move over Glee's Dave Karofsky -- there's a new closeted jock in TV high school, and this one gets busy in the locker room showers. On the season finale of MTV's cheeky teen series The Hard Times of RJ Berger, audiences learned that a) Jayson Blair looks amazing without a shirt on and b) his jock bully character, Max Owens, is secretly gay. The big reveal came when the show's title character, RJ, caught Max getting all wet with another guy during school. Gay fantasy come true? Out chatted with Blair about finding out his character is gay, his surprising nickname, and the subconscious gay attitude of jocks.
Out: Um, can we please discuss the fact that you've made out with a basketball on TV?
Jayson Blair: Oh, God, did I ever. I put my tongue all over it. I just thought of the nicest pair of boobies in the world. That was my motivation.
I can't imagine it tasted much like boobies.
I'm the biggest germ freak ever, so the prop department brought it over to me and I was like, "Uh, can I sterilize this myself?" It kind of tasted weird, I'm not gonna lie.
So, the big news, of course, is that in the finale of The Hard Times of RJ Berger we learned your character is gay.
I'm comin' out!
Welcome to the club.
Wussup? How you doin'? Yeah, it was fun. I had no idea that was coming and when I saw it in the script I was like, "Holy shit." Ok, we're gonna do this. Originally, they planted dummy scripts called 'Full-Metal Max' where I come to school and start shooting people. So we thought that was going to happen, but we got the real scripts right before we shot the episode. And then I was like, 'Ok, cool.'
Does that change how you've thought about your character for the past two seasons?
I don't think I'm going to change the character at all. Max is incredibly insecure and that's why he's not comfortable coming out in public. My approach is like, 'Yeah, I get down with dudes. What the fuck are you gonna do about it?' If they have me come out next season, I think maybe the school won't accept me like they did initially. Maybe I'll be hanging out with RJ next season. I don't want to change the character because he's got a lot of demons in his home life and his sexual orientation isn't going to change his way of going about things.
What was your reaction when you first watched the episode?
Most of my friends -- I'd say about 80% -- are gay and some of them work at the network. When they saw it, they were like, 'Oh my God, this is the hottest, most intimate sexual thing I've ever seen on TV, let alone MTV.' I'm making out with a guy, and it's not super sexual but how and where it happens is pretty shocking. You see a glimpse of it in the episode where I lick the basketball. These super-jocks are always like, 'I'm so straight, blah blah blah' but sit there talking about each other's bodies all day. That's how a lot of my friends were in school. There are some gay tendencies going on subconsciously. But when you're talking about a guy's abs and the V leading down to his satchel, that's not the straightest thing in the world. I think Max is like that.
How does making out with a guy compare to a basketball?
He had soft lips. Initially, they were like, you just need to lock lips and then we can cut away. I thought about it and decided if I'm going to do this, I'm going to make it as real as possible and sell it. This is a defining moment for the character. The fans are going to see this. I talked to the other actor and decided that for this to be real, we have to sell it. I have to love you. When I kiss you, I'm going to mean it, goddammit. And I did. It looked really intimate.
Well now that makes two gay jock bullies on TV, yours and Karofsky on Glee. Maybe they should date.
I'm actually doing a movie with him -- Max Adler. He plays my sidekick in this movie, but I don't think the director knows that we both go gay [laughs].
If you could choose a future boyfriend from the pool of other gay teen characters on TV, who would you choose?
Who's, like, a hot dude?
I think most people agree that Teddy on 90210 is pretty hot.
Ok, Teddy it is. But I'd totally Milk-out and go James Franco in a minute, if I had a choice.
Why do you think it's so much fun to play the bad guy?
In my real life, I'm always making fun of people in a loving way. That's how my friends and I get on. We talk shit. So, playing the bad guy gives me the chance to mess with my family, basically because we've become so close during shooting. It's a license to be bad and not apologize for it. That's fun. Unfortunately, it comes pretty easily to me.
Are you saying you're a bad person?
No! I go out of my way to be as sweet as possible to everyone and make sure people are having a good time. I'm super nice and kind and thoughtful. But, I guess I can play a dick pretty well. I don't know what that says about me, but it's fun and I'm good at it, so I'll take it.
Speaking of dicks, RJ famously has a giant one. How big do you think Max's is?
I think the reason why Max is so shocked is because he's intimidated by RJ's massive schlong and he feels insecure about it. I think Max is average at best.
Yours is a show that's dealing with issues like bullying in a comedic way, whereas shows like Skins are taking the dramatic approach. Do you have a preference as an actor?
It's a very serious issue to me because I have a lot of friends in the community. The shit that's happening to kids in high school is so not OK. The way that I feel about the show is this is a character and I have to set my personal beliefs aside and play this character to the fullest. I think it's interesting for kids who are conflicted or kids who think they're super cool because it'll give them some interesting things to think about.
What do you imagine for Max's future?
He's going to be a fantastic dresser. He wears Levi's a lot, and he has a great shoe game. What I'd like to see, maybe in the third season, is an explanation of why he is the way he is. Why is he so conflicted with himself? What's his home life like? What's the pressure of being a rich kid that's an all-star athlete? Does his father make him that way, like in The Breakfast Club? What makes RJ Berger so charming is that you have these crazy, slightly vulgar moments, but there's also a lot of heart to it. That's what you get from my character in the finale.
You've pitched a few story lines for different episodes. Is this going to turn into The Hard Times of Max Owens?
I'd love that [laughs]. I pitched the lock-in episode. I'm passionate about writing and creating and potentially directing in the future. I'd love to get more of my stories in Hard Times.
Do you have a crazy idea for your own show already?
I do, but it's not copy-written yet. The idea involves a flamboyant gay character, a blue-blood, home-schooled virgin, a brilliant urban character from the streets that puts on a front because he's a genius -- and how they all end up together and have this weird, beautiful relationship.
Any self-respecting journalist can't interview you without asking about the obvious Jayson Blair (The New York Times reporter whose stories turned out to be fiction) connection. Do you get that a lot?
When I got my first guest spot in 2006 on CSI: NY, I checked myself out on IMDb and it said "Buy books from Jayson Blair." And I've never written any books! I clicked on the link and it's this black man with glasses. Not too many people get the connection but every once in a while someone will ask. Now, there's a Google war between him and me. Unless you put in "actor," you get tons of stuff on him. I'm trying to kick his ass on Google.
Would you ever change your name?
No, I love my name. My parents gave it to me. I'm never going to change it. That would be a big sad in the face.
Well, what's your soap opera name, at least?
That might work as your drag name, but your soap opera name is your middle name and the street you grew up on.
That would be Patrick Lambrick.
I'm just saying, if the other Jayson Blair wins the Google war, you might have to take up one of those.
Whenever I get drunk, I do a crazy thing where everyone gets a nickname. I went to Coachella on a whim with some friends and we all did nicknames. Mine was Jizzes Twice. I'm thinking about changing my Twitter to that -- Jizzes Twice!