I Light Up My Life – The Mark Sam Celebrity Biography
By Nick Stergiopoulos
Do you have the foresight to know how the celebrity will come to you?
Unfortunately, that is in the hands of God, although I think we’ve already tried the porn route. That’s not going to be it.
Since you accidentally brought up your porn story, is it true you were an X-rated performer under the name Josh Gold?
Everything in the show is true. Yes, that happened, but not by accident. The way you said it made it sound like, “Oh, I just found myself naked on the set one day.”
Do you ever have people say, “I didn’t recognize you with your clothes on?”
[Laughs] I haven’t heard that one. I’ve only had a couple people call me out on the adult film. It takes a special sort to actually say, “Hey, I think that was you I saw in the porn I was masturbating to the other night.” Only the bravest have actually gone there.
In the show you list some qualifications for being a celebrity. Can you explain?
You have to know famous people; you can’t just be out there on your own. [Grins]
Which ones do you know?
I know Seth Meyers. We are friends, and he’s a megastar. I also mention my cousin Kix Brooks [of Brooks & Dunn] in the show. He’s another megastar -- of the country music world -- but one nonetheless. And people think they should recognize me when they see me.
Because of your Travelocity commercial [Mark is the guy in the green vest]?
No, you know how you meet famous people. [Says with dramatic flair] You always know who they are.
During the show you say that you feel “left out of recent trends because…[you] were never molested. Life is full of near misses.” What do you mean by “near misses?”
I speak in the show of this guy -- he must have been in his late 20s when he was our neighbor for a brief stint when I was ten or eleven. He was a single dude and so gorgeous. I remember he had been a wrestler. He taught my brother and me some wrestling moves. He was getting behind me, pulling my arm out from underneath me and flipping me on the bed. I was like, Really? You couldn’t have gone a little bit further? I mean I wasn’t a homely child. Maybe someday hypnosis therapy will reveal more. It would be nice to think I was touched.
For the attention?
Just to be able to say it. It’s like a scorecard. I did the porn, the Off-Broadway show. I did the Value City commercial. You know, I could’ve been molested.
You had great success with Blanche Survives Katrina, playing in New York and P-town. What was it like for you when the University of the South [which owns the rights to Tennessee Williams’s plays] demanded you cease and desist using the name Blanche DuBois?
It was pretty horrifying to be honest. My first response was terror and anger, because I had never dealt with any legal situation.
Are you allowed to perform your play any more?
Oh yes. They never brought a lawsuit. What they did was send a letter. Through friends of friends of friends I got pro bono lawyers. They’re just wonderful, this huge international firm which sent a letter back. After the [New York] Times wrote about the whole cease-and-desist kerfuffle, we never heard from the University of the South again.
How would you describe the response to the world premiere of I Light Up My Life?
Kind of overwhelming. It was sold out and they were loud. Here’s the thing -- up until Friday night, my director and I thought it was great and funny, but we hadn’t showed it to anyone. And all of a sudden 130 people! I was so thrilled that there was so much laughter.
Any last thoughts for Out readers?
Just don’t try to outshine me, but do follow me!
For more about Mark Sam Rosenthal, go to www.marksamiam.tumblr.com
-- COURT STROUD AND EDDIE SARFATY
Previously > Spartacus at Comin-Con