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Joel Kim Booster on all those jokes about getting mixed up with Bowen Yang: 'Elevate the bit, honey'

Joel Kim Booster on all those jokes about getting mixed up with Bowen Yang: 'Elevate the bit, honey'

Joel Kim Booster attend the Film Indepedent's 2024 Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California.
Photo by Kayla Oaddams/WireImage via Getty Images

The Fire Island and Again Again Again star chatted with Out on the red carpet of the 2024 Film Independent Spirit Awards.

The 39th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards was full of LGBTQ+ stars — including Joel Kim Booster, who earned a 2023 nomination for Best First Screenplay for his work as a writer in Fire Island. This year, Booster and Natalie Morales were chosen to announce the nominees for the Best First Screenplay category, and the Loot star attended the ceremony dressed to the nines!

Booster, who was wearing Helmut Lang on the red carpet, talked about his experience collaborating with the brand. “I was so honored to even get the opportunity to wear this,” Booster told Out's digital director Raffy Ermac. “And now that I look like, you know, a prince in a Netflix rom-com who didn’t know he was a prince, it feels really fun and special to be here.

When asked who Booster would cast as his love interest in that romantic comedy, the actor replied: “Oh my gosh. There are, like, so many good options out there right now. I think we’re really living in this rise of gay guys actually being gay guys on film. But for me, I think… Colman Domingo.”

He added, “You know, if he would have me, I would gladly go on a romantic journey with him for sure.”

As one of Hollywood’s biggest rising stars, Booster is now used to doing all sorts of press and red-carpet events. When asked about the one question he’d rather never hear again for the rest of his life, Booster brought up a recent media narrative that has actually been bothering him. The Fire Island writer and star explained:

“Getting me mixed up with Bowen Yang as a joke now… it’s like a self-aware, sort of bit. It’s like, you gotta elevate the bit, honey. We’ve heard every version of ‘Oh, my god, I love you on SNL,’ as a joke. And it just happens so much legitimately that it is not necessarily, on its face, that funny of a joke for us anymore.”

For context, Booster and Yang have had their names and faces mixed up in publications such as The Hollywood Reporter in a few instances over the years. And while attempting to call out THR’s long history of mixing up Booster and Yang, Out also published an article that unfortunately misattributed a quote from Yang while transcribing his conversation with cohost Matt Rogers at the Las Culturistas podcast.

As an LGBTQ+ publication that has covered the careers of Booster and Yang for years now — and had Yang as an Out cover star in Mar. 2022 — we feel a very real responsibility to advocate for everyone in our community. But in a rushed attempt to correct yet another mishap from THR and stand firmly with Yang and Booster, we regrettably misattributed certain quotes and contributed to the issue they were calling out — one that we were ready and willing to fight by their side. Overall, it is important to underscore Booster’s sentiment that this isn’t a joke or a meme, and we deeply regret that our mistake contributed to perpetuating the jokes.

We love to see Booster shining, thriving, and now working on his upcoming project Again Again Again with Searchlight Pictures!

Watch the full red-carpet interview in the video below.

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Bernardo Sim experiences and explains queer multiverses. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.

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Raffy Ermac

Raffy is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, video creator, critic, and the digital director of Out.

Raffy is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, video creator, critic, and the digital director of Out.