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Catching Up With 1 Girl 5 Gays


With its frank, often curse-laced discussions about bareback sex, masturbation and one-night stands, there is no comparison for 1 Girl 5 Gays. But, if you need one, think The View meets Dr. Ruth, only with hot gay men instead of menopausal madams. Though less than a year old in the States (it premiered on Logo last October), the MTV-produced Canadian import -- which features a rotating cast of gay men answering 20 quick-fire questions about love and sex -- is already a cult hit in its homeland. Now, with a full lineup of new episodes airing stateside this summer, IG5G is gearing up for its mainstream ascent. Five of the show's breakout stars -- Dean McArthur, JP Bevilacqua, Juan Gonzalez Calcaneo, David Robert and Matt Barker -- recently chatted with Out about the no-holds-barred talking points, getting recognized on the street, and how they stand apart from Glee in the movement toward acceptance.

Out: The format of the show is essentially '20 Questions,' but it's a huge hit. How do you explain that?
JP: I remember getting the first email describing the show and not quite understanding what the concept would be.
David: When we shot the pilot I was wondering what the producers would have us talk about' you know, what terrible things that happened in our life. But it was the total opposite and it blew my mind. For once it seemed that television would hear the positive stories of gay people.
Dean: People are excited to see a group of gay men in their 20s. As a gay person, when you're young, that's something you don't really have access to, unless you happened to have an older gay person in your life.
Matt: And it's not just gay people. I know 1G5G has won over people who were indifferent.
I think a lot of straight people have a lot of questions for us, and I think we're answering them on the show.
Dean: Eh. I don't think straight people care about 1G5G.

And in this case being on late-night cable is actually a plus because it allows for 'anything goes' without censors and bleeps.
Dean: Yeah, you can't say 'come on my face' at 4 in the afternoon.
JP: We're all Canadians' we love the progressive nature.
David: It's like a group of friends sitting around on a Friday night talking about all the things people talk about anyway.
Juan: There's the sex part, but there's the heart part, too. There's something to be said about that balance and working towards a mainstream normalcy.
Dean: It's not 60 Minutes. Part of it is about giving honest opinions of a cross section of gay men. But another point is to open up a discussion about whatever we talk about'sex, dating, love.

Speaking of honesty, one of your cast mates, Yerxa, was recently called out by Chelsea Handler because he said she's not that funny. Ever regret something you've said?
Dean: I once said I wanted to punch Kim Kardashian in the face. I don't think it's funny to talk about hitting women. I don't like her, but I immediately wished I could take it back.
David: One of the questions we had was 'If you were in a two-month relationship and you found out your partner had HIV, how would you react?' As a gay person growing up being afraid of that horrible disease, my comments came from a place of not wanting to put myself at extra risk. That unfortunately hurt a lot of people.
JP: I think the show has forced us to confront some of our own ignorance.
Juan: You learn to say it in a better way or see others' point of view sometimes.

Or to just not answer. Juan's guilty of that.
Juan: I figured I'm going to be the Sophia Petrillo or the Joy Behar of the show -- so when I don't want to answer a question I'll just throw in a random funny comment.

On the opposite end, Matt gets a lot of flack for what he does say -- especially in season one when he would defend his abusive relationship and be accused of lying on the show.
Matt: I assume all responsibility of what does come out of my mouth, but it definitely does something to me when we're all sitting down there with the lights and the cameras. Everything just pours out of my mouth like word vomit and I can't stop.
David: People talk about Matt being young and we have to forgive him for some of the things he's said.
Matt: It's not like, 'Oh God, I need to answer this properly.' It's 'I need to give my actual honest answer to every question.
Juan: I like Barker, but once he talked about how much he liked bareback sex. We do need to remember who is watching this show and we cannot be saying that bareback sex is OK on TV.

Is it ever embarrassing to have to answer such outrageous questions about sex? Especially if you know your parents, boyfriends or family will be watching.
David: Every episode there's a question where we'll just burst out laughing. Once there was something along the lines of whether I've ever had a foreign object inside of me. I walked away shaking my head thinking, 'Oh God' my parents are going to see this!'
Juan: I just tell my parents not to watch the show, which is easy when your mom lives in Mexico.
David: That's always in my head: my dad and my mom sitting on the couch watching the show with their finger on the big old mute button.
JP: But if I'm censoring myself it's because I'm censoring myself because of what I want to share. It's about my boundaries.

Everyone's bound to have an outrageous or unpopular answer every now and then. Do you worry about the potential backlash?
Matt: I've actually gotten a lot from family, my sister especially, I've called her a bitch and it really impacted our relationship. She didn't speak to me for weeks and my family was on top of me to be censored when it comes to them.
David: I'm always worried about negative backlash.
Dean: In general, anybody can get an idea of what you're like based on what you talk about on the show, and I don't think that's always accurate, but it's not regrettable.

Not always accurate because' ?
Matt: I totally don't come off the same way I am in real life.
Dean: It's such a reality TV clich' to be like, "Oh, that's editing, that's editing."
David: The beauty of the show is that the producers want us to be as real as possible. There's no sneaky editing. It's as close to real life as we can get it.
Dean: Ultimately the things that you say' that's you.
Matt: Yeah' but I'm definitely not as dumb as it seems on the show.

It's safe to say the show still maintains cult status, but it is on its way up. Earlier this year the show was nominated for Logo's NewNextNow award. You're gaining more fans on Facebook and more followers on
Twitter every day. What's it like becoming a celebrity?

Matt: You can't even be on the subway right now without getting noticed, and people just stare and it's awkward' but I love it.
Juan: People on the street are like, 'Oh my god, I can't believe you go to Starbucks!' And one night I was leaving work and riding the subway and these two girls were like 'I can't believe you ride the subway!' It's like' I'm leaving work right now. The only thing that's changed is I'm now addicted to Twitter.
Matt: I feel like we're a big band of Jonas brothers.

Has that made it easier landing dates?
Matt: First of all, don't hook up with your fans. Bad idea.

From personal experience?
Matt: Yeah. It's not a good idea to be dating them, either. [Laughs]
Dean: You're talking about how gay you are and I don't think that adds to my mystique. I had a guy pretend not to know about the show and the next morning we were in bed and he started reading my bio on the MTV website! Do you want to talk about your job in bed? Most annoying experience from being on the show.
Juan: It's been weird -- some people come up to me because I'm on TV and you don't really know what the intentions are and if they like you. It's a little awkward.
JP: There's the illusion that because you're somewhat famous you're going to be getting more dates or sex, but nope, not the easiest for me. I haven't had any help from being a part of this group in any respect.

With the huge success of Glee, the show is breaking into the US at a pivotal point for the LGBT community. How is the show feeding off that excitement?
Dean: I look at Chris Colfer's character and I can't believe that a mainstream television network has this story about this gay kid -- like a very gay kid. They're not trying to butch him up. I can't believe that's in primetime right now. And there's value in all of that, but I just don't think we're doing what they're doing.
Matt:Glee is a commercial representation of gay culture. I think 1G5G gives more of a realistic approach to it and isn't fluffed up and beautiful. We have to tell the real story. The bully bullying the gay kid, it's kind of typical.
Dean: It's a fairy tale.
David: I just watched the prom episode where Kurt and Blaine dance, and I'm so proud of what that show is doing. We know that what Glee and Gaga are doing is groundbreaking but we also know what that we're doing is groundbreaking or pushing boundaries -- that's what our goal is.
JP: Banding together and coming together for our cause.

This summer we'll see the final batch of new episodes. What's next?
David: For me? I'm going to try to bring back overalls this summer.

Is that the official IG5G summer fashion tip?
Juan: I'm really into bandanas. Right now I'm feeling like cholo chic with bandanas and jewelry.
David: We're always trying to outdo each other.

And in terms of the show?
Dean: I think that in an ideal world there would be episodes with lesbians, but there are only so many hours in the day. We keep making a show, so that's a sign of good things, that it's successful.
Matt: It's clearly getting the message across. Since 1G5G I'm being applauded for my sexuality -- that says something completely different.
Dean: When you're forced to defend your sexuality, you realize that you're actually really happy about it. It empowers you.
Matt: It would be awesome to hear from someone even older than all the cast members. Maybe someone in their 40s who has done this all, and is maybe married, and what's their job like. I want to hear what happens next, after us.

New episodes of 1 Girl 5 Gays air Mondays-Thursdays this summer on Logo. For more info, visit the show's official website. Four new episodes of 1 Girl 5 Gays air July 29 during the '1 Girl 5 Gays All-Nighter.'

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