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Sexy and sober ANT comes to San Diego
Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
January 25, 2007
San Diego - On Friday, February 9, 2007, Stand-up comic and uber queer, ANT, will host two performances of the much Anticipated Valentine Cabaret, Our Love is Here to Stay, for the San Diego Men's Chorus to benefit the group's Travel Fund at The Center in Hillcrest.
Hyper and irreverent, comedian ANT has steadily climbed the comedy hill to become one of America's most successful comedians. A regular guest on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, ANT is the only comedian to appear on all three seasons of NBC's Last Comic Standing. Currently the host of VH1's Celebrity Fit Club, ANT also stars in the LOGO series, U.S. of ANT. ANT: America's Ready is a hit DVD and is available in stores now.
To promote Our Love is Here to Stay, ANT took time out of his very busy schedule to talk about his new and improved self. Always "On" the comedian is as he appears, and always on message.
Buzz: ANT do you have a Reputation for doing this kind of feel good charity work?
ANT: I was actually headlining a Princess cruise, where the Chorus was performing also. Jim Simpson with the Chorus, saw my act and said "we do a big fund raiser every year and would I do it?"
Buzz: Are you familiar with San Diego, have you been here before?
ANT: This will be my only San Diego performance for 2007.
Buzz: You've been busy!
ANT: I am swamped. If they don't come see me on the 9th of February they will not see me again for 2007.
Buzz: Wow, other than all over television.
ANT: Other than all over television; but if you want to see me live where I really let loose, that's the place to be.
Buzz: What is your training as a comedian.
ANT: My training is I live life and I have a crazy family. That's my training
Buzz: And that shapes your temperament.
ANT: That is my temperament. My whole act is about my quest for love, my trials and tribulations with trying to be an out gay man, dating and my family; that's all I talk about; and the past jobs I've had.
Buzz: So it's self reflective, you use self reflection and that story telling so the audiences can see that in their own space.
ANT: Correct. Its all about relatability. People relate to what I'm saying. Well, you know I perform for mostly straight crowds, and straight people can't relate to being gay, but they can relate to telling their parents something and having their parents react in an odd way.
Buzz: The word is that you've lost weight.
ANT: 43 pounds.
Buzz: Good for you. Is that part of that NutriSystem?
ANT: NutriSystem, it's all I do.
Buzz: And it works?
ANT: 43 pounds since August 9th.
Buzz: When you were hosting Celebrity Fit Club, when you began that process, watching the celebrity star plus types, seeing yourself in the future; that helped, right?
ANT: Yes, I'm still hosting. You know what happened, I did something I never do; I read the message boards about the show, and the fans of the show were saying that I should be a contestant, and that was really the incident that got me to lose the weight.
Buzz: Note to self?
ANT: Note to self: lose some poundage.
Buzz: Why the name ANT?
ANT: Why not. I like it spelled in all capital letters. I didn't think it all the way through I never thought my sister would have kids, and now her kids call me "Uncle ANT".
Buzz: Let's talk more about your work
ANT: I do voice over work, I do in front of the camera work, I produce the US of ANT on LOGO.
Buzz: Your shows are very engaging. I have a friend that's addicted to Celebrity Fit Club.
ANT: Yeah, it is addictive, and we like it like that, we want you to get invested in these peoples lives and root for some and dislike others, and that's the magic of reality television.
Buzz: What you're doing on LOGO is a kind of fish out of water premise.
ANT: Right, I'm a fish out of water; I throw a dart at a map of America and wherever it lands I go find the gays in that town, and find out how the community's getting along.
Buzz:When you say the community gets along, it's our community as opposed to the surrounding bigger culture of say, Des Moines or Cleveland.
ANT: Well, the gay community, so yeah, and part of the gay community includes straight people, I mean they're part of my show too, family friends, all that stuff.
Buzz: When you say voice over work, any plans for a Disney film?
ANT: If they came to me I would not say no; I voice a show called "Celebrity Weddings", some commercials, I'm the voice of "Celebrity Fit Club", and the voice of "US of ANT." I do some network promos. I don't go actively looking for voice over work, it just comes to me.
Buzz: Who is your favorite stand up gay comic?
ANT: Rosie O'Donnell
Buzz: Do you have any favorite gay performers that inspired you to say "I can do that!" Whether they're out or not.
ANT: Yeah, Tom Cruise.
Buzz: Any other favorites that inspire you as a gay comedian?
ANT: I wanted to be Paul Lynde from the Hollywood Squares when I was a kid.
Buzz: I wanted to be Lt. Uhura, but we won't go into that.
ANT: You wanted to be 2000 years in the future when black women are still running the phone board?
Buzz: Exactly, in beautiful Go Go boots, but again I was like 12 years old.
ANT: Womens rights have not gone anywhere. 2000 years in the future and she's running the intergalactic switchboard.
Buzz: I didn't know that when I was 12; and had I known Sulu was family it would have been different.
ANT: I'm friends with George, he's so lovely. I love him.
Buzz: San Diego stories; anything you like about San Diego?
ANT: My favorite thing about San Diego is Sea World; I absolutely love Sea World because I can relate to Shamu. He has a weight problem, I have a weight problem. He has one name, I have one name. Everything about him is black and white, everything about me is black and white.
Buzz: There we go, the Shamu of comics.
ANT: Umh Hum.
Buzz: Yours is a very fresh perspective. Your stuff goes through your filter. What do you make of this Grey's Anatomy Isaiah Washington faggot slur; do you think mainstream media is making too much of that?
ANT: No I don't. He used the"F" word, I'm going to use the "I" word, he's an idiot, and that's what I think of Isaiah Washington, enough said.
Buzz: Hillary Clinton announced this morning for her "exploratory committee."
ANT: She should run for president.
Buzz: You think she should.
ANT: I would never vote for a woman president.
Buzz: Black and White.
ANT: Black and White, here's my theory: I don't want a woman three days out of the month ready to push the button because she's on the rag.
Buzz: You're talking hormones?
ANT: Yeah or whatever, and that's all we need, in the middle of her presidency is for her to go through the change.
Buzz: Kind of like George W.
ANT: Right, I don't need a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde in the office, sorry.
Buzz: It's that biological thing.
ANT: Truth of the matter is Hillary Clinton runs, I think she'd do a great job. I would absolutely throw my support her way.
Buzz: Even though you wouldn't vote for her.
ANT: That was a joke earlier; I would definitely, definitely vote for her, give her financial support, I would really get behind her.
Buzz: As a comedian, there is going to be work there for how people relate, and how they respond to the possibility of the first lady being the first woman. Comedians, as a rule, are about to walk into some very very fertile ground.
ANT: Oh, absolutely, with China becoming a vast super power right now, I can't wait for her to tell the prime minister of China "stand in the corner, you've got a ten minute time out." I can't wait for that.
Buzz: I read something about sobriety.
ANT: I just relapsed, so I have 36 days now, I had about five years before.
Buzz: When you relapsed, was it alcohol? 'Cause that's a long time.
ANT: No, I relapsed on Crystal Meth.
Buzz: When you went to rehab, was that when you said "hey I gotta get my stuff together"
ANT: I realized I had a problem when I very first got sober, and I realized that me trying to quit on my own wasn't going to cut it and that I needed a 12 step program.
Buzz: In the gay community, as a community, there's a lot of self-inflicted turmoil, within our bodies and our psyches due to enculturation we receive as young men and women, as children even, do you feel that now, at your age, you are just now getting over that and wrestling out the demons.
ANT: Good question. I'm more aware that those demons are there but I choose not to listen to their voices any more. I listen to the much more gentle and loving voices. The reason why I'm of service is because I'm sober and because it's a better way of life. I'm not about what can I do for me anymore, I'm about what can I do for you. And I feel so much better because of it.
Buzz: And that's always been a key element of Gay Pride and strength and the service we give community.
ANT: No, for me the service comes from being sober and my 12 step program.
Buzz: I heard that. I'm referring to the way our community dealt with the early onslaught of AIDS is all about people jumping in, and helping...
Buzz: Now you've found fame and you can give back and you're going to.
ANT: Actually it's not fame that's allowing me to give back, because I could have given back if I was famous or not. It's about finding God, and about finding out who God intended me to be. That's what it's about. It has nothing to do with fame, nothing about being gay, it has to be with who is the man that God wanted me to be? Did he want me to be a selfish, self-serving man? Or did he want me to be a man full of gratitude, love and service?
Buzz: And this is the natural fit with the San Diego Mens Chorus;
ANT: That, and I'm doing a benefit for a lesbian police officer that was shot in Niagara Falls, I'm very picky about what I'll do. If it doesn't have a gay angle to it, I won't do it. I get asked by everybody from the Red Cross to the USO and lots of organizations to do charity work; and my focus happens to be that I want to help my community.
Buzz: Thank you very much.
ANT: Oh, you're welcome. I'll be shooting a pilot the same day as the event. I promise I'll entertain you, we'll be singing.
Buzz: We'll see you then.
Joining ANT will be members of San Diego Men's Chorus singing songs of love - a perfect way to start the Valentine's week with that special someone - or the someone you hope to make feel special. Solo and small ensemble pieces will meld old favorites and contemporary torch songs. Who knows, you might even come away from the evening with "your song".
Table seating for the event is $40 per person and $75 for couples. General admission is $25. The two shows begin promptly at 6:30 and 8:30 PM The Center is located at 3909 Center Street in Hillcrest. No one under 21 will be admitted.