“Men Directing” w. Michael Urie | Crooked Media
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January 25, 2023
Keep It
“Men Directing” w. Michael Urie

In This Episode

Ira and Louis discuss the 95th Academy Awards nominations, MILF Manor, sexy M&Ms, and more. Plus, Michael Urie joins to discuss his new series Shrinking, working with Harrison Ford, and his iconic Juilliard classmates.






Ira Madison III And we are back for an all new episode. Keep It. I’m Madison, the third.


Louis Virtel And I’m  Louis Virtel and Oscar nominations were just dropped two and a half hours ago, which means I’ve been up for 8 hours for no reason because, you know, they might drop extra early and I have to be there in case they get anxious and throw them down at 2 a.m..


Ira Madison III Now, you know, I woke up and then I read them after they had already been announced.


Louis Virtel You did wake up, which is important. Yes.


Ira Madison III I did wake up. I did not wake up dead. So there’s that.


Louis Virtel Let’s celebrate that, quotes Oprah.


Ira Madison III I’m on the West Coast today. And so they were insanely early. And I don’t do that. I feel like I used to at a certain point, but then I was just like, you know what? By not also being awake at that time, I can also just come into the Oscar conversation online and not see everyone, you know, like competing for attention to get something out as soon as anything happens.


Louis Virtel I will say there’s something nice, though, about being up that early, because at that point it’s not really about I guess there are hot takes, but it’s also just people like the racing to drop every new statistic that just happened. Like 16 first time Oscar nominees in acting categories and things like that. So it’s nice to be a part of that rush, but at the same time, I also think you accidentally get into Twitter fights with people who have only seen one nominated movie and are pretending they saw all of them. So you do miss that.


Ira Madison III I mean, that’s most people all the time. It’s not even just Oscar day. I feel like it’s always every year, 265 days a year that you will get in an argument with someone and they’re like, this person was snubbed, or they’ll be like, This movie’s awful. And then sometimes you have to ask yourself, Is this person who’s saying this movie is awful, have they actually seen this movie?


Louis Virtel Right. They they have an idea of the movie and they have an idea of what they should feel about the movie, but it doesn’t feel like it’s coming from a place of a genuine opinion or genuine analysis.


Ira Madison III Yeah, no, I, I you truly do learn that. You know, like once you are dealing with people behind a computer screen, that people will just pretend they’ve seen whatever. So I feel like the Oscars discourse, and  we’ll of course wade into that. Today has been fun and also mind numbing.


Louis Virtel Yes. Well, it’s also just crazy to me that we still have basically two months until the Oscars. I mean, I just I feel like I’ve expired all of my talk about The Fablemans. I simply have seen the movie. I’ve discussed the movie. I know what it’s about. Now we’ve got to move on from this. But I feel that way every year about a movie. Like it felt like I was just in 2010, I felt like I had discussed The Fighter for five years. I was like, Wow, that was, you know, those people sure were mad at each other in that movie. Okay, okay, we’re done.


Ira Madison III And you know what? We can discuss the Fighter some more.


Louis Virtel Okay, We’re coming right back to it. I really should have been Amy Adams win.


Ira Madison III May who won that year?


Louis Virtel Melissa Leo for the same movie.


Ira Madison III Mm. Well, listen, she was being considered.


Louis Virtel Yes.


Ira Madison III Let me tell you something.


Louis Virtel We were being considerate. Yeah.


Ira Madison III And Amy Adams, she’s never considered.


Louis Virtel I imagine Amy Adams walking to you, walking up to you and saying, consider like getting in your face. She simply wouldn’t do it. She doesn’t play the game.


Ira Madison III I, I think about Amy Adams so little. Unfortunately, it is someone I love too. But I just saw a tweet yesterday about Disenchanted and I forgot that movie came out. And I’m excited to watch it because I loved Enchanted. I love Adam Jake Bed. I love Amy Adams. I love Patrick Dempsey. You know, when he’s not in a hospital scrubs. But I truly forgot that the movie came out.


Louis Virtel Amy Adams past few years have been, I don’t want to say a flop era, but definitely mystery era. Like she she technically is still in on death row for Hillbilly Elegy. So you have to understand, maybe that’s why you’re not thinking about her, because she’s on the Green Mile right now.


Ira Madison III She’s in jail. Her and Glenn Close.


Louis Virtel Clenn Close, one of three people to be nominated for a Razzie and an Oscar for the same performance. I don’t know how I feel about that. I thought she was sort of the saving grace of Hillbilly Elegy. But to put the words grace in the same sentence as Hillbilly Elegy is already a step too far.


Ira Madison III You know, I ain’t see that damn movie.


Louis Virtel I know, I mean, on principle, I understand that. But as you know, a doctor of the Oscars, I had to go and watch it myself.


Ira Madison III Of course, you know, in case you had to perform some triage.


Louis Virtel Yes, precisely.


Ira Madison III As the only doctor related thing that popped into my head at the moment.


Louis Virtel In Miami over New Year’s, somebody’s put on Gray’s Anatomy season two. And I had forgotten how much Patrick Dempsey at one point was just full Sean Penn understudy. Like the same face.


Ira Madison III A lot of a lot of gruff raspy speaking too.


Louis Virtel Yes right. Yeah. The pissed. Yeah. You feel maybe he doesn’t smoke, but he has a smoker’s bravado. Yes.


Ira Madison III Mm hmm. I wonder what his relationship with Zelensky is.


Louis Virtel Yes. That will be investigated in the years to come.


Ira Madison III We’re going to get to the Oscars. The nominations. The reactions to the noms, etc.. You’ve you’ve heard us do this shit before.


Louis Virtel Right? You’re familiar, right? Yeah.


Ira Madison III What are they going to do with the Oscar nominations? This is the sixth fucking time we talk about it on this show. So we’re going to do that. And then also, congrats to us, though not for Oscar nominations, but we are both GLAAD nominated.


Louis Virtel Oh yes. How strange for both of us. I am nominated for my bit I do on Kimmel, Virtel It Like It Is, which by the way, I did not name myself. It’s sort of shocking to me that I have to keep saying the phrase, VIrtel It Like It Is, when describing what I do. It feels very self-aggrandizing and you are up for whatever that fucking comic book thing is you did. You know.\ I don’t understand that shit.


Ira Madison III Marvel Pride Comic book anthology that I wrote on. Yes.


Louis Virtel Yes. Very good. Congrats to you.


Ira Madison III Yeah. Also, I discovered that to be nominated for a GLAAD award, if you’re not mainstream media, you submit yourself. And it’s also a $150.


Louis Virtel Oh, really? Oh, interesting. I want to I want to know who got in on the ground floor for me. Yeah.


Ira Madison III Well. Well, not you, because that’s mainstream media.


Louis Virtel Oh, I see. Uh huh.


Ira Madison III Yeah. You air on ABC, baby.


Louis Virtel Oh, that’s true. I am prime time, now that you mention it.


Ira Madison III Yeah, the GLAAD Awards, they’re paying attention. Marvel Comics, they’re paying attention. Keep It wasn’t a nominated for a GLAAD award because we are not sending G:LAAD $150. And that’s all I’ll say about that.


Louis Virtel The culturistas over there must have missed us. Yes.


Ira Madison III Actually, I blame Jon Lovett. He could have sent it $150. What’s he doing with that money?


Louis Virtel Right, no. What a little scamp.


Ira Madison III And then there’s like, there’s truly too much other shit going on in the media right now, and unfortunately, we won’t get to all of it today. But, you know, Milf Manor, I’m watching it and I love it.


Louis Virtel Oh. I have not seen it yet, other than the clips that are everywhere. And I have to tell you, I want to get that milf money. They have got it going on over there.


Ira Madison III It is giving Fox okay.


Louis Virtel Yes, it is. Original recipe.


Ira Madison III TLC is I mean, I also I’ve never really been like a TLC reality show person. Like I’ve never seen that like my 1500 pound wife or best friend or whatever. Like there’s some show called Fat or something or like Little Women. And I ain’t talking about Gretta, you know, like this.


Louis Virtel Nicki Minaj verse about Little Women. Yeah.


Ira Madison III Um. But this show is and everyone obviously has made the Thirty Rock joke, you know, because of MILF Island.


Louis Virtel Right.


Ira Madison III But. I was not prepared for the twist in the show being eight milfs in a villa, you know, mingling with eight young men. And then it turns out that the young men are their sons.


Louis Virtel How does casting do this? How do you cast people who don’t know their own mother is involved in the production? I’m just I’m not saying it’s. Something is afoot, but I’m just saying these are tricky, Milfs.


Ira Madison III Well, listen, I will say it’s not reasonable that some people don’t talk to their own mothers every day.


Louis Virtel True.


Ira Madison III And also, one one mother son couple actually does a fourth wall breaking. And she was like, I was coming here to shoot a dating show. And I knew my son was also in Mexico shooting some other dating competition show. But they didn’t assume that it was the same show.


Louis Virtel Okay. I guess they wouldn’t tell them what the title of the show was either, because as we discussed with The Mole, at least one of the contestants and probably many of them didn’t know what they were signing up for. Like, they didn’t know it was like a spy related show. So that is kind of feasible. That said. I’m just saying maybe a text or two could have solved this.


Ira Madison III Also, the idea that they even knew they were going to call the show MILF Manor while they were filming it too.


Louis Virtel That’s true. Also, just Milf Manor. I mean, to say those words, it’s so it’s so crazy to live at MILF Manor. Oh, I was raised at MILF Manor. My the time in the gardens at MILF Manor.


Ira Madison III It’s also basically like a love island because they, they also they there’s, there’s no host that I’ve seen so far in like two episodes but they do get texts on their phone telling them when they have to do things with each other or whatever, you know. And when there’s something fun about Love Island, when there’s British people going, Oh, I got a text, you know, like, that’s fun. Like it’s become part of the lexicon. Are these older women just picking up their phone and going, Oh, hey, I’ve got a text message here. And they’re reading it aloud is so funny to me.


Louis Virtel I just want to be clear.


Ira Madison III It’s very nonchalant.


Louis Virtel I just want to be clear there is a, at least but I’ve seen a clip from MILF Manor where the Milfs have to. They blindfold themselves and they have to recognize their kids based on groping their chest like they have to pick their son out of a line up by groping his torso. It is giving the North Men bitch, This is too much incest for me. Speaking about the nomination, I would have loved to see Nicole Kidman on the Northman. But anyway.


Ira Madison III There was one woman who was like, I know my son shoulders now.


Louis Virtel Oh God. That’s so bone chilling.


Ira Madison III Like of the actual highlight of it has been obviously the conversation that the show is trying to have is this faux like, why is it okay for older men to date younger women, but it’s like taboo for older women to date younger men. That’s what they’re pretending this show is like attacking it. So it’s about feminism, you know? Sure. But the fun part of it is obviously these women want to fuck younger men, and these are men who are into older women. And it’s also funny because it doesn’t seem as if they’ve been explicitly told that they’re only going to be like older women in the villa.


Louis Virtel Mm hmm.


Ira Madison III But the women knew that there’d be younger men, and that’s what they knew that they were looking for. But you then get what they really think about older women and younger men. Right. Because they see a older woman flirting with their son and they’re like, Oh, no, I don’t like that shit anymore.


Louis Virtel Oh, God. I got. So there’s some resentments, etc..


Louis Virtel Yes.


Ira Madison III Yeah. You know, so that that is part of the fun element of it. It’s it’s gross and it’s funny and I love it.


Louis Virtel Yeah. I unfortunately will have to watch this. I don’t feel good for my spirit, but, you know, I’ve seen a lot of crazy shit this year. I think it’s already seeped out of my pores. I live in Los Angeles. What was I doing with a soul, anyway?


Ira Madison III When’s the last time you even watch TLC?


Louis Virtel You know what.


Ira Madison III Since Paige was redoing houses.


Louis Virtel You know, I was about to break out Paige Davis. Yes. And Amy Winn, the rugged carpenter who was so hot.


Ira Madison III Yeah, I. I feel like I loved Trading spaces, but what I loved more was Extreme Makeover.


Louis Virtel When Ty Pennington took over and that, you know he looks.


Ira Madison III Home Edition.


Louis Virtel Exactly the same right now. Yeah, he’s still, like, glistening amber. He’s got that Chuck Woolery glow.


Ira Madison III My favorite part of Extreme Makeover Home Edition was how they would seemingly get the entire town invested in.


Louis Virtel No kidding.


Ira Madison III Somebody having their home made over.


Louis Virtel No, like, truly.


Ira Madison III  50 People outside their house are like, I don’t even know three of my neighbors


Louis Virtel No. And now all these people are interested in my garbage disposal? I’m shocked.


Ira Madison III How many of those houses got robbed.


Louis Virtel Also, in my hometown in Lemont, Illinois, they had an Extreme Home Makeover episode. And I want to say I read at the time something about like your property value goes all the way up or up. Plenty of the stuff they install is just for show, really. Like it’s just cheaper than you’d expect. I feel like secretly those shows are kind of a nightmare to those people who get wrapped up in them. But maybe not always. Yeah.


Ira Madison III It’s like when they re created Sidney’s house and Scream three, she’s walking through a door and then she falls.


Louis Virtel Right in there. Well, here, right in the Courtney’s bank.


Ira Madison III Yeah. Anyway, let’s get our show started.


Louis Virtel Sure.


Ira Madison III And, um, since I brought it up, Scream. Don’t like that Ghostface has a gun in that trailer.


Louis Virtel I don’t either. Also, I don’t know that I need Scream pig in the city. I’m not sure I need him running on the subways. Period.


Ira Madison III Scream Pig of the city. That is always the fifth person on my grinder grid.


Louis Virtel All caps, no fat weirdos. Yeah.


Ira Madison III So we have got our expansive Oscars conversation this week, and we are joined by the fantastic Michael Urie, who it feels like should have been on Keep It before.


Louis Virtel It makes no sense. We’re both huge fans of his. I know we both saw Buyer and Seller in addition to Ugly Betty.


Ira Madison III Yeah.


Louis Virtel Smart guy. Very theater trained. Love him.


Ira Madison III Yeah. So Michael Urie joins us this week as well. We have a lot of Keep It for you. So we will be right back.




Ira Madison III We are continuing our hard hitting award season coverage on Keep It as we always do. We’re going to get to the facts. We’re going to talk about why everyone is basically just has left all abandoned behind. And it’s just like openly asking Paul Mescal to fuck them on the internet now.


Louis Virtel People have lost thier fucking minds. YeahndIt’s like they’re pointing out to you. You’re the first one to hear from them that he’s hot. It’s like I can see it. I saw the movie. Yes.


Ira Madison III I mean, listen, we could talk about him and best actor first. There is always I’m always fascinated by an actor like Paul Mescal, mostly because there’s the sect within Twitter that will always, you know, talk about diversity and, you know, like women, etc., and, you know, like how we need to be championing them and then like the other people who are snubbed, etc.. But there is always without fail one white man who they will risk it all for. And this year it’s Paul Mescal.


Louis Virtel Right, right, right. I know exactly the flavor of tweet you’re talking about where they’re, like livid that Daniel Deadwyler was left out of the conversation. But also, Paul Mescal has such a sitable face or whatever they fucking say. Yeah. It’s always like.


Ira Madison III Touch me with your thighs.


Louis Virtel Yes. Yeah, right. We all saw Normal People. My God. I will say, Danielle Deadwyler, that is the snub that’s hanging on me this year. I did not expect her to be left out of the final five. And I know there was some conversation about whether it’d be Ana de Armas who got in for Blonde. Whether Michelle Williams.


Ira Madison III She’s Cuban, by the way, did you know that?


Louis Virtel Okay.


Ira Madison III Ana de Armas is Cuban getting a big workout on Twitter today?


Louis Virtel Yeah. We’re all learning. But like Michelle Williams, there was even a chance she would fall into supporting and that we would rest the placement she wanted away from her and nominate her and supporting, even though she specifically said she wanted to go in lead. Yeah. Danielle Deadwyler I just think that’s like a phenomenal performance that has both tragedy and then the triumph of this woman, sort of steely will to present herself to the media in a way that she owned and present her son’s death to the media in a way that was spectacular. I thought that movie had a real X-Factor about it. That said, I also saw people claim that Best Actress this year is the weakest of the four acting nominees, which gets to the four acting categories. And I could not disagree less Cate Blanchett and Tar, Michelle Yeoh and Everything Everywhere All at Once. Andrea Riseborough, Keep It guest sneaking in for Too Leslie with a phenomenal last minute Hail Mary campaign run by, I guess, Mia Farrow and Gwyneth Paltrow tweeting their asses off and getting people to pay attention. I’ve never seen anything like that before. And then also, Ana de Armas. And who’s the fifth nomination? I’m missing somebody. Oh, Michelle Williams. So, yeah, Michelle Williams would be the one I wish fell out in favor of Danielle Deadwyler, but I think that’s a very uniform, solid crew.


Ira Madison III I dropped Michelle and Ana. I wouldn’t call this the weakest. I’d call it the second. I call it the third. I’d rank it as the third strongest, though,.


Louis Virtel Got it.


Ira Madison III I think the weakest. This go round is Lead Actor. Completely.


Louis Virtel Interesting. Well, I will say.


Ira Madison III Brendan Fraser’s nomination. And, you know, I’m just sort of like that one to me is just sort of like hanging over everything. You know, and when people keep talking about, you know, like a great performance in an awful film, I would rather watch Blonde again than The Whale.


Louis Virtel I am happy that The Whale didn’t end up in Best Picture, which seemed almost like a sure thing for a minute there. In fact, Women Talking took that slot and I did not expect that at all. Brendan Fraser I will say I think his performance is an A-minus. I it’s just one of those things where I don’t love almost anything about the movie. I would almost compare it to Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom in that way. Like the performances really were solid, but then even like the production design felt so under thought out. Like, I didn’t realize I had expectations of Darren Aronofsky. I wouldn’t say I’m a stan of his in any way. The movie felt beneath him. I was so shocked by it.


Ira Madison III Yeah, I mean, like, you know, I’m not a Darren Aronofsky stan either by any means. I mean, I mean, I did fucking love Mother, though, but like, even Mother, right? The attention to detail in that house.


Louis Virtel Right.


Ira Madison III Is was like, immaculate. You know, that’s the thing about his mind since Pi and like Requiem for a Dream, it seems like his mind is always like working overtime and creating these worlds. And I would say that he did none of that.


Louis Virtel No.


Ira Madison III This time.


Louis Virtel In Mother, that is an immaculately constructed nightmare. You really feel like you were in a nightmare that you might actually have. I can’t say I see that on the silver screen very often here. It just felt like like even among movies that take place in one room that are that feel like they’re adapted from a play, I would even say like one night in Miami is better than this movie, not, you know, which has good performances in it, obviously. But I don’t think that’s a movie we reflect on necessarily. I also think Supporting Actress is a little weird this year, not that I don’t like Jamie Lee Curtis in Everything Everywhere All at Once, but it just felt like it was about.


Ira Madison III It’s random as hell.


Louis Virtel It’s it’s about the novelty of the role more than it is the performance. Like, did she really give you an Oscar nomination worthy moment in that movie? I just don’t remember it.


Ira Madison III Not at all. And when you’re thinking about a moment like that, which came from Judd Hirsch in The Fablemans, like that brief appearance, was that like, you know, two or three scenes from him was a highlight of that fucking movie and like, sort of changes the course of the story as well. Right. I mean, Jamie Lee Curtis is just sort of there. And I feel like it’s also I mean, listen, maybe it’s The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills that got Jamie Lee Curtis this nomination. Okay. Because I was that’s one of the funniest things I’ve seen on TV all year, her clocking her my hand in home merch on the show. But it’s always been baffling and it was baffling. But, you know, sort of understood when she got the Golden Globe nomination, you know, just because of, you know, she’s white and it’s the Globes. But for.


Louis Virtel They love that.


Ira Madison III Her being in the movie, the Oscar race here is just what are we really doing? Yeah, seems like it’s a nomination because of who she is in the industry and being beloved for so long that this is happening here. I would also say, that you could make an argument the same thing is happening for Angela Bassett, except that Angela Bassett was the reason you watched that fucking movie. Like without Chadwick Boseman, Wakanda Forever felt like unmoored a lot to me, except for when you were focused on Angela Bassett. She was that movie. I love The Globe win. I love that she’s nominated here, I actually would love for her to win it.


Louis Virtel It feels like she  will, yeah, yeah.


Ira Madison III Yeah. It feels like she will. I want her to win it. And I say this as a Marvel stan, with a Spider-Man tattoo, the only thing stressful about this nomination is every fucking tweet that’s like it’s the first actor from a Marvel film nominated for an Oscar. I’m like shut the fuck up.


Louis Virtel But I must say, though.




It is interesting to think about that movie that.


Ira Madison III She’ll be the last.


Louis Virtel Which, by the way, I  haven’t.


Louis Virtel Yeah, that’s enough. Yeah.


Ira Madison III Okay. I mean, we’re not we’re not giving Michelle Pfeiffer anything for Quantumania. I know that.


Louis Virtel Oh, you need to not bring up that word to me. Oh, my God. And that trailer. When she says something like, Did you move the quantum beam to the solis or whatever she fucking said, I was angry. No, when I think about Wakanda Forever, I guess it’s because the character dies early on. I just don’t even really remember that performance that much. It’s just. I mean, like, I literally remember Lake Bell a little bit more than I do her. But that crazy chase scene she was involved with.


Ira Madison III You don’t remember? My whole family has died. The scream.


Louis Virtel Pardon me?


Ira Madison III I feel like that was at every trailer, but I mean, that’s that’s largely what I remember. But I also really do not think about Black Panther either.


Louis Virtel Yeah, right. I mean. I was going to say, you brought up Jamie Lee Curtis before, and I really feel like Wakanda Forever is the Halloween Kills of Marvel movies. It’s this linking movie between something that goes before it and something that goes after it. So as you said, the story feels a bit nebulous. You’re kind of wandering between urgencies, like even, like half the movie, I just feel like we were in a lab looking at a big statue that we kept touching and it kept turning red or whatever, you know, it just was lacking. It was lacking the reason to spend that much money on a movie. I wasn’t seeing it, you know? I like Danai Gurira and it quite a bit as she was great in the first Black Panther too.


Ira Madison III Mm hmm. But anyway, but speaking, yeah. Speaking of Denai, speaking of Angela, speaking of black women doing great, it would have been nice to see like Lashana Lynch nominated too, you know, or Viola nominated. And to that, though, I’m not shocked, mostly because of like the Oscars when it comes to nominating black women in general, but also didn’t it seem like there was just no fucking push for the Woman King at all?


Louis Virtel It’s like fall away.


Ira Madison III This the studio spent all their money on Tar.


Louis Virtel I guess so. Well, also the weird thing about the Woman King and I want to say this might be true for Women Talking, too, I feel like something that holds those movies back in the memories of people who saw them is that they don’t end strong, like the way the Woman King ended made it feel like a Disney movie to me. And the way Women Talking ended, it was too pat and they tied everything in a bow. Meanwhile, The Fablemans, which I would say is a movie that kind of, you know, it’s full of vignettes and some are better than others, and whatever. It ends so strongly with that moment, with David Lynch as John Ford and the final joke where you see the horizon on the screen, a screen change which references something John Ford just said really ends with a snap. And I feel like, yes, if feel like maybe if those movies ended a little harder, they’d be better recognized here. That’s said, Women Talking in Best Picture is more than I expected.


Ira Madison III So yeah, I actually agree with that because I feel like, you know, I mean, not just the construction of a film, but the construction of a film that’s going to linger in people’s minds for a while. I loved The Woman King. I absolutely loved it. But I did feel like when the ending happened, it just it I felt like the ending kept dragging on because at a certain point it ended strong. And then there was sort of like the coda at the end and then their dancing together. I’m just like a movie like that about war. Like it needs to end with a gut punch for me, you know, and Women Talking, you know, they talked.


Louis Virtel Right? Right. Now they’re done talking.  Women Done Talking. That’s the sequel.


Ira Madison III But even speaking of those films and you know, Sarah Polley and Gina Prince-Bythewood, I think it may be time to have the conversation about Best Directrice.


Louis Virtel You want Yeah, you want to just open that up entirely.


Ira Madison III I mean, listen, we have had you can correct me here. It’s between seven or nine women who’ve ever been nominated for Best Director.


Louis Virtel It’s lingering somewhere around there. Yeah. You get Lina Wermuller, you’ve got Sofia Coppola, you’ve got Jane Campion, you’ve got Emerald Fennell, Greta Gerwig, Chloe Zhao.


Ira Madison III Yeah, and Chloe Zhao. And how many of Chloe Zhao has won and.


Louis Virtel Just one. Yes.


Ira Madison III Just once again, Jane Campion.


Louis Virtel And Jane Campion won last year for Power of the Dog.


Ira Madison III Yeah. I don’t know. I feel like if this were Actor categories and only and this is my problem with the idea of making gender list categories for Actor, I think you would have a situation where you would not have that many fucking women nominated.


Louis Virtel But I would think that.


Ira Madison III Cate Blanchett You’d get like, you get like the Cates, you get Meryl You’d get a moment like an Andrea Riseborough maybe like an angel this year. But I feel like, you know, like people like Kerry Condon, Stephanie Sue, you know, like the Ana de Armas, like in a gender looks like you’re or something, like they’re not getting fucking nominations, you know.


Louis Virtel I think my problem with genderless categories is I just think there are too few winners like that would basically take it down to two acting wins and I just don’t think that’s exciting. Then it’s just you don’t want to limit the amount of winners. I think, you know, you don’t want the Grammys problem either where you have like way too many categories and then it almost you just kind of scratch your head when you realize what you just won or whatever. But four Acting wins is just enough to keep the kind of gilded patina of the Oscars going. I think. So maintaining that four I think is important for the ceremony.


Ira Madison III Yeah, And I just I’ve just thinking, like, how do you fix Best Director? One thing I keep thinking of is the fact that we have so many we’ve expanded the Best Picture, the number of nominations. Maybe we need an expansion of Best Director because, you know, it’s it’s not like there there are four acting categories, you know, and then you have one directing category at it’s where maybe we should be nominating more directors when some of these women have gotten in. If it was expanded or would more men have gotten in, you know, or should we have best director for. Yeah, discuss something like the Globes where like you’re separating them into you know best director of a comedy or best director of a drama, you know, but there’s something I feel like that needs to change here. You can’t have this conversation every fucking year.


Louis Virtel Every time I go to the Wikipedia and I see the list of best pictures, which is now up to ten, and then the best director list, which is up to five, It’s a very strange dialog occurring there because it almost always feels like the best director category. Always, always, almost always feels like an indictment of what gets nominated for best picture. I’m like, Oh, here’s the real best five, You know, even though it’s possible that, you know, director doesn’t get nominated and it does when we do have things like Argo. But at the same time, it does feel like Best Director is the real best Picture nominations in a way.


Ira Madison III Yeah, best picture always feels like here a collection of the best films and also like what audiences want to see and what’s going to get people tuning in to the Oscars and what people are talking about. I completely understand that for Top Gun, you know, Yeah, I don’t think Top Girl necessarily needs a best director nomination, but a Best Picture nomination absolutely is one of my favorite fucking films of the year.


Louis Virtel Yeah, I feel like another thing I’m weighing when I, when I compare these two categories is you see and best picture, what is there for variety sake? And there should be variety and best picture. But that’s not the same thing as nominating something because it’s the best either, you know? Yeah.


Ira Madison III I mean, Avatar: The Way of the Water, I haven’t seen it yet, so I’m not going to drag.


Louis Virtel I can’t believe you have not seen it. That really surprises me.


Ira Madison III I have not seen the movie yet because I specifically waiting to see it with a friend of mine. And unfortunately, what I got back in the town there were so many other movies that we had to see instead of Avatar, because he’s already said it. And I just haven’t felt the push to go and see Avatar myself and sit there for 3 hours. So, you know, I did feel that for Babylon, which I was shocked, got no nominations.


Louis Virtel I know it got it. Got a couple, but nothing like huge. That’s correct.


Ira Madison III Nothing major. Yeah.


Louis Virtel Speaking of snubs, I did not expect Brian Tyree Henry getting in for Causeway, a movie in which he is lovely. It’s a very lived in real seeming grounded movie and performance from him. I really thought we would be looking at Eddie Redmayne in The Good Nurse, which I watched the other day. I did not realize it’s like this true crime story that is sort of styled as a hospital set horror movie. But Eddie Redmayne in this movie,is so self-contained throughout it, not giving anything away as he should about his character, because the reveal comes at the end. He has one moment where he blows up and that’s the only like big acting scene there is. What were we doing? Almost putting him in the best supporting actor conversation. I’m so glad we course corrected that.


Ira Madison III Well, you know, I don’t see it for her.


Louis Virtel No. I have to say something about The Good Nurse, by the way, so that The Good Nurse is Jessica Chastain, last year’s best Actress winner. And at the end of the movie, all I will say is that the final title card says she is still a good nurse.


Ira Madison III Wait, is this based on a true story?


Louis Virtel Yes, she is still a good nurse. Is the update we get. Don’t tell me what to think about the nurse. Don’t tell me what to think about the nurse.


Ira Madison III That’s like a bad title card at the end of a Real Housewives season where they update you at the final party or whatever one has been doing since they’ve been filming. It’s like. And Jessica Chastain is still a good nurse. There’s nothing else. There’s nothing else to say about her.


Louis Virtel That’s it.


Louis Virtel Oh, do we want my best original song really quickly?


Ira Madison III Yeah.


Louis Virtel Okay. I just watched. Did you. Have you seen RRR yet?


Ira Madison III I have not seen RRR yet because I’m waiting to see it in a huge theater. And I was sick the night that it was playing at the Chinese theater.


Louis Virtel I watched it at home, unfortunately. Okay, this movie is full of zeal, and that has a hundred different definitions. The zeal in violence, the zeal of musicals, the zeal of romance, lots of varieties of exuberance happening in this movie, this song that is performed not to Nazi, which is nominated against among the weakest competition you’ll ever see in this category. I mean, Rihanna with this late B song, Lady Gaga with the other sleepy song, Diane Warren, who again, is nominated for the sixth year in a row. She has been nominated seven of the past eight years when she also gets the Lifetime Achievement award this year. And also David Byrne and Mickey nominated. Okay, I can see that for that movie. But anyway, this performance is the Slay of the year. Everybody is giving it. It’s the most athletic pulsing. Can’t take your eyes off of it. Scene of the year. I think it’s a movie where you can think a lot about it. Like some scenes are a little bit more gratuitously, much just a bit much than they need to be. But that scene is just a pure joy, and I feel like that is the runaway win of the year.


Ira Madison III Can I tell you this is so fucking random, But looking at the best original song list and you know, like Hold My Hand, Lady Gaga. But Right In Right Before it is the Diane Warren song, which is named APPLAUSE. And for a split second, I was like, Did Gaga get nominated for Applause?


Louis Virtel The art pop stans leaking into the academy, finally. Breaking down the doors. That is funny.


Ira Madison III Which also side note I wanted to ask you, is Bloody Mary eligible for a Grammy now that it’s been released as a single year later?


Louis Virtel I would assume not. I feel like they have to write new rules for that sort of thing.


Ira Madison III Because that’s kind of insane to me that the song is playing on the radio now and fully been released as a single. Years after that album came out.


Louis Virtel Yeah, I feel like we’re going to see more things like that in the future because people just, you know, Tik-tok is about some child discovered some song that we all listened to 20 times ten years ago, and now we all have to listen to it again. It just feels like that’s likelier to occur now. I mean, hold my hand. I just can’t get behind it. Guys. I don’t know what we were thinking. Again, it seems like she’s sort of avoiding.


Ira Madison III It’s great live.


Louis Virtel Putting instruments in. Oh, all right, All right.


Ira Madison III It’s fucking great live. I will say that, you know, I normally leave before concert’s over so I can get the fuck out of there. But Hold my Hand. She did it like I felt. Move. I felt. I felt. I felt more stirred than I did watching it. So I felt more stirred listening to it in the concert than I did watching the film, which I guess maybe sort of like excludes it from winning, you know, because it’s if it’s better performed live, and I felt absolutely nothing while it played in the movie, then it doesn’t work as an original song, you know? Right. Right. For a movie.


Louis Virtel To me, that song reminds me of the lesser parts of the A Star Is Born soundtrack, which is really goopy balladry. I mean, it’s what people think of Diane Warren is occurring in the latter stages of that album.


Ira Madison III If we’re talking about any of our lasting, you know, sort of thoughts about these nominations or takeaways, there’s a lot of conversation around. Paul Mescal Yes, but I am really excited for Barry Keoghan getting nominated. I loved him in this movie. I thought that he and Carrie were the best parts, which is, which is wild when Colin Firth is giving such an amazing performance and Brendan Gleeson is giving such an amazing performance and I know that some people are like back and forth on Banshees, but I love that film was my favorites of the year and I would go between that or a go between that or Triangle of Sadness for Best Picture, because I know that Top Gun is not going to win even though I want it to.


Louis Virtel Triangle of Sadness is a movie that I would get this divided into three parts, and I like the second part the best. When the ship is going awry, and that’s the best directed part of the movie too. And I think the reason the movie got a directing nomination. But yes, Barry Keoghan. Every once in a while you get a new actor who has a completely not just unique thing, but strange thing, like you’re looking at them and being like, what is it about this person that is so transfixing and has hidden depth or is animatic? And he, you know, really is. But I would compare it maybe to like an Adam driver or, you know, like Mia Goth right now. Does somebody have some people have a quality about them where it’s just not contrived and it’s full and full of hearts are full of just an enigma. He’s an enigmatic person and he really channels it into a very sensitive performance has seen with Carrie, where he asks her out and she sort of declines with some dignity and he sort of leaves with some dignity. But it’s sad. It’s just a very specific, awesome scene in that movie.


Ira Madison III And they’re doing so much in that scene, too, because the literal banshee is across the water from them staring at them. So there’s that going on as well. And honestly, shout out to this pairing of Barry and Colin Farrell too, from them both being in Killing of a Sacred Deer to them being this like, I just want to keep seeing them in movies together.


Louis Virtel That movie, I walked out of it and it felt like someone like slapped me on the side of the head or something. I’m like, I shouldn’t. I shouldn’t feel concussed by a drama.


Ira Madison III I walked out of that movie, sat in my car, and then Nicole Kidman gave me a hand job.


Louis Virtel She was really working for that nomination that year. Yeah, yeah.


Ira Madison III I will say one thing that was really interesting to me was, first of all, congrats to Ryan Johnson for the Glass Onion Adapted Screenplay nomination. But I forgot that I guess a sequel is technically an adapted screenplay.


Louis Virtel That’s a category that has some of the weirder rules that people underestimate. Yeah, if there is a movie that preceded it, then it becomes adapted because he was nominated before and original screenplay.


Ira Madison III Yeah. So Ryan Johnson, you will always get a screenplay nomination, but you know, let’s give him something more. He’s a great director, too.


Louis Virtel That’s true.


Ira Madison III That with respect, I thought that movie was fun. And honestly, like, you know, like if it had been kept in cinemas longer, maybe we’d be having a different conversation about it, because I absolutely thought that the public perception of that film changed from cinema to what it was on Netflix, and people were sort of half watching it at home.


Louis Virtel And it’s definitely my favorite Janelle Monae performance. I’ve liked her previously, you know, she’s great and Hidden Figures. Moonlight She did give us that Antebellum movie, which I’m still scratching my head about, but in this movie he gave her like a true showcase and she lived up to it. You know, something happens in the middle of that movie and you suddenly realize, oh, you’re getting a much different Janelle Monae than you expected.


Ira Madison III Yeah, she’s fantastic in that movie. But again, I feel like the conversation dropped out about her even giving a nomination, because once that movie hit Netflix, I feel like all of a sudden there was this influx of people saying they didn’t like the movie. And I wondering if that was just because people were just sitting at home watching it. You know, because everyone I know who saw that movie in theaters had a great time, even if they didn’t think it was better than Knives Out. But that also might be, you know, like a sample of just people going, wanting to see the movie and going out to see it in theaters because and that being the audience for it and then the mass audience for it on Netflix, maybe not loving it, but it was that’s a weird sort of one of those movies that was high for a second and then dropped out.


Louis Virtel All I know is the next movie I will be seeing will be the animated short My Year of Dicks, which was a thrill to watch Riz Ahmed read out loud. I have no idea if he knew he would be reading the words My Year of Dicks, but Godspeed to all of us because it was awesome.


Ira Madison III No, that was him announcing the best director category.


Louis Virtel Oh my God. Now you’re writing for the Oscars Step Down bench. Yeah.


Ira Madison III When I hear that joke come from Jimmy Kimmel’s lips.


Louis Virtel You’re calling the WGA.


Ira Madison III All right, well, all right, Well, if we didn’t completely exhaust everything about the Oscars, please keep in mind that we still have a very long time before this awards ceremony.


Louis Virtel Two months.


Ira Madison III But we will continue to talk about that. So we will be right back with Michael Urie.


Louis Virtel <AD>


Ira Madison III Our guest today is a Multihyphenate talent. He’s an actor, producer, director. He’s a gay icon. And yes, we count gay icon as a talent. And you can catch him next on the catharticly earnest new series Shrinking on Apple TV, where he stars with Harrison Ford. And, you know, we will be asking about that. Please welcome to Keep It, Michael Urie. I cannot believe it’s taking you this long to be on this show with us.


Michael Urie Thank you so much. I’m so excited to be here. I have wanted to. I’m so glad I’m finally doing it. I love you guys.


Louis Virtel That is honestly too flattering to us. I can think of several things we don’t deserve, and one of them is that, so that’s nice of you, Michael. Okay, so starting on shrinking. I was just thinking about this. I think it’s actually it’s rare that a celebrity to me is intimidating. I can think of a couple. Wanda Jackson. If I met her, I’m absolutely peeing my pants. You know, there’s a few people like like even someone like Megan Fox I think has an intimidating thing about her. No. Harrison Ford, meanwhile, is a whole different level of intimidation. And the reason, I think mostly is he has been dogged by the most fervent fans who have ever existed for anything. And I just can’t imagine what that does to a person. What was it like, first of all, just meeting this person and then, of course, getting to work with him on this show?


Michael Urie Well, the first meeting was at our table read. We did a table read for the first episode and we met like right before we were all sort of gathered together. The cast is gathered together. Bill Lawrence made this really great speech to just us before we went in and read the read the script for the Apple execs. And, you know, he was like, you know, he’s he’s he’s not a very large person. But of course, he looms so large. And like, there was a point where we were all kind of gathered and he wasn’t there yet. And it was like, easy come, easy come, easy. Here. Is it here, the coming. And then he kind of came around and we all walked over together and and he was just one of us. I mean, it was like we’re just a company of actors. And and then, of course, you go in and we were reading for this big group of people, and every sentence out of his mouth gets a massive laugh because it’s him and he’s good in it. He’s so good in it. But then the sweetest part was when we left, we sort of were ushered out of the room and we gathered again right outside the room. And we were all, as you know, like actors do after a performance. We were all like, Wasn’t that great? Wasn’t that great? How wasn’t that great? It was so fun. You were amazed. No, you were amazing. And he was just like the rest of us. He was like a kid. It was like. It was so fun. Wasn’t that great? Wasn’t that exciting? And that was when I. That was like the first moment I realized, oh, he’s he’s just loves acting and he loves working. And, you know, he had come right from Indiana Jones ten or whatever, and he was going right into the picture. He’s always doing something. And he loves the work he loves. And then my first day working with him because no, then like cut to a month. It was like another month before I actually worked with him and I would see him on set riding his bike and we would, you know, like wave to each other in the makeup trailer. But I didn’t actually have a scene with him for like another month. And the first day it was just me and him in a scene and we walked into blocking rehearsal and he had he was like, Oh, I think I should be over here. You know, he immediately had some ideas, but he really wanted to know what the director thought. And then after we blocked it, before they sent us away to let the crew set up, he said No elevator said okay for you. And he asked me if I was good with everything. And I was like, Yeah, this is great. I love I love all of this. And, and and I was like, you know, I was like, he’s done hundreds and hundreds of scenes, and he might not even remember this one. I will. I’ll never forget that scene. But he treats it like every other scene. It’s, it’s, it’s another scene and everything’s new. And he talked we talked a little bit about because, you know, I mean, I do a lot of theater and and his wife was doing Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf while we were doing. Yes.


Louis Virtel Right.


Michael Urie Which I would be. And she was terrific. And so we talked about it and and I was like, have you ever done theater? You ever wanted to do theater? And he was like, No, that’s not for me. Because. Because he doesn’t like doing the same thing over and over again. And you really felt that doing a scene with him, everything was new. It was always a new problem. It wasn’t like, okay, we you know, this is how we do a scene like this. It was always a new scene. And I think that’s what’s kept him good all these years. And I think he’s better than ever.


Louis Virtel It’s nice to know that he has a whimsy about him. I just wouldn’t have guessed, frankly.


Michael Urie Yeah.


Louis Virtel Also, by the way, if there’s a biopic, I actually wouldn’t mind you doing your Harrison Ford impression as Harrison Ford. I wouldn’t mind it. Yeah.


Ira Madison III I don’t think you escape the world with that, with no whimsy after surviving. First of all, how many plane crashes has that man survived. Like Harrison Ford is indestructible at this point, I mean it’s so, I would also even say that too, like having so many Target fans, Louis, before, like he’s done everything like Blade Runner, Star Wars, Indiana Jones. I was like, What was like the one thing that you were like, I really want to talk to Harrison Ford about this movie when you met him and. And did you get to.


Michael Urie Yes, And I did get to. It was Working Girl.


Louis Virtel Of course. Of course. You said, yes. You may stay on Keep It. You may stay here.


Michael Urie I had just read the Mike Nichols biography that Mark Harris wrote. Fabulous book. And it’s there’s so much great juicy stuff in there. And he loved Harrison. And so I was you know, of course, I mean, I, I wanted to talk about all of it. I want to talk about Blade Runner and Indiana Jones and Star Wars, because those movies are all so, you know, I mean, I know I know every word of those movies, but but I also think he’s so good. And I mean, he’s like The Fugitive and all of those Tom Clancy books and and Working Girl. I mean, that was the movie, you know, that was one of the movies that made me gay, you know, And I got to tell them, like, this movie’s gay canon. Like, this is a movie that, like, you’re fired viewing for all of us. And he’s like, Really? Why? And so, like, really get into it and talk about Mike Nichols and and explain to him why that movie was. And I was like, it’s, you know, Melanie Griffith, it’s like it’s like every great, you know, gay female icon. This she’s like what we all you know, we we we we get these broken little beautiful birds and we repair them and then we send them out into the world. And she’s that and she’s just incredible. And and then there’s John Cusack. I mean, I feel like that movie kind of invented today with Joan Cusack. And certainly and I was like, and they’re all kind of like drag queens to Sigourney Weaver is kind of like an evil drag queen. And he’s like, Oh, no, that’s going to be. This night at the Fishbowl, you know, the scene where his his fishbowl office, you know, and he goes into his office, which is like a all glass. And he’s on the phone. He’s been up all night and he’s he’s he takes off his shirt and he’s like, he takes off his shirt and he like he like washes his armpits. He gives himself a horse bath right in the office. And then he’s on the phone and he looks and all of the secretaries are lined up watching him. He sees them and they applaud. And he kind of like, you know, he sort of gives them a battle. And in the in the 1980s, you know, I was like, you’re so hot in that movie. You’re so sweet in that movie. You’re what every every woman and man want from a man Is that guy a rich, handsome, sweet man. And and you’re it. So, like, that was the one that I was like, the most. I figured that that’s my end and I really love it. I mean, he is so wonderful and underrated in that movie. And. And it was Mike Nichols. I mean, you know, getting to talk to him about Mike Nichols. He made two movies with Mike Nichols. And hearing about that was like, you know, it’s just acting. Acting. Candy.


Louis Virtel Also, that’s an interesting movie because he’s sort of like fourth billed in it and it’s advanced in his career. Is this film after Raiders of the Lost Ark? It’s after Blade Runner, etc., Star Wars, obviously. So for him to take that role seems kind of surprising. But he is so good. And it also just I mean, we don’t have too many movies where it’s about women wearing trench coats and sneakers on the ferry. You know, it’s just something about that really sets us off, you know.


Michael Urie Where the opening of that in that Carly Simon song. Oh, it’s just so such a good movie.


Louis Virtel Oh, that song. Oh, Let the River Run One of the great wins.


Michael Urie Yeah. After my first I think I talked about that on my first day with them or maybe my second day with him. But after we’d been doing this scene for a little while, you know, they were moving the camera and I said something like, You know, you’re very good at this. I sort of like to five very good at this. And he goes, you know, it was just a pretty intense.


Louis Virtel Oh, fuck, yes. Oh, my God. I have tears in my.


Michael Urie Eyes that’s happening. So he’s really, really and he loves getting laughs. And it’s funny because I would occasionally see people making conversation with him and a go to for them was, What’s it like doing comedy? You know, it must be so fun to do comedy for you. And I always thought those people were being silly because that’s He is Han Solo. Han Solo, Totally. That’s a comedy. Indiana Jones is a comedy. And this guy, we we all have seen him be hilarious for our entire lives. Of course, he’s going to be good at comedy and of course, he’s going to be good at This.


Ira Madison III Witness is a comedy to me.


Louis Virtel Oh yeah. The Amish. Oh yeah. So something that I’ve always thought is interesting about you as you’re a Juilliard grad, and I always think about gay actors at Juilliard, where that must be. I mean, like everyone around you must be gay. It must feel like you you come up with gay colleagues in a way that I think is rare for like somebody going through a college experience. Do have lots of fond memories of that time.


Michael Urie Oh, yeah. I mean, yeah, we had gay teachers get gay upperclassmen and lots there was lots of making out. And, you know, so and everybody’s like, so, so cute and and in great shape. And so, I mean, I remember seeing bodies, you know, well-toned bodies for the first time and, and, and people playing and we could like, of course, do gay scenes, scenes from gay plays. And and then also watching how gay actors navigated playing not gay. And what what happens when you get into the real world and like, what does that mean for you? And, you know, I graduated and it’s almost 20 years now since I graduated. And it’s a bunch of people from my class who aren’t doing it anymore. But people from the time I was there who aren’t doing it anymore because, you know, in part because there was nothing for them right away. And I sometimes I look back and I think, gosh, those people now would be working all the time. But it’s like, well, if you don’t get your foot in the door right away, it’s it’s really complicated. But yeah, I mean, Lee Pace was two years ahead of me and was just as hot then as he is now and was good in school. And I remember thinking like he he would do these incredible masculine things, but he was also like this wonderful bridge to the second in his fourth year, I think, where. You know, Richard, the second is kind of the vain king. And I was like, Oh, my God, look at what you can do. Look, you can be fabulous in Shakespeare. And then. And then and then. So to watch his trajectory and watch the amazing things that he’s done. And also, you know, I mean, there’s other like, other amazing Oscar Isaac was there when I was there. Jessica Chastain was in my class like.


Louis Virtel I was just going to say Jessica Chastain. Right.


Michael Urie And all of these all the other actors that you might not know, like Francois Baptiste, who just did A Raisin in the Sun at the Public, or Jeff Beale, who is in my class, who’s just brilliant theater actor, who is always doing amazing things in New York. Yeah, there’s a lot of there’s a lot of great queer people to look up to. And in those years and I mean, my class was filled with queer people too, and we were all figuring it out, you know, sleeping with each other or sleeping with women, you know, like we were all Luke McFarland’s in my class, was in my class. And I remember, like, you know, I remember us figuring out things together. And we never we never we never did anything because I don’t go for muscles.


Louis Virtel It’s beneath you, really, it’s beneath you.


Michael Urie I loved him so much. And then we got to do that Christmas movie together. We got to be in single all the way. And we hadn’t worked together since Juilliard, and we hadn’t. But I mean, we were always very fond of each other, and we’d kept in touch over the years. But, you know, like getting back together with him and to do a Christmas was he’d done like 12 of and this one was his first gay one. It was my first Christmas movie and Netflix’s first gay Christmas movie and, and falling in love with each other on screen was just so like, it was like, you know, we were kids again. It was really cool.


Ira Madison III What was interesting to about Luke Macfarlane is that, you know, like, so you were both in the same class together and then you both went on to be in the ABC series that started the same year having brothers and sisters and then you in Ugly Betty, of course. What was that like having that? You know, like obviously you talk about, you know, like the lack of gay roles, especially then what was it like getting a role that was like gay Seems like it was tailor made to sort of like, be you and put you on the map?


Michael Urie Yeah. Getting that role and like. I was only supposed to be in the pilot of Ugly Betty. And the truth is, Vanessa Williams is the reason that I got to stay because she loved me. I played her assistant and she was into what I was doing. And so she kept including me in things during the pilot that she didn’t have to do, you know, like she could have. I can think of a lot of divas who would have been like, Get that queen away from me. This is my shot. But, you know, like the scrutiny closer, she would be like, what are you doing? I want to do that. So let’s put that together. Brilliant, brilliant and extremely generous. And so that. So then by the end of the pilot shoot, they were like, Let’s put that guy in the in the picture with all the cast. And then I was in the show and. And so in a lot of ways, there was very little there was very little to the character originally. Once they cast me, they were able to really. So, like, it was kind of tailor made for me because there wasn’t a lot planned for it for him. And I and I remember when when I auditioned for Ugly Betty, the you know. I don’t know what they look like now because I don’t see breakdowns so much anymore. But I used to get all the breakdowns of the casting breakdowns. And from that, you know, for TV pilots, they have to put everything in there. And so like you read a description of a character and by the you know, there’s so many things they’re looking for, like the most specific thing. That’s why the same actors get cast all the time in pilots is because, you know, they fit all the things that you need in a TV character. And but and invariably I would read a breakdown of a character. And at some point before I got to the end, I was out like, I would be like, Well, no, I’m not that it would be like this. I know, I know that I’m that and I’m that. And he’s got brown hair and he’s got his life and he’s he’s 511 and he’s straight. Okay, well, I’m not going to get that part. You know, I would always.


Louis Virtel Okay.


Michael Urie And the breakdown for Mark on Ugly Betty was simply bitchy gay assistant. That was it. Like all it said, I was like, well, I’m that I can definitely do that. So so I think the fact that it was that they had so little in mind all they wanted, all they needed was a bitchy gay guy. They were able to like, flush it out with me in their heads. That’s so great. It’s such a luxury. They did that on shrinking, too. They really like they really used the actors. They had to finish out the characters. And I think that’s that’s a really cool thing about TV that it becomes so organic and that’s why I like the TV shows always get better as they go on or usually get better as they go on. I guess sometimes I think they go down. But but yeah, doing Ugly Betty at the same time as Brothers and Sisters was such a trip because we were we were only a few years out of school and so and we had both just moved to L.A. so we actually were hanging out a lot then. And it was then and it was like back then nobody was out. So here we were playing queer characters. I think Luke came out. Maybe we came out around the same time or he came up before me. I can’t remember. But like, it was like Ellen was out, you know, Rupert Everett was out. And then Neil Patrick Harris kind of got outed around that time. And and like, it was it was like not a thing. I mean, I was being I was being told, you can do this one, but no more, you know, like, you can’t do any more gay characters. And, um, you know, and it was like, you can be out if you want, but we’d better and probably we had better not to talk about it. And, and I did end up like coming out publicly. I mean, everybody knew, but nobody was surprised. But I came out publicly between seasons and two and three maybe it just was like it got to a point. I was like, This is so stupid. The reason I kept like, like the reasoning kept being, you know, you can’t do this. You can’t come out because then you’ll be pigeonholed as gay and you can do this one gay character, but no more. And I was like, That’s so that’s so dumb. And I think I was cast in a play, this great play called The Temperamental, and it was like, couldn’t have been more different than Ugly Betty. And but it was a gay guy and he was also in fashion. And I was like, well, this is proof that that that I’m not going to you know, that I don’t have to be pigeonholed. There’s another role that like has some of the same attributes, and it’s totally different. It’s a different medium, but it’s a different style and it’s like all these different genre and it’s like it’s just it’s, it’s stupid. I’m not going to the truth is like looking back, I’m quite sure if I had said no, I mean, obviously if I said no to gay roles after Ugly Betty, I wouldn’t be on this podcast doing anything. I mean, you know, you wouldn’t even know who I was.


Louis Virtel Speaking of great gay roles that we must talk about your performance in buyer and seller, which if people haven’t seen it, it’s an imagining of what goes on in the mall. Barbra Streisand has under her house that she has fashioned herself to make it look like, you know, a shopping area she would have grown up around, for example. And anyway, in this play, a one person play, your character is hired to work down there. And every once in a while, like once in a great while, Barbara comes downstairs to say hi and eventually a relationship is forged. When I saw this and I saw it at the Taper, I believe in LA. Yeah, one of the most fabulous stage performances I’ve ever seen. The casting, I mean, was so dynamite. But also I just want to talk about like when you when I watched you in that performance, it’s just the rare thing of it feels like he had to have written it for you, but he didn’t. And I wonder how often you get that feeling of reading something and thinking, this was actually for me, Michael Urie.


Michael Urie Oh, wow. That’s a great question. Because what’s crazy is we Jonathan us who wrote it and I had been had been we met kind of I think we knew, too, that we really got to know each other doing this Sitcom partners from the Will and Grace guys.


Louis Virtel Oh yes, go ahead.


Michael Urie And and it was while we were doing that that he sent me the script and he was like, this is I wrote this for Jesse Tyler Ferguson, but I think you could be good at it. Okay, fine. I’ll read it.


Louis Virtel And you know, I’ll take that. Yeah.


Michael Urie And I read it and I was like, well, this is this is really funny. This is really interesting. And and then partners got canceled and Modern Family didn’t. And so suddenly, like, we were if I was available, John was available and the Rattlesnake theater had something fall out and they were available. So this is like weeks after we finished partners, suddenly there’s an opportunity to do the play. So John was like, Let me just make sure Jesse’s okay with this and maybe we can do this play off off Broadway. And Jesse was very graciously said, Yeah, go for it, make the play. And and so that it was real. And I was I was on a flight. I can’t remember why, but I was on a flight and I was like, okay, I have to commit or not. And I, I don’t usually do this. I don’t oh, I don’t always do this. But I was I was just like, this is a huge undertaking. And, you know, like it would take up, you know, like I’m coming off of a TV show. I could either try to get back on another TV show or just like, say, screw that, I’m going to do this play off off Broadway. That may or may not be any good. And I and we were on a flight and I said, Hey, Ryan, to my partner, Hey, Ryan, we just look at this and tell me if I should do it. And he read like half a page and said, Yeah, you have to do that. And so like, immediately he was like, This is absolutely this is absolutely you and this is hilarious and it’s completely original and you got to do it. And so thank you for saying it seems like it was written for me because it wasn’t, as you know, and, and it was and even though it was tailored to me, if it was, it was, you know, I had to it was something I had to interpret. And I didn’t really know much about Barbra Streisand at the time. I know everything now, but I didn’t know a lot about her. And I like John’s writing. I knew John’s plays. I knew some of. John’s place. I really like John’s writing and he did go in there and like tinker things for me. But but that was like just sort of this masterpiece is so good. It’s such a good piece of writing. And and I wanted to do it. I wanted to do justice. So we worked so hard and and I did it for so long. I did like 600 performances of it or something. And I love it. I’m so, I’m so I’m so proud of it and grateful to I think it was like it also like, you know, I had done theater before that. I had gotten to do a bunch of cool theater before that, but it kind of I think it gave it made people think, I don’t know, there was something about it that after I did that, it was that there was something like reliable about it. Like like knowing that I did that play and did it for such a long time made people think, Oh, well, we can rely on him. Not just like he’s working. You know, it could be like in TV and film. You got to be in the right place at the right time and perfect for the role. And in theater, there’s more of like a journeyman quality to the work. And I think that that play more than anything, gave me credibility in the theater, which I’m really grateful for.


Louis Virtel Gave you that Judith Light, as we call it. Yes. Shining down on you. Yeah.


Ira Madison III That’s that’s more one person show credits than Anna Deavere Smith. Okay. I mean.


Louis Virtel That’s right.


Ira Madison III Her shows don’t last that long.


Louis Virtel Pulitzer Prize money.


Ira Madison III Yes.


Ira Madison III Yeah. I mean, also, speaking of theater, I was like, I also got to see you opposite a friend of mine, Deveare Rogers in Chicken and Biscuits and that play, I mean, you were a highlight of that show. I mean, I think you knew that, like the audience was cracking up at you at that show, which is which is a feat because like you were on stage with like Norm Louis.


Michael Urie Yeah. And Cleo King and Devearre.


Ira Madison III Yeah, yeah, like, I like everybody on that show was fucking funny and like an icon.


Michael Urie So and then some amazing newcomers like Anya Mizell, who I did, who played the young the young girl that, you know, I mean, she’s a genius. And I had a big scene with her in the second half of the play, and that was thrilling doing that scene with her where people would just laugh and we would just have to wait because it was so funny. I love that place so much as the second most produced play in America this year, after Eagle.


Ira Madison III Wow.


Michael Urie Yeah.


Ira Madison III Okay.


Louis Virtel That’s fucking crazy.


Michael Urie I know that’s crazy. And it’s a it’s not a small cast. It’s, you know, it’s a pretty big cast, you know, for these tight, these lean times. And in theater finance, that was a real it was really cool to do that play. It was we had the youngest the the youngest director, I think in Broadway history or the youngest black director in Broadway history. I can’t remember in Jalen Livingston, who was totally brilliant. And then we had like 30 Broadway debuts between cast and crew. It was and the audiences were phenomenal. We we ended up getting cut short because of COVID, which sucked. But but the fact that it’s the second most produced play in America to me feels like the hit. And that’s what makes it a hit. And and it’s great. And it’s being done all over the place and and and. Deavere, how do you know Deavere? He’s so brilliant.


Ira Madison III I met Deavere out in LA, though other friends and so like I saw the last. I think the last time I saw Deavere was when we had a party at a friend’s house for to listen to all of Renaissance.


Michael Urie Oh, that’s a hard party.


Ira Madison III Yeah.  Adore Deavere. Yeah. And like, you two were so great on stage together. So. Yeah.


Louis Virtel Before we let you go, one last question, which is so you’ve talked about doing all this theater. Is there one classic role in theater you’ve not gotten to play that we wouldn’t maybe intuitively connect you with, but you’d still love to play in some fashion sometime in the future?


Michael Urie Well, yeah. I mean, there’s, you know, like, there’s like Tom and The Glass Menagerie, which I guess isn’t a stretch.


Louis Virtel I can see who exactly in that role. I can see it. Yes.


Michael Urie Thank you. I would really like to do that someday. I actually auditioned for it once when Sally Field was doing it and not not when she did it on Broadway, but she did it once before. And that was very I didn’t get it, but it was very exciting to like, imagine her and like, you know, work with a director thinking about her, but, you know, like a role that I’d like to play that’s like a stretch that I might have to fight for, you know, like I would say, like Prince Hal and Henry.


Louis Virtel Okay. All right.


Michael Urie Yeah. Like, like one of those fire, fiery, heroic kind of roles I got to play Hamlet. Which is pretty awesome. But that’s that’s you know, and that makes more sense, I think, than than like a Prince Hal or a or, you know, playing like Macbeth. That would be really fun to talk about the character, not the play, because I know it’s not good to say the play.


Louis Virtel That.


Michael Urie In the Scottish play I love doing. So I think, you know, playing one of those like, you know, guys who like fights and kills people and screams and yells. And I’d really like to to do something like that. Yeah. There’s also like, you know, there’s a part of me that would really like to play one of those super macho guys in a, in a, in an Arthur Miller play. Like, like a View from the Bridge or, you know, one of those. Or the Crucible just like this. I feel like I’ve got that in me. I mean, nobody nobody like, you know, nobody nobody lets me do stuff like that. But I would like to I feel like there’s there’s something to that. And I will say the thing that I always wanted to do that I didn’t think I would ever get to do, and that was I was sort of surprised by when I when we did that Christmas movie was playing the leading man in a rom com, because that was like when I first got into the business. That’s what I really wanted, was to be like, you know, Tom Hanks and or like Billy Crystal and When Harry Met Sally, that’s what I wanted to do. And then very quickly I was like, Oh, well, I can’t do that because I’m queer. And, and I and it wasn’t until we I really, like, let it go like, like put it out of my mind and changed gears. And it was it was wasn’t until we were listening really, even until I saw the movie that I was like, I did it. Wait a minute, I did it. I got to play. I got to play the guy with the problem and the guy who falls in love. I got to play all those fun love scenes. That was cool. So like, maybe maybe the the you know, the Prince Hal will come my way in a in a way that I don’t even realize it.


Louis Virtel Or maybe you will get to star and Working Queer. Come on. Do I have to write it myself?


Michael Urie That’s good.


Louis Virtel Yeah. Sal’s right in the room. Please. Come on.


Michael Urie That’s so good.


Ira Madison III I’d watch it. Congrats, Louis. That’s a good


Louis Virtel You don’t seem happy about that. I’m thrilled. Yes.


Ira Madison III Never happy when you make a good pun. That’s my job here.


Louis Virtel Right? Right.


Ira Madison III No, um, I would love to see you in any of those. I mean, it feels weird to say that Henry the fourth is underrated because what Shakespeare play is. But I really do love that play. And I feel like that’s that’s one that we did a lot in school and that no one ever feels like doing it anymore. After that. You don’t see productions of February the fourth that much.


Michael Urie So no, because it’s so long, it’s because it’s two parts. You kind of have to do both or it’s not worth it. And yeah, you know, like it’s, it’s but it’s a cool play. It’s great funny. It’s it’s exciting. It’s so amazing.


Louis Virtel There’s a real convergence of Shakespeare and homosexuality that is called Ian McKellen. And I continue to be grateful we have that, you know, that genius gravitas, effete thing that he brought. You know, it even like there’s some straight actors who fall into that too, like Jeremy Irons, you know, there’s like a few like, you know, that entire universe you belong in. So Ray Fiennes. Like, Ray Fiennes is exactly it. Everybody watch Coriolanus.


Michael Urie Yeah, that’s another role I would I would love to play. But I also, you know, I think about when I was in school, Lee Pace, book, bookend, Let’s bookend Lee Pace, shall we. Let’s do that actually.


Louis Virtel I’m game.


Michael Urie But seeing him play Richard, the second was like, Oh my God, I could do this. I can, I can. You know, this is this is what this is this is so exciting. And there’s so much there. He’s he’s he’s to do a Shakespeare play again. He’s so good.


Ira Madison III That just reminded me as we wrap up Pushing Daisies 27 was literally was just like a a Juilliard ABC series Pipeline in the mid 2000s


Michael Urie I mean absolutely I mean I remember we would all be at the same like parties and we would all be like kind of eyeing each other, like, did they know?


Louis Virtel Oh, wow.


Louis Virtel Yeah, we should do an audit on that. That’s very crazy.


Louis Virtel Yeah.


Ira Madison III Who’s that ABC casting director at the time? What did they know about Juilliard?


Michael Urie Right.


Louis Virtel And also, like, that’s when. Isn’t that when like dirty Sexy money is happening? There’s a lot of crazy stuff going on in that season. Anyway, that’s what our big book, our Tell All will be about.


Michael Urie Now, I was thinking the wake up was kind of in the wake of Desperate Housewives and everything was less How do we do more things like that? And the whimsy, you know, I think Ugly Betty was shortly after Desert Housewives and Pushing Daisies with the very next year and and Dirty Sexy Money was maybe that year or the next year. And and then Glee was shortly after that. It was like this whimsy happening on network that was that was great. I mean, there were all the shows were all really fun, colorful and sexy.


Ira Madison III Yeah. Well. Thank you for being here, Michael


Louis Virtel God.


Ira Madison III We adore you.


Louis Virtel You were such a fabulous interview, too. I’m so glad you came on so much.


Michael Urie I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks, so thank you for having me. And first know it’s about me ahead of time.


Louis Virtel And someone put a gay microchip in us long ago. We we’ve had you mainline them to our skulls for decades now.


Ira Madison III We will be right back with Keep It. And we are back with our favorite segment of the episode. It’s Keep It, Louis. What’s your Keep It?


Louis Virtel My Keep It is too a sentiment I see all over the place here. All over the place. But usually on Twitter, which is when people say nobody asked for this in regards to a movie or a TV show recently regarding the real friends of WeHo. Fagot, If we only made a movie every time you fucking wanted it, movies would suck. I can go to a movie right now and watch 100 movies that are there because specifically fans are obsessed with asking for it and they’re all mid. They are, you know, it’s like it’s not you know, I’m talking about the comic book universe, but the endless sequels, reboots of things that’s all wrapped up in this conversation. That’s all we think you are asking for it. And so we’re going to give you this thing to, I guess, flatter you, you know, to make you think you’re the creator of all of this. I think all of the best TV, all of the best movies are things I never would have guessed. I wanted to see if you had told me. What about a television drama about a 1960s ad man adjusting to the changing times and, you know, having a wife who’s blond and aloof? I wouldn’t think that would be one of my favorite TV shows of all time. Nonetheless, it is mad then. I think people need to put more faith in the creativity of artists, the people who are actually inventing the stuff that turns into classics, you know, and stop flattering themselves so much into thinking they could have done it themselves, which is, I think, at the heart of the statement.


Ira Madison III Right. And I mean, to quote Toni Morrison, please do if there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must write it. You know, that entire sentiment is artists are creating things that are in their weird brains, and then they put it out there and then that becomes stuff that we want to consume, you know? I mean, obviously this is coming from the sentiment of friends. Are we out with fucking boring as hell.


Louis Virtel Yeah, that’s the criticism. It’s boring. Yeah.


Ira Madison III Yes. Yeah. But you can say that without having to say the other thing. And honestly, I’ve sat there boring reality shows before and I could even I can’t even try and hate watch something like this. But man, the thing that they did that really annoyed the shit out of me with this series is they open it with confessionals about them responding to the backlash to the show and talking about the fact that they’re making a reality TV show is far too early to be breaking the fourth wall in a premiere.


Louis Virtel Yeah, we have no grounds under which to understand even their friendships with each other, which we are immediately calling into question because Brad says something like, They told me not to do this with Todrick and I like, but we are on this TV show with him now. Aren’t you the real friends of WeHo? I’m reading the title Real Friends. I’m reading the title.


Ira Madison III I would say the actual real interesting part of the series that could have been a fun hook, to be honest, is and then it wouldn’t be called fucking real Friends of WeHo. But it’s Curtis, the black actor who’s come who’s just recently come out and dealing with coming out to his parents and talking with another black man about it. Dorian He opens his first scene, as were Issa Rae. And you know, she talks about, you know, like casting him with him, being out and etc.. And I think that, like, if you’d created an interesting show about this gay man in L.A. building a gay friend group, now that he’s come out, that is all like fake conceit you need for a show like this, you know?


Louis Virtel But now, does this mean you didn’t watch the Colton Underwood show?


Ira Madison III I did not.


Louis Virtel Because we all learned a lot from it. I don’t remember what we learned. But, you know, it’s right here in my back pocket.


Ira Madison III You know what? He had Issa Rae as his gay guide and Colton had Gus Kenworthy.


Louis Virtel Right. Draw your own conclusions. Ira, what is your Keep It this week?


Ira Madison III My Keep It this week goes to the perennially horny Tucker Carlson.


Louis Virtel He sure is.


Ira Madison III That man, that gingerbread cookie.


Louis Virtel Is.


Ira Madison III Always angry and always angry about something that, like, seems to have gotten his small dick hard.


Louis Virtel Right.


Ira Madison III It is. This time he’s angry that, like the M&Ms were basically rebranded and we were given these these feminine M&Ms you know he’s feminism.


Louis Virtel Yeah sure.


Ira Madison III He I feel like he’s ranted about the M&M’s before like why wasn’t he angry at the green M&M being dissatisfied and given are like sneakers.


Louis Virtel I want to be clear that Tucker Carlson is mad about the shoes that M&M’s where and also how they lean seductively on one hip like he’s mad at displays of femininity or masculinity and. Certain M&M’s deserved certain statures and certain stances, and I can’t believe we even paid attention this long. He’s just one of those names that comes up on the trending list on Twitter. You know, the ones like Piers Morgan used to be Ann Colter. And it’s you see it and you’re like, up. Someone needs to unplug Twitter, breathe into it, plug it back in, because this is some bullshit we do not care about.


Ira Madison III Aside from the green M&M swapping on her go go boots, you know, the brown M&M short in the height of her heels. It was really just to make the M&M feel more inclusive, which I found funny in the first place because I don’t think Gen Z is looking toward M&M’s to affirm their gender identities.


Louis Virtel They’re not going to befriend M&M’s.


Ira Madison III Yeah, right now. But still, to be that fucking mad about an M&M is so weird and it truly is just him.


Louis Virtel Right?


Ira Madison III It’s just him. It’s just the way that he drives these conversations by one rant is psychotic to me and the way that the company decided to roll back on their M&M plan and make Maya Rudolph the new face of M&M just because Tucker Carlson is the most prominent critic of the less sexy, M&M is so asinine.


Louis Virtel Meanwhile, the real conversation is are tropical Skittles racist? I want to know what everybody thinks. If I see a Skittle playing a marimba, did he earn that? I don’t know.


Ira Madison III I also want to shout out that he caught the purple M&M plus size and obese. And


Louis Virtel Help me God. Help me God.


Ira Madison III Let me tell you something. Have you not heard of a peanut M&M?


Louis Virtel They’ve been here. The packaging is yellow. Brendan Fraser, please weigh in.


Ira Madison III And how is an M&M plus size? That is, that is.


Louis Virtel I’m in pain.


Ira Madison III It’s a weird offshoot of this other thing that Tucker Carlson is is famous for. And other conservatives. It’s like they they also always get mad at when you see larger bodies in workout gear. And it’s this weird catch 22. It’s always fat. People should work out more so that they can look hot and we’d be attracted to them, but also don’t sell workout gear to fat people so that they can do what we want them to do. You know, it’s you see a fat person in a Nike ad and it’s Nike is woke.


Louis Virtel I have been inhabited by the spirit of him and that means I am driving. I can’t continue this conversation. I am in shock that it’s occurring. You did. I appreciate where you’re coming from. And now we must stop.


Ira Madison III Yeah. You know, I’m sure there’s some video out there of him melting down M&M’s and having them poured on his chest like the candle in the Living La Vida Loca video. And I’m so sorry that I put that image into our listeners hands today.


Louis Virtel By the way, the Livin La Vida Loca video. Very sexy for the Time 1999. Middle the Day. Jesus Christ. We were on fire.


Ira Madison III Very Ricky Martin in that video did things to me. Okay. Do you want to talk about Paul Mescal? Let’s talk about Ricky Martin.


Louis Virtel Wow. She banged. You know what I’m saying?


Ira Madison III Yeah. All right, well, that’s our episode this week. Thank you to Michael Urie for joining us and truly letting us spend most of his interview fawning over Harrison Ford.


Louis Virtel Thank you so much. I can’t ask for anything more.


Ira Madison III And we will be back with more Keep It next week. Keep It is a Crooked Media production. Our senior producer is Kendra James. Our producer is Chris Lord and our associate producer is Malcolm Whitfield. Our executive producers are Ira Madison, the third, that’s me, and Louis Virtel. This episode was recorded and mixed by Evan Sutton. Thank you to our digital team, Matt DeGroot, Nar Melkonian and Delon Villanueva for production support every week. And as always, Keep It is filmed in front of a live studio audience.