Windy City Times Interviews Bruce Vilanch

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Windy City Times
REELING FILM FESTIVAL ‘Oy Vey!’: It’s Bruce Vilanch
by Jerry Nunn

Bruce Vilanch is no longer just a Hollywood Square. Whether he’s writing for the Academy Awards or losing weight on Celebrity Fit Club, this comedic man behind the scenes continues to stand out. With his new movie Oy Vey! My Son is Gay! at Reeling it was time for Nunn on One to Get Bruce!

Windy City Times: Hi, Bruce. I met you a few years ago at the Grabby Awards in Chicago.

Bruce Vilanch: Oh, wow. I must have been chemically altered. That’s what you do at the Grabby Awards.

WCT: You were a little grabby with me at the time.

BRUCE VILANCH: Well, if not there, where?

WCT: What have you been up to?

BRUCE VILANCH: I was in Houston, Dallas and Orland performing my one-man extravaganza. It was fun but it was hot in Houston and freezing every place else. In Florida I froze. You don’t realize how un-fun a place can be until you are in Florida and it’s cold. We were all looking at each other and going, “Why? Why does this place exist?”

WCT: You and me actually have a lot in common. We are both gay, adopted, studied theater in college and worked in journalism.

BRUCE VILANCH: And you are a size queen?

WCT: At times…

BRUCE VILANCH: I know exactly what those times are.

WCT: Did being Jewish and gay attract you to the Oy Vey project?

BRUCE VILANCH: [ Laughs ] Our director—the crazy Russian, Evengy—had been pursuing me to do a rewrite on it. Which I couldn’t do but I did throw some jokes into it. He finally asked me to be in it. He had been so dogged in getting this movie made that he made it impossible to say no. It ‘s a very sweet 1950’s retro kind of comedy. If they had been doing sitcoms in the fifties this would have been it. It has a warm family, my big fat gay wedding feeling to it. That was what was fun about it. The cast is amazing, a lot of them Jews and some of them not gay like Lainie Kazan.

WCT: I spoke with the director, Evengy Afineesky, today.

BRUCE VILANCH: I hope you understood him. He’s not the easiest. I kept saying, “Call the embassy; we need a translator!”

WCT: He is very intense. You have another gay-themed movie coming out call Tru Loved.

BRUCE VILANCH: It is a very sweet comedy where I play a single gay dad of a straight kid, actually. They are both really sweet family movies. They will not advance the radical fairy agenda. I mean strong armed activists won’t be thrill with them because they are the lighter side of the whole experience. Tru Loved is actually how The Bullying Project got started and the gay-straight student alliances in high schools across the country. Oy Vey is about how the older generation has to accept that not only people are gay but that they want to get married and have children. It’s like a triple whammy that’s being unleashed on these people.

WCT: I just saw Oy Vey today, and loved it.

BRUCE VILANCH: Well, then you know.

WCT: When are you coming back to Chicago?

BRUCE VILANCH: I don’t know. I thought I might come in town for the premiere at the Music Box but I don’t know if I have that date clear. I actually might be doing something there the first week in November. I may be working on something that is shooting in Chicago.

WCT: Wonderful. I just interviewed Lily Tomlin, and she mentioned you.

BRUCE VILANCH: Yes, well we just did her cover story for The Advocate. I interviewed her. I did what you are doing. She is turning 70 this year and playing Vegas for the first time.

WCT: And your friend Bette Midler is playing Vegas, also.

BRUCE VILANCH: I just talked to her and she is in Vegas as we speak. I worked on the show with her. She will be there at least until February off and on. Then we will see if she will continue because it will actually have been two years, which is hard to believe.

WCT: I saw you in Hairspray in Chicago. What a great job you did with that role.

BRUCE VILANCH: Thanks. I try to stay busy. A moving target is harder to hit.

WCT: What’s your favorite T-shirt saying?

BRUCE VILANCH: My all time favorite is “Pardon me but you are standing on my penis.” I have a personal favorite that says nothing but it’s Wilma Flinstone and she’s in full bondage drag and spanking Betty Rubble who she has over her knee. I just think its Wilma and Betty when the boys are out. The secret life of cartoon characters…

Oy Vey! My Son is Gay! closes the Reeling Film Festival Sunday, Nov. 15, at 7:30 p.m. at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport. Visit for more details.

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