Mom has turned out to be the toughest get so far for fledging moviemaker Evan Kail's new YouTube interview show, "In The Closet."
Retired Edina Makeup Queen Carroll Britton's interview with her only child will seem wildly inappropriate to viewers: tinyurl.com/oxso29z. Understand that this is just this family's weird sense of humor. On one hand I am shocked Kail had the courage to show this to the world. On the other hand these videos are as raw, edgy and honest as Kail's 24/7. I anticipate his ease before the camera will take him to a stand-up stage, although the U grad whose degree is in Japanese studies is so talented the possibilities are limitless.
"In The Closet" posts (youtube.com/evankail) new interviews most Mondays by Kail, whose 2014 declaration that he's gay floored his parents — especially his papa, Harold. Interviews are conducted in a cramped closet Kail constructed at his non-air-conditioned residence. Kail honed his interview style — peppered with X-rated jokes — while working as a full-time ride-share driver: "Every ride was like an interview, so I got really good at steering conversation, no pun intended, and popping questions."
Interviews have featured Kail's cadre of friends, many of whom are creative types, including adorable Harry Potter look-alike Tomas Aksamit, CEO of Future Frame Productions. "I'm trying to engage in educational, informative and constructive discussions," Kail said. "Case in point: I had Chris Massoglia, a highly devout Christian actor, talk about his friendship with me, the polar opposite, a gay, liberal atheist, and how polarizing viewpoints need to learn to come together. I also had Shawn Dunbar, a local actor/musician, on to talk about our [respective] experiences with police brutality." [I'd flag this one for Police Chief Janeé Harteau, because Dunbar's claims are disturbing.] Kail even sat down Donald Trump's hair for a harsh chat.
Britton falls in the category of interview subjects who are pivotal adults in Kail's life.
That includes me, a figure in his life since before he was able to climb out of the crib. Kail wanted me to talk about what a spoiled brat he was, stories he's enjoyed over our lunches. I never would have predicted he'd grow into someone lovable. Until this interview — tinyurl.com/ohx5bc4 — I did not know Little Evan was terrified that "Big Nasty C.J." was going to wallop him. He also wanted to discuss my divorce, about which Kail had a strong opinion (a surprise to me) based on the fact, I suspect, that early on my ex didn't like his parents, which never bothered me.
While Kail's conversation with his mom is wildly irreverent, the interview is also touching, as they discuss Britton's gay friends who died before medical science got a better handle on treating HIV and AIDS. Britton, who had avoided the interview masterfully, didn't know the concept beforehand.
Ahead of her most recent trip to the Twin Cities, Kail told his mom to " 'Bring your makeup' and she goes, Why? Whose makeup will I be doing? I just said, 'Oh, you'll see.' " Kail told me, "I'm not telling her 'mine' until she is in the closet. That's not my scene in any way shape or form but I still think it's funny. It's a big part of the gay movement, so I'm going to embrace it and have my mom do me in drag."
Britton's applied plenty of makeup to drag queens in her 32-year career, but I thought she might balk at making up her son. "On the surface she said it was fine [me being gay]," Kail told me. "I think she was upset after the fact." I know she was. Britton had big MOG dreams about getting in good with a daughter-in-law as a result of her expertise with weddings. I think she's OK about the death of those dreams. With a hand over his heart, Kail moved the interview into the drag phase by saying, "Mother, I am ugly. Very ugly. Make me beautiful."
With trepidation in her voice, Britton asked. "Have you ever done this before?" But then she was all in: "This could be the start of something wonderful. The daughter I never had. All right!"
During the reveal, Kail, said "That actually doesn't look terrible. Papa said I was going to be an ugly woman."
"No," said Britton.
I'm with papa on this one. The boy is no Caitlyn Jenner.
C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on Fox 9's "Jason Show." E-mailers, please state a subject; "Hello" does not count. Attachments are not opened.