Hal Sparks: “Queer As Folk”

By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
December 17, 2000

Q. Is your new series “Queer as Folk” the gay version of “Sex and the City” and — if so — are you the Sarah Jessica Parker character, only with better hair?
A. That’s not a bad comparison. I narrate the show and it’s a very sexually oriented series. And I do start the show saying, “It’s all about sex.” But it’s also very relationship driven. We deal with a lot of other issues besides sex. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we’re not just a gay show. I think it’d be funny if we were a gay version of the “Sopranos.” We bring a guy in who thinks he’s going to get a makeover and instead, we whack him!

Q. Hal, are you queer as folk?
A. No, I’m straight.

Q. Do you find it ironic that the series is based on a show that hails from England, since Americans tend to view most British men as sort of fey anyhow?
A. I guess. I think that view is mostly because [English men] can read and know how to tie a bow tie. They do like to wear the occasional dress.

Q. Who’s a better kisser — men or women?
A. Well, I’ve only kissed men on TV and kissing on camera is different from kissing in a romantic situation. I can empathize with women now, though, because kissing a guy can hurt! There’s all that stubble to deal with. I remember kissing one girl who would open her mouth like she was at the dentist’s, and then she’d make circles with her tongue like she was trimming hedges. What does this have to do with feeling good? I was like, “What the hell happened to you?” From a guy-girl point of view, I can’t really explain it. Most of my concentration when I’m kissing a guy is making it look right. But I’m sure that what I go through is the same for a gay male actor who has to kiss a female actress. I think focus and literally communicating with your tongue are the main things.

Q. Tongue?
A. Yes, we’re out of the seventh grade now. It’s OK. It’s all about connecting with the other person, whomever he or she may be. You never kiss the same way with a different person.

Q. Are you totally naked in the love scenes you shoot?
A. Well we do wear modesty patches during the love scenes. It’s scratchy and uncomfortable, but it’s a matter of common decency. I know that Sharon Stone didn’t wear one [in “Basic Instinct”], but the female body just looks nicer than ours. There are sections of a man’s body that are better felt than seen.

Q. Do women find you more attractive now as an actor than when you were working as a stand-up comic?
A. Every girl says she likes a guy with a sense of humor. But what she really means is she wants a cute guy who isn’t too dull.

Q. What’s your role in the film “Dude, Where’s My Car?”
A. I play a cult leader who wears a bubble wrap jump suit. It’s a teen comedy and it’s surreal and silly. It’s a modern piece that’s a depiction of youth in a car-less society. Two stoners get so wasted one night and realize that their car is gone and they have to figure out where it is.

Q. Did your parents cry when you moved to Los Angeles from Winnetka right after graduating from New Trier High School?
A. Yes. I don’t think they’ve stopped, actually.

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