Thursday, December 02, 2010

Happy Birthday Dan Butler

How apt is it that Dan Butler once appeared in Terrence McNally's 1989 play The Lisbon Traviata? While he may be more famous for portraying Bob 'Bulldog' Briscoe for eleven seasons on Frasier, in terms of my blog (which, let's face it, is about all that matters, at least to me), his performance in a play about a person with whom he shares a birthday is much spookier...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketBorn on this day in 1954, in 1973 Butler got himself the Hell out of Indiana but fast, on an Irene Ryan Scholarship; first in San Francisco (where he lived at the time of the first Tales of the City books, and in which miniseries he would later appear as A-gay Edward Bass Matheson - another spooky coincidence) then in New York, he began to make a name for himself in theatre, then movies, and finally TV where, in 1993, he landed the kind of plum role that actors dream of - a recurring featured character who gets funnier lines than the stars, and whose life in syndication is lucrative beyond anyone's wildest dreams.

The genius of the show Frasier (and by extension, the character of Bulldog) was in the way it toyed with audience expectations regarding male sexuality; this was just one of the ways in which the show functioned as high farce. Given that Bulldog is the straightest guy on the show, the fact that he's played by a gay man only serves to illustrate the utter irrelevance of gay male stereotypes.

When, recently, David Hyde Pierce came out the world, seemingly en masse, replied: 'You mean you weren't already?' But when Butler came out publicly after the first season of Frasier it sent ripples of excitement down my... Well, never mind about that. The point is, it was almost as shocking as the revelation that the subject was already old news; Butler has never been in the closet, and successfully mined the subject of his sexuality for a one-man show, entitled The Only Thing Worse You Could Have Told Me... which he performed from 1994 through 1995 in LA, off-Broadway, as well as on tour.
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3 comments:

Y | O | Y said...

I had the pleasure of seeing his one-man show off-Broadway and it was quite good. Happy Birthday, Dan!

Anonymous said...

Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
I've been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

Thumbs up, and keep it going!

Cheers
Christian, iwspo.net

Anonymous said...

Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
I've been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

Thumbs up, and keep it going!

Cheers
Christian, iwspo.net