Cole Escola is on the brink of becoming a household name—at least in households with more than one homosexual occupant. The 31-year-old actor, comic, and singer has been haunting cabaret and theater stages for years, but he's recently found a home on TV as well, both on At Home with Amy Sedaris and the dearly departed Difficult People. He describes his solo show Help! I'm Stuck! as "me onstage with wigs and costumes," adding: "It's just stupid. That's the most important thing. It's stupid."
What do you prefer—theater or television?
My preference is always to get naked and put wigs on in front of people.
I guess there aren't many channels you can do that on.
Yeah, no networks have reached out.
My editor wants me to talk to you about the state of the world. Do you think Lindsey Graham is gay?
Do I think that Lindsey Graham is gay? Yes.
Do you think that the bad things he does are related to being a closet case?
I mean, when I was watching him during the Kavanaugh hearings, it looked to me like he was putting on a show so that he could be the hero of the jocks, you know? He just wants to please all the cool guys. He wants to be in. But there are equally despicable out gay people, like what's his name... Milo. Coming out is not a cure-all for being a bad person.
Were you out in high school?
Not until I moved in my junior year to a bigger school in a bigger town. I came out there, when I was 17.
Was that in rural Oregon?
I'm from a town called Clatskanie [Oregon], which has maybe like 1,600 people. It was a paper-mill town. And then I moved to a slightly larger town: Longview, Washington.
Oh, yes, Longview. Has that nice paper-mill smell.
Yes. That delicious smell. But no one cared. They called me "fag" more before I came out. And then once I came out, they would be like, "Fag," and I would be like, "Yeah?"
Were you always confident that you would be successful?
No. I thought that I would be miserable forever. I had big dreams, but I was told that they were not realistic because we were so poor. I lived the first part of my life in a trailer, and then when my mom and my brother and I left my dad, we lived in government housing. I believed I couldn't afford to have a great life.
Do you ever hear from people you went to high school with who are like, "Holy shit, I saw you on TV"?
Yeah, I've heard from a couple people. It's been very sweet. I hear from people being like, "I always knew you'd make it. Congrats!" And I'm like, "You never gave me the time of day."