I partook in a lil day adventure to L.A. recently to interview the one and only Gabriel Joseph. We met up at Aroma Bar and Grill on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood. The restaurant itself was great! I indulged in a spicy bloody mary and Caesar salad that came with delicious pita bread. Honestly the drive was worth just that meal! What made it much more memorable is getting to talk to Gabe -- obviously! Read all about this up and coming, master of all trades guy!
My name is Gabriel Joseph. I just started a production company a year and a half ago. I created, wrote, acted, starred, and edited a web series called, "But She's My Best Friend". It's a comedy series about two gay best friends in L.A. and kind of the shit they get into. The real concept is about best friends in general. I feel like that dynamic is a very unusual one. Your best friend is the person who supports you the most but also the person who hates on you the most kind of. They can be your worst enemy at times.
The series is so real for the exact reason!
I agree. I think it's relatable too. I don't feel like there is a real representation of best friends on TV. I feel like it's too nice. Your best friend is honest and sometimes it's not nice. I wanted to portray that.
That is definitely what me drew me to it. It's obviously scripted but when watching it doesn't have a scripted feeling. It was refreshing to see that done so well.
Yeah - every episode and dialogue is true. It's all real stuff that's happened to me. So, it's based off of my life. Even the characters - there's three friends: Joey - my roommate/best friend and then we have two other friends: Marcus and Stephen. They're based off of real friends in my life. Everything is real - the character's names I do try to use my friend's names. For instance, my friend Paul is played by Stephen on the show so I mix and match. I use real names of people that I know.
That's cool. So you're gonna be working on the pilot you said.
Yeah! It's gonna be a full twenty three minute episode in July. Right now I'm in talks with a few producers. It's gonna have a bigger budget so that we can go all out and pitch it to networks. The web series is kind of like a pre-episode. I did it to see if there was even a market for it - if anyone would even think I'm funny or if the show was interesting. It's been doing really well - its doing a lot better then I actually thought it would so now I am ready to move onto the next phase.
What made you want to begin this? Was a dream you had forever to make this particular series? What triggered you wanting to start doing this?
It was something I wanted for a long time. I moved to California to do music originally. It really wasn't going anywhere, my music career. For a while I was doing what I thought other people wanted me to do versus what I really felt as an artist so before I was performing at night clubs where I’d have long blonde hair - it was so over the top and was not me at all. I thought shock value was what would get me attention. It was to a certain degree but it wasn’t authentic. As an artist you have to be passionate about what you are doing in order to convince other people. So — I moved to L.A. and everybody would ask me if I am an actor and I would just tell them I’m not. After a while I thought I maybe should give it a shot so I went on a bunch of auditions. I wasn’t getting anything - my main critique wasn’t that I didn’t have talent it was more about my look. They would just tell me, “Oh - you’re not the image”. The last audition I went to is what started But She’s My Best Friend. The producer told me that there isn’t really a place for me in mainstream media just because of the way I looked. Usually in media gay men are portrayed by white, middle class boys. So I just said, “Fuck it — I’m gonna make my own show. I’m gonna star in it. I’m gonna have all of my friends of different races and different backgrounds in it. Just tell my own story.” My story wasn’t being told - there’s nothing on TV that resembles me. I had never acted or written before. I didn’t know what i was doing at all but it was just frustrating to me because the last show that was on TV that kind of was relatable for me was called, “Looking” on HBO. It got cancelled after a season and a half. The whole storyline definitely was not gay pop culture. In mainstream media gay people are one of two things: the victim or the villain. It’s always a sad story about some traumatic incident or we are the scapegoat.
It’s kind of like this whole trans bathroom thing going on. You see the protesting and stuff but it makes no sense because not one trans person has ever been convicted of sexual assault - it’s usually the other way around. I just didn’t feel like my community wasn’t being represented. If you go out to a gay bar - we go through so much shit that at the end of the day we know how to laugh and have fun and turn it around. All my friends are so inspiring so I wanted to showcase that with this show.
You don’t think there’s anything at all out there on TV right now that portrays even slightly what you are going for?
Definitely not. Right now - the only really gay thing that I can think of is Modern Family. They have that gay couple that, yes, some couples are like that but it’s slim that you’ll actually know a couple like that. They had a gay character on 13 Reasons Why and he was Hispanic but still. I don’t believe there is that I can think of.
I agree for sure. I watch a lot of TV and can’t think of anything to compare to your series. It’s awesome that it’s so unique and so relatable to almost anyone.
Is the shop that you work at in the show a shop you work at in real life?
No, it’s not. One of my friends works there and I was telling him…..this show has honestly been the hardest thing I have ever done. I recorded the first four episodes within one week. Nobody would let me film anywhere. Nobody wanted to help me. Nobody wanted to be in the show. It was impossible - and it’s just me so I’m making all of these phone calls and trying to find people to act. There was so much I wanted to do but I was limited since nobody had ever heard of it and nobody knows who I am. I was complaining / bitching to my friend, Victor, that nobody would let me film anywhere. I told him how I needed a cute shop for my character. Victor told me that he will talk to his boss to see if I can film there. I asked him for photos of the shop and it was perfect! He showed his boss my show and she loved it! She ended up being in one of the episodes too. That’s how I got Leslie Jordan into the project too.
You’re too quick for me! I was going to ask how that came to be because I am a HUGE Leslie Jordan fan. It shook me when I saw him in your series! I CRIED.
I’ve known Leslie Jordan for a few years. He’s a patient of mine - I work for an eye doctor. You know we always talk but I never discuss my personal life with him. My coworker is the one who brought it up to him. He was there at her store and she asked him if he knew I had a show. I had just released the Espionage episode - the one with me at work. Leslie Jordan was just like, “Show me!” so I did. After he was like, “Oh my God that is my favorite store!” He knew the owner.
NOT UH. What a small freaking world.
Leslie was then like, “I wanna be in your show.”
HE approached YOU?!? This is insane.
He offered, yeah. He is so nice. He told me to come up with something and to send it to him. He WAS supposed to be in that episode, “50 First Dates”, where he played a catfish sort of character. It was a two line part just because he was doing this for free and I didn’t want to bombard him. I sent him the script and he was like, “Honey, no. I need a full episode about me.” I asked him what does he want to do that he hasn’t done and I’ll write it. He told me that he wanted to play himself and I want to pretend that I’m a huge star that nobody knows who I am. I wrote it and sent it to him and..he loved it! He has been so supportive of everything.
It’s funny — when he showed up to film he brought it all. He had like twenty outfits. He told me to pick out whatever he wanted me to wear.
So where do you film at for the rest of the show?
That particular episode was at a bar. The living room and Joey’s bedroom was shot as Joey’s actual apartment and the bedroom is mine. It’s kind of all over the place.
I still can’t get over Leslie Jordan! I had no clue what you were going to answer with how he was in your series and the fact that he wanted to be in it is mind blowing.
When he told me he needed a full episode I almost died. On set he is so funny to work with too. He’s so down for whatever. We had a small window - two hours - to fill that. It was at a bar on a Sunday so they opened at 2PM so we only had from 12PM - 2PM. The last thirty minutes of shooting - people were coming in to work. It was so loud. Leslie was so quick and he was so nice.
Are you a fan of Leslie in general outside of knowing him as a client? If you took yourself out of that aspect, would you still be a fan?
Obviously…Will and Grace. Everyone loves Will and Grace. I was telling him that you know, as a teenager I knew I was gay and that show really inspired me and motivated me. I grew up in a really strict family. I wasn’t allowed to watch that show or even Ellen because she was a lesbian. I couldn’t watch anything. It was really inspiring seeing people be comfortable in their skin and living their life. Especially with Leslie I kind of relate because I’m a little bit more effeminate. It’s just who I am and so it was so inspiring seeing someone be that way and confident with it.
I know him mainly, and most recently, from American Horror Story. He was so, so good in that.
He did Peewee Herman in the eighties too! He’s done A LOT of stuff. He really is amazing. I knew I had to write a script for this pilot and I never have done that so I texted him. I asked him if he minded sending him some of his old scripts so I could just see what the format looks like and he sent me a bunch of stuff! He gave me so many notes. He has just been so supportive. That motivates ME because he’s been doing this for decades. He’s blunt and very honest to the extreme. When he is telling you something you know he’s being real. I didn’t even pay him to be a part of this experience so he had nothing to gain from it - he’s been so generous throughout the whole thing.
That really is untouchable motivation. As an artist you can lose confidence at the tip of a hat so having that reassurance is indescribable, most definitely.
It definitely has been a rollercoaster for me because at one point I thought I had plateaued thinking this isn’t really going anywhere. I had spent thousands of dollars making this because I wanted it to be quality. i want it to be good. It’s just been so much work. Everything with Leslie Jordan really confirmed for me it was worth it!
Do you think Leslie will be making an appearance if and when this gets picked up to be a TV series?
Yeah! My goal is if we are picked up by a network — I told him that I will make him my next door neighbor. It’ll be as himself though! I would love to have, ultimately, the whole cast of Will & Grace appear in the show. I did promise Leslie, though, that if we get picked up by a network that he will definitely be my next door neighbor.
I cannot WAIT to see this! My favorite episode, not to NOT suck up to Leslie, is when you get fired. It made me crack up. I’ve been at so many jobs where I have seen that kind of reaction countless times.
I think with Christian he is a very exaggerated version of me but he says what we are all thinking. Obviously when you’re getting fired….you probably think, “Well…..AM I though?????”. That was probably the easiest to shoot too. It was only an hour total but it was so fun.
How long did it take to make the entire series?
I started filming in May. We had little breaks in between due to finding locations and things like that but I think I did the entire thing in seven months.
That’s honestly astounding. Something to the level that this was shot at and the grace behind it…I thought you were going to say 1-2 YEARS. How many episodes are there again?
11. It was really quick for me! I thought I was going to do eleven episodes and then after the last one I will start promoting and start getting views. But since episode one the reaction has been amazing. The reaction that I wanted has been from the gay community. The demographic, right now, on our YouTube channel is 18-35. Usually with gay content its watched by a majority of straight people, ironically. Gay guys don’t really support gay guys. With this project - everyone is always saying how they love it and how it’s so them. That’s exactly what I wanted. I wanted to create a show that’s me and something we can all relate to. They aren’t fancier or doing anything over the top. Usually they are just lounging in bed or drinking. I don’t want smoke and mirrors or something unrealistic.
Totally! I don’t know why I’m going to excitedly admit this but I love that show Pretty Little Liars. But it is impossible to relate to with how crazily upscale they dress and what they spend their money on! It makes it super fantasy to me and a reminder, constantly, that it isn’t real. Your show is ridiculously relatable! It’s nice to watch something and connect it to something in my life almost instantly.
Yeah - I want it to be obtainable. Any comedy right now, New Girl or whatever, they live in a huge ass loft. You know how expensive that would be here in L.A.? A million dollars or something crazy. I want these characters to still be trying to figure themselves out. Most TV characters are a lawyer or doctor so either my friends are fucking losers or that’s not real.
Haha. What has been your favorite and least favorite memory of the show so far?
My favorite thing has been the response. I have a full time job so I am doing everything on my free time. I also pay for it all myself. It was about $8,000 to produce - out of pocket. I don’t have that. I spent all of money, time and energy on it. Everything is me on my own: the visuals, acting, writing, etc so the response has made it worth it. Especially when I do go out to the gay clubs here- people are always talking about the show and that’s really all I wanted. I don’t really care about myself meaning becoming famous but I just want to create something for my community. I am really proud to be gay. I’m proud to be a part of it so I just wanted to do something that represents it in a positive light.
The hardest part has been MAKING it, haha. It’s just been a whole learning process. I didn’t know how to edit videos - that’s really difficult. I didn’t know anything about sound. Sound is a complete nightmare. It’s amazing watching the first and last episode side by side. I have learned so much in such a little amount of time.
It definitely has progressed, that’s for sure. Solid writing throughout but you can see how much you’ve grown by the final episode. A side note too is even if that progression visually never happened I do think you’d be where you are now just due to the very solid writing and relatability. It’s all about the message anyway so to me the message is very strong just without any out of this world production. But - it is awesome you were able to get where you are in less than a year!
If / when But She’s My Best Friend gets picked up for a pilot - what can we expect to see in the storyline?
I’ve written the pilot and season finale already. To me it’s like a puzzle. I wanted to start from the outside and work my way in. It’s going to be thirteen episodes. Episode thirteen is so drastically different than episode one. There are a lot of serious issues I want to talk about especially within our community. Our verbiage with one another is still very off. There’s a lo too stereotypes and judgement within my community so I wanna have honest conversations about it. With HIV, for example, people on dating apps will say “HIV = clean” which is implying that if you are HIV positive you are dirty. I don’t like that dialect. How are we supposed to convince people that are not homosexual that they should talk to us with respect if we aren’t even doing that within ourselves?
We can expect a little more serious topics, then?
It’ll still be funny. It’s a combination: it’s still funny but even the characters are learning. Christian starts dating someone who is HIV positive and he is corrected and educated on it so it’s not a big deal: we correct it, discuss it and move on.
That’s definitely important. Take me, for example, I am a straight, white female so I don’t have a lot of knowledge at all about these kinds of things and I want to be educated so bad! I just do not know how to even start researching or figuring some information out.
With mainstream TV it is a poor representation of everything. My goal is to keep a nice balance between keeping it light and funny but addressing these topics.
That's awesome. At kenNERDdy we like to #staynerdy in so many different ways. How do you #staynerdy that may not be super obvious to everyone? You’re obviously a nerd for your show - but spill the tea for other nerdiness!
I’m really obsessed with old Hollywood. This morning I was watching Joan Crawford interviews - in black and white and everything. I am obsessed with all of that: Marilyn Monroe, Bette Midler, Betty Davis….all of Hollywood glam. Literally I will go and YouTube anything I can. I am obsessed with that era. It was TRUE Hollywood. Living in Hollywood…. my friends in Texas are like, “What’s it like living in Hollywood??” and I answer…”Hm. There’s dog shit everywhere. It’s not….super glam” Especially with the internet….EVERYONE is famous. You have people who are Instagram famous and there’s no substance there. There’s not really value in fame anymore. But even back in the 90’s..I love when fame was a completely different world. It was so unobtainable.
It was beyond nice lunching with Gabe! He is so humble and charasmatic. I can 100% see why people were always asking him if he was an actor years ago! Thanks so much for tuning in this week - #staynerdy until later!
GIFT OF THE WEEK
A lot of people I do not know very well always ask me if I like Betsey Johnson and SHOCKINGLY that guess is right! I love the idea behind her brand and obviously the execution. I am utterly obsessed with backpacks! Backpacks > purses. Seriously. I don't have something weighing me down on one side and it's just a more quirky option over a handbag. Stephen picked me up this backpack yesterday and o m g I am still drooling. It fits everything I use on the regz EXCEPT my laptop. But that is okay because I don't bring that everywhere. Hopefully sometime soon I can get an iPad for traveling. But it has an adorable, delicate floral print with black and white stripes all over except for the bottom - which is a patent leather (well, fake leather to be exact!) in hot pink. There's a puffy neon pink keychain with a bow on the zipper and the inside is lined with a similar black and white striped print like the front. I've only used it for one day but I am utterly infatuated.
OUTFIT OF THE WEEK
This was one of my fave outfits recently! I put it together very spur of the moment. The skirt is actually a dress that's WAY too large for me so I went with the loose look and paired it with a crop top. I guess I accidentally ended up with a Catholic school girl vibe - which I used to hate as a school goer but I felt cute AF when I wore this! Stephen definitely spoiled me more rotten than usual by surprising me with the earring set featured in the photo! It's a galactic set I've been eyeing for a very long time. They will inhabit my ears for an extreme amount of time to come.
PERFECT HUMANS ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK
Finally, right?! OUR NEW PIN IS COMING IN ABOUT A WEEK. Meet Birthday Blob Fish! He is always prepared to celebrate with you and is a LIMITED run! So stick around with your eyes peeled to not miss out on this cutie boy. He will be up in the shop very soon: www.perfecthumans.co.
POST ON DECK
In case you don't stalk me too much on social media - you may have missed the news that I made a gigantic move in April! I live in San Diego now and my apartment is 95% done! I am going to do a lil apartment tour for you lovelies because my apartment is cute AF and I wanna show it off to hopefully inspire you if you wanted to vamp up your space! Here's a sneak peak at our beautiful, forest/elf-like room! Complete with matching unicorn lamps, a flower garland, cactus sheets and mint comforter.