Veteran Actor David Dean Bottrell: Finding Love in a Modern World

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Why is it so hard for a gay man to find love?

Throughout character actor David Dean Bottrell’s multi-decade career, he has played just about every kind of character you can think of. His credits span a list of iconic TV shows that is longer than a CVS receipt and include True Blood, iCarly, Modern Family, Justified, Ugly Betty, NCIS, Castle, Law and Order: SVU, and of course his deliciously villainous turn in Boston Legal. This season, he plays his most colorful character yet…himself.

After a decade, David Dean Bottrell Makes Love: A One-Man Show, featuring tales of missed connections, random hook-ups, and poor decisions, returns with new stories and an update to include dating from a gay man’s perspective in the digital age. If you have ever had the privilege of seeing David tell a story, you may need to bring an extra pair of pants as his signature humor, unique outlook on life, and almost too crazy to believe real-life experiences take the stage with finesse and hilarity that only a craftsman like David can pull off.

On this episode of Metrosource Minis, we chat about the realities of dating as a gay man in the modern world, coming out, the evolution of LGBTQ actors, missed connections, the fundamentals of being a good storyteller, finding love later in life, returning to the stage post-COVID, knowing when to walk away, and how to find the humor in everything…with host Alexander Rodriguez.

This is metro source mini the official podcast to Metro source magazine and home of short form interviews with your favorite personalities from the lgbtq world and beyond. Quick, Fun and informative. It's metro source on the go, out in proud since one thousand nine hundred and ninety. Well, hello, this is metro source minis. I'm your host, Alexander Rodriguez, writer from Metro source and Queen of the podcast love and dating. Are you kidding? While others are finding love post covid and getting engaged, I'm ready to welcome my thirty one cat. Why is it so hard for gay man like me to find love? Well, fasten your seat belts. Throughout actor David Dean but Tral's multidecade careers played just about every kind of character you can think of. His credit span a list of iconic TV shows that is longer than a CBS receipt, includes true blood I, carly, modern family, justified, ugly, Betty and Cias, Castle, law and order, Svu and, of course, is deliciously villainous turn in Boston legal. And this season he plays his most colorful character yet himself. After a decade, David Dean but trew makes love, a one man show featuring tales of miss connections, random hookups and poor decisions, returns with new stories and an update to include dating from a Gay Mans Perspective in the Digital Age. And if you've ever had the privilege of seeing David Tell a story, you may need to bring an extra pair of ants. It's nut humor, Nik outlook on life and almost too crazy to believe. Real life experiences take the stage with a finesse and hilarity that only a craftsman like David can pull up. Please welcome the talent that needs three names to fill all of its colds, David Dean patreal welcome. Thank you, Alexander. That was a spectacular introduction. Thank you so much. I don't know if I can live up to that, but that was spectacular. Thank you so much. What you certainly can. I'm such a huge fan of yours and I've had the privilege to not only see your storytelling but also your your sci fi one acts best of all. So I'm huge, huge fan. But before we get get to you in your career, why is it so hard for gay men to date? Oh my God, you know, I think it. I think it kind of depends on where you live, Alexander. You know, if you live in a relatively small city, maybe it's a little easier, but if you live in a big city, like I've spent most of my adult wife in New York or Los Angeles, it's numbers. There's so many guys and every day like another boatload comes in and and there's so much choice. Do you I mean there's so many people. There's always this like, oh, this guy's kind of Nice, but you know what, tomorrow, next week, next month, I might somebody better my call on and and it's really cut I think that's really what it boils down to, in a weird kind of ways, when people get a little, you know, they get a little overwhelmed by the by the variety that's available. That that makes sense. And the other thing that I will say, is speaking as a man of you know, mature man, is that it changes quite a bit as time passes, you know, and what you're looking for changes as well. And the other thing that you run into is you get, as my mother would say, a little set in your ways, and then you need other men who a little set in their ways, and it's it's interesting to kind of like learn to, you know, adjust. I when I came to New York five years ago from advocated in La for many years, one of the things that I thought about moving here was I thought might meet somebody, because I wasn't really meeting anybody in La. Yeah, and and I did. And and so I've been with him for now, about four years now, and what's interesting about it, I mean to me anyway, is he's he's like, you know, the boxes that we all want to check, you know, like Oh, this, this, this, this, I must have these things. He didn't check any of those boxes at all. And when he first arrived, I kind...

...of tried to get rid of him and he wouldn't go away. And now I'm so glad that I didn't do that that I sort of thought, okay, let's just take this a day at a time and see what happens, because something terrific happen. So it's you never know, like adventure could be like around the next corner. You never know who you're going to meet. It's really kind of you know, life is has a lot of chapters to it. So what's never give up, never give up, and I think during covid you know, we were all so isolated. I think a lot of the societal pressures, even terms of dating somebody older or dating somebody that's not quite right, they were pressures that were kind of put on us by society and after Covid were like, you know what, screw that, I'm going to do whatever I want to do. And in this age of like fluidity and, you know, where ever evolving, I think people are okay to be in a relationship that doesn't look like the typical relationship, so just having to move in together or having to get married or having to have a kid. And that's gay or straight. You know, I have a friend WHO's been in a relationship now for three years and there's no talk of moving in or anything else because they are content the way that they are in their own set ways. But if they make it work. Yes, that's been asked of myself and Neil several times. Well, you, Mike, are you guys moving in together? And it's like no, no, we're not. He's a great apartment. I have a great apartment and you know what, he's got keys to mine and I've got keys to his and that just works out great for both of us. And it's okay to say, you know what, I need a breath, I need some time on my own. It's okay to say that. Well, we also work at home, so it's it's that makes it. Yes, you know, it's helpful to have a little time that to yourself. I'm the kind it's like I'm wake up and I'm like get up, go to work now. What I love is this show. You were revisiting it after a whole decade. How is your other than the obviously of dating, but how have you changed the most over for these ten years? Oh, wow, wow, I think I think that you know, the biggest change for me has been I just don't sort of I don't. I think I was a little desperate and a weird kind of way, and I didn't even really know that I was. But I feel a little competitive that I had like I had to get a boyfriend and I had to get married and I had to get settled down and all that, and I did get married, even got legally married, and I'm unfortunately I married the wrong person and had to divorce him, or he we divorce each other, I guess. And now, like, since that happened, I really sort of relaxed and I really thought, you know why, everything's fine, life is good. I got a Zilli and friends, I got a I got a happy personal life without a boyfriend, without a husband, without a partner. I got a happy career, I got I got a nice family, like everything is okay, and so I thought to myself, it's okay, if I don't partner, I'll be okay, I'll be okay, they'll be I'll have a great life either way. And then I also think that my definition of like what's satisfying, you know, the kind of thing that makes makes me feel connected to people is there's all kinds of love out there. Didn't mean, and I'm not just talking about like hookups, of course there's always hookups right. I'm just talking about there's all kinds of ways to connect to people and not be lonely and not be detached, and I think my my perception of it is really widened in ten years. It really truly has. And the show that you so kindly mentioned is it's it's a very funny show that's all true love stories out of my life. It goes all the way back to age five up to the present, and it's not all romantic love. You know, some of it is, you know, a very like when the one from age five is obviously very innocent, and there's also a story about my relationship to my father, who's kind of a troubled guy, and and my my anyway, how that got resolved, and it's it's we're all it's all over the map actually, and so I'm so thrilled because people, in addition finding it incredibly funny, they're also...

...kind of touched by it and it's developed this really, you know, very diverse crowd. It's not all we gay folk here coming to it. There's all kinds of people coming to it, which really makes me end of different ages as well, which is really kind of fascinating, like young people and older people, and it's I'm just thrill. I gotta tell you. It's a I'd have. I've never done anything like this show and I'm happy that it's back in my life and it's going really well and I'm here in New York now, but I'll be in Los Angeles for four shows in June when this what I love about your storytelling and I've, you know, I've seen you. Like I said, I've had the opportunity to see in many times is there are there are so many complexities and so many different levels of your story. We know some people storytell and they're getting to the joke and it's about it's about the comedy of the piece. But even with like your funniest stories that like literally laughed out loud, you know, there's always this heart to it, especially when you talk about your audition life and certain Oh sure that's happened. With that what I have to now. You know, you're not playing a role. You're not even like a one man show cabaret. You're kind of singing through other songs as a constant actor with so many credits. Were you afraid to bring the show back? I mean, we certainly see you in a whole different light. You are very naked on stage, even more those than just be naked. Do you know what I mean? See, yes, the days of me being naked on stage or kind of behind me now. But but what's interesting about it, Alexander, is that you know when you're when you act something. At least the way that I was taught to act was you want to disappear into this kind of fictional creations, saying that somebody wrote. But it's a little different when you're up there telling stories out of your own life, because there's no there's nowhere to go. It's your life, you're the one that's talking about it, and so it's almost it's almost like the reverse. You're trying to be transparent, you're trying to be completely honest and completely open with people, even if the story is funny and a little humiliating or whatever it is. I discovered a while ago when I started storytelling, that the best stories like when I would start to write them, I would think, hmm, you know what's really going to help this story a lot is if you tell the truth. Yes, yeah, and and the thing about I think my show is I tell the truth. And as I've kind of learned this and in both disciplines, both in acting and in storytelling, which is there's nothing funnier than the truth, there really isn't. And there's also nothing more heartbreaking than the truth. That's and there's more terrifying than the truth. So I think I always strive when I start to do one of these things is to tell a little more truth than I feel comfortable with. You know, kind of push the push. It a little bit. And what I find is I think people feel that they sense it and then they really trust you and then boy do they laugh, and mostly they laugh because they recognize it. That's exactly right. And if to say you know truth telling, you know, especially when you're in an intimate audience or an audience of any sighs, really is audience will pick up on the sincerity. They'll pick up whether you are connecting, whether this is truthful. For for you, even stand up comics, when they're not truthful to their own life, it's very evident and it tends to fall flat. And you know, audiences are not stupid. They are going to see through any kind of actor facade or anything. But because you are so truthful, were you, and because I know a lot of industry people, your peers, casting agents, a lot of industry people come to see your show, were you scared a little bit that, well, they were going to see your truth, that it was going to kind of take you out of that character actor category that you've been so good at and they're going to be like, Oh God, well, I can't cast him because now I heard to hook up. You know, you know what I was. I was kind of worried about it that at the beginning, like way back ten years ago, when I first started doing it. And what I discovered was, I think I think people are. I think they're people are just impressed by someone who's really willing to put it out there, who's really willing to speak the truth, especially if you're a gay person, because, you know, there was a time in our industry was kind of don't ask, don't tell. You know, people were very like good, I just don't bring it...

...up, just don't, don't, don't flaunt it, you know. And and I'm so glad that's behind us. Oh Jesus, I'm glad that's behind us. And so it's a much I find the atmosphere very different now and I kind of feel like the way that my shows structured anyway it it kind of builds as it goes along. And and people in general, I think they're going to find something in there that they recognize and appreciate. There's going to be some experience, I'm talking about funny or not funny, that they're going to go, oh my God, that's kind of like my life. And what I found is that it's actually expanded the kind of roles that I go out for, which is great. I used to mostly just play psychopaths. Right now I've been amazed and like I now there's more. I think there's more dimension to what I'm playing these days because you are being allowed to play because, and partially it's because of this show. I think. You Know, David, I've interviewed you a few different times over the last decade. Actually got it has been. You were one of my first guests for for on the rocks, my other podcast, and you know, you talked about how you change and even talking to you and your approach to acting, there is this relaxed quality that talking to you right now is something that I have never seen you add before. Always engaging, always, but it was very not rigid, but you just have this like like openness and you look so young and so you not that you look like an old man, but there's there definitely is a I've change. Thank you. There is is a big life change and I can tell you at the time that you met me, probably it was probably right after Boston legal. Yeah, and I Boston legal like totally changed my life like overnight. I do ever television both. I think so too. Actually Boston legal did. I didn't, but boss you legal bit. But I was. I can tell you that in those days I was very unused to being interviewed and I am sure that I would. I'm sure that I was wound a little tight. I'm sure I was, because I was just I didn't know what was expected. I thought what I should what do I have to say, and what should I do and what should I remember and which I forget and all that. But fortunately that's long past. Now I'm I'm having a great time, I really really am. It's a beautiful chapter. I'm loving it well, and I find this. You know, we talked about maturing as I'mateure. I used to be so conscious of, especially in the gay community, what people were going to say about my outfit, about my weight, whatever, and now it's like, you know what, I'm me and you know I don't give a fuck. Right, right, and it's so free when is talking about the gay community. You know where in this age that everybody's being celebrated with the headlines, we have so many people in front of and behind the camera coming out is LGBTQ. Yeah, and so the media kind of grabs onto that. It's you know, gay actor Soandso takes on this roll, or you know transactor plays soandsowers of homework movie or whatnot. You never were, like you mentioned, you never were in the closet, but it would being gay was also not a big tag for you. It's not like gay actor David Dean putrow even today you know it. Can you share your coming out story, both personally and also in the industry, if you even had one? As sure you know my my coming out, and just are my coming out storied? Personally, is I was a good I was raised as a good Christian boy and a good Christian home, and so it was expected that I was going to, you know, get married and have those grandchildren. And I really gave it the old college dry I really did. And I had a girlfriend and you know, in college and I lived with her and I was really trying to make that work. And then, and then I met somebody in a class that I was taking and that was just dead. He was just a it just was a magnet and it just pulled me right out of my hiding place and into my life, which was just great. I'm really I'm happy that that happened and I and I felt a little bad about my girlfriend's situation there, but anyway, I don't think it was a complete shock...

...to her. But then in life it's funny. I think I was pretty out and then I went into acting school, and this was a many centuries ago when I went into acting school, but it I wasn't sure. So I'd sort a dialed it down a little bit. When I was in acting schools, I was I was afraid. I was afraid that I wouldn't be taken seriously or something. I was afraid that I would only get like, you know, pansy parts or something right, and not that there's anything wrong with that, I know, but there was a whole time that that's all we did have. If we had any representation, it was always that it was the Sassy, you know, sidekick, and it's like that's not who we all were. Yeah, and it was. It was after I got out of out of acting school and I started to work that I discovered I just didn't have to really do that anymore. I started out in the theater, which was pretty easy, you know, and by the time I got to Hollywood I was probably thirty. By the time I got to Hollywood, early s and so I wasn't really going to be a leading man anyway. I never planned on doing that. So I kind of went right into character stuff and it didn't it was never I don't really remember there being a day, you know, when I said, oh, by the way, I'm gay. But once I was on, once I had the contract to my head, I was on that show, I would talk about my boyfriend and the makeup trailer, you know, I didn't have a problem with it and I never found that to be at any trouble for me. Now it's interesting because, you know, I think that the mote we're not quite there yet in this and this battle, because I think, you know, if you're a funny actor, as a lot of us are, you can be anything, you know. I mean like they don't really care if your gay, as long if you're funny, you're funny and like you know, and nobody really thinks about that. But when you're like the the lead in the leading ladiers, leading man, it's it has been tricky and we're about to see now, you know, with Christian Stewart and Matt Ballmer and whoever else is out there that I'm forgetting, to kind of see if we can get around that so that it's anybody should be able to play anything, you know. I mean they should be, and we'll see if that, if that's we can kind of sail our boat around that in such a way. It's the such interesting times and I'm so proud of all the gender fluid actors and I've had, I teach acting also in all my gender fluid you know, a students and it's been amazing, and Trans Students that I've had. A Trans Student of mine just got his first equity contract as well. That's exciting. Oh, I'm so proud of him. I'm so proud of him. It's just very, very, very exciting. So thanks are so different now and in a way that I never dream they'd be. So I'm thrilled. I'm thrilled with what's happening right now now. Do you think they're? Also, is the chance that we can go too far, that there's so much stress on somebody being part of Lgbtq and what alphabet they are that it kind of it's too much and it kind of does do the opposite of instead of including everybody it, we're always hyper aware, such as you saying, you know, Christian Stewart, Matt Bomer, you know, we have been Neil Patrick Harris. We all love him, but he's been so much the poster guy for gay guys, even when he plays a straight role, and I have this is coming from a gay man, I'm always thinking, oh, he's doing a pretty good job, butching it up, we'd playing straight because there was so much focus and because of his activism too, right, we kind of I mean I can't kind of disassociate myself, no matter how great he is an acting it's always at the back of my mind. So do you think kind of focusing on that and celebrating how open everybody is, do you think it's also in danger of also kind of shaping our opinion of what's a successful performance or not? That's a really good question and I'm afraid you know we're going to go we will. We're already in it. There's a time when that is just it's become so trendy and easy to slap some you know, label on somebody and because that's our that's the conversation right now. That's what that's we're talking about a lot right now and there's been a lot and you know, boil boil boy, there was the olden days, there was...

...net I was never saw a trans character or a gender fluid character, for instance, in any breakdown of a TV show, and now it's it's uncommon and it's quite common to have that in and episode, episodics and all kinds of stuff. So it's I think it's going to hat like everything. I think it's got to go through a phase and I don't know how long that phase is going to go, but I do hope that eventually will come out the other side and it won't be unusual or shocking or anything, and it won't really be. It won't really matter, I hope, in some stage of the game. And I know you know and I've heard all the arguments about it, but I do hope that's some and and not everybody's right for every role. That's that's also very true. Yeah, and even if you even if you appear very straight looking and straight, straight behaving or whatever, that doesn't mean you have the qualities to pull it off just that particular role. Yeah, that's every well, so I just hope that the door stays how the door continues to swing. You know what I tell you. I've had the privilege, especially on the last couple of years, to interview many Trans and Non Binary actors, and what they're telling me is the roles that they're starting to get little by little are not even dependent on being trans, are nonbinary. They are what we would consider mainstream roles and it's just they happened to be that kind of actor, but the role itself has nothing to do with that, and so that's great to see as well. It is great to see, is really great to see. I appreciate that, for I've for gay and lesbian actors as well. I just think it's fantastic, hundred percent. Okay, so, given your experience in the dating world, what tips are advice would you have given your younger self in dating? Oh my God, wow, so many things. My younger self, I think I would have the first thing I would have said is slow down. Yeah, slow it down. You don't have to marry him by the end of the week. You know, I always felt in them days, have I found somebody good, I had to get my clause in deep right away before somebody else stole that. That's a very real thing, though. Just like you said, there was so you know, it's like walking into I'm museum, and there's so many pretty things to look at. It's like right, you have to go exhibit by exhibit, right, don't rush through it, right. And and the other thing I think I would have told myself is that nothing and nobody is last chance. Salute you mean, because I did sort of think that it's like, Oh my God, I'll never get anybody that nice or that pretty or that whatever again. I'll never, never, never. And then that, you know, that theory has been missing, you know, been, you know, totally trashed a time after time, chapter after chapter, decade after decade, I discovered that life goes on. You know, it just a new it's a new thing, and I guess I would just say stay current with yourself, you know. I mean when you're young. I you should have fun. When you're young. You should totally have fun. When you're young. It's the time to do it. And then, as it as it goes along, just stake current with what you got in mind for your life. You know what? What? What matters now? What matters ten years ago? What matter ten years ago? Maybe a little bit different now, and it's going to be a different in ten more years. And all that so it's and, and I'm not saying like grow up and don't have any fun and like, I don't mean that at all, but I just mean, you know, you're the only one that can decide this, like what matters to you and if you're going to like, you know, have a romance as going to last, you need to kind of have on your radar other people who share the same values, whatever that may be, you know, or everything, with the same personality or a person that's compatible in some way. But it's really interesting. Like I said, I never would have thought that I'd be in the situation I'm in right now, but I'm really I'm having a wonderful time. It's one of the most wonderful relationships I've ever been in. Who Knew? You know, who knew? I think if I was to give myself advice, which I think a lot of us should also take, is also don't be afraid to say, you know what, this isn't working out, whether it's four...

...years, in five years, in eight years, and you know, I know. We want to have a successful relationship and sometimes having a successful relationship is knowing when, just like as an actor, when you're involved in a project, and you're like, you know what, this jest is not working for me, it's not good for me, I'm going to have to bow out, which is a really tough thing to say or to make that decision, but it's sometimes the healthiest yeah, I was in a relationship for ten years and I really thought that I was going to be in it forever. Yeah, and but they're eventually there came a day when I sort of realized it wasn't good for either party, you know, wasn't good for any one of us, and so I was the one who actually pulled the court. But HMM, he actually said to me like a year after we separated, he said, you know what, you were right. I didn't know it at the time. I thought you were making a mistake, but you know what, you were right. Wow, it's we were both better now. Yeah, better off. And so again, stay current, you know, keep an eye on what's happening today. All right, in our metro source article, which you can find a new stands or at Metro Sourcecom, you share with us your craziest hookup story. Everybody read the article for that one, but I want to ask you what is one of your most regretful or wistful missed connections. Oh my God, Oh dear I I'll have to sort of I'll have to sort of change a little information to tell that story. He might be watching or listening. There was somebody that that came into my life and so to said, I don't want a relationship, I just want to date, and I were said, Oh sure, yeah, let's do that. And then I interpreted his actions in this period of time we were dating that he was getting sort of closer to me and wanted something a little more. And so I got I started getting kind of pushy and I I kind of tried to kind of him and in a little bit and and sort of capture him sort of. And if I had that and that, that of course did not work and he withdrew and and and then, ironically, a year later on facebook I saw that he was getting married. Oh my God, that's so funny. So part of me feels like I broke him in for that other guy, but if I had it to do over again, I would have stuck with his opening statement. MMM, I mean, I would have thought, okay, that's the truth, until I hear differently. Don't read anything into it. Whatever's the truth is the truth that he doesn't want it. Relationship can't change anybody. NOPE, and you're not smarter than other people. Sometimes we think we're ever so smarter than the other person and we're usually not. Even even like playing games and trying to manipulate the situation. It's going to backfire. Yeah, usually eventually it is. But I do regret that, because he was really a lovely guy and who knows, maybe something would have happened with that. We were very well paired in a lot of ways, but I'm a little eye. He's the one that's he's kind of like that Judy Garland Song, the man who got away and right away. Yeah, I always sort to think about him from time to time and say, maybe what could have been, what could have been, but that's okay, because a lot of good things happen after him, and that was Neil Patrick Harris. No, Matt Bomer is Matt Bomer, Oh my God, whatever he wants, like whatever. David, it's always such such a thrill to chat with you. I'm so excited that you're back in live theater, that you're back on stage. Hey, and then what a better way to you know, to hit hit the theater scene with such a fun, great show and, like you mentioned, it's very popular. Gay, straight, old, young. Everybody has something wonderful to take away.

Thank you. Thank you so much for the interviewer day and it's really been lovely to talk to you. Alexander Alway, always a treat. Now, where can people find and follow you? Where can they find out about the show? I'm on boat. Most of the big platform, social media platform on on instagram and facebook and twitter, and they're that website I love to send him to is the one from my book because that has the most current stuff on it really, which is working after the bookcom which is about this book that I wrote, but it's also a lot of others things. So that's a good place to find out about me. There they want, if they want to. I'm asking. My instagram is pretty funny. I'm proud of my instagram. I do it. It is a treat. I'M gonna my wait to see you on the west coast very, very soon. Yes, I'll be there. I'll be there. Thank you. Thank you so much. I'll see you soon. All right, that has been my hilarious and insightful chat. Now I feel like I can go back to the dating world with David Dean Mootrel. You can read my indepth article with him in the latest issue of Metro source, available on newstands or at Metro sourcecom. And that's our episode. I'm your host lead writer from Metro sours, Alexander Rodriguez. You can follow me on Instagram at Alexander is on air. Until next time, stay true and do you boo. That has been another metro source mini like, share and subscribe on your favorite podcast player and check out the latest issue of Metro Sports magazine on newstands or online at metal sportscom. Follow us on Facebook, instagram at natural source and on twitter at Metro course man. Until next time. They fast.

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