For over a decade, Barry Z has been doing his weekly variety shows, and over the course, he has befriended many, many members of the New York entertainment world. In the summer of 2006 he launched The Barry Z Show – an online news magazine of sorts – and took to the streets (er… piano bars) of New York City to get the latest scoop on everything from award-winning Broadway shows to the Gay Pride parade, where he even had his own float! Besides being a gay icon, he is a journalist who does things his own way, from sneaking up on the unsuspecting stars and creators of Strangers with Candy during a press interview, to getting chatty with singers from the Society of Singers benefit. The site debuted early in the summer of 2006, and his variety show can still be attended weekly on Tuesday nights at the Iguana Restaurant and Bar in Manhattan.
It’s nice, for once, to see a show from someone with some real street cred. Before each show are celebrity endorsements from the likes of Bernadette Peters, Jennifer Tilly, and even Ben Stiller. This probably also gives him a leg up in his interviews, where stars like Amy Sedaris forgive his silliness and get past the niceties and pleasantries to get real about their work. His signature edit of interspersing clips from classic movies amongst the interviews often gets some laughs from its excellent timing, though the jokes can get old. Videos can be found in one of two sections – New Segments and Old Segments. Though the episodes are not dated, they are timely, following entertainment events, like the premiere of Die Mommie Die and When the Lights Go On Again. Barry Z has been at this for years, and has established connections with some high-tier New Yorkers, allowing for candid, red carpet style interviews with singers, dancers, personalities, and especially drag queens. Throughout, Barry Z asks poignant questions, like the one he asked Amy Sedaris, “Why is it called Strangers with Candy?”
The Jerry Springer interview seems strangely out of place in the company of the rest of the film and theatre fare, but it makes for one of Barry Z’s best vids.