There are numerous things in this world that you can try, but actor Tituss Burgess is not one of them.
On a recent episode of Watch What Happens L!ve, Burgess reminded host Andy Cohen that he was—in fact—not one of Cohen’s little school friends.
During the interview, which also featured Laverne Cox, Cohen tried Burgess several times. He made comments that rehashed old issues and tried to be messy and stir up drama during a time when there was no need. The fact that Burgess didn’t jump across that stage warrants him an award of some sort. Maybe Burgess can hold a TED Talk on the subject. I’d attend.
Burgess has an upcoming film with the legendary Eddie Murphy and a question from a viewer prompted it to be mentioned. Burgess and Murphy were on a set together, so the likelihood of them talking is high, yet and still, Cohen asked if Burgess had a chance to talk with Murphy. Cohen asked, “Did you get to chat with him?” Presumably, this was because Murphy has made homophobic comments in the past (think of his famous stand-up film Delirious, or the 1980s in general) that he has apologized for—and, did I mention, these comments are also decades old? There was no need to bring up Murphy’s past other than to be messy. They had nothing to do with the current project. Like Cox said, “That was a long time ago and people can evolve.”
After that awkward exchange, Burgess was presumably ready to go and mouthed something to whom I assumed were his reps. Cohen saw this and asked him what he said and Burgess responded: “Keep going girl, do your show.”
In a comment made on Instagram, Burgess showed that he had time to remind us that he said what he said. Burgess told Cohen that his show was not an episode of the Real Housewives of Atlanta and also not a place to rehash a celebrity’s past. Burgess stressed the importance of proper research and listed the credentials he worked hard for.
Andy Cohen, like many white gay men, has toted his privilege around. White gay men believe their privilege gives them a pass to be reckless with their actions. In this instance, Andy failed to realize that this pass isn’t universal and it almost moved him to the front of the line to get Burgess’ foot swiftly up his ass.
Burgess is all of us who have been placed in an awkward position at work. We would like nothing more than to drag the aggressor, but then we remember that the rent is due and to keep our composure. Cohen should be grateful that Burgess’ Christianity was at an all-time high.