Huffpost Gay Voices
Curtis M. Wong Headshot

Alan Cumming Dishes On Gay Rights, GOP Politics And 'Good Wife' Role At XL Nightclub Benefit Performance

Posted: Updated:

For Alan Cumming, life has never really been just a cabaret, old chum.

Winning a Tony Award and being nominated for an Emmy would be enough to boost the résumé of any star, but the 47-year-old Cumming -- who currently plays Eli Gold on CBS's "The Good Wife" -- has always sought to parlay his showbiz success into humanitarian endeavors, particularly those aimed at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) causes. His March 18 debut at New York's XL Nightclub was no exception: proceeds from that evening's performance benefited the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC).

Though Cumming was in top form throughout the night, belting out stellar renditions of showstoppers from "Mack & Mabel" and "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" alongside a gender-bending take on "Mein Herr" from his signature "Cabaret," it became clear that politics were never far from the outspoken actor's mind. Of his recent visit to Kansas City (which he described as "a place where there aren't going to be any gay marriages for a long time"), Cumming quipped, "To try and make the Missouri part [of the city] seem better, people were saying, 'At the GOP caucuses last week, that side -- Kansas -- voted for Santorum, but we voted for Romney.' Like that was a good thing!" Introducing one number as a song he first performed at the 2008 wedding of two gay friends in California in the weeks before Prop 8, he exclaimed, "If you are a pro-gay Mormon, go to your church and tell them to stop being so sh*tty!" (Cumming himself tied the knot with graphic artist Grant Schaffer at New York's Soho House in January, five years to the day of their civil partnership in London).

After concluding his show with an encore mashup of Adele's "Someone Like You," Lady Gaga's "The Edge of Glory," and Katy Perry's "Firework," Cumming spoke to HuffPost Gay Voices about his support for IGLHRC, life as a re-newlywed and what lies ahead for his character Eli Gold on "The Good Wife."

HuffPost Gay Voices: As a public figure and LGBT advocate, you can obviously chose to support any number of organizations. Why did you choose IGLHRC?

Alan Cumming: I think that we've got to always stand back from our own struggle and realize, in some parts of this country, how lucky we are. It doesn't denigrate any of the organizations that are doing work for civil rights here to actually look at the fact that..the governments of certain countries are abusing and killing gay people.

Things are very bad in some parts of America, but we kind of need to have a look at the whole picture. I didn't know about the organization until they asked me to do this event. I think I'm pretty down with my homo causes, and I felt kind of ashamed of that, so that's why.

Why did you opt for a musical benefit?

It was nice because this is a new venue, and they really like the fact that the venue is being seen as a place where people do benefits and political things rather than just being purely a party thing. I think gay people should be more holistic in their approach to the world. Fun and good causes can be the same thing.

Congratulations on your wedding. How's married life been treating you so far?

Still going, so that's good! We actually got married five years ago, but then on our wedding anniversary in January we had a party and surprised everyone by getting re-married again.

I've always been in relationships most of my life. Everyone thinks of me as kind of a party boy, and I suppose I am. But I love the fact that I'm with someone I love, and that relationship is recognized by society as valid and legal, and has all of the benefits and protections that straight people get. It's a lovely feeling.

In London, when we first got married...in places where you can't get married, gay people don't have that really important ritual that straight people have of everyone they know -- all your family and friends -- coming together to celebrate your love as in a wedding. We don't have that if we don't have marriage, and that's a very important societal ritual.

We're big fans of your role on "The Good Wife." What lies ahead for Eli Gold?

Coming up, more sex! More floppy hair. And it looks like a return to the more political sphere rather than working in the office and doing crisis management...more getting back on the campaign trail.

And hopefully more sex! (laughs) I find it's actually getting hard for me to imagine playing someone who has not had sex for two years. I'm an award-winning actor, but that's stretching my abilities to imagine what that would be like.

all-also-on-huffpost

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

Alan Cumming Live at XL Cabaret to Benefit IGLHRC

Alan Cumming - Blog - Come See Me Live At XL Cabaret!

Alan Cumming to Perform Benefit at XL Nightclub and Cabaret

Alan Cumming Will Offer Manhattan Concert to Benefit International ...

Alan Cumming Live � One Night Only at XL Nightclub & Cabaret ...

OUTTAKE BLOG�: Alan Cumming Global Gay Rights Concert