I don't think Cody Melcher is the only comedian with a poster of Young Frankenstein hanging in his apartment, although he might be the only one displaying it over a fire-engine red piano. Cody's my guest this week on The Sewers of Paris, a podcast about gay culture that's changed the lives of gay men.
As a kid, Cody was a bit of an outcast, and grew up feeling like a monster. He was nerdy and bookish, with fine taste in clothing that went unappreciated by the other kindergarteners. When he read the novel Frankenstein, he identified with the creature. And when he started to realize he was gay, he felt like a were-creature that stumbled out of the woods to make out with boys and then disappear.
Throughout it all, he used humor to survive. So it's probably no coincidence that he has such affection for Young Frankenstein. It's a movie about a brilliant man terrified of his own scientific ability; about a creature with equal capacity for dance and destruction; and about a woman whose delicate taffeta hides unspeakable desires. Deep down within, we all harbor unusual skills, and along with them, unnerving strangeness. The greater the skill, the stranger you may feel -- but on the other hand, it's the weirdest among us that are free to explore their potential. Whether you're a hulking creature, a brilliant mad scientist, or a five-year old reading Moby Dick in a smoking jacket, there's an indelible link between having a power and being abby-normal.
You will undoubtably now wish to watch Young Frankenstein the moment this podcast is over. Strangely, it is unavailable for legal streaming. So while you are waiting for your Blu-Ray to arrive from Amazon, or for your torrent to finish downloading, I would direct your attention to the TV series Vicious, which is all about monsters in love.
The sitcom stars Sir Derek Jacobi and Sir Ian McKellen as Freddy and Stuart, an elderly gay couple who've been married since somewhere around the dawn on time, and who fill their twilight years by cruelly and lovingly insulting each other at every opportunity. As a couple, they share a bond that's lasted so long it's rusted tight with age. So when one says "I don't know which would be preferable, if you woke up dead or I did," or the other enters a room calling "where is that miserable piece of shit," it's because theirs is a relationship that's withstood far worse. No matter how intense their sniping becomes, their affection will always be stronger. Freddy and Stuart are what happen when two fiends find each other and can happily settle down in a cozy little dungeon that the rest of us monsters can only dream of.
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