Actor Kurt Conroyd plays a gay man named River Manning in the web series The Benefits of Gusbandry. This Portland based comedy series also stars Brooke Totman from MADtv as his best friend. The title refers to a gay husband or gusband and follows the duos adventures together.
Conroyd is known for movies such as Wild, Birds of Neptune and 198.
Windy City Times: Hi, Kurt. Have you ever been to Chicago?
Kurt Conroyd: I have. I used to live there. I am from there originally and learned at the Steppenwolf. Some of my dear friends live there. I live in Portland now.
WCT: How did you wind up in Oregon?
KC: My parents split up when I was young so I was about 8. My aunt lived in Oregon. Everyone was from Chicago but they got into a band and moved to Portland back in the '70s. My mom decided to start over and took all of us boys out to Oregon.
I lived in Chicago from 2010 to 2012 as an actor there.
WCT: How was being in the movie Wild?
KC: It was fun to be on a big major motion picture. We shot for three days outside of Bend, Oregon, that is actually where I grew up so it was interesting to go back. I got to work with Reese Witherspoon.
WCT: She went to high school by me in Tennessee.
KC: Nice. We didn't become best friends or anything because she has a bodyguard that looks like Archer! She was really sweet and genuine, though.
WCT: How did you get involved with "Gusbandry?"
KC: I auditioned and it was a classic audition process. I had worked with the producer on a film before so she had recommended me and talked to me about the project. They then brought me in to audition.
WCT: Talk about your character.
KC: My character is named River Manning. He is pushing 40. Compared to me, he is more of a career oriented gay man that works in the political field. He has a sweet quality and doesn't let a lot of people in. That is why when he meets Jackie, played by Brooke Totman, there is an immediate friendship and bond. She is more of a hot mess. In real life though she is great to work with.
We have done a season but most of them run 10 minutes so we can't really delve too much into the character's psyche.
WCT: Jackie is turning 40 also, so around the same age?
KC: I am a little younger than her so that was the interesting thing when I got to the audition. Brooke had already been cast and they were looking for someone older than Brooke. I couldn't be older so they had to change it and make my character younger.
WCT: The scene where you take pictures for a dating app looked fun.
KC: Lots of people are on apps now since it is 2016. He seems okay being single because it just doesn't work out for him. He is more able to get what he wants. People are busy these days and they don't have time to date sometimes.
WCT: Do you get to improv or is it more scripted?
KC: We actually do a lot of improv. The episodes have all been scripted but we add some improvisation to spice it up. Brooke is great at it since she studied at The Groundlings.
WCT: For the high school flashback sequence, did you want to shave?
KC: I did, actually. It was a filming thing because we filmed that scene before another scene. It didn't work out in the continuity. We decided to let it be a joke too.
WCT: Is it fun to play this character since you openly gay yourself?
KC: Yes, it is totally fun. We film very quickly. We filmed four days in August then four days in December. We filmed in so many locations with really long days so we were going back and forth.
WCT: Will there be a season two for "Gusbandry?"
KC: We are hoping so. We are looking forward to it. Right now we are trying to see what happens so we are getting some more people onboard. It always comes down to money and finances. It would be nice to get IFC was involved so it becomes a full fledged show with arms and legs. If not, we are planning on doing a season two no matter what.
I'm excited for another season with more antics. We are just establishing the characters to see where they can go.
The Benefits of Husbandry can be found on YouTube and Vimeo.