The handsome Paolo Andino is back for another season of Logo's The Big Gay Sketch Show, increasing the program's hunk factor as he portrays various characters, such as UPS man Naldo. Andino talked with Windy City Times about the show, being sick and meeting Sharon Osbourne.
Windy City Times: Are you feeling better? I heard you were sick.
Paolo Andino: I am better. I was in Hawaii, and I caught a cold my last day there. Thank God it didn't turn into anything big.
WCT: When we talked a couple years ago, you were going to be in a play in Saugatuck, Mich., called As Bees in Honey Drown.
Paolo Andino: Yes. The play was so perfect for me. I played four different characters.
The play is about a girl who swindles all these hoity-toity art-world creatures. I'm sorry...I'm cleaning up here; we just got a new puppy and he dribbles all over the place.
WCT: I once dated someone like that.
Paolo Andino: [ Laughs ] Haven't we all? I'll put up with it from the puppy.
[ Regarding the play, ] I played three characters in the first half. One was an Italian photographer; I had this long Cher wig. I was also a snooty little hotel clerk in New York City and a Scandinavian modelbut I had to be as white as I could be. I had a bleached-blond wig and I had to white out my eyebrows. He didn't say anything but "Ya, ya." [ Both laugh. ] So I got my comic thing out.
When I'm in a play and I don't get the comedic part, I get very jealous of those who do. So here I got all that stuff, and in the second half the character was an artist who was a little bit more maturewhich was completely different from what I had just done. It was really rewarding. In contrast to the Sketch Show, which I had just come out of, they were a few roles that you have time to develop. With sketch comedy, you have one ( maybe two ) chances, and you never really memorize the stuff because they're constantly changing it until the very last second, but there are good things about that, too.
WCT: And you provided the perfect segue for Big Gay Sketch Show. Were you certain that there would be a third season?
Paolo Andino: They're very ... peculiar, I'll say; the answer is "no." It took them a while to do it, then it took them a while to shoot it and now it's taking them a while to release it. I have no idea what goes into those decisions. I don't understand it because, in my opinion, it would seem like they would want the momentum [ from the previous season ] and not lose the audience.
I do know that, this year, we went into Nielsen ratings for the first timeand we're behind RuPaul's [ Drag Race ] , so we'll be riding Ru's coattails, and I might be tucked up in there. [ Interviewer laughs. ]
WCT: I read that you all have some pretty special guests, like Isaac Mizrahi and Sharon Osbourne. What were they like?
Paolo Andino: Oh, yes! Sharon Osbourne was the sweetest thing. We said hello to her and, of course, everybody wanted a picture with her; she was really cool with that. She's like a mom first and then her persona [ is second ] . She comes off with "Hi, sweetie. How are you?" She's really nice. Then she turned it on, and she was actually really funny. She held her own with Rosie [ O'Donnell ] ; she does the bit at the end of every episode with her.
Isaac Mizrahi was very complimentary to me. He was like, "I wanna meet the UPS man." [ Interviewer laughs. ] That was really cool.
WCT: So do we get to find out who Svetlana shot? [ The second-season cliffhanger showed the character of Svetlana shooting at other characters, including Andino's UPS man. ]
Paolo Andino: Unfortunately, no. [ WCT: What??? ] I know. I want to tell you now to soften the blow. They really discussed it, and they decided they would not pursue that.
I think the feeling was that, "We're a sketch show. We're not a drama. We don't have to pick up where we left off." Also, Erica [ Ash ] is not with us next season...
WCT: Yes. I saw that and thought that she was the one...
Paolo Andino: You would think. But they didn't do it.
WCT: Is Naldo your favorite character that you've played?
Paolo Andino: He is, because he is sort of the star of the sketch. He's really satisfying and fun to do. This season I do a bunch of characters, including an impression of [ Dancing with the Stars judge ] Bruno Tonioli. I loved it, and it was something I didn't even know I could do. It was actually for a RuPaul spoof. I play a drag queen and a judge. They hadn't let me do any drag roles the year before.
WCT: Why is that?
Paolo Andino: I don't know. I think maybe they wanted me to be...
WCT: ...the sexy macho guy.
Paolo Andino: The sexy macho guy. But now I've been able to expand a little bit. And it was so much fun being the drag queen.
WCT: The last time we talked you said that you had a dream. Do you remember what it was?
Paolo Andino: Was it to be more like ... Liz Lemon [ Tina Fey's character on the TV show 30 Rock ] ?
WCT: You said you wanted to collaborate with Tina Fey.
Paolo Andino: You know, the closest I got to Tina Fey was when I was walking into a building and she was walking out. I ran into her on the street ( and it was a rainy day ) ; she looked like crap with no makeup on, and I wasn't going to say hi to her, then. [ Interviewer laughs. ] I just let her walk on by.
WCT: That was very wise. Do you have those days when you don't want people approaching you?
Paolo Andino: Well, let me tell me, with this puppy... I cut my hair short, and I'll put on my glasses and walk the puppy; this dog wakes up at 6:30 in the morning, and there's no time to primp and prep. There was a woman out there today talking to me about a tree blooming across the street. I'm like, "Lady, it's 6:45. I just woke up, and I'm going back to bed. I don't want to talk about blooming trees."
The third season of the Big Gay Sketch Show currently airs on Logo. See www.logotv.com .