Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-05-23
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Zach Knighton of 'Happy Endings' on Chicago show, marriage equality
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Zach Knighton is front and center every Wednesday on the ABC ensemble comedy Happy Endings—and the show's title couldn't be more apt.

After being on several pilots and the promising ABC show FlashForward, Knighton seems to have found his groove with Happy Endings, a series set in Chicago that revolves around a group of six friends, including a gay character who—gasp!—lives like a slob.

Knighton talked with Windy City Times about his own acting background, his show, reality TV and marriage equality.

Windy City Times: I was looking at your background, and we have something in common: You went to high school in Virginia Beach, and I went to school in [ nearby ] Chesapeake.

Zach Knighton: Oh, cool. That's awesome!

WCT: So how'd you end up in L.A.?

Zach Knighton: I went to an acting high school—Governors School [ for the Arts ] in Norfolk. I went to [ another ] high school as well, but this was a conservatory setting. I went to VCU [ Virginia Commonwealth University ] in college, and then I started my career in New York.

I came to L.A. My first series, Life on a Stick, was cancelled really quickly. So now I've been out here about six, seven years.

WCT: Happy Endings is one of the few shows that makes me laugh out loud. I also like the fact that it's set in Chicago and you see items like Chicago Cubs caps and tins of Garrett Popcorn. Are you a Cubs fan in real life?

Zach Knighton: I actually am. I'm one, interestingly enough, because of one player: Ryne Sandberg. I grew up a Cubs fan; I've been to more Cubs games at Wrigley than I have Dodgers, Yankees or Mets games. It's awesome that the show's set in Chicago. I've been pitching to everyone that we need to do a Cubs episode.

WCT: Something else that's pretty fun is that one of the characters is gay [ Max ] —but he's no stereotype.

Zach Knighton: Yeah. I love everyone but I'm particularly a big fan of Max because I have a lot of gay friends, but he's not stereotypically gay. They like to pretend sometimes, though. However, what I think we do [ on the show ] is represent that world in a much more natural way than most television shows do, and I know the gay community appreciates that. I know my gay friends appreciate it. I'm like, "How did it take so long to have a television show with a gay character who doesn't dress like RuPaul?"

WCT: No offense to RuPaul...

Zach Knighton: Oh, no. I love RuPaul. It's just that there are all kinds of people; there are flamboyant straight people. Adam Pally [ who plays Max ] has brought such great life to that character. I love what he does on that show.

WCT: I just saw the episode "Max's Beard" [ where Max comes out to his parents ] again—and you kiss Max, too.

Zach Knighton: I've kissed everyone on that show, except Damon [ Wayans Jr. ] . I recently had an episode where everyone had a sex dream about me, so I got to make out with everyone from the show; that was pretty funny.

WCT: Speaking of Damon, his father [ comic actor Damon Wayans ] has been on the show, right?

Zach Knighton: Yes, he was on last season. It was pretty cool; Damon Wayans Sr. was iconic for me. In Living Color was one of my favorite shows when I was a teenager. Just having him on was like working with a legend—and, of course, he was perfect as Damon Jr.'s dad.

WCT: You were also in [ the gay-themed film ] The Mudge Boy, which is a pretty heavy drama.

Zach Knighton: That was a big movie. It won several awards, and did really well in the gay community. That was one of my first movies when I just started in New York. I was about 21 or so. I haven't seen that movie in years; it'd be interesting to go back and take a look at it.

WCT: So which is tougher to do: comedy or drama?

Zach Knighton: They're really two different beasts. Comedy is definitely, I feel, way more technical; there's so much timing with setting up jokes. If I had to say that one was more difficult, I'd say comedy. But just in general, you can't lie in front of the camera—and in comedy, you have to be really honest.

WCT: The chemistry among the Happy Endings cast is pretty undeniable. What do you attribute it to?

Zach Knighton: It really is undeniable. I think the show came at the right time for everybody. This was my ninth pilot and my third series; I never had a show go to a second season. I was coming off of FlashForward, and ABC offered me this show. I mean, the writing was on the wall. I'd been down this road and I wasn't sure I was going to continue in this business.

I can't speak for the rest [ of the cast ] , but it seems like we were in that mindset. We really came together and tried to make the best thing we could without any promotion. They put us on the spring, burning us off two episodes at a time. It was really destined for failure. The fact that people discovered the show is kind of a small miracle, really.

WCT: You mentioned FlashForward. To me, that show started with such promise. Do you have any idea what happened?

Zach Knighton: I think the pilot was amazing. I think maybe they focused too much on the couple during the second and third episodes—too much on the cheating thing instead of the adventure and the sci-fi. [ Also, ] creatively there was some tension between the creator and the network; when that happens, things start to fall apart. It's no secret that the creator left halfway through the first season.

I had a great ride, though. I liked the character I played and I had a nice arc that season. It did a lot for me, professionally. People still come up to me about that show, which is a great feeling. A guy came up to me on the plane yesterday and said it's still his favorite show ever. But [ Happy Endings ] is a ride, and a whole lot of fun.

WCT: You also said you weren't sure you'd stay an actor. What career would you have, alternatively?

Zach Knighton: I've got a great love of the ocean. I've always thought that I'd be working at some sort of marine conservancy. All of my classes were, like, oceanography. I'm an avid surfer, and I just love water. I have a sailboat, and I'm a licensed captain. I still may do the marine thing; if I get a good seven or eight years with [ this show, ] who knows?

But I also like directing. If I stick around L.A., I'd love to direct. I'm going to start lobbying to direct episodes of this show. I feel like I'm evolving toward being behind the camera.

WCT: What about directing appeals to you?

Zach Knighton: I love the idea of putting the whole picture together and telling a story. I love the technical aspects and the multitasking, as well as being collaborative with the crew and the actors. I just did this webisode for the show; I directed one of those, and that was a really fun experience.

WCT: It seems that over the years, the definition of "celebrity" has changed, thanks [ largely ] to reality shows. Now, it seems anyone can be famous. Do you watch reality shows?

Zach Knighton: Honestly, I think they're contributing to the downfall of our society. I've got a little daughter, and the idea of her emulating these people on TV who get famous with sex tapes... I don't even know why half of them are famous. I'm sure they're perfectly nice people. I just think these shows are contributing to the end of our society, culturally speaking. People would prefer to watch [ these shows ] instead of going to the Met [ Metropolitan Museum of Art ] and checking out some art. That's a sign that we're in trouble, culturally.

WCT: Is there anything you wanted to add?

Zach Knighton: I can say—to you guys, especially—that I'm a big advocate for marriage equality. It's a really important time in our society right now, and vote. I'm preaching to the choir right here, but I think we're on the precipice of letting the dark side win. When my friends are told they can't love the way I love my wife, it angers me.

Happy Endings airs on ABC Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. CT. See for more information.

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

TELEVISION Series continues to examine transgender people's lives 2018-05-22 - In 2004, Dr. Bruce Hensel hosted and co-directed The Opposite Sex: Rene's Story and The Opposite Sex: Jamie's Story—two series that looked at ...

Gay News

'Queer Eye' co-host helps Lowe's, GE roll out product line 2018-05-22 - Design specialist and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy star Bobby Berk pulled into Chicago on May 16 to help Lowe's Home Improvement/Hardware ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Donald Glover, Adore Delano, Jason Statham, Jennifer Aniston 2018-05-22 - Donald Glover has backed suggestions that his Star Wars character is pansexual—despite a reported zero same-sex interactions on screen, according to PinkNews. Fans ...

Gay News

Annual GLAAD film report finds alarming drop in LGBTQ characters 2018-05-22 - Los Angeles, CA — GLAAD, the world's largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, today released its sixth annual Studio Responsibility Index ( SRI ), ...

Gay News

NUNN ON ONE TV Transgender actor Marquise Vilson talks pivotal 'SVU' episode 2018-05-09 - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit recently introduced a storyline surrounding transgender people serving in the military. Titled "Service," the episode involved ...

Gay News

29th annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York includes groundbreaking speeches 2018-05-07 - New York, NY, Monday, May 7, 2018 — GLAAD, the world's largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, honored Ava DuVernay, Samira Wiley, and outstanding ...

Gay News

Weather Channel to offer chance for kids 2018-05-07 - The Weather Channel, in partnership with Lands' End, has launched their Mini Meteorologist Contest. From now through May 21, kids between 6 and ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Tales of the City,' Kehlani, Bradley Cooper, Cosby fallout 2018-05-02 - Netflix has ordered a 10-episode limited series revival of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City, and production is expected to start later this ...

Gay News

NUNN ON ONE: TELEVISION Mishel Prada of 'Vida' on boundary-pushing show 2018-04-30 - Starz series Vida is breaking down borders with its depiction of the LGBT community. Based on the book Pour Vida by Richard ...

Gay News

GLAAD Media Awards honors Spears, Parsons 2018-04-18 - The GLAAD Media Awards took place April 12 in Los Angeles, with comedian/actress Wanda Sykes as host. GLAAD honored Britney Spears, Jim Parsons ...


Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.