GLAAD Video Interview: Jesse Tyler Ferguson talks new podcast “Gay Pride & Prejudice,” fatherhood, his “Take Me Out” Tony nomination and why Broadway is a “sacred space”

By Allison Bloom, Communications Consultant GLAAD.org  | May 23, 2022

Multiple Emmy and first time Tony nominee, Jesse Tyler Ferguson is opening up in a new interview with GLAAD’s Anthony Allen Ramos to talk his new podcast series titled Gay Pride and Prejudice and his curren run in 

Take Me Out on Broadway.

Gay Pride and Prejudice drops May 25 on Spotify and is a new take on the classic Jane Austen novel: the year is 2015 and same sex marriage has just been legalized. With all of the modern and comedic twists and turns the series will take, Ferguson says that “fans of Jane Austen are going to be surprised at how faithful to the novel we are.”

Serving as both an executive producer and a star of the series, Ferguson says he knew they had something great on their hands when his friend Zachary Grady presented him with the idea back in 2020. Ferguson says he thinks that adaptations like these work so well because Jane Austen’s “writing really lends itself to interpretation.”

With an almost entirely queer cast, including names like Rosie O’Donell, Sherry Cola, Blake Lee, Maulik Pancholy, and so many more, this weekly podcast series is great to get in to Pride spirit a bit early.

The Tony nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Play marks Ferguson’s 25th year working as an actor in New York. He reflects on why the nomination means so much to him and says that he was inspired by so many whom he now gets to work alongside.  “I watched Audra McDonald receive her first Tony Award on television and now I’m friends with her. I got a ‘congratulations’ text from her.” 

“There’s no one more open and willing to embrace new people than the theater community.” Ferguson shares. “I’ve been very fortunate to work with a lot of my heroes. My peers are my heroes and my heroes are my peers,” he continues. 

But finding out about his nomination was definitely a less than glamorous moment.  Ferguson tells Ramos that he was sick in bed when he heard the good news. “I think I double dosed on Nyquil and was awoken by (my husband) Justin who was giving me the good news. And then I went back to sleep and of course thought I had dreamed the whole thing,” he says. 

Take Me Out tells the story of a professional baseball player who comes out as gay. 

Ferguson talks about working alongside another “Jesse,” Jesse Williams, who is making his Broadway debut. His work is “breathtaking,” says Ferguson. 

“He’s really new to all of it and it’s charming.” Ferguson says adding that Williams had to ask if the Tony Awards were “the kind of thing people get dressed up for?” 

Ferguson also talked about the importance of respecting actors on stage in light of a recent incident where an audience member took and posted photos on social media of Williams nude on stage. “It takes a lot of bravery to be that vulnerable on stage.” He said. “My heart broke for him [when] that happened. Just because he’s on stage doing this, doesn’t mean it’s something that needs to be on the internet. The theater is a sacred space,” he says. 

Ferguson and his husband Justin Mikita recently welcomed their first child, Beckett into the world during the pandemic. He says that “being a dad is a full time job that I’m enjoying very much.”

Ferguson also shares another sweet story where he was running errands one day and decided to bring his son by the Take Me Out theater.  “He was shocked that Papa was on the side of a building,” he says. Ferguson quickly puts it into perspective and says that his son’s excitement for the posters didn’t compare to his love for the episode of Sesame Street Ferguson guest starred on alongside Cookie Monster. “Now he asks for that clip everyday!” he says. 

You can listen to Gay Pride and Prejudice on Spotify starting May 25th and if you are in the New York area you can see Take Me Out on Broadway until June 11.