Only be in showbiz if you have a need to do it. So many people want to be in the industry and don’t realize the the psychological toll it takes on you as a human being. If you can do anything else and be happy, do it. For me, it’s my passion and my longest relationship. I’m a journeyman actor and comedian. So, for me there was never a choice.
As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Jason Stuart. Born in the Bronx and raised in Los Angeles, Jason Stuart has been working professionally as an actor and comedian for thirty years, ultimately making a name for himself when a personal decision — to finally publically acknowledge his identity as a gay man — gave him some prominence in an era when many performers remained closeted. Nearly twenty-five years later, Jason admits that being gay is only a small part of his identity, and he has transcended any sort of label through his increasingly impressive range of dramatic work far removed from his success as a stand-up comedian. Acting alongside Armie Hammer and Jackie Earle Haley as one of the brutal plantation owners in Nate Parker’s searing drama “The Birth of a Nation” showed the world that Stuart’s talent is formidable. That’s not to say that he isn’t hilarious — and still evolving as a performer and as a human being hoping to make the world a better place. Talking with Jason Stuart offers the perspective of a master of his craft and insider who knows all too well what it means to be “that guy” that every project needs. He talks about his life and work in his memoir “Shut Up, I’m Talking” due out this summer.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up in the Fairfax area of Hollywood, Ca. I come from a crazy Jewish family. We were what I call “weekend Jews.” If there…