Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-03-16



Anthony Azizi: 'Commander' Performance
by Andrew Davis

This article shared 2962 times since Sat Apr 1, 2006
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

The name Anthony Azizi may not stand out, but he appears before millions as Vince Taylor, the female President's gay, HIV-positive chief of staff on the Geena Davis-helmed ABC series Commander in Chief. Recently, the very outspoken Brooklyn-raised Iranian talked about his role, advertising, and Brokeback Mountain.

Windy City Times/Identity: Anthony, I hear this is your day off.

Anthony Azizi: Well, actually, we have a few days off because we're trying to revamp our schedule. There have been a lot of changes since they've changed from Rod Lurie to Steven Bochco [ running the show ] . We go back on the air on April. [ Note: Script writer Dee Johnson is now running the show, according to Entertainment Weekly. Bochco remains an executive producer. ]

WCT: Is it tough dealing with so much uncertainty?

AA: Yeah. When we came out of the box, we were the No. 1 show on Tuesday nights, averaging about 16 million people. ( Before our hiatus, we had about 11 million watching. ) Rod Lurie had to step down—and whenever the show's creator steps away, something can happen to the show. Then there was anxiety over what would happen with the show. But, yeah, it's a tough game.

WCT: Do you think that people put too much emphasis on ratings and not enough on quality? I'm thinking of shows like Arrested Development, which has been cancelled.

AA: Well, I think the ratings system is defunct. Nielsen is a joke—and you can print that. Now, Nielsen is on the verge of being racially corrupt; it doesn't take [ minorities ] into account. I think the ratings are way off, anyway.

You could [ link ] every single home in America but some people would see that as an invasion of privacy. But I think that would be a truer way of finding out what people watch.

Also, [ centering on ] the 18-year-old demographic is a joke. When I was 18, I was broke, you know what I mean? Most people who buy are in their 30s and 40s. You see a Jaguar or Range Rover commercial ... how many 18-year-olds ( or 27-year-olds, for that matter ) do you see driving those? The whole ad system is nonsense.

Just because a show has good ratings doesn't mean it's a good show. Six Feet Under was a great show and it only had like three or four million watching a week.

What is 'Must See TV' all about? The only 'must' there was came from the musty smell of how bad these shows are. I have problems with TV because I'm involved with it. People should watch shows that are good, like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

WCT: Let's talk about your character. I understand that, at first, you didn't know that you character would be gay or HIV-positive. What have you learned from portraying this character?

AA: No, I didn't know that.

I know what's right—and what's right is that we have to learn how to love each other. You have no right to put someone down for their differences.

A guy walked into a [ gay bar ] in Massachusetts a few weeks ago and chopped up people. This is ridiculous, man. It's 2006. We need to love each other because of our differences. I learned that I can talk about those principles I believe in so much.

I've lost seven close friends to AIDS. My wife [ Cymbeline Smith ] is from Zimbabwe, which has the highest rate of HIV infection in Africa. It's a very personal thing that my character's HIV-positive—and that he's Palestinian. I'm able to address a lot of issues. I could bring up lots of things at the beginning of the season; hopefully, things will go back to that.

It's about taking people and loving them. My culture is really bad with [ being intolerant of HIV-positive individuals ] . In certain countries, they still kill and arrest people for their sexual orientation. That is bullshit.

WCT: [ Recently, ] a young woman was stoned in South Africa because she said she was lesbian.

AA: This is outrageous and we have to speak up! I'm not scared of these people and I'll speak up. You cannot justify that kind of behavior. It's indecent. If you want to bring in religion, God is the ultimate judge of someone's behavior.

WCT: What kind of feedback do you get on the street from people?

AA: Unfortunately, people haven't been taking note of the character because [ Vince ] hasn't been addressing issues since Steven Bochco took over. However, at first, the gay community was pretty excited; we even got a GLAAD nomination. My character has been dumbed down. That's their decision; however, as an artist, I was kind of upset about that.

WCT: What would you like to see happen with your character?

AA: I would like him to be active in the President's decisions. Now, I'm more like someone who's getting her coffee.

WCT: You're saying it's like he's been neutered, in a sense.

AA: Exactly. What a beautiful word you just used, Andrew. When they took the storyline away, it's like they weakened him and took away what his character is about.

I'd [ also ] like to see more about his personal life. They introduced my boyfriend but my boyfriend never came on the show.

WCT: Speaking of gay, did you see Brokeback Mountain?

AA: Yeah, but I didn't feel the hype. I didn't feel that those two guys loved each other; it felt like lust. They didn't seem like soulmates. What would've have [ convinced ] me is if they left their families. The fact that they stayed with the families showed me that their love wasn't that deep.

WCT: I thought it was a good film ... but Crash seemed to be better. [ Note: This conversation took place before the 2006 Academy Awards. ]

AA: Oh my God! What the hell is going on? We're on the same page, Andrew! I agree 100 percent. Also, I thought Transamerica was better than Brokeback Mountain. I don't understand the hype around Brokeback.

WCT: Who's been your favorite person to work with?

AA: I've worked with both Sutherlands, Donald and Kiefer. Donald is a legend. He has done so many different projects; he's a screen icon for the right reasons.

Geena is great and so is George Clooney. I worked with him in the movie Three Kings and George is such an outstanding man. Tim Curry is fun to work with; I also like Peter Coyote.

I had a series with Jamie Denton [ from TV's Desperate Housewives ] called Threat Matrix; I love working with him.

WCT: You've been on two of my favorite shows: Gilmore Girls and The Shield.

AA: Gilmore Girls is great. The relationship between [ the mother and daughter ] is great.

WCT: Who do you want to work with?

AA: I really want to work with [ director ] Spike Lee. I would do anything for him.

Also, I'd like to work with Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep. Actually, Meryl's brother was my math teacher growing up. She visited us but I didn't know who she really was. Working with Ben Kingsley would be great, too. He's loco, man.

This article shared 2962 times since Sat Apr 1, 2006
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Gay News

TELEVISION Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson and others to exit 'SNL' 2022-05-20
- In a major shake-up on the long-running hit Saturday Night Live (or SNL), several of the main stars are leaving—including out cast member Kate McKinnon, Deadline reported. McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney and Pete Davidson (who's ...

Gay News

TV Writer Joel Kim Booster, director Andrew Ahn take a trip to 'Fire Island' 2022-05-15
- Based on the classic Jane Austen book Pride and Prejudice, the new Fox Searchlight film Fire Island has an important story to tell LGBTQ+ audiences specifically. In that story, there are plenty of laughs along the ...

Gay News

COMEDY Netflix holds 'Stand Out: An LGBTQ+ Celebration' 2022-05-09
- On May 7, Billy Eichner hosted Netflix Is A Joke: The Festival's "Stand Out: An LGBTQ+ Celebration" at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. The historic celebration featured LGBTQ+ comedy legends and emerging talent. Highlights included ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Hacks,' 'Love, Victor,' Indy 500, Ariana DeBose, queer singers 2022-05-08
- Queer, non-binary actor Carl Clemons-Hopkins (they/them and he/him) told Out Magazine he is elated with the warm reception received by the show Hacks and his character. "When I started in this years and years ago, there ...

Gay News

'Queen of the Universe' winner Grag Queen in Chicago on June 3 and 19 2022-05-07
- Grag Queen—the Brazilian drag queen who won the reality-competition show Queen of the Universe, and who just released her first English-language single, "You Betta"—will be in Chicago twice next month. ...

Gay News

TELEVISION Peacock cancels rebooted 'Saved by the Bell' 2022-05-05
- Only a month after the reboot of the classic NBC comedy Saved by the Bell won Outstanding Comedy Series at the GLAAD Media Awards, Peacock has canceled the show after two seasons, Deadline reported. The second ...

Gay News

Chappelle attacked at Netflix event; man charged with misdemeanors [UPDATES] 2022-05-04
- Social media exploded overnight on May 3 with reports that comedian Dave Chappelle was attacked at his Hollywood Bowl Show, which was a part of the Netflix Is a Joke Festival, according to Deadline. Apparently, Chappelle ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Broadway Rising,' Webby Awards, 'Kinky Boots,' Tom Ford 2022-05-01
- The upcoming documentary Broadway Rising will have its world premiere on June 13 at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival, Playbill noted. The documentary follows theater subjects—ranging from stage doorman to actors—on their journeys back to the ...

Gay News

DeGeneres shares message after taping final talk-show episode 2022-04-30
- An era has ended as The Ellen Show has officially wrapped its last episode. According to Variety, Ellen DeGeneres announced on an April 29 Twitter thread that her daytime talk show concluded filming its final episode. ...

Gay News

TV The CW cancels 'Batwoman,' 'Legends of Tomorrow' 2022-04-30
- The CW has axed the LGBTQ+-inclusive DC Arrowverse shows Batwoman and DC's Legends of Tomorrow. According to Out Magazine, Batwoman—canceled after just three seasons—introduced the world to lesbian superhero Ryan ...

Gay News

FILM/TV New 'Drag Race All Stars' to only feature previous winners 2022-04-13
- In a watershed moment in "RuPaul's Drag Race" history (or herstory), all eight returning queens on season seven of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars have won previous seasons of "Drag Race" or "All Stars," Variety noted. ...

Gay News

Judith Light to receive GLAAD's Excellence in Media Award 2022-04-12
- GLAAD announced that multiple Tony- and Emmy-winning actress, producer and activist Judith Light will receive the Excellence in Media Award that will be presented by queer performer and Oscar winner Ariana DeBose at the 33rd Annual ...

Gay News

Mary Lynn Rajskub: Actress/comedian discusses acting, sexuality in new book 2022-04-10
- Emmy-winning actresses and stand-up comedians who just finished publishing their new memoirs, while simultaneously embarking on their stand-up tours, rarely have moments to themselves. Thankfully, Mary Lynn Rajskub, best known for her work on the TV ...

Gay News

'RuPaul's Drag Race British Invasion' show in Chicago on May 21 2022-04-05
- The queens of RuPaul's Drag Race UK are coming to the United States this May for a week of live shows in six major cities. Produced by Voss Events and World of Wonder, RuPaul's Drag Race British Invasion will launch May ...

Gay News

33rd Annual GLAAD awards take place; award recipients include 'Drag Race,' 'Hacks,' Mj Rodriguez 2022-04-04
-- From a press release - Los Angeles - Sunday, April 3—GLAAD announced recipients for 16 of this year's 30 categories for the 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards. Kacey Musgraves received the Vanguard Award from Ben Platt, and Michaela Jaé Rodriguez received ...


Copyright © 2022 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      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.