Q&A: Gay Activist and Comedian Del Shores

A producer of Queer as Folk on Showtime, author and director of the Sordid Lives play, film, and television series, and passionate civil rights activist, Del Shores is touring with his second stand-up routine, Del Shores: Sordid Confessions. Knoxville and Nashville are both tour dates, and Shores admits that's because it puts him in range of his antagonist, Tennessee state Sen. Stacey Campfield.

Does this show relate at all to the time a few months ago when you tried to debate Stacey Campfield about his anti-LGBT legislation and had all those Facebook exchanges with him?

This is pure stand-up, a show I'm touring with. It's 75 minutes of me just talking. I'm now off the antidepressants and don't really give a shit—no pills anymore, so I'm back to being mean and a little bitter.

What will you talk about?

I love to talk about the Palins, that's a good subject. Now that Bristol has her memoir out at age 21, I have to acknowledge that. And I love reading the letters I get from people who don't like me, and religious ones, and fans of celebrities I have said mean things about. I let the audience in on the letters and their responses.

Can you give me an example?

Well, I was a producer for Queer as Folk, and in my last stand-up show I called [cast member] Randy Harrison an ungrateful little shit. Both of his fans started writing me hate letters, and I felt compelled to write back.

What about Stacey Campfield, sharing letters from him?

I could. But here's the deal. I challenged him to a debate and he did everything he could to make it not happen. He basically asked me for $1,000 to appear, which is an ethics violation, which may have consequences later. But I've decided instead of debating him, since I know I can't change his mind, that now, the night I play Knoxville, I am challenging him to oil wrestling. I think he will be more comfortable with that.

Would he win, or you?

Me. I come from white trash.

Don't you live in Los Angeles?

I'm from Texas originally, and you never lose the title. I grew up around a lot of rednecks who wrestle. And I am one angry homosexual.

Are you just asking him through this interview, or for real?

I'm sending him a note since we're such good friends on Facebook. I do know he stalks my fan page, since he actually writes my fans. He's such a juvenile red-headed stepchild. He makes Tennessee look bad and he's not even from Tennessee. We've got some work to do in Tennessee on gay rights. The last bill signed by Haslam saying cities can't pass bills to protect gay employees, that's rather ridiculous. On my blog, I have a F--k You of the Day and I believe several Republican politicians and the governor of Tennessee have been featured.

That's strong language.

Honest, I'm tired of being politically right. I'm not an A-gay, who does everything by the book, because I don't think that's the most effective way of fighting the fight. I'm tired, I'm angry.

Your earlier stand-up show, what was it called?

Del Shores My Sordid Life. And I wrote and directed the play and independent film Sordid Lives, which became Sordid Lives: The Series. I know if I use sordid in all my titles, I'll have a bigger audience. It really is a brand. I just filmed a DVD and it's for sale at sordidlivestheseries.com. I just released it a week ago, it's not even in the stores until August.

How long have you been married?

This time? I was married to a woman, and we have two awesome daughters. Jason Dottley and I have been legally married since Oct. 21, 2008, and we had our own ceremony the same date in 2003. Wait. I got that wrong. It was Oct. 26. I do have a few straight-men qualities, like not remembering anniversaries and my handwriting. We love being married, and loved that we got to get married legally. I feel badly that a lot of our brothers and sisters can't get married. We got under the wire, drew a loophole—but we'll get California back, now that they exposed the f--king Mormons who overturned Prop 8.

So, Stacey Campfield—no love lost there.

First of all, he's a roach. He doesn't discuss things on an intelligent level and he's trying to eliminate history. When we were exchanging on Facebook, I think he might have had a little crush on me. How many straight men continue to engage with gay men on Facebook? He wrote me 40 times.

Do you have any positive associations with Tennessee?

Leslie Jordan, who played "Brother Boy" in Sordid Lives and the series, he is from Chattanooga. And I love, love, love Dale Dickey. She's starred in 10 of my projects and is one of my best friends. She's also the star of my new movie, Trials and Tribulations.