Q&A: Alec Mapa

The comedian talks to us about his upcoming appearance in Philly during QComedy


Photos courtesy of Alec Mapa

Yep, he’s “gaysian.” Actor and comedian Alec Mapa has been tripping our pop culture gaydar (happily so) for years, appearing in a long list of movies, TV shows and specials, including recurring roles on gay-friendly hits like Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty.

But looking at him in his school-boy-style getups, you’d never know he’s been in the Hollywood business for more than 20 years. We first got a taste of his talents on Broadway in M. Butterfly, and later on 40 TV shows – including Roseanne – and as the first gay Asian character on the short-lived CBS sitcom Some of My Best Friends.

As he gets ready for his return to Philly next month during the new LGBT laugh fest QComedy (Oct. 15) we talked to Mapa about what he likes about our town (Hint: It’s all about the food and the guys), what it’s like being a baby daddy and why he always seems to be mistaken…for the caterer?

You’ve spent quite a bit of time in Philly over the years, yes?

I’ve been to Philly a lot of times and I always love it. I’ve done an HRC dinner here, I was a guest of Outfest and I performed for Pride.

Anything you like best about this town?

The energy of the city is always so wonderful because I can tell that people really love living there and are very proud to be Philadelphians. I’m prepared for smart, unpretentious audiences, really hot guys and really amazing food. I’ve never had a bad meal in Philadelphia. Did I mention that I think the men in Philadelphia are really hot? I just think that everyone in Philly looks like themselves. They’re not trying to be anybody else. That’s sexy. I’m also preparing to eat everything in the Reading Terminal Market. It’s one of my favorite places. On earth.

What are some of the topics on your mind these days?

My husband and I adopted a five-year-old boy last year, so he pretty much dominates my mental landscape these days. It kind of baffles me that getting married and starting a family is the most conservative thing a person can do in this country, unless you’re an LGBT person. If you’re gay and want to get married and have kids you’re a threat to the future of mankind. I’ve written enough material on my son and husband for an entirely new show which I premiered in New York City last week. It’s called “Baby Daddy.” I will be doing tons of material from that.

Your IMBD rap sheet reads like, well, Lindsay Lohan’s prison record – it’s looong. What’s been your favorite role to date?

Golly. I spent four seasons on two different sitcoms, one was called Half and Half and the other was Ugly Betty. In one I played a wisecracking secretary and in the other I played a wisecracking fashion reporter. I was perfectly content at both jobs. To me, a role is just as much about the workplace and co-workers than it is about the role. On both of those shows I made friends that I’m still friends with today.

Any celebrity you wish you could work with?

I would love the opportunity to have an onscreen catfight with Joan Collins. She’d probably kick my ass, but it’d be fun to watch, don’t you think?

Absolutely! Any celeb you’ve avoided after making a joke about him or her?

Not yet. There’s a certain advantage to being a little Asian person. It’s easier to fly under the radar at a glitzy party. Everyone usually thinks I’m a caterer.

Are you ever confused for another famous person?

If you’re Asian and you’ve been on TV, I’ve probably been mistaken for you. I always get Bobby Lee from Mad TV or Rex Lee from Entourage. We all think it’s bananas because we’re like, “They really do think we all look alike.” If there’s an Asian homosexual who’s ever been a contestant on Project Runway any season, I’ll often get mistaken for him, as well.

Well, we’d recognize you for being very candid in your standup. But what’s something people might be surprised to find out about you?

I am very shy. In any social situation I’m, like, a cast member at Disneyland. I take a deep breath before I walk onstage and make an effort to be friendlier and more personal than I actually am.

Funniest knock-knock joke?

This is my son’s favorite: Knock Knock. Who’s There? Interrupting Cow. Interrupting Cow Wh… Mooo!

Alec Mapa at QComedy, Oct. 15, 9 p.m., Voyeur, 1221 St. James St., 215-735-5772.