Logo TV is throwing its hat into the late-night comedy news and pop-culture commentary ring with its new series “The Straight Out Report.”
The show, which premiered Nov. 7, pairs up openly gay comedic actor Stephen Guarino and straight comedian and co-host Mike E. Winfield to inject their insights on the cultural highs and lows of the week.
Guarino said, before the show, he had never worked with Winfield.
“I did a traditional audition through the casting office and then they whittled down the gay guys to just two of us,” he said. “We read with nine guys, including Mike, and I think they thought the best chemistry was with Mike and me. We had never met before that audition, but Mike is a great guy.”
While both Guarino and Winfield are experienced stage performers, Guarino said his professional background is more grounded in sketch comedy than standup.
“I started out in sketch and improv in New York and I was on ‘Big Gay Sketch Show’ for Logo,” he said. “Then I did sketch comedy for CBS for a couple of shows that never quite got off the ground. I have done standup but only for gay stuff like gay shows and gay cruises. Mike is super-traditional, on the road all the time doing all kinds of clubs. That’s not quite my scene. I’m a character person. Being myself is just not interesting.”
Guarino said that a lot of the charm of “The Straight Out Report” comes from how well his and Winfield’s different approaches to comedy work together.
“He’s painfully sincere,” Guarino said about Winfield. “He’s so open and thoughtful and sweet. He’s not really sarcastic. He says what he means. My style is all smoke and mirrors. I’m usually saying the opposite of what I mean and I’m deflecting with comedy. Neither of us is really mean-spirited but he has a sincerity that I don’t have, which makes for a nice mix. People seem to really like it. They enjoy the fast pace. It’s fast, funny, topical and relevant.”
“The Straight Out Report” is one of a number of projects on the air for Guarino, who recent reprised the role of Derrick, the “stereotypical gay friend” of the group of friends on the sitcom “Happy Endings” on the new sitcom by the same creators, “Marry Me.”
Guarino joked that the number of TV projects he’s involved in only gives the illusion of his career looking busy.
“The key to my success is always look busy but I only work 17 actual days out of the year,” he said. “So I’m basically available. People keep saying, ‘Man, what a year!’ I’m like, yes it’s true. It took days to accomplish. But it’s been a great year for me in television.”
Guarino added that, while his guest appearance on “Marry Me” was an inside joke, it might turn into a recurring role.
“It’s just a one-off for the moment, an inside joke for ‘Happy Endings’ fans,” he said. “But the response was so insane from it that I have a sneaking suspicion they will have me back. They were just testing the waters because they were trying to get away from ‘Happy Endings’ to a certain degree, but I think it might work out in my favor.”
The Straight Out Report” airs Fridays at 10 p.m. on Logo. For more information visit www.logotv.com.