Comedian and actor Billy Crystal spoke to a crowd at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, California over the weekend, where he revealed he believes modern gay scenes in television are “pushing it.”
“Sometimes I think: ‘Ah that’s too much for me,’” Crystal said of modern LBGT characters in television, during a panel discussion for his new FX series The Comedians.
Sometimes, it’s just pushing it a little too far for my taste and I’m not going to reveal to you which ones they are. I hope people don’t abuse it and shove it in our face to the point where it feels like an every-day kind of thing.
Crystal, who played one of TV’s first unambiguous recurring gay characters, as Jodie Dallas on the 1970s sitcom Soap, also spoke of his experiences portraying a homosexual man in the show:
“It was very difficult at the time,” he said. “Jodie was really the first recurring gay character on network television and it was a different time, it was 1977. So, yeah, it was awkward. It was tough.”
He added, “I did it in front of a live audience and there were times when I would say to Bob [Seagren], ‘I love you,’ and the audience would laugh nervously. I wanted to stop the taping and go, ‘What is your problem?’”
Crystal appeared as Jodie Dallas in 73 episodes of Soap, from 1977-1981.
Watch Billy Crystal’s portrayal of a gay man in ABC’s Soap: