Hey Michael, 

I’m the guy from Duke University/UCB that you talked to on Friday at the Blue Boar. Since talking to you I’ve followed your advice by not fucking anybody in the comedy world and so far it’s going great. It was fun hearing gossip and an honest perspective about UCB, and I’d love to pick your brain again about how one goes about turning comedy and song writing into a career.


Hey Rick,

It was fun talking to you, too.

So, yeah, don’t fuck any comics. I’ve watched a few of my friends date themselves out of career options when relationships with other comics go bad. One friend in particular springs to mind. She’d had so many failed relationships with UCB comics that there were few teams at the NYC theater who would have her perform with them. Politics, politics…  She’s still successful in her own right, but for my money I’d do it differently.

Aside from that, my only other advice is keep going. And, don’t just improvise. Write jokes. Write sketches. Write pilots and spec scripts. You never know when you’ll meet the person who can put your script in the right hands. Also, just keep writing and performing as much as possible. That sounds cliche but it’s true. Keep at it.

I hope this helps, and please invite me to your shows?


Dear Michael,

You may not remember, but about two and a half years ago, I wrote you about being in the closet at the Naval Academy. I just wanted to say thank you so much for the advice you gave me to stick it out. Soon after you posted your response, I started to come out and the response was mixed but mostly good. My last two years at school were much better since I wasn’t worried about people finding out about my sexuality and I actually found a great group of friends who were either out or in the process of coming out. This past May, my boyfriend and I graduated from Annapolis and started our careers as officers. I am so glad that I decided to stay and just wanted to again say thanks for helping me make that decision.
Thanks, Brad.
It isn’t very frequent I get a follow up from one of my advice letters, and it’s nice to know I didn’t steer you in a disastrous direction. You and your boyfriend sound totally adorable and everyone in the world must be jealous when you two arrive at a military function in dress uniforms, holding hands. In fact, I’m picturing that right now, and I’m wondering if you two would like to come photograph for the blog in uniform?
Thanks for coming out of the closet. It’s important we stay visible, since the world needs positive gay role models. You boys are an inspiration.


photos by allison michael orenstein

Hi there,

I was bumming around on the internet and found a link to your entirely amazing blog. My plan of heading to the library and working collapsed completely as I got more and more dragged into your site. It’s now half past 5 in the evening in the UK and the only time I have left my bed is to get a pint of sugar and caffeine just so I could read yet still more of your blog.

I am not normally the sort to get vocal at what happens to gay people, despite being a politically active gay man. I have other causes that I spend most of my waking hours working on, and tend to leave the LGBT fight to others. But this week has been different. The Pope ragged all over us, Canada just tried to effectively divorce thousands of gay couples and a young boy in London has been made homeless because Facebook outed him to his parents. I was at a low ebb frankly. And then I found your blog.

The pies, dates and NY city life are hilarious and wonderful enough, but when you talk about shame and alienation, you talk directly to my own thoughts and feelings. We need more and more people like you at the head of our communities around the world, inspiring young gays to challenge the worlds around them, and yet remember their humanity. When you talked about respect needing to be the opening of dialogue and the formation of a better society, you spoke absolute truth. To find absolute truth anywhere is rare enough, but for it to be surrounded by wit, hot boys and some tasty looking pies is amazing. Though perhaps, it’s more inherent in day-to-day life than anywhere else.

Anyway. Please keep spreading the good word. I can only hope that you, your band and your blog are seen by more and more people. You are much needed. 
With love from across the Atlantic,
(You wanker – I am British after all…)
Dear Jez,
Normally I don’t publish letters of praise, but to be honest I was having a rotten day and this particular correspondence really turned things around for me in a major way.  Thanks for the words of kindness and affection.  I’m sure I don’t deserve the praise you’ve heaped upon me – but I’ll take it anyway, if just for today, because I need a lift.
So – thanks for that.  You really made a difference.
I’m glad you agree with me – that mutual respect is crucial to an open line of communication with each other – whether we’re dealing with members of our own community, or reaching out to another one.  I’m glad, too, that you realize the importance of living without shame.  So much negativity and internalized homophobia seems to haunt our motley, diverse community – and so much of that is pointless.
If we could learn to stop feeling ashamed of ourselves, maybe we could stop pointing fingers at one another and start a more optimistic dialogue.  One based on love and brotherhood.  Acceptance.
It’s ironic.  So many Gays are quick to find fault with each other for the most minor things.  I wonder if these are the same Gays that rush to celebrate when the government begrudgingly admits that we are indeed human, and can now serve in the military?  I wonder if these Gays can see the truth behind battles like marriage equality?  Do they see that when the government ‘grants’ our right to marry, they’re actually tacitly admitting that they’ve been oppressing us for hundreds of years, and that they’ve been wrong to do so?
I guess my point is, maybe some of that internalized Gay anger is misplaced?
Wow.  I’m off on a tangent, now.
I’m glad you found my blog stimulating, and I’m glad that you agree with me – that we could all do to live with a little more respect and a little less shame in our lives.  That probably applies to straight people too, come to think of it.  Jez, thanks for writing in – you really made my day.


photos by eryc perez de tagle

My name Crissy and I’ve been reading your blog for sometime now.
I was thinking about sending you an email for some time now and telling you how entertaining I found your blog to be, but I didn’t because I didn’t think you would want to talk to a girl.

However, I was reading your recent post on Danger Pin and it inspired me. I’m 5’10” like Sam and it’s hard being so tall. I own heels but I never wear them because I don’t want to be taller than I already am. Also, people make fun of me because of my height and I wish that I could be shorter sometimes. Recently I’ve been more accepting of my height because of looking at models. Then I read your post and it made me feel even better. So thanks! 😀
Crissy —x

Thanks for writing in, Crissy.  I wouldn’t want to talk to girls?  Nah.  I like girls a bunch.

I think we all have some major body issue to overcome at some point.  Here’s my advice:

Wear your heels.  You’re magnificent and impressive.  The people who don’t think so? They are not your real friends.  Make them jealous….  You are a pretty girl.

Love you.


Michael –

I can honestly say that I am completely addicted to your website for the past couple months. You are fantastic at what you do and to keep me occupied/entertained for more than 5 minutes on the internet without having an urge to go to a new website is practically impossible! After viewing your website, I really hope you can offer some advice to help me.

I come from a suburban area, I’m eighteen and for some reason, I am so scared of being in a relationship with anyone. It’s not that anyone is like dying to be with me considering many of my friends are women or straight men, not very many gay men live around here but regardless, it sucks being alone. I had a long physical relationship with my neighbor since a very young age, but both he and I are in the dark of his orientation because he desires so badly to be straight, and I have every desire to embrace my gay lifestyle, so clearly we’ve been growing apart.

I am starting as a freshman in Philadelphia this year, and so many of the freshman class boys are complete assholes and just so immature and I am so scared about not being able to find a decent gay man who can actually maintain a good relationship. I have found that through this other kid, I have become a very loyal person when it comes to relationships and typically, I am not the hook-up type (minus one exception). What advice can you give me to make me not fear of getting hurt again and actually be able to jump into a new relationship if I find the right guy?

Thank you so much,


Thanks for writing in Brian.

First of all, fuck your neighbor.  Oh, wait, you already did.  Well, don’t keep fucking your neighbor.  You’re young and you can’t afford to be around that self-hating Gay energy.  Homophobia is homophobia, regardless of whether it’s Straight people or Gays spreading the shame around.

I’m not sure exactly the advice you’re seeking, in regards to your fear?  You say that you’re afraid of getting into a relationship, but that it sucks to be alone.  Then you want some sort of advice that will make it okay to ‘jump into’ a relationship again.  I don’t have that.

If it was me, I’d play the field.  I’d go on lots of dates and kiss a few of them and maybe even sleep with some of them, safely.  You’re in college.  The odds are slim that you’re going to find a guy, settle down, and raise a kid.  Why not explore your options?  Seems better than ‘jumping in’ to something.

As for getting hurt?  That’s just the trade off.  There’s never been two people that loved each other without hurting one another pretty deeply sometimes.  I will say this – you get better at recognizing the type of pain you’re willing to receive and inflict, but that takes practice.

Hey Brian – I want to make this clear – it’s still very much worth loving another person.  So if you’re falling in love, please let yourself.

Keep your head up, and stay classy, kiddo.

Or, if you don’t feel classy that day, slut it up.

Love you.  Keep in touch.


p.s.  Please remember that most Gays have a wonderful side.  Acknowledge and encourage that and you can’t go wrong.  That doesn’t mean that every once in a while they won’t act like total…



Dear Michael,
I am a 62-year-old gay man who really enjoys your blog.   It must be extremely hard work keeping up with your busy life as a musician/comedian/baker/advice columnist/etc.  Being the age I am, I enjoy your comments and responses to letters as it reminds me of some of my own feelings and experiences in my youth.
However, also, being the age I am, I also find myself sometimes more interested in what you are baking, than who you are baking with.  Have you ever considered publishing the recipes in the blog for the things you are shown baking?
Recently, I think I saw a banana cream pie go flying by in one of your pictures.   My aunt used to bake them and I haven’t had a taste of a good homemade one since she passed away.  How about it?   Come on, share your recipes.
Rick W.
I share my recipes from time to time, here on the blog.  I made a video showing how to make a Crisco/butter crust.  It’s on YouTube.  You can look for it.
As for banana cream, just use a vanilla custard recipe and then chop come bananas into it.   Chill it for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.  Plop it inside a baked pie shell.  Cover with whipped cream.  You’re done.
It’s super easy.
Thanks for writing in.
Very unique site! It makes you even more interesting. The plea to Obama video really cracked me up. Interesting conversation with the gay Asian who tries to isolate himself from the straight world; I like the way you gently try to get him to see past his defenses.

But you know, screeds of politics in binary straight/gay language make me wary. In my experience, the excoriations of the straight world don’t go on for long before the venom is turned on me, and I’m hearing one of the old familiar variations of “you’ll have to make up your mind some day”/”you know your gay side will win out”/”you don’t know what oppression is, because you have hetero privilege”/”you’re lucky, you can have twice as many dates”/”well if you’re not gay, get out of this club/bar/community center/dating site.”

I know well your Asian friend’s experience of being doubly hated (hell, even in the bi community there’s anti-polygamy prejudice; how would you like to belong to a despised minority within a despised minority within a despised minority?) In my personal experience, if someone is personally giving me shit for my sexuality, odds are overwhelming that he’s a gay man. Heteros tend to keep their prejudice to themselves.

Anyway, I just hope you’re not like that.

If you are Bi, then I see you as fully Gay.  You just also happen to be fully Straight.  You are my brother and I will not turn my back on you.  You are always welcome in my community.

I know what you mean about internalized homophobia, but consider that some of the more obvious homosexuals in our flock get terms like ‘faggot’ flung at them from passing cars.  That’s not Gays doing that.  Perhaps you blend in better.

I am sorry that you feel despised.  I can assure you, we don’t all feel that way.

You’re a beautiful man.

I know you must suffer your own brand of oppression and isolation and I won’t pretend to know what that is, but I think we can both agree that you’re Queer.  LGBT means Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered.  You belong to my community.  I love you.