Jimmy Fowlie: Advocate

Photo by Dana Patrick
Photo by Dana Patrick

Go Go Boy…” is all I saw and I froze right there. Scanning the Internet one evening it was those words alone that hooked me. This broad always enjoys stickin’ a fiver down some bikini shorts!

It turns out that Go-Go Boy Interrupted is the name of a web series, starring Jimmy Fowlie, based on his adventures as a go go boy while he attended the University of Southern California. Beginning in 2014, the plot centers around Danny Carter, thirty, who finds himself aged out of his profession. The episodes are riotous!

Hailing from Boston, Jimmy is an actor, writer, and director, having begun his career with the

Illustration by Davidd Batalon
Illustration by Davidd Batalon

improv group The Groundlings. (Currently he teaches there.) Reading his résumé, I learned that the talented lad volunteers for Project Angel Food (an organization that distributes food to homebound clients). That piqued my interest even more.

After contacting the thirty-one-year-old Mr. Fowlie, he requested I meet him down at Morongo Resort and Casino near Palm Springs, California. That’s ducky, as I will be in P.S. attending an event at the Desert AIDS Project (DAP). These guys do one helluva bang-up job—let me tell you!

Morongo is like a diamond in the desert. The stand-alone sci-fi high-rise is like something out of The Day The Earth Stood Still. At night it sparkles with lush hues of blues, violets, and yellows. It’s a full-on resort with spa, exercise room, entertainment, restaurant, gaming, and dining.

The contemporary rooms are spiffy, and I have a grand view of Mt. Jacinto from my roomy suite. Ms. Ruby likes a large bathroom and this bathroom even has a walk-in shower with a stone seat where I can park my tuckus while shaving my legs!

According to the Morongo tribal spokesperson I encounter, they give more than $1 million annually to various nonprofit organizations, including churches, veterans groups, schools, food pantries, homeless shelters, and many others. One of their annual projects is giving 10,000 turkeys on Thanksgiving to a wide range of organizations, including the Inland AIDS Project, enough to feed 4,000 people.

In the late evening, Jimmy and I meet at Ceilo restaurant, atop Morongo. What a sight at night! It’s a 360-degree view of the twinkling lights of the desert cities.

Ruby Comer: Jimmy [who’s already seated] …lovely to meet you.
Jimmy Fowlie: You too, Ruby. [He rises for this ol’ gal. Hmm, manners.] Thanks for coming here.

Say, what’s the correct way to pronounce your last name?
Foul-EE. I think it’s Scottish? In all honesty, I haven’t really investigated my heritage because I’m adopted.

That’s interesting. [We thumb through the menu when I blurt]…HIV and AIDS. What do you think?
[A bit surprised, he winces his clear twinkling-nugget azure eyes] I think about the struggle that LGBT people came through before I was born. How to Survive a Plague has to be one of the most inspiring documentaries because you see the years/decades of work that people like Peter Staley [A&U, June 2015] put in. I consider him a hero. It’s so incredible. I think about the fight, and the passion, and the equality.

A first-rate reply, Jimmy. When did you first get tested?
I was eighteen. I found out that a guy I had had sex with was HIV-positive, but he had never disclosed that information. I used a condom but I still tested. I was nervous sitting there in the waiting room. Although I was HIV-negative, it still impacted me a great deal. I was so grateful to have the support of the center that allowed free and accessible testing.

Poster by Devin Begley
Poster by Devin Begley

How did it impact?
It just made me realize how easily one can acquire this disease! As a young gay man I didn’t have the capacity to really talk about these issues. It made me really compassionate to anyone who is dealing with this disease. It’s so important that we talk about it to break through the stigma.

Yes, sir. I understand you are in the dating pool…[he interrupts with an over-the-top clearing of his throat].
Nope, not in a relationship! But I have this puppet that I pretend I’m dating on Instagram.

[I laugh.] I’ll have to take a peek at that. Why, you’re as cute as a button, Jimmy F. I’d go for you in a heartbeat! [He breaks into a wide smile exhibiting those perfect pearly whites.] You know, it’s tough talking STDs, how do you approach the subject with a new date?
I just say, “Hey, I got tested—then I say the date—and I don’t have any STDs and I’m HIV-negative.” That usually gets the conversation going, and the other person feels comfortable talking about it.

Right-O. Any hesitation about dating someone who’s HIV-positive?
I tried! [He chuckles.] This guy was positive and I was like so in love with him [he says loudly throwing his arms up skyward]. He was not into me, Ruby!

Awww, Jimmy [I soothe him by patting his arm].
I am seriously a mess in relationships. I’m in therapy right now to work on that.

What scares you about a relationship?
Everything. I think part of the issue was that I spent a lot of time obsessing about my career because, although I’m ambitious, the real underlying force was that I hated being by myself. Its like RuPaul says, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else.”

Go-Go Boy Interrupted. Photo by Devin Begley
Go-Go Boy Interrupted. Photo by Devin Begley

No truer words have been said. Say, do you take PrEP?
Several months ago, I discussed it with my doctor; however, right now, I do not take it because I’m not currently sexually active—and me not being sexually active is a whole other conversation, Ruby! [He lets out a lion of a roar!] I will get on it once I become sexually active again.

I know you’ve donated to friends who rode in the AIDS Life/Cycle and your series Go Go Boy Interrupted also donated several thousand to the Los Angeles LGBT Center. What motivates you to give?
I am motivated to give back because I felt so grateful I got to do my show! It was so fun and people came out from the community to support us—from letting us shoot at various bars to donating money and clothes. I feel very lucky.

I learned you did a Kickstarter campaign for your series….
That night when we hit our goal I went for a walk and tears of joy were just rolling down my cheeks. I was so happy—and I’m very happy to give back.

As a perk on the campaign, didn’t you offer up yourself as a date?
[He nods.] Honey, I was going on dates left and right! All the people were so nice and per our agreement I did have sex with them. Just kidding. Can you print that?

You are a wild man, Mr. Fowlie. I like that. So what celebrity turns you on?
Steve Buscemi. Look at those eyes, Ruby!

Not particularly my type, but okay. I go more for James Bond, rather Daniel Craig. [I flutter my fake eyelashes toward Jimmy.] I want to hear about your go go days! What is the one thing that stands out in your mind about it?
Well, I don’t drink anymore, but when I did, I would go to these clubs absolutely wrecked! One time I actually threw up because I was so drunk right before I went on stage. I know, so gross! I stumbled into the dressing room like, “Anybody got gum?!” [He lets out a shrill gasp of laughter.]

Anything unusual happen during that time?
I had a fistfight because someone threw a drink on me. I just acted out in violence, which is obviously totally inappropriate. It’s funny because I had instant karma. I broke my own arm punching the guys face. Yikes!

Yikes is right. Oh…poor…you. Is there going to be season three of Go Go Boy Interrupted?
Oh man, I wish! I had so much fun doing the show and I love those characters. Right now we’re trying to sell it as a television show. That’s where the focus is now. Stay tuned!

Break a leg, kid! Put a spin on the current epidemic, Jimmy.
With the integration of PrEP, it looks like we are moving into a place where we are better protected from the virus….But… we need to keep our regular checkups and continue to get tested. There!

Rally around Fowlie at The Groundlings Theater where he performs frequently and also follow him on Twitter, where he posts upcoming appearances: @jimmyfowlie. To watch Go-Go Boy Interrupted, visit: https://gogoboyinterrupted.com/.

Ruby Comer is an independent journalist from the Midwest who is happy to call Hollywood her home away from home. Reach her by e-mail at [email protected].