TV host talks about his decade in ‘Bed’

It’s been 10 years since local gay TV personality Butch Cordora hopped into bed and in front of the camera to interview local and national gay figures on his cable show, “In Bed With Butch. ” He continues to put various-shaped celebrity dents in that mattress as his show airs nightly on DUTV.

Cordora also has parlayed his local notoriety into, among other things, a weekly radio show, “In Bed With Butch Radio,” which launched last June and airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on WPEB.

Not bad for someone who knew nothing about journalism or broadcasting when he started out.

Never one to shy away from self-promotion, Cordora is celebrating the 10th anniversary of his show with an appropriately over-the-top bash with a celebrity guest list featuring Gervase Peterson, Jade Starling, Brini Maxwell, Frank DeCaro and Felipe Rosem on April 5 at Pure, 1221 St. James St.

Cordora talked to PGN about what makes his show work and how the landscape of gays on television has changed since he started out.

PGN: How is “In Bed With Butch” different now than when you started out? BC: In a lot of ways it’s exactly the same. When I started out, I just wanted it to be this gay talk show that celebrated the gay community. I wanted to be entertainment-based: not too heavy and nothing too much about the problems of the gay community. I just wanted to celebrate the gay lifestyle. It was in a bed. That was one thing that got me on the air. I wanted to have DJs, drag queens, artists, actors and photographers. Then, through the years one of the fresh growing pains was, as I became the only talk show left, a lot of people started saying I had a responsibility to the gay community and I should try and be everything to everyone. I started in 2002 having political people on and social activists. That was a road I went down for a couple of years. That was stuff I really didn’t necessarily care to do. I sort of backed away from that.

PGN: In the last decade, TV and radio have gotten more inclusive about gays and lesbians. Does that make it easier or harder for you to stand out in such a competitive field? BC: I think there’s still a long way to go being a gay talk-show host. It’s still very controversial. There are still gay characters on reality shows, but Ellen [DeGeneres] doesn’t even speak of being gay on her show. Graham Norton isn’t even on the air anymore. In a lot of ways, it’s very controversial to be an openly gay talk-show host because there still isn’t any on network television. Of course, there’s Ellen but it’s not like she has gay and lesbian guests all the time. She’s just a mainstream talk-show host. I don’t know of any openly gay talk-show hosts who gear themselves to the gay community.

PGN: Who has been your favorite guest on the show? BC: Frank DeCaro from “The Daily Show” was one of my favorites, just because I think he’s so funny. Another one was the Dell dude. He literally talked about his drug bust. Lady Bunny was crazy. Jay McCarroll from “Project Runway” was really funny, intimidating and cursed a lot.

PGN: What has been your worst interview ever? BC: Political people because I don’t know what I’m talking about when I’m talking to them. I just had [Judge] Dan Anders on, but he was a really good interview. But I just really don’t like politics or law or anything like that. So they are my worst interviews because I have to muddle through them.

PGN: It’s your show. Why would you book those interviews if you don’t like doing them? BC: I have producers and sponsors now. I don’t want to always have drag queens on. I try to be well-rounded.

PGN: What do you like to do most, the TV show or the radio show? BC: By far the TV show.

PGN: How long did it take you to pull together the guest list for your 10th-anniversary party? BC: It wasn’t too hard to do. All these New Yorkers that come down to do my show, I’ve managed to stay friends with them. Felipe [Rose] lives in Asbury Park and I just called him up and asked him if he would do it. Frank [DeCaro] is a dear friend of mine.

You can celebrate the 10th anniversary of “In Bed With Butch” from 10 p.m.-3:30 a.m. April 5 at Pure, 1221 St. James St. For more information, visit www.ibwb.tv or call (215) 735-5772.

Larry Nichols can be reached at [email protected].