Actor Jim Parsons has made a career out of helping create visibility for the LGBTQ community. While he is most popular for playing Dr. Sheldon Cooper on the CBS megahit sitcom The Big Bang Theory, the actor has portrayed a number of queer characters in projects like HBO’s The Normal Heart, the upcoming film A Kid Like Jake and, most recently, the Broadway revival of The Boys in the Band.
When promoting the new play on Monday night’s episode of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Parsons said that the project was important to bring to the stage at this point in history. “It’s really fun to do this right now, especially right now,” he said. “Two steps forward, one step back seems to be the way a lot of progress goes.”
He compared The Boys in the Band to the recent film Love, Simon (which Colbert initially said he had not heard of, later realizing he had), saying that some critics who reviewed the film said that the story about a gay teenager coming out in high school seemed outdated.
“I read a couple of articles that were essentially saying … ‘It’s too late,’” he told Colbert. “That ‘we were beyond this now,’ the kind of tale of coming out that this was.”
Parsons went on to say that Love, Simon, much like The Boys in the Band, could be considered extremely controversial in more conservative, rural parts of the country. “Maybe if you’re a 30-something-year-old writer living in New York or LA, maybe it’s like, ‘I don’t need to see this,’” he elaborated. “But I don’t know, I think there are people in many other places that … yes, you do need to see it.”
To further emphasize his point, Parsons pointed out that the same criticisms wouldn’t be leveled at a romantic comedy featuring straight protagonists. “A gay rom-com is too late? Tell that to When Harry Met Sally…,” he said. “How many straight rom-coms do we need? When is it too late for them? … Let me get sick of too many gay rom-coms, then. Bring it on.”
Watch Parsons’ full interview with Stephen Colbert below: