The Sewers of Paris

Revealing stories about the books, movies, tv, music and more that have changed the lives of gay men. Each week, a guest plucks a piece of entertainment from their past, and answers the question: how did it change your life?


episode 283: I Paid my Dues, Baby (Ep. 283 - Charles Busch/Vampire Lesbians of Sodom)

I’m very excited to bring you this week’s guest — the fabulous actor and playwright Charles Busch, who first rose to prominence in the 1980s with the show Vampire Lesbians of Sodom and followed up with such hits as Die Mommy Die, Psycho Beach Party, and The Allergist’s Wife, for which he earned a Tony nomination. For the first decade of his career, Charles was a struggling writer who traveled the country with exhausting one-man shows, but his big break came when he wrote a just-for-fun skit with some friends that happened to get the attention of a New York Times theater critic.

In our conversation, Charles talks about some of the figures who inspired him, in particular the legendary gay theater pioneer Charles Ludlam, who helped create a new artistic movement in the 60s called Theater of the Ridiculous. Ludlam’s career is a fascinating journey, and includes a strange and beautiful collaboration with Madeline Kahn. I’m currently working on a YouTube video that explores that collaboration, to be released next week. Keep an eye on my YouTube channel, at, and hit the bell on the subscribe button to get notified when that video comes out.

And big thanks to everyone who makes the Sewers of Paris possible with a pledge of support on Patreon! Click “support the show on Patreon” to check out the rewards for backers.

And I hope you’ll join me for our next fun friendly livestream on April 25 at 11am Pacific. I've been trying something new with the livestreams: rather than just sitting there and talking, I play some super relaxing videogames while we all chat about what we've been up to. It's been a really soothing way to kick back and hang out and get away from the daily stress of, you know, everything. There’s a link at the top of the Sewers of Paris twitter feed.

And by the way, if you like nerdy queer podcasts you may enjoy my narrative comedy shows Queens of Adventure and Queens of Adventure Legends for an escape into a world of fantasy, with drag queens playing Dungeons & Dragons. Queens of Adventure features an ongoing fantasy story with a regular cast, and Queens of Adventure Legends features recordings of live shows and stand-alone stories. Queens of Adventure: Legends is perfect for new listeners, with adventures sized for one or two sittings and introductions at the start of each episode. You can subscribe to both shows at, or search your favorite podcast app.


 2020-04-23  1h9m