Tituss Burgess gained fameasthescene-stealing sidekick D'Fwan on the NBC Comedy 30 Rock. But he's also a singer who has performed on Broadway in big hits like The Little Mermaid and Guys & Dolls. Now, he's making a name for himself as in the world of R&B. His latest album is called "Comfortable." He told guest host Celeste Headlee about his transition from the stage to the recording studio.
The inspiration for 'Comfortable'
I was always an overweight teen, a young child. And it seemed to follow me into my adult life. And I found that when I was setting out to do certain things with my career, it seems like the powers that be had different ideas about what I was supposed to do. [Comfortable] became sort of my quiet protest. I didn't want people to hear it at first. It was too much of an insight on who I really was and what I was really feeling. But then, you know, your truth is your power. It's your sword and your shield. It occurred to me that sharing it was not just for me. But for other people too.
What's behind a performance
A large part of my professional career has been performing on stage; saying someone else's words, being directed by someone else. But at the core of it it has always been, and as far as I'm concerned, always will be and always should be about storytelling:about a sentence, about a noun and a verb, a subject and predicate. And ordering those in such a way that the listener hears something and now thinks or feels differently than they would have before you began to speak or before you began to sing. And that informed how I chose to sing something. So I worry less about the instructions on the page...and I worry more about how do I best plead my case, what is the desired outcome.
Acting in 30 Rock
There is a difference between 'cooning'. There is a difference between chewing the scenery and being funny. There is a difference between informed comedy, being in on the joke, and then being the joke. D'Fwan is enough of what you think perhaps most gay men are like grouped with some extra 'isms' that would give him his own identity, his own individuality and his own eccentricities. And I think that allows us to see beyond the archetype, to see beyond the stereotype, and to see for the absolute ridiculousness that it is.