From the jump, Dicks: The Musical is reflective of the title: it’s a charmingly chaotic musical that will have audiences cackling or grasping their pearls and saying, “Well I never!” in utter shock and disapproval. Either way you look it, you can’t deny the fact that Dicks: The Musical is fully embracing the absurdity of it all.
As A24’s first movie musical, Dicks was born from a UCB show in New York called “Fucking Identical Twins” starring and written by Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp. Much like Women Talking, the show is exactly what the title says it’s about: “fucking identical twins”.
With a new family friendly-ish title, the film adaption is helmed by Borat visionary Larry Charles and follows two self-obsessed businessmen Trevor and Craig (Jackson and Sharp) who discover they’re long-lost identical twins. In true Parent Trap form, they come together to plot the reunion of their eccentric divorced parents (Nathan Lane and Megan Mullally). The more the plan unfolds, the more unhinged the movie gets.
We also get Bowen Yang as God and Megan Thee Stallion as Trevor and Craig’s boss as well as the introduction of creatures called “The Sewer Boys”, which Lane’s character dubs as “gay culture”.
Coincidentally, the musical comedy has connection with a very familiar face. “When we were doing the UCB show in New york, pre-Drag Race Bob The Drag Queen was performing at Barracuda two blocks away,” Sharp told GLAAD in a recent interview. “As a joke, after the show, we’d say that we would host a talk back at Barracuda and so we met Bob from that. So Bob is a part of the DNA of this film in a weird way.”
Dicks made its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September where it won the People’s Choice Award Midnight Madness Award. The film is already drawing comparisons to work by the Pop of Trash himself John Waters fare and is cut from the same cloth as comedies like Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar and more recently, Bottoms. Ultimately, they just want Dicks to be a good time.
“If straight people like this movie, I celebrate it,” admitted Sharp. “We’ve always said this movie is for queers to go to and scream at the screen. I think it is a theatrical experience where you bring all your girls.”
GLAAD had the chance to talk Jackson, Sharp, and Yang about absurd comedy and how Dicks is a different kind of queer storytelling that needs to be celebrated.
As A24’s first movie musical, it is definitely on brand. It’s absurd, wild and people are gonna be either laughing the entire time or will be wildly offended. Either way, the movie is a journey. How much did you want to push the envelope?
JACKSON: We love absurdism! We love a heightened style and that’s not really in vogue right now in comedy…
SHARP: … like John Waters grossness! Like letting people be disgusting for fun!
JACKSON: I think all of us — Nathan, Megan, Bowen and the whole cast, Thee Stallion included — were all very excited to push and play. We luckily had great partners and Chernin and A24.
SHARP: In the scene when Nathan is spitting ham into the Sewer Boys’s mouth, we had a hairdresser who was gay — if you can believe it — and he watched that being filmed and then came over and was like, “Girl, that’s some John Waters shit, right there!”
Bowen, you play God and it is probably one of the best performances as God next to Alanis Morisette’s God in Dogma.
SHARP: I think they should tour together as a singing duo.
YANG: I think we should swap it because Alanis doesn’t have any lines in Dogma. She’s totally silent, right? I think we flip it so that like she’s doing all the singing… she’s the Penn and I’m the Teller!
LGBTQ representation in TV and film is very important, obviously, but there are so many different kinds of stories. Of course, we have a lot of the serious dramas that give us a specific experience and there are also comedies that give us the lighter side of queer life. Dicks: The Musical is in its own delightfully absurdist world but why do you think all of these stories are important when it comes to queer narratives?
JACKSON: It is great to have those more realistic and touching and beautiful stories, but I mean, we have a very absurdist sensibility. I think, as queer people, we see the world through a different lens and things that seem normal to everyone to us are insane.
SHARP: There should be more gay villains — just awful and ridiculous. We love movies like, Zoolander and Austin Powers — movies with big buffoons and crazy characters. We haven’t gotten to do enough queer versions of things where you just get to be kooky characters.
JACKSON: So we’re sort of in our way, holding the mirror up to society and saying, “You’re all Sewer Boys!” (laughs)
Dicks: The Musicals is currently playing in theaters.