People who have followed Matt Rogers‘s career, know that he is all about the music of it all — and he puts it on full display on his new special Matt Rogers: Have You Heard of Christmas? which is available now on Showtime.
Have You Heard of Christmas? is dubbed as “the yuletide musical extravaganza you’ve been waiting for.” We’re not going to argue. In it, Rogers will share stories, perform holiday songs and serve performances and comedy sketches with special guest stars. That said, could Rogers be the “Prince of Christmas?” The Queen, “All I Want For Christmas Is You’s” Mariah Carey was asked coronate him during his special.
“It’s true,” Rogers told GLAAD’s Anthony Allen Ramos. “We even tried to get her to come on stage and actually crown me the ‘Prince of Christmas’. I sent her a letter and everything. She did not respond which actually is fun because I feel like if she wasn’t going to be there… The next best thing is for her to, ‘I don’t know her’ me — you know what I mean? You really can’t ask for more than that. That’s a gay dream in its own right.”
Even though Mariah Carey indirectly “I don’t know her’d” Rogers, this was not the end of his journey to make a connection with the iconic songstress. Rogers, along with his BFF and Las Culturistas podcast co-host Bowen Yang recently appeared on LOL Cody and guess who showed up?
“There had been rumors that she was going to appear on this episode that Bowen and I did,” said Rogers. “Bowen was Cody’s guest and I was the special guest and lo and behold [Mariah Carey] sort of appeared in a cloud of smoke… and of course she was wearing like 40,000 inch heels so she looked at me and [asked] ‘can you help me down?'”
He continued, “I snapped out of that bike so fast, I almost broke my legs doing it but I went over there and I got to touch her glorious diva hand with my sweaty little gay Peloton hand. It was one of the most incredible moments of my life. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
In addition to Mariah Carey, as we have seen on his recent appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show, he is a huge fan of the very first American Idol icon. When he was asked to make a Sophie’s Choice on who he would rather go out drinking with, he was very strategic about it.
“I think I’d rather go out drinking with Kelly Clarkson just because I really get the sense that she’s a tank,” he admits. “Mariah gives lightweight vibes and I know Kelly likes to not come back. That’s just the vibe I get.”
Rogers is having quite a year. In addition to his holiday special and his wildly successful podcast with Yang, he also stars in the Showtime series I Love That For You and was in the Andrew Ahn-directed Fire Island which was recently honored by the Gotham Awards. The film written by and starring Joel Kim Booster was a benchmark for queer cinema as it featured Asian queer leads played by Asians who identified as queer. In addition to having a queer director, the film also featured a cast of up and coming LGBTQ talent. With its success, there have been sequel talks loosely roaming about – specifically one idea that involved Marisa Tomei joining the cast as Margaret Cho’s character’s love interest.
“I think a few things have to happen in order for that to happen,” Rogers explained. “We have to have Joel think of an idea for a sequel that’s worthy to the first one because I don’t think any of us would really want to do it or should do it unless it said something that was just as poignant and funny and meaningful as the first one.”
He goes on to say that if Booster and Ahn are on the same page and they could pay the cast to make a bigger version of the first film, then they could start talking about bringing Tomei on board. “I don’t think we would ever want to do it unless we could all come back,” he admitted. “We really found a way to make that happen because it was such an amazing shared experience together.”
As seen with Fire Island, the landscape of LGBTQ film and TV is changing with each passing day, but with change there will be ups and downs. When Bros premiered, it wasn’t necessarily a box office hit but that doesn’t necessarily mean it was a failure as Hollywood claimed it to be. Whether you liked the movie or not, it did have a significant impact on the culture.
“I think it’s really interesting when you take into account this idea that Bros ‘failed’,” Rogers said. “We have to move out from that because I’ll just be real with you… I’ve seen two movies in the last few days because I’m on the road touring with the show and so I have some free time. I saw The Fabelmans, She Said and I was the only person in the theater for both of them.
So what I would say to this idea that Bros ‘failed’ is that it’s a very hard time for all movies that are not these big tent pole Marvel-type films or sequels because you have to think about so many reasons.”
He goes on to say that the theatrical landscape is wildly different compared to four or five years ago and movies like Top Gun: Maverick, Spider-Man: Far From Home and the new Avatar sequel are going to do great at the box office because it’s not only expected from them but the prices of movie tickets have skyrocketed which will naturally lead to bigger box office numbers in comparison to non-tentpole movies.
“I want to sort of try and zoom out and drift away from is this idea that a queer film failed and just that it’s a really hard time for movies in general,” he said. “I also want to say when I was watching She Said two of the trailers [before the movie] were Spoiler Alert and Knock at the Cabin. Not only [do those films] feature gay couples, but all of the lead roles are played by actual gay actors.”
As Rogers said, the idea that queer art is failing because Bros did not succeed at the box office where everything is flopping unless you are a tentpole franchise is quite ridiculous. “I would say that I’ve never been more excited or felt like there was more opportunity than there is now for everyone.”
Rogers’ special Have You Heard of Christmas? is available now on Showtime.