Metro Weekly

BROS star Guy Branum: “People Want to Erase Queer People from History.”

Guy Branum has been adding his special sauce to some of the year's most talked-about comedies, from 'Hacks' to 'Bros.'

Guy Branum -- Photo: Mindy Tucker
Guy Branum — Photo: Mindy Tucker

The buzzed-about new gay rom-com Bros boldly plunges into the ins and outs of awkward hookups and hot man-on-man action, with hilarious results.

Capturing the idiosyncrasies of gay intimacy was, of course, a group effort for cast and crew, most of whom are LGBTQ — that is, except for the film’s director and co-writer Nicholas Stoller, who’s straight.

But Stoller and the film’s producers found themselves an expert adviser in one of the film’s gay co-stars: comedian and writer Guy Branum, who plays Henry, the dryly funny best friend of Billy Eichner’s romantically-challenged podcaster Bobby.

Branum was on-set not only to perform his onscreen role. “I was also there when I wasn’t acting, just pitching jokes, helping Nick understand gay stuff,” he says. “Sometimes it was heady, conceptual stuff. Sometimes it was like, where do you keep poppers?” Sometimes he simply helped Stoller see the sexy.

“One thing that was so funny is in the big sex scene between Luke [Macfarlane] and Billy in the middle of the movie. We were shooting it, and Nick was like, ‘This is really funny.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, it’s also really hot.’ And he said, ‘I didn’t think about that.’ And sometimes you do need somebody who’s watching the monitors who is thinking about that.”

A fan of Stoller movies like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Branum is a lover of romantic comedies, noting that his most significant other film role was as “the sassy gay friend” in the Natalie Portman-Ashton Kutcher rom-com No Strings Attached.

“I always really loved romantic comedies. I think they’re the most human kind of comedy that we have,” he says, pointedly referencing the decades of queer indies in the genre.

“We do have a tradition of queer romantic comedies that were less seen by the world and less known, but mean so much to us,” Branum observes. “And that was why one of my jobs on set was to make sure that Nick Stoller had seen Trick, you know? One of my jobs on set was to make sure that we were thinking about and being aware of the lineage we had from that direction.”

Branum’s own comedy lineage stretches back more than a decade, from standup to writing for Chelsea Handler’s Chelsea Lately and for Joan Rivers and company on E’s Fashion Police. He went on to join the writing rooms of such series as Awkward and The Mindy Project, and worked with Eichner as a creative consultant on two seasons of Billy on the Street, before creating and hosting truTV’s comedy mashup Talk Show The Game Show.

In 2018, Branum published a memoir, My Life as a Goddess, in which the California native addressed anti-fat bias and problematic representations of gays in media. He’s had to play his share of “creepy fat guys of unknown sexuality or explicit creepy heterosexuality,” he cracks. “But it’s never a character with dimension.”

Behind the camera, he’s had a hand in creating parts and stories with dimension, notably as a writer and producer on HBO’s Emmy Award-winning Hacks, Amazon’s sprawling, queer-themed dramedy A League of Their Own, and Hulu’s upcoming Mel Brooks-produced variety series, History of the World, Part II.

In addition to collaborating with legends like Brooks, Branum is relishing the chance to tell stories, especially queer stories, “that we haven’t seen a thousand times before.”

That includes the queer stories of those 1940s women who played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. As depicted on A League of Their Own, many of those women were queer, even if their truth was, and is still, not widely known.

“People want to erase queer people from history,” says Branum. “People want to erase people of color from history. People want to erase trans people from history. And the most amazing thing about working on that show is the research that we had the opportunity to do, the women who played in the all-American Girls Baseball League telling us stories of their queer awakenings when they showed up for that practice. The gay bar in Rockford that those women went to is still open.

“Being in that bar, seeing the spaces, understanding that people who had to be so much braver and stronger than I am to be out and queer were out and queer was really amazing. It was just so amazing, particularly as a man, to have the opportunity to be thinking about and be in this very queer female space, and getting to share that journey of learning and exploring and unearthing these stories that the world hides from us.”

Bros is rated R and is playing in theaters nationwide. Visit

A League of Their Own season 1 is available for streaming on Prime Video. Visit

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