Metro Weekly

Jack Tracy Won’t Die Alone (But Danny Likely Will)

"Danny Will Die Alone" creator and star Jack Tracy is ready for a raw conversation about gay sex, and we're happy to oblige.

Jack Tracy - Photo: Benjy Bradshaw
Jack Tracy – Photo: Benjy Bradshaw

Candid cover story interviews aren’t usually as packed with helpful and enlightening info on the latest terms and tools for modern gay dating as my chat with Jack Tracy. The creator, writer, director, and star of the racy gay comedy series Danny Will Die Alone, making its debut this month on Dekkoo, caught me up on words, customs, even an app I’d never heard of, all elements in the fraught dating world of the show’s single, gay, insatiable bottom central character.

Tracy knows Danny’s world well. He’s also a single, gay professional in New York City, and he based Danny Will Die Alone loosely on his own dating life, as well as his sex-and-romance-skewering podcast Dying Alone Together.

The character Danny, recently single after a break-up, dives into the dating pool — not necessarily feet first, but aggressively, with each episode following him on a date, or casual hookup, with a different Mr. Wrong. Originally produced as a web series, the nine episodes of season one each clock in at 15 minutes or less, ideal for bite-size bingeing.

Tracy himself first dove into series production nearly a decade ago with History, an ambitious gay serial drama in which he also starred. “That was the first thing I’d ever done,” Tracy says of the series, produced by his Necessary Outlet Productions, and released on YouTube.

He’s also produced several singles and music videos as a dance-pop music artist, but series TV was different. “I bit off certainly more than I could chew,” he reflects. “I did six half-hour episodes of that. The first season was done with a volunteer cast and crew. It was done on my Sony DSLR. So it was just cheap and fast.”

Yet, as Tracy, points out, despite the lower production value, the show gained a lot of fans over three seasons. “I still get messages and letters on that series to this day of how much it means to people. That encouraged me to start investing, like, ‘Oh, this is something that I can do if I really put the money into it.'”

Danny Will Die Alone -  Photo courtesy
Danny Will Die Alone – Photo courtesy

Now, on Danny Will Die Alone, Tracy and Joe Patrick Conroy, his longtime director of photography, have assembled a higher-end production. “We rent venues instead of running in somewhere and shooting quick before someone yells at us,” says Tracy. “The production has gained a professionalism now that I have the confidence from the success of History.”

And that’s where Dekkoo, “a streaming service for gay men,” enters the picture. According to Tracy, “It all kind of starts with History. I was looking for distribution opportunities. I sent History over to Dekkoo, they liked the show, they licensed it, in addition to some other services. So that started our relationship.

“I had been shooting these episodes of Danny, so I sent it over, kind of expecting the same deal like, ‘Hey, do you just want to license these to go on your platform?’ They took a while to get back to me, so I was kind of worried,” Tracy recalls.

“And when he got back to me, he was like, ‘Well, we do want them, but we love them and we think we should make this one of our shows.’ And I was just over the moon,” Tracy gushes. Dekkoo bought season one of Danny and invested in season two’s six half-hour episodes.

“So it was by virtue of having that relationship through my prior projects, and them knowing my work and then recognizing when I had sort of reached that level of, ‘Okay, we’ve upgraded here, we’re at a new level, let’s invest in him. We trust him.’ So I’m very thankful for that.”

Jack Tracy - Photo: Seehee Kim
Jack Tracy – Photo: Seehee Kim

METRO WEEKLY: I want to start with the fact that you’re already in production on season two of Danny. How’s that going?

JACK TRACY: Final edits will be done this week and turned over, and, I believe, the release date is in the fall. We don’t have a date yet, but I think it’s coming in the fall. It’s a change from season one. Season one were webisodes that I had already made, and they had purchased them. Season two was made with Dekkoo, and we made six half-hour episodes.

MW: What are some other differences between season one and season two?

TRACY: Season one was sort of vignettes. They were separate, specific dating adventures. Season two has a storyline that goes through the entire season, and we get introduced to another lead character, Matty, who’s played by Jordan Bell. He is Danny’s regular hookup buddy, coerced into being kind of a confidant as Danny unloads about all the stuff he’s going through dating, which this guy doesn’t want to hear about but is kind of forced to.

MW: Something else about season one is that you wrote, directed, and edited — in addition to starring in — all the episodes. Did you wear all those hats again for season two?

TRACY: Yes, I did. This is my baby, so I do it all. I was actually just working on episode six’s sound editing. So yeah, just taking small pieces of it every day, I gave myself enough time, so just chipping away at it.

MW: How do you manage the stress of it?

TRACY: Well, it’s kind of that “If not me, who?” It’s got to get done, so I’m the one who’s got to do it. I’ve been doing this kind of work for the last six years, so I have learned a lot along the way. I’ve learned how to make things easier for myself. I’ve learned how to do things better and I’ve given myself enough time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, so I just chip away a little bit every day and we’re very close.

MW: Is Dekkoo releasing all the episodes at once?

TRACY: Season one, full release, pun intended, on May 16. That is when all nine episodes of season one come out.

MW: I think the show could be something that steers a lot of people towards Dekkoo. It’s a very crowded market for queer and LGBTQ-skewing streamers. What about Dekkoo stands out for you?

TRACY: I mean, first off, when they wanted the program, they said they don’t have anything like this on their platform. And they were like, “This is something completely new for us. So we would love to invest in it.”

I think because of the social and political dynamics of being queer, creators of queer content always want to make sure to show us in the best light possible. Everything needs to be a super positive message and show us succeeding. And Danny is not a good person, and his dating life is terrible, and I wanted to create an anti-hero, someone you kind of root for, but kind of think is a real dick. I think that’s what makes Danny very different.

The show’s structure in terms of, or its tone, in terms of having that Always Sunny in Philadelphia with a Veep kind of repartee and the Fleabag straight-to-camera is very unique to queer projects. I really think that makes it stand out.

MW: Something I like about the show is how frank it is. Danny talks about sex the way gay guys talk about sex amongst themselves, not necessarily for an audience that isn’t having gay sex. Have you personally always been as free and open talking about sex?

TRACY: I think in my twenties — so we’re talking about years ago — I wasn’t fully integrated. I sort of had a dichotomy. I certainly had a very active sex life and was very sexual. But it never came into my day-to-day. I worked at a big law firm, I was a very professional, buttoned-up kind of person in the daytime, and then at night having my fun. And it was only when I got into a relationship where the person I was with was the same way but they were integrated. It was never an on-switch and off-switch. They were a buttoned-up professional, but they were a sex monster. And he really showed me that I could be all of it at the same time. And honestly, I think with a lot of people, the pandemic really made people assess what’s important, what to worry about, and coming out of that, I left all fucks in the pandemic. I emerged carrying no fucks. So this new era is just like, is it funny? Do I find it funny? Who cares?

MW: Something else about Danny is that he’s a proud and courageous bottom, but he also in one episode enters his top era. As a storyteller, what were you interested in saying about being a top or a bottom or both or neither?

TRACY: Well, I feel like the top and bottom paradigm is certainly based in heteronormativity. Someone’s “the man” and someone’s “the woman.” And we’ve kind of abandoned that, or are abandoning that right now. I feel like a lot more guys are not only vers or switches, but also we’re abandoning the relationship styles. It’s now open and poly, and there’s a lot of walking away from those.

But at the same time, there are people who just want to do one thing, and the people who want to do another, and they still exist and we’re still out here. And it was important to me that when Danny talks about being a bottom, that it’s not a shameful thing, that he really just, in great vulgar detail, talks about wanting to get fucking railed, because I don’t think we see gay people in media talking that sexual from the bottom’s perspective.

MW: Well, yeah. Was it a “donkey-dick daddy pervert” that he’s seeking?

TRACY: Donkey-dick daddy pervert!

MW: It took the matchmaker aback, but that’s real. Something else Danny says in that episode, when he’s contemplating his top era, is whether or not he could genuinely be happy in a relationship where he’s not bottoming at all. I guess that’s what you’re saying, but why would anybody want to restrict themselves that way?

TRACY: He does confess that he does enjoy it and he’s sort of, “I’m a bottom in relationships, but here and there [topping is] kind of fun.” And so he’s like, “Look, at this point, I can’t find anybody. Maybe I can, let’s give it a try. Let’s see if I can.” And of course, he finds that he absolutely cannot. But yeah, so that’s him, he’s giving it a try because he is just desperate to finally find someone. And a lot of Danny dates are like, “I don’t like this, but why not? Let’s try.” So in some ways, he’s actually a very open person because he’s trying these things that he wouldn’t necessarily be into, but at the same time being extraordinarily judgmental.

Danny Will Die Alone -  Photo courtesy
Danny Will Die Alone – Photo courtesy

MW: He is showing that he’s open to trying, but it’s also important that some people would not be able to be happy in a relationship where they weren’t getting that button pushed, at least sometimes.

TRACY: Button pushed, indeed. And Danny gets himself into a similar kind of situation with a side in season two.

MW: A side?

TRACY: Oh, you’re not familiar with the side?

MW: No. Educate me.

TRACY: Oh, it’s new parlance, I believe. But a top, we know what that is. A bottom, we know what that is. A side is someone who does not enjoy penetrative sex at all. It’s all make-out and fun.

MW: Oh, okay. That is new to me, and I won’t offer any judgment on that lifestyle.

TRACY: If that’s what you like, and you find someone else who likes it too, great. As to whether Danny could be happy with that, I think we all understand where that’s going to go.

MW: So, hookup apps and dating apps, whatever you want to call them, are a major part of the story and the subject matter, but that’s not, at least in season one, the only way that Danny is meeting people. He also deals with matchmakers, meeting people through friends, somebody in the office. Do you think there’s a preferable method to meeting guys these days?

TRACY: I think it’s always preferable, in terms of using your time wisely, to meet someone in person, because to meet someone on an app, you still haven’t crossed that threshold of, “When we’re in person, does the chemistry work, do the pheromones work?” You cannot fully judge that via text and messaging.

So it’s like you enter the gates right away, right at first flush when you meet someone in person, because you already know you have that. Whereas with apps you have to — my policy is always get to that coffee within a few exchanges, put something on the calendar, exchange numbers, get out there and meet, so that you can know whether or not you’re wasting your time.

MW: What about — and I don’t know if I saw this on the show — just good, old-fashioned cruising? I’ve recently seen people talking on social media, it seems like there’s some kind of generational divide, about whether or not to just drop cruising from the arsenal altogether, which I’m like, no. Is Danny ever out there cruising? Do you think we should be canceling cruising?

TRACY: Listen, let’s break this down. One, I am a fan of cancel culture, because I call it “accountability culture.” So when it comes to a person saying something crazy, I think it’s okay for a group of people who don’t like that to say, “We don’t like that and we’re not giving you money anymore.” I think that’s fine.

Now when you’re talking about canceling a thing, that’s not a person who’s done something bad, it’s not canceling, it’s just like, is it in vogue anymore? Do people want to do it anymore? Do people find value in it anymore? I think Danny in particular is far too heteronormative, and too bifurcated between dating and sex. And you’ll see this a lot more in season two. He would never imagine that anything that starts with sex could ever be anything else.

Danny can’t enter it from that level because if he meets you just purely on a sex basis, that’s all you are. And we’ll really see this developed in season two. Whereas when he dates someone, he’s an extremely sexual person. So it’s sort of like, “Okay, we met for coffee, this is the date, now I want to fuck you.” He has a method, he can only operate in that method.

MW: He compartmentalizes it strictly.

TRACY: Yeah.

MW: Okay. So we’re not canceling cruising, but maybe Danny’s not going to be cruising. Do you have a favorite app?

TRACY: That’s like asking, “Do you have a favorite Republican?” I think the most serious people, in terms of “I actually want to go on a date and I’m looking for something serious,” is Hinge. I get far less matches, but the matches I do, they tend to be people who’re like “Let’s have a date, let’s see if this works, yada yada.” Tinder has become the new Grindr. There’s some people, but it’s a lot of just people looking to have a hookup buddy.

And then Grindr is barely functional, and has so many pay tiers and barriers to be able to even do anything that it’s worthless. And I don’t find a lot of traction on Scruff, either. People aren’t responsive, nothing really ever — it just goes to nowhere.

So I would say if you actually want to meet and hook up, Tinder. If you want to date, Hinge. And also, you know what, I’ve just recently tried MOTTO, which is unique. You can only make 10 matches a day. That has lent itself more to hookups than anything. I’m actually meeting someone tonight off of it.

MW: Way to go. I would say, check in with us later, let us know how it went. But that’s none of our business.

TRACY: Well, it’s an exploration of my top era, so it’ll be interesting.

MW: Do you find yourself in the midst of these situations saying, “Oh my God, this is great material?”

TRACY: When they learn about this series and they’re dating me, people ask, “Well, are you going to make something about me?” And then I always respond, “Are you going to do something crazy?” Because I only use the crazy stuff.

So if you’re dating someone and you’re perfectly lovely and everything’s fine and it works out or it doesn’t work out, no, there’s no story there. But when — not if, when — I come across someone who is unhinged, then yeah, there’s a point, I think Danny even says it in one of the episodes where it’s like, “And this is the point where this stops being a date and starts becoming a character study.”

And that’s kind of what happens. There is a point when someone does something wild that it’s like, okay, let me just absorb. I’m no longer interested, but I now need to absorb all of this and I want to interrogate why this person’s behaving this way because this is rich for material.

Jack Tracy - Photo: Seehee Kim
Jack Tracy – Photo: Seehee Kim

MW: We see some of that in the fact that — and this gets into Danny not always being a standup guy — the show does a good job of calling out dating red flags: fatphobes, racists, people who don’t understand sexual role play. That was a good one.

TRACY: That’s my favorite one. That’s my favorite one.

MW: And then fans of Ben Shapiro. But there’s also this undercurrent with Danny of, well, he can overlook a red flag if there’s good dick on the other side of it, he thinks. So let’s talk about that particular aspect of his anti-heroism, that he can look past a lot of bad behavior for the sake of sex.

TRACY: Yeah, Danny is very easily dickmatized. It never works. And I think a part of him probably knows that, “No, it’s not going to work,” but he has a make lemonade out of lemons policy of, “Okay, I’m probably not going to date this guy, but I really want to see what his dick looks like.” So he’ll play along in order to have sex and then probably be done with it.

Maybe there’s a part of him that thinks, “Well, maybe the sex will be really good, and then I can get over that little thing.” And there were some episodes, especially in season two, where he’s like, “Okay, maybe I can roll with this. Maybe I need to be more open.” And then something just goes completely off the rails. And that is part of Danny’s problem in that he is bifurcated. He wants to date and he wants to treat it seriously and he wants to take it slow and he wants to take his time. And then it’s like, “Goddammit, I’m horny.” Then that just gets in the way of all of those great plans that never come to fruition because he just gets too horny.

MW: And he gets teased a lot. At least the office guy teases the shit out of him, but that’s “bottom entrapment.” Oh, see, that’s another term that I was unfamiliar with until this show. It’s a real education so far. So, also clarify something for me, because I watched these episodes, which were sexy, but there are only hints of nudity. Then I went online, and is there an OnlyFans version of the show?

TRACY: There are no alternate versions. The OnlyFans was set up because, as you see from the episodes, a lot of time, a lot of money, a lot of attention was paid into this. And there came a point in my career where I was like, I cannot just throw this shit up on YouTube, and it gets lost to the algorithm and maybe it does something and maybe it doesn’t. I put way too much work and way too much money into this, that even if I have five subscribers, it is more important to me that it’s being watched by people who want to support me rather than just throw it out to the world.

This idea of “it’s exposure” — that doesn’t work. For that, do your TikToks, do your social media stuff, short-form cheap videos. There’s no point in spending all this money on a production for exposure. So the show, as you have seen it, was on OnlyFans for those people. And then once Dekkoo bought it, it came off of OnlyFans. We’ll now solely be on Dekkoo, and I’m trying to figure out what my next idea is for the fans on OnlyFans for their content. But unfortunately for any of you interested, I do not do full-frontal and I do not do pornography. But in season two, you do see a whole lot of my butt.

MW: Well, yeah, people like butts ,too. They don’t always just need to see full-frontal, although I don’t ever have a problem with that, either. I was going to ask if you plan to create other content for OnlyFans?

TRACY: So I mean I’m also a recording artist and musician, so they get my music videos. I no longer put those out broadly, they only go to them. I did a 90-minute headlining show at City Winery two years ago that I never released, but that was professionally recorded. So they’ve been getting that. Live performances, like I did a Jersey City Pride last year. So they’ve been getting a lot of music content right now. But I am thinking of a new web series that I would do for them. I don’t want to say until it’s done. I don’t want anybody to take my idea, but I have some ideas on what that will be, and who knows, maybe that’ll turn out the way Danny did.

MW: It could be a spin-off, of somebody else who will maybe die alone, but they’re having pornographic sex and…

TRACY: No, I’m not doing porn, and they’re not. I still have to be a lawyer during the day.

MW: Well, since there are really so many similarities between your life and Danny’s onscreen life, and the show is billed as being loosely based on your dating life, how loosely or closely does Danny’s dating life resemble yours?

TRACY: It depends. First off, you’re only seeing the crazy dates. My dating life does have some good dates, and things that maybe just don’t go anywhere but aren’t crazy. But every single episode is based on a date that I had, in one way or another. Some of them are very dramatized, some of them are pretty close to exactly what happened. The difference between Danny and me is that Danny is far more aggressive, judgmental, and jaded, to amplify maybe my id, to be the angry-journal version of me is what you’re getting, as opposed to probably how I am actually perceived and behave in functioning society. Especially with that ability to look directly into the camera and tell you what I’m thinking. You get a more raw version of me from Danny. That is of course then heightened for comedy purposes.

Danny Will Die Alone -  Photo courtesy
Danny Will Die Alone – Photo courtesy

MW: Have you done any stand-up, improv, stuff like that?

TRACY: I did stand-up for a little bit right before the pandemic. I love stand-up, big fan. I never wanted to be a stand-up. I think my skill is more in sketches and scripted things, but I did do stand-up briefly for the purpose of getting rid of any stage fright.

I found when I started performing live in the music arena again, I had a little bit of stage fright, that was kind of new, because I hadn’t done it for many years. And I did stand-up as a way to, “Look, stand-up is rough, you’re probably going to eat it when you get up there.” So I really wanted to just get up there, not be great, feel the feeling, and be okay with it. And it really worked. I can grab a mike and walk up on stage and it can go well, it can not go well, and I don’t take it with me. It is what it is. And that’s thanks to letting stand-up sort rip that band-aid off.

MW: I’ve heard of stand-up and improv, as just a general exercise, being a great way to gain confidence in whatever arena that you’re tackling. About the music, you’re a really committed music artist, too, in addition to all this other stuff. What are you learning about succeeding in that arena, because that’s a whole different story?

TRACY: That is a whole different story. I’m actually in an artist incubator program right now, which is helping us be better at social media. The lesson really is, unless you’re backed by a record label or have plans to be a record label person, your only avenue at ever having any notoriety is either getting famous for something else, or social media. That’s pretty much all you got. So I’m really not focused on that aspect right now, because I’m so in the weeds with Danny and I want to make sure Danny gets delivered, and get that off my plate before I turn my attention to crafting my social media. But I’m hoping that the show will bring more attention to me as an artist, and people will see what I’m doing and maybe it’ll gain me a couple new fans. I’m also getting ready to release a brand new album, which will come out when season two comes out. And season two features a lot of that new music, so hopefully we’ll gain some new fans.

MW: How would you describe the music?

TRACY: I like to say that I’m the illegitimate white child of Prince and Janet Jackson.

MW: Okay.

TRACY: Sort of that funk, R&B, pop crossover.

MW: Well, I have one more question for you, but this is not for me. My editor is a huge Star Trek fan, so how would you describe your podcast Star Trek Zhuzherations if you were telling my editor about it, who loves Star Trek?

TRACY: It’s over now, but it was a podcast with myself and Sean Ferrick, who’s a very famous Trek YouTuber. And what we would do is we would take some of the worst episodes of Star Trek, the ones that are just kind of cringe, and we would talk about them and then try to pitch, in hindsight, how could we have fixed this and made it a better episode. A lot of comedy, a lot of us poking fun, but we’re both huge fans of the series. We love it deeply.

So it’s all with love, but the fans know the ones. The one where Beverly fucks a ghost, weird. The ones where they get stuck in a board game, weird. So we take those lovely terrible episodes that everyone agrees are pretty bad, and we take our comedic takes on them and then see if we can fix them.

MW: I’m not a Star Trek person, but I can relate as a fan of any show, you know the ones that were horrible. So we’ll probably check out Zhuzherations, and we hope everybody checks out Danny Will Die Alone. Hopefully, Danny won’t die alone. Do you think?

TRACY: Well, hopefully, I won’t die alone. Hopefully, Danny will possibly die alone, so we can get many, many more seasons.

Danny Will Die Alone episodes are available May 16 for streaming on Dekkoo. Visit

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