Nick Brennan

The writer and performer talks about his musical Golden Girls parody, Thank You For Being A Friend.
January 08, 2014
Nick Brennan (far right) with the Thank You For Being A Friend cast
 
Writer and performer Nick Brennan has been a fan of the classic sitcom The Golden Girls since he watched the show as a kid, envying Blanche Devereaux’s fabulous nightgowns. So five years ago, he decided to mount a live drag tribute to the gay fave, complete with sensible knits, muumuus and gender identity jokes.
 
“The audience will recognize each Golden Girl perfectly in the way they speak, act and move,” says Brennan. “And let’s not forget their iconic ‘80s fashions. To make it our own, each girl has a plot line that plays on their original character, but takes it to a level you’d never expect.”
 
This week, Thank You For Being A Friend is back at the Laurie Beechman theater for a limited engagement. In addition to writing the show, Brennan also portrays the Rose Nylund character in the irreverent musical parody. 
 
“Right before the show, I always think the most sugary thoughts I can think of to get into her frame of mind. Envisioning a chorus of tap dancing herrings in top hats helps too.”

Choose one in each grouping:

Favorite Golden Girl: Sophia, Rose, Blanche, Dorothy
Come on, that’s easy. Rose, of course. She's so optimistic and simple and she's got a killer rack!

Favorite Cheesecake: Strawberry, New York, Chocolate, Swirl
Actually just had a piece of Pumpkin Cheesecake at Bowery Dinner the other day that blew my mind.

Short Answer:

Do you have a favorite Golden Girls episode?
This might be an obscure one, but I think my favorite is when Rose wants to enter a bowling tournament to beat Olga and Sonia Nielson. It's got every classic interaction you want from the girls.  Rose chooses Blanche as her partner and then dumps her for Dorothy when she finds out from Sophia what a good bowler she is.  Seriously, moments that still make me laugh out loud.

Why do you think the show has stood the test of time?
Number one reason: It’s funny!

What do you think makes Golden Girls so popular with gays?
I've thought about that several times myself and I really don't have a definitive answer. If I had to guess I'd say that it's the personalities of the four girls. I think every gay circle has one of the Golden Girls.

What app do you use most on your phone?
Instagram! Hey, everyone is entitled to a great looking selfie post from time to time.

What’s your go-to drink?
A refreshing Gin and Tonic always hits the spot

What’s one of your favorite scenes to do in the show?
There is a flashback scene that takes the girls from the kitchen to last year’s Shady Pines Retirement Home Talent Show that is hilariously funny and is set up just like you are watching an episode of the series

Who would you cast in a reboot of Golden Girls today?
Sophia is an easy one: Betty White! She’s come full circle from sex pot to airhead to feisty grandma. Dorothy would be the handsome and insanely dry witted British actress Frances De La Tour, Blanche would be the still sexy Jane Fonda and Rose would be versatile character actor Francis Conroy.  She can play character you put in front of her.

What’s a trend you wish would die?
Anything having to do with the word twerk.

What’s in your fridge?
Baking soda. This New Yorker don't cook.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?

I just finished reading a book called The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach about a College baseball team and there is this beautiful quote the dean of admissions tells his college student boyfriend he is dating in secret.

“You told me once that a soul isn't something a person is born with but something that must be built, by effort and error, study and love. And you did that with more dedication than most, that work of building a soul-not for your own benefit but for the benefit of those that knew you.”

What do you sing in the shower?
The Judy Garland songbook of course

What’s your favorite bar in New York?  
I've always loved Eastern Bloc. You never know what’s going to happen at that east village dive, but you know it will be with cool people and it will be really f'n fun

Is it ever appropriate to wear a muumuu?
No, not unless you are playing Mrs. Roper in an Off-Broadway parody of Three's Company.