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The QueerCentric EP 27: Finding and Building Community Around You

Join Jonny as he speaks with Ryan Lewis about finding and building a community around you.  How do you spark joy? Is your reflex to first criticize or to support another? Sound off!

Ryan Lewis

The QueerCentric is the companion podcast to the popular digital magazine of the same name (www.thequeercentric.com ).  This is a place to go beyond the pages, to talk about what is happening around us and to have meaningful conversations about the World and culture as it affects the LGBTQ+ people.  The magazine was only one step in uncovering our voices again.  It is important to step up and speak out, for as the World has proven, we cannot afford to be silent even for a minute.  Who said we can’t have fun along the way!

Jason T Gaffney – Marriage of Inconvenience NEW Series on Dekkoo

By Kurt Schmierer

The choices you make in life that can have little or major consequences. In this comedy Marriage of Inconvenience two gay men learn the hard way that making the wrong choice (in friends, business, and love) can change your life forever. Watching two complete opposites forced to live together in a witness protection program shows just how a person truly can evolve from being a totally self-absorbed caterpillar into a, less self-absorbed, butterfly. 

Being a very judgy critic of LGBT shows, I found Marriage of Inconvenience to be worth the watch.  I have seen witness protection shows before like we all have but this one had a refreshing twist with action and comedy that kept me interested.  In all honesty, most shows I watch for 10 minutes then move on to something else and never go back.  However, the first ten minutes kept me guessing and laughing and before I knew it I was onto the next episode and then the next.

We follow the antics of Owen, played by actor Jason T. Gaffney, and Franklin, played by actor David Allen Singletary as they try to keep a low profile  and blend into their new witness protection neighborhood, while trying not to kill each other.  I had the honor of talking with the creator/writer of Marriage of Inconvenience,  Jason T. Faffney.

TQC: The name Marriage of Inconvenience is great. Did you come up with the name first or the story?  

Thanks! It all happened at the same time in the early stages of brainstorming. Most of the time when we work on something we’ll use a working title that changes several times, but that title, Marriage of Inconvenience—it was perfect for this story idea. It made it gel.

I’m constantly brainstorming comedic ideas with my longtime writing partner Ed (who happens to be my dad! Together we wrote both The Perfect Wedding and Analysis Paralysis) and we both recognized early on that MOI was a great comedy concept. What if people going into witness protection were paired up as married couples, to help them hide their real identities…? Let’s make those two people polar opposites…? How-about if one was a college professor, and the other a low-level, kind of townie drug dealer…? I knew I wanted to work with my good friend David Allen Singletary, and I also knew immediately that David would play the professor—it was in his wheelhouse. So factors like that helped shape the characters, too. With that, Marriage of Inconvenience was born.

TQC: I have seen you in “The Perfect Wedding” and “Out of Body”.  In both, you either wrote and/or directed as well as performed in. What part do you like the best – Acting, writing or directing?  

Thank you so much for watching those films! And that is a super hard question. I will always love acting first, since I started my career back when I was 6 years old in a semi-professional production of Oliver! But I really do love writing and directing as well. As a writer I enjoy getting to see the choices that the other actors make when they bring my words to life and as a director I love getting to collaborate and find the best performances from the actors for the story. Even though it can be tough, when I have the privilege to do all of them at once, it’s like having a delicious ice cream Sundae with all the best parts of production in one dish! 

TQC: I love your character in Marriage of Inconvenience. Is there a little of Owen in you or is he a made up persona?

Thank you so much! It was really fun to bring Owen to life. I always bring a part of me into each character I play. I find that it helps keep the characters more real, and allows me to have more fun with the role. That being said, I have never been a drug dealer! Haha! 

When we were bringing Owen and Franklin into WITSEC (witness protection) we knew at least one of them had to have a life of crime they were leaving behind. We wanted to explore the idea that many people end up becoming criminals not by choice, but by circumstance. Because of the unfortunate circumstances in Owen’s life, he’s got some anger issues—he runs pretty hot. He also tends to say what he thinks—not much of a filter. But he’s got a big heart, and he really wants to reinvent himself. Characters like that are always fun to play—and to write.

TQC: Do you like having the show compared to The Odd Couple ? 

I love it! We didn’t set out to make a new Odd Couple, but once we realized what was happening, we leaned into it. Nothing says great comedy like putting opposites next to each other and seeing how they react in different situations. Owen and Franklin definitely have different ideas on how to solve their problems!

I’ve also heard people compare Marriage of Inconvenience to Grace and Frankie, which is a super high compliment in my eyes! Both shows are comedy powerhouses and the idea that we can stand even close to them is quite the honor! 

TQC: When I was sent the press release of the series this part really got my attention —  

The romantic comedy was shot in Los Angeles and is being called a 21st century gay version of The Odd Couple.  It follows  two strangers who enter a witness protection program and must pretend to be happily married in order to hide their identities from the dangerous people who want them dead. 

I was intrigued and had to watch the show, especially since The Perfect Wedding is one of my holiday goto shows now. I figured this would be a good series, too!  I admit I love gay rom-coms and I try to watch all LGBTQ+ shows.  The first ten minutes, I was not sure what was going on,  then I was shocked, then surprised and wanted more. I am someone that makes snap decisions of all shows, movies and books within the first few minutes to either watch more, read more or just move on. Without giving too much away what was the inspiration for beginning with a real rapid fire of emotions?

I love rom-coms, too! The classic enemies-to-lovers trope that we use in MOI is one of my favorites. Writing a series like Marriage of Inconvenience is vastly different from writing a feature film like The Perfect Wedding or Out of Body. That very first episode is challenging! Meet our characters—but we can’t tell you too much about them because we’re saving some surprises for episodes three and four (and five and Season Two and Season Three…) I actually outlined seasons two and three when I first wrote season one because I needed to know where Owen and Franklin were heading. In season one, episode one, we knew that we couldn’t reveal too much about these men all at once. The plan was for the audience to learn about Owen’s and Franklin’s pasts as the season(s) went on. But we also knew that we needed to start with a bang! (Pun not intended haha!) We really racked our brains to figure out a great way to give Owen and Franklin a fun and chaotic meet-cute—and to give the audience plenty of intriguing, unanswered questions that would make them want to keep watching. The more we see Owen and Franklin—and get little insights into their past—the more we learn that perhaps they’re not quite as opposite as we once thought… 

TQC: Growing a series and having your viewers either fall for or hate the characters in a single season can be a challenge, but I really think you made this happen in only 2 episodes. In fact  the chemistry of not only the characters, but you and your cast member David Allen Singletary grew and felt real.  Did Owen and Franklin work out as you had hoped?

Yeah, again, having originated in writing and producing feature films, transitioning to the series format where you actually don’t want to give too much away while still keeping the characters engaging was a bit of a learning curve at first.  I couldn’t be more thrilled with how Owen and Franklin turned out! David did an amazing job of merging a bit of David from Schitt’s Creek with Captain Holt from Brooklyn 99 while adding his own special delightfulness, and I took a lot of inspiration from Roy Kent in Ted Lasso with a bit of Alexis from Schitt’s Creek. And to reach peak Owen rage all I had to do was briefly look at my Twitter feed.

TQC: I get the Odd Couple comparison and I see a hint of Grace and Frankie, but I think this is more of Three’s Company meets Laverne and Shirley with a dash of Bros the movie.  To me, the comedy is more real life over exaggeration.  I could see this situation in real life!  Yet, there were so many surprise twists!  I kept thinking over and over “I did not see that coming,” which was very refreshing.  How do you write this type of comedy?  

I love comedy—and my dad does, too. We spend a lot of time talking about what works for us in movies and TV shows—what makes us laugh—and why. One day my dad was reading an article about Charlie Chaplin, who was a comedy master. He told a story about how he would film a woman on the street walking towards a banana peel. So now the audience knows she’s going to slip and fall, right? We see shot after shot of the woman getting closer and closer to the peel, and tension rises, because it’s coming, but as she finally reaches the peel, she steps over it—and immediately falls into a manhole. 

So even though you know she’s going to fall, you laugh because you didn’t know how she was going to fall. We try really hard to write in this same way. Presenting an experience or moment where the audience has a hint of what is coming, and then twisting it slightly to get that laugh out loud moment. 

TQC: Will there be a second season?

Fingers crossed, yes! I’ve already started writing season two. Lots more comedy and misadventures for the guys and their trusted US Marshal Diane (played by the wonderfully hilarious Tammy Dahlstrom) It really depends on the show’s success. We crowdfunded season one and will probably do the same again—that’s always a great way to support LGBTQ filmmaking. 

TQC: What are your favorite parts of the series? 

Gosh… These are always the hardest questions for me because each moment is a favorite for a different reason, but I keep coming back to the amazing talent of the cast and crew. We filmed Marriage of Inconvenience in the middle of the Omicron wave and faced many challenges in keeping everyone safe and healthy. Unfortunately our cinematographer Nacia got COVID and ended up having to DP from her home via Zoom. That was a challenge for all of us.

But the crew stepped up and made it work, and the cast showed up ready to play. The fact that everyone was game and able to produce this show with that giant hurdle says everything you need to know about the talent and tenacity of this group.

TQC: Do you have a least favorite?

My least favorite part is that I have to wait to tell the rest of the story! As someone who is used to the one-and-done of feature films, it’s been challenging to leave the audience with a cliffhanger!

TQC:  If there is  a season two, what would  you like to see happen to Owen and Franklin? 

Season two has a lot of fun and/or frustrating moments for both Owen and Franklin! Book club? That’s all I’m gonna say right now!

TQC: What other future titles should we watch for?

I’ve been working on a couple of feature films. Everyday’s a Holiday with Eddie is a lighthearted buddy comedy about suicide. (Yes, I know those words don’t often go together!) The second is called Dead Nazi in a Bathtub, where a group of diverse friends are throwing a graduation party and, well… It’s kinda like Snakes On a Plane. Everything is right there in the title! 

TQC: Any last words for the reader about the series?

First thank you for supporting indie films and shows! Also, thank you for supporting LGBTQ shows as well! This world is improving and becoming more friendly to us in some places, but at the same time the opposition to the queer community is throwing more hate at us than ever. We need to stick together and find a way to laugh, because we need more love and laughter in the world these days!

Thank you for taking the time to talk with me and The QueerCentric readers.  You can see Jason and David  play their crazy characters, Owen and Franklin  April 6th on Dekkoo.com

Review of Dear Evan Hansen

By Anthony Singleton

Dear Evan Hansen was a must-see, but not for the reason you think. From the moment we sat in our seats, I knew we were in for an experience. The stage was organized in a way that drew viewers’ attention to what would be a big focus of the show. With a cast of 8 playing the main characters, it was important to take the focus off the size of the stage In order to keep the viewers’ focus on the actors instead. There were always bright and beautiful displays in the background to accent the simplistic sets used to create a world that made us feel part of the story. With the opening act consisting of only a bed and file cabinet, I wondered how the rest of the show would bring its viewers into the mind of a lonely high school senior’s quest for acceptance from his love interest Zoe.

Time and time again I found myself less worried about the visual appeal of the sets on stage, and more attracted to the story and the characters themselves. Dear Evan Hansen is a story about human connection and about the destruction miscommunication can have on a family system. Evan and his mother lived in the same place but were miles away emotionally only seeing one another in passing. Heidi Hanson burned both ends of the candle trying to provide for her and her son not realizing that overworking herself made Evan feel unnoticed causing him to find solace in the lies he tells to give comfort to the Murphy family as they try to reconcile their son Connor’s suicide.

The Murphy family is dysfunctional and exhausted emotionally from years of Connor’s mental health issues and anger. Evan’s lies pertaining to his relationship with Conner become the glue that holds together the Murphy family not knowing they are standing on a foundation made of limestone. Dear Evan Hanson is a reflection of American society and the lack of attention we pay to our children. It represents our need for achievement over investing in our families. As a man with children, I found myself reflecting on how many times I was too busy with work, college, and my own mental health issues to ask my girls about what was going on in their lives beyond the service shit we ask on a daily basis. The question is, was I truly listening to their needs wants, and desires?

Dear Evan Hanson ignites something that every parent tries to shove deep down into the pits of our stomachs. Waking up and realizing their child had died with no explanation or closure. This is a story of disconnect, fear, loss, and choosing a lie in order to fill a family’s fractured heart. I was moved to tears wondering how I would handle something so traumatic if it was me going through something so traumatizing. I have only one thing to say in closing, do we ever know who is suffering and why? Should it really take a story about the loss of a child for us to be confronted with our society’s mental health crisis? Dear Even Hanson is not just a play. It’s a cry for help if you ask me and to our children. You’ve been heard.

The QueerCentric EP26: Words

Join Jonny as he speaks with screenwriter Mikayla Daniels about the power of words.  From the words you speak, the words you surround yourselves with, the words planted into soil of your psyche, words rule our world in powerful ways. Time to get deep with The QueerCentric!

Mikayla Daniels

The QueerCentric is the companion podcast to the popular digital magazine of the same name (www.thequeercentric.com ).  This is a place to go beyond the pages, to talk about what is happening around us and to have meaningful conversations about the World and culture as it affects the LGBTQ+ people.  The magazine was only one step in uncovering our voices again.  It is important to step up and speak out, for as the World has proven, we cannot afford to be silent even for a minute.  Who said we can’t have fun along the way!

The QueerCentric EP25: Working for Community

Join us in studio as Jonny chats with community activists Abbey Crawford and Grant Ogren about working for the community.  The challenges, successes and how to avoid burn out! Check it Out.

Abbey Crawford and Grant Ogren


The QueerCentric is the companion podcast to the popular digital magazine of the same name (www.thequeercentric.com ).  This is a place to go beyond the pages, to talk about what is happening around us and to have meaningful conversations about the World and culture as it affects the LGBTQ+ people.  The magazine was only one step in uncovering our voices again.  It is important to step up and speak out, for as the World has proven, we cannot afford to be silent even for a minute.  Who said we can’t have fun along the way!

Cinephile – Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Plot: “When Puss in Boots discovers that his passion for adventure has taken its toll and he has burned through eight of his nine lives, he launches an epic journey to restore them by finding the mythical Last Wish.” -IMDB 

Review: I’ll be honest with you. I had no intention of ever watching Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. Then it secured a Best Animated Feature at the 2023 Academy Awards. Every year, I do my best to watch every single nominated film, so I knew I would cross paths with this film.

Watching the trailer, nothing beyond the beautiful animation style impressed me. I was sure I would witness another desperate sequel grabbing at any available cash that the studio could wring out of the Shrek franchise.  

Friends, I am here happily to report that I was wrong. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is a beautiful meditation on life, death, and legacy. It has profound things to say about friendship, belonging, and measuring a life well lived; something I never expected from a franchise that gave us a talking donkey and gum drop buttons. Simply put, the humor and honesty of this film mesmerized me.  

Puss (Antonio Banderas) has tested fate more times than he can bother to count. When confronted with the reality that he really should have been counting, Puss does what would come naturally for any of us facing death. He retires from the limelight to wallow in relative safety, relishing his one remaining life.  

Of course, legends can never stay in the shadows for long. At his “retirement community” for cats, Puss meets Perrito (Harvey Guillen), a confused dog desperately in need of a friend, but beaming with eternal optimism. He also crosses paths with Goldilocks (Florence Pugh) and the Three Bears who want to use Puss to track down the Wishing Star. Puss, who faked his own death before arriving at the community, tricks the Goldilocks’ crew. Thinking he’s dead, they pursue another course, but learning of the Wishing Star gives Puss an idea. If he can reach the star before the others, then eternal, or at the very least, a longer life could be his.  

This franchise has always brilliantly used well known and loved fairy tales as standing characters and plot lines, but some of their best work might appear in this film. Weaving together stories of death, Goldilocks, Big Jack Horner, and much more was a wildly creative move to add another layer of humor and heart to this film.  

Getting to the Wishing Star will be an arduous journey. To do so, Puss must steal a map from Big Jack Horner (John Mulaney) who is a collector of magical artifacts. But Puss isn’t alone in his quest. His ex-fiancée, Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), has her own ambitions. Again, another layer of intrigue, and countless opportunities for humor and heart.  

Barely escaping the violent reach of Big Jack Horner, Puss and Kitty call a truce and agree to work together. With Perrito in tow, they head for the dangers of the Dark Forest to chase down the Wishing Star, but Big Jack and Goldilocks are hot on their heels. This chase sets up a final showdown that was beautiful to watch unfold.  

In those final scenes (which I won’t spoil), we learn life is meant to be shared and our mortality is nothing to be feared. In fact, the finite nature of life makes living special.  

This film really had no business being this good. It isn’t my favorite animated release of the year, but it is a top competitor for sure and worthy of your attention.  

Be good to each other,  


Visit Nathan at


The QueerCentric BROADWAY!: Dear Evan Hansen

Join Jonny as he interviews Lili Thomas and Alaina Anderson from the touring company of Dear Evan Hansen the Tony and Grammy winning musical!  If you are in Spokane on the week of March 14 thru the 19th be sure to head out to the First Interstate Center for the Arts and catch the show, order tickets online at broadwayspokane.com

LILI THOMAS (Cynthia Murphy) is overjoyed to join DEH! Recently in Dave Malloy’s pre-Broadway run of Octet. Off-B’way: We’re Gonna Die (2nd Stage), The Hello Girls, Only Human. Select regional: Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Berkeley Rep, Milwaukee Rep, The Rev. BFA NYU/Tisch. BIG thanks to Kevin & TRC, Matt & Kat at DGRW, and my loves, Annabelle & Jack, for letting Mommy make and find her own map! Endless gratitude to Mom… this is for you. @thelilithomas www.lili-thomas.com

ALAINA ANDERSON (Zoe Murphy) is elated to be making her professional debut! Proud alum of Yale University, B.A. Cognitive Science. Previous roles include Aldonza (Man of La Mancha), Wendla (Spring Awakening), Cinderella (Into The Woods), and Nina (In The Heights). Love and gratitude to the wonderful family, friends, and mentors who have supported her, as well as Tara Rubin, Xavier Rubiano, Stacey Mindich, and the entire DEH team. IG/Twitter: @laynieanderson. TikTok: @alainymous. alainanicoleanderson.com


We interrupt our regular schedule podcast to being you a special interview just before our LIVE event.  Daniel the intern turns the tables and interviews Jonny about the whats and whys of the LIVE show.  Listen here!

From the Studio: The QueerCentric

Chris Jessop, Jonathan Shuffield
Savanna Rothe
Spokane Public Radio
Chris Jessop and Jonathan Shuffield (L–R) in the SPR performance space

Jonathan Shuffield and Chris Jessop discuss the podcast-inspired talk show

Jonathan Shuffield, host of the podcast The QueerCentric, and comedian Chris Jessop joined E.J. Iannelli in the KPBX studio ahead of the debut of TQC: Now That’s Entertainment!, a new local live talk show that launches this weekend.

TQC: Now That’s Entertainment! is an evolution and offshoot of The QueerCentric podcast, which has been releasing regular audio/video episodes since it began in August of 2022.

The weekly podcast looks at a variety of topics through an LGBTQ+ lens, but Shuffield has a general audience in mind. In describing his philosophy, he quotes Maya Angelou: “We are more alike than we are unalike.” Past podcast topics include theater, film, body positivity, relationships and working as an artist.

TQC: Now That’s Entertainment! will continue that approach in a late-night talk show format. It will feature a monologue, a house band as well as a slate of guests that includes Jessop, Anthony Singleton and film critic Nathan Box.

The first-ever TQC: Now That’s Entertainment! takes place this Saturday (Feb. 25) at the Spokane Central Library. The event is catered and open to the public.

Visit E.J. Iannelli At SPR Spokane Public Radio

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