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'Will & Grace' Star Sean Hayes Dismisses Stereotypical Label As "Insider Homophobia"

In a new interview with PrideSource, Will & Grace star Sean Hayes had no time for folks who think his character “Jack” is too stereotypical for television in 2018.

“I think that’s insider homophobia,” said the actor. “Because I know people like Jack, because one part of me is like Jack, and so if you’re saying people in the gay community were concerned that I was playing Jack a certain way and people would “worry” that gay people act like that, they do act like that. “

“And there’s people who act like Will,” he added. “There are people on all spectrums of human behavior in the gay community, just like there are people on all spectrums of human behavior in the straight community, so I nix that and I say 'bye' to that – I say, 'bye, Felicia!' – because that doesn’t make any sense to me.”

In fact, Hayes says so-called ‘exaggerated’ portrayals happen on all sides of the acting spectrum including straight actors.

“Look at Jim Carrey, look at Robin Williams,” said Hayes.

Since Will & Grace is often credited with giving gay people more visibility in pop culture, Hayes was asked who he saw as an inspiration when he was younger.

His answer wasn’t an actor, but a musician.

“If you’re talking about a famous person, Andy Bell (of Erasure),” replied the 47-year-old. “Because I was in college and I was 17, 18, and I was shocked that somebody was out and proud, making a living in the arts or in pop culture by being who they are and not apologizing for it." 

“I thought that was mind-blowing because “A Little Respect” was the No. 1 song on the radio and I was like, ‘Wait, the guy is gay and everybody is OK with that?’ That’s amazing.”

With Will & Grace now having aired in two very different periods of LGBTQ rights, Hayes notes that while things are better today than during the 90s, its important for everyone to find a way to make their own contribution to the movement because, “The hate doesn’t end overnight.”

However, Hayes isn’t comfortable being an activist (“I just don’t feel comfortable doing that, it’s just not who I am”), but feels his work on Will & Grace is his contribution.

“I’m happy the show is back because there’s still tons of work to do,” said Hayes. “The power of comedy is so incredible; that’s why we broke so many boundaries the first time. And hopefully we can continue to do that.”