Yesterday actor/musician Daniel Franzese (Mean Girls, Bully, HBO’s Looking) and writer/director/actor Adrian Anchondo (of Beyonce spoof fame) released their genius new parody video, Please Go Home — a hysterical spin on Sam Smith‘s hit single from earlier this year, Stay With Me.
The video has been making the rounds in all corners of the internet since then, and it’s no wonder. The parody is jam-packed full of comedic handsomeness, legitimate musical chops, and is a virtual who’s who of San Francisco queer life.
Also: DANIEL FRANZESE!!!!
(Sorry, I just had to get that out of my system.)
I caught up with Daniel and Adrian for Queer Voices just hours after the video release to chat about gay love, this collaboration, their upcoming projects and more.
Watch Please Go Home, then read our chat below:
Logan Lynn: Hey boys. Thanks for chatting with me today on release day for your new video collaboration. It’s hilarious. How did the idea for this parody come about?
Adrian Anchondo: After the success of my first two Beyonce parodies, I was determined to part from the Queen and fast food analogies. I had wanted to work on a parody of Iggy Azaelia’s “Fancy” which would’ve had a Mean Girls theme and I thought of Danny for the project. Unfortunately, I didn’t meet him till we were on the set of Looking and, at that time, I was obsessed with Sam Smith’s song. It’s so beautiful. The truth is, we have probably been stuck in the situation that our video represents more often than what Sam Smith talks about. Danny saw me perform my Beyonce Partition parody with Honey Mahogany (From RuPaul’s Drag Race) and I think that’s when he knew we could make a good team. I wrote the lyrics and sent them to Danny and I was so surprised he was on board. I’ve been a fan of his since college.
Daniel Franzese: Boom Sucka. A star was born.
Logan Lynn: …and how do you two know each other?
Adrian Anchondo: Who doesn’t know Danny?
Logan Lynn: (laughs) Good point.
Daniel Franzese: I can’t help it if I’m popular.
Adrian Anchondo: For a young college acting student in Pennsylvania, his character in Mean Girls was everything to me. When I found out that I would get to be on the same set with him on HBO, I had a little internal teenage girl freak out.
Daniel Franzese: Did he just call me old? (Daniel throws his phone)
Logan Lynn: (laughs) He did…but I think you and I have previously established that you were a handsome 26 year old 16 year old in that movie, which makes you a handsome 36 year old 26 year old now, so rest easy, darling.
Logan Lynn: Often these types of parodies are rooted in a deep affection for the original. Is this how you feel about Sam Smith’s Stay With Me?
Daniel Franzese: Stay with Me is a heart-breakingly beautiful song. Sam Smith is rad. That’s what made this such a funny idea — Make fun of the rad thing. When Adrian approached me about this I thought it was hilarious and couldn’t say no.
Adrian Anchondo: The problem with a lot of parodies that I see is that they are very disrespectful to the artist or so different from the original that it doesn’t even seem like a parody anymore. They feel like a mockery. I love the original song so much, and I wanted it to sound as close to the original as possible so that people could relate. My parodies are meant to honor the originals, instead of stealing from them. The key is to find something people love or feel comfortable with and give it some new meaning.
Logan Lynn: It works! Some people may be surprised to hear that beautiful voice you have when they see the video, Danny. I’m already familiar with your band Peanut Butter and Jealous, but who are some of your musical influences as a singer? Did you grow up in a musical home?
Daniel Franzese: Well, my dad RJ Franzese is a lounge singer in South Florida. We sang together for fun when i was a kid and sometimes I join him in his gigs down there in the winter. I think when I went to college at Florida School of the Arts and majored in Musical Theater I really started my love for acting and singing. As far as who i was influced by, I would say Stephen Sondheim and Notorious BIG, which just about sums up my personality.
Logan Lynn: Oh my god. That’s so cute — and makes total sense. Adrian, as director and writer of Please Go Home, what was your inspiration? Is this purely fictional or is it, like most comedy, based on something true from your life?
Adrian Anchondo: (laughs) That is a good question. Without going into too much detail, I think everyone can relate to the material from both sides. I think sometimes I can be a clingy friend or lover–craving the time and affection from people in order to feel validated or special to another person — and sometimes we just need space from the people we love the most.
Logan Lynn: That sounds very balanced. Many of the San Francisco usual suspects are featured in the video, and Sister Roma, who recently led the battle against Facebook’s “Real Name” policy (and won) has a special political moment later in the song…after first being seen eating a doughnut, of course. Was this improvised? How much of the video was scripted or storyboarded versus using the talent who showed up on the day of the filming?
Adrian Anchondo: A lot of it was planned. We had a limited amount of time to improvise, but the the thing I love about working with drag queens and people like Danny is that when you have that limited amount of time to play, (like on a small stage in a bar, or in front of a camera) you make the most of it. Danny and I completely improvised the moments in the bedroom like when he pulls me off the bed. As a Director, you hope you can find people to bring new life into a moment that you didn’t imagine and, as an actor, it is so much fun to play with someone who is as experienced as Danny is. I was amazed when we were recording how easily he was able to improvise lyrics that rhymed during the bridge of the song. I couldn’t use all of what he came up with but he had me cracking up in the recording studio with lines like “Don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you” and “You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here… Time to go find yourself another queer” and “You need to go on and get out my bed, even though you kinda gave me some good head”.
Logan Lynn: (laughs) Yes. Our Danny is an evil genius. Speaking of said genius, I’m guessing you shot it in San Francisco (instead of LA) because you have been there filming season 2 of “Looking”. It seems like you were having the full-immersion SF experience, just from what I already know. Have you guys wrapped? Can you tell us any dirt from your time with the cast?
Daniel Franzese: Doing both this song and Looking after coming out this spring have been such life-affirming moments. It’s like I finally feel comfortable to tell the kind of jokes and comedy I have been holding in for so long. Its pure freedom and a blessing people are picking up on it.
Logan Lynn: So cool.
Daniel Franzese: I love working with the cast and crew of Looking. Truly every last one of them are easy going, talented and adorable people. This is also my first time in San Francisco. I am dazzled every day by the beauty of this city and the chill, friendly, cool vibe of the people here. SF is a curious little place full of curious little places.
Logan Lynn: It sure is. I lived there many years ago and still play shows there whenever we go on tour.
Adrian Anchondo: I just want to add that I live in LA now too and it was a lot easier for us to film in San Francisco because in LA you need a permit for everything. That, and I have a lot more connections in SF because I lived there for the last 6 years.
Daniel Franzese: I can tell you..you won’t be disappointed.
Adrian Anchondo: I was wrapped after episode 1, but it was enough time for me and Danny to meet and become friends, so I am very happy about that. All I know from episode 1 is that a lot of the extras had very large…talents.
Logan Lynn: (laughs) When we talked on the phone last night you were on your way to pick up your mom at the airport. Are you guys close? Has she seen the video?
Daniel Franzese: Yeah, sorry it too so long for me to text you back but I’m busy eating her homemade Sausage and Peppers stromboli bread she brought on the plane.
Logan Lynn: Yum. That sounds perfect. There’s a line in the parody which goes “You were looking for love but you’re on your own” and I think most of us have probably been on both sides of that feeling a time or two during our lifetimes. Which side do you most relate to in real life? Are you more often the one who has wanted to stay or the one who has wished someone would go?
Adrian Anchondo: With most people I meet, I try to hold on to whatever connection we may have. I believe that we all meet each other for a reason. So yes, I’ve wanted to stay.
Daniel Franzese: In real life I am a serial monogamist. I’m the first to make breakfast and convince you to call in sick to order pizza and watch Adventure Time. I also wish I had a trap door sometimes.
Logan Lynn: I love this about you, Danny. As for the collaboration between the two of you, this is the shit dreams are made of, you guys. Do you have plans to work together again in the future?
Adrian Anchondo: Danny, If you’ll have me, I would love to work with you again.
Daniel Franzese: ADRIAN PLEASE STOP SCREAMING.
Logan Lynn: Stromboli and mom times aside, what’s next in the pipeline for you guys?
Adrian Anchondo: I have some projects of my own lined up in the near future. I have a short film called Concrete that is in post production, and a web series about ex-twinks called T’was that I am currently writing. Funny enough, it is sort of the Anti-Looking, as much as I love the show. I’m also thinking of writing and filming an original comedic music video. I am new to LA, so I’m still trying to navigate the waters and find representation.
Daniel Franzese: I’m still filming Looking and then I will be appearing a lot in the corner of a party playing on Instagram. I have some movie and TV surprises for early 2015 and expect some more fun YouTube stuff. I’m always down for that.
Logan Lynn: And coming to Portland for our burrito tour of the city, of course. Last week was October 3rd, which apparently is a Mean Girls fanatics holiday. You obviously continue to embrace that character, but you have played so many other smart roles in the years since and have your whole Shit Italian Moms Say web series, which makes me pee. Do you ever get sick of the pink shirt comments or is it forever love?
Daniel Franzese: I’ve said this of times, but so far my #DanFranFans can do no wrong.
Logan Lynn: There’s that hashtag realness again. Anything else you would like to leave our readers with today before we go?
Daniel Franzese: I really like pizza and shoes.
Logan Lynn: Yeah, I was waiting for that one…
Adrian Anchondo: I am just so overjoyed by the response from people who have watched and shared my videos. I used to think that the internet was where actors went to die, but its so not true. Careers can be built by taking the initiative and creating your own work — but you can’t do it without the people. With my Beyonce parody Dunkin Love all I had was $150 dollars, a clever idea, and a lot of supportive friends. It changed my life.
Logan Lynn: That’s all it takes sometimes! Nice to meet you, Adrian. I wish you all the best.
Adrian Anchondo: Nice to meet you, too. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us and share our video.
Logan Lynn: Of course! Thanks again for taking time out during the midst of release week. I’ll marry…..errr….TALK with you soon, DF.
Daniel Franzese: Hubba-Hubba.