For a growing cult of fans, Cole Escola is an icon. The very funny New Yorker has made his name by appearing onstage as a variety of demented characters including middle-American moms on murder sprees and goblin commuters from Hoboken. Before he hits Joe’s Pub on June 14 with his new solo show, Help! I’m Stuck, and reprises his role as Matthew on Julie Klausner's Hulu series Difficult People (one of our favorite shows of 2016) in August, we chatted on the phone with the savant-level sensation.
What are you wearing today?
I’m wearing neck-to-shin bubble wrap.
Is that for around the house?
Yeah, I find it’s safer to do chores that way. I just recently moved into my own apartment, and you know, you can’t be too safe.
How has it been living alone?
It’s been really great. But then I did watch a documentary about a woman who was dead for three years before they found her body. She had been dead for so long, they couldn’t even do an autopsy because she had, like, liquefied. I try to plan things at least every other day so that when I don’t show up to something, someone will know.
Are we going to see any of your beloved characters at Help! I’m Stuck?
There’s something so embarrassing about doing characters and talking about it. It’s humiliating. I’m beet red right now. I won’t even say names because it would be humiliating for me to expect you to recognize them.
You’ve seen the gay theater trifecta: Hello Dolly!, War Paint and The Glass Menagerie. Who deserved the Tony Award?
Look, I want to be very careful with what I say. I don’t want to get involved in politics. I’m going to say that I wished them all well.
On the new season of Difficult People, Vanessa Williams plays your character Matthew’s ex-wife. How was that?
It was so much fun. She was really game. We had to do a lot of bizarre fetish stuff on our first day together, and she was down for all of it.
What should we expect for Matthew in the new season?
A lot of wigs. A lot of tragedy. Messy sex.