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  1. Photograph: Rayon Richards
    Photograph: Rayon RichardsCole Escola
  2. Photograph: Rayon Richards
    Photograph: Rayon RichardsCole Escola
  3. Photograph: Rayon Richards
    Photograph: Rayon RichardsCole Escola
  4. Photograph: Rayon Richards
    Photograph: Rayon RichardsCole Escola

Public eye: Cole Escola, 27

New York street interviews: Stories from the sidewalk as told by real New Yorkers about their lives in the city that never sleeps


What’s the worst job you’ve had in New York? I played Clifford the Big Red Dog at Mary-Louise Parker’s son’s second-birthday party, and it was humiliating—especially since the kids were precocious Manhattan children. So they’d be like, “I can see the man in the costume!” Meanwhile I’m dying. I’m looking at Mary-Louise Parker, who has the career I wish I had, but I’m seeing her through the mesh eyes of a cartoon dog.

When did you ditch that for comedy?
I got mugged twice in one month, so I moved back to Oregon. But Oregon was worse than playing Clifford and getting mugged combined, so I left and started doing comedy. It’s not that I love New York, I just can’t stand anywhere else.

On the flip side, what’s your favorite NYC memory?
I was hosting Thanksgiving dinner while I was cat-sitting in the West Village, and I went to Gourmet Garage for some last-minute cardamom. I was in line between Blythe Danner and Catherine O’Hara and I thought, Well, here we all are!

VGL Gay Boys, your Web series with Jeffery Self, was great. When he moved to California, did you have any desire to go there too?
Oh, no, no, no. I don’t drive, I have to be around people, and I don’t sleep. L.A. is the city that does sleep. I’m not one of those people who is like, “Ugh, I could never live there.” But I could never live there. 

You’ve been doing monthly shows at the Duplex lately. Who are some of your favorite characters?
The Goblin Commuter, a businesswoman working on Wall Street who happens to also be a goblin. Christy, the most likable gal in the whole U.S.A.—think presurgery Meg Ryan meets Tweety Bird. And Baby Dubois, a Tennessee Williams–inspired infant.

What draws you to playing female characters?
Nobody asks Annette Bening why she’s drawn to female characters. Why the double standard? I’m a character actress trapped in the body of a teenage boy. I’m never going to get the parts that Andrea Martin gets, so I have to write them for myself.

And what makes you so darn good?
Just that I’m better than everyone else. [Laughs] I want everyone to know that I think that.

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