Daniel Franzese to give ‘Teddy Talks’ on Growlr

Actor Daniel Franzese  will host three live episodes of his “Teddy Talks” on the Growlr app for three consecutive Fridays starting this week.

Franzese will discuss several topics, including body image, humor as a coping mechanism, being “Bearly” famous.

Daniel Franzese and Growlr

“When Growlr approached me about doing these live events, I saw it as a great opportunity to speak to the community that has embraced me since day one,” Franzese, 42, said in a statement.

Once the deal with Growlr was done, Franzese, who is recognizable from the film “Mean Girls” and the HBO series “Looking,” joined the app’s daily live streams and, as a result, has built friendships and community, he said.

“I want to know my audience and communicate personally. I don’t want to talk at the audience, I want to talk with my peers,” Franzese said.

Bear Community

“The Bear community is and always will be my people, and I have a lot of thoughts to share,” Franzese said. “It is one of the most underrepresented communities in the LGBTQ+ spectrum.  It is time we Bears rise up to who we all are which is, in my opinion, the kindest and most welcoming part of the gay community.”

Growlr has hosted these live entertainment shows since May, after bars and clubs closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Big Dipper, Jackie Beat, and Varla Jean Merman also have performed virtually on the app.

Growlr said they have wanted to work with Franzese for some time.

Coming out

In 2014, Franzese wrote a coming out letter to his “Mean Girls” character Damian. Franzese described his admiration for Damian’s courage as an outwardly gay teenager, and said Damian is an icon for gay youth.

Afterward, Franzese became a voice in the LGBTQ community. He became an official ambassador for the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and hosted GLAAD’s 2015 gala in San Francisco.

‘Looking,’ stand-up comedy

After he appeared on the HBO series “Looking” as Eddie, an HIV-positive activist who worked with a non-profit group, Franzese used his celebrity to promote messages of acceptance and understanding for people living with HIV. Franzese attended special events, spoke with the media, and made speeches on college campuses.

Franzese has created several live comedy shows, including the 2011 rock opera “Jersey Shoresical: A Frickin’ Rock Opera!” and his 2013, one-man stand-up performance “I’ve Never Really Made the Kind of Money to Become a Mess.”

Franzese has headlined The Burbank Comedy Festival  and The Ruby LA Queer Comedy Festival. In 2019, Franzese performed his hit New York comedy show “Danny Franzese and The House Of Glen Coco” at San Francisco’s Sketchfest that featured his pick of the best and brightest in queer comedy.

‘Teddy Talks’

Here are Franzese’s “Teddy Talks.” Each episode will start at 6 p.m. PST.

  • September 25

“Bearly Famous: Being a Bear Star in a non-Bear World”

Franzese will discuss his experiences in film, television, theater, and stand-up comedy. He will take questions from the audience. Fans are encouraged to ask him anything.

  • October 2

 “Stay Hungry, Never Thirsty”

Franzese will talk intimately about body acceptance, self-worth and self-esteem. He also will offer tips on how to have an egoless healthy relationship with oneself. 

  • October 9

“Bear Cub Comedy Club”

Franzese will chat with comedians and writers in the Bear Community. Each person will share their unique experiences and perspectives in using humor to navigate their lives.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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