"I love Justin Bieber," says comedian Trevor Boris, his mall-girl inflection dripping of teddy bears and puppy dogs. "He looks like a 13-year-old girl. To me, he's not even sexual yet."
Boris, the funny former farmer boy from Selkirk, Man., is all about sexual ambiguity. The gay comic has been doing stand-up for 11 years, but for the first four of those, he was still in the closet. Now, the Toronto-based star of MuchMusic's Video on Trial is popular among schoolgirls attracted to his catty humour and harmless sexuality.
"I feel like the fourth Jonas brother," says the fresh-faced Boris, from our corner booth at Hooters. He talks freely, undistracted by the sun-bronzed blonde who brings him his soft drink and straw. "It's funny, because I was never cool at that age. Now I have the girls, and I don't even really want them."
He means not wanting them in a romantic way. He adores their fandom. "It's hilarious," he says. "They'll stop you in the street and they'll scream." Of course, he sees the marketing angle as well. "It's not the 50-year-old men who have the power." he explains. "It's the young girls who make the calls."
And Boris benefits from their sway. Warner Music Canada, looking to broach the comedy market, became aware of the 30ish comic through the teenage daughter of a Warner executive. The girl's suggestion led to the release last week of Over Easy, a live DVD filmed at the Vancouver Comedy Festival in 2009. It's an uproarious set of stand-up from a performer now firmly out of the closet. "Over easy," you may or may not wish to know, refers to how Boris prefers his eggs and his men.
Did I say men? Actually, 19-year-old boys is more like it. "There's something about 1991," Boris cracks. "It was a really great year for merlot and boys."
Boris sees himself not as a gay comedian but as a comedian who happens to be gay, though the claim is dubious. On the DVD, he asks a heterosexual fellow in the front row if he's ever been so close to a gay man's penis. Then he says something rude (and funny).
And look at the current feature article in Xtra!, a gay-and-lesbian biweekly: There's Boris with nothing on but a suggestive look, and a clown hat across his groin. Not that anyone wishes to see the full monty of Harland Williams or Jeremy Hotz - yikes! - but when was the last time we saw a straight comedian pose nude?
"It's true," Boris allows with a laugh. "But I'm not getting any younger. If I don't do it now, I'll never do it." Turning more serious, he adds, "My stand-up is about my life and my experiences. Obviously, with me being gay, it all comes through that filter."
As for teenage girls making the trendsetting calls these days, Boris will have a few of his own calls to make very soon: He has pledged to phone every person who buys a copy of Over Easy. Boris will likely be no Russell Peters when it comes to ringing up DVD sales, but even if he sells a few thousand copies, the task of having to thank his many fans personally is daunting. "It may be that after a couple hundred calls, I'll say, 'You know what, I'm just going to send out a mass e-mail.' "
Fact is, Boris is plum too busy for phone calls. He's a full-time producer and personality on MuchMusic; he writes for the Juno Awards; and he's got his stand-up career. Unsure of his next move - perhaps a talk show - he's never been one for plotting. Pressed, he answers this way: "I want to be the Ryan Seacrest of Canada," he says of the versatile American Idol host. "I'd like to think that I'm prettier than him though."
Talk about your naked ambition.