Awesome Con 2019: John Barrowman Q&A Panel

2019 Awesome Con
John Barrowman Q&A Panel
April 27, 2019

On Saturday, April 27, 2019, John Barrowman arrived at Awesome Con 2019 and tore the roof off the place with his humor and irreverent style.  This was my first live John Barrowman experience and can I tell you, my sides still hurt from laughing. From his haranguing the ASL interpreters, to his high heels and snarky delivery, John Barrowman is someone not to be missed at events like this.

Photo Sheila M. Bivona

Lets set the scene.  DJ Elliot and Atomic Blonde were the DJ’s for the main panel room for all three days of Awesome Con. Both DJs successfully created a party atmosphere before all of the main room events, complete with audience participation contests and sing-alongs. In the run up to John Barrowman’s panel, the DJs did an extended audience sing-along to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” The Duck Tales theme, The Golden Girls theme, and a few renditions of the Friends theme … it took the audience awhile to get the hand claps right.

We got a warning that there would be profanity and for the kids to use the words they were about to hear in front of grandparents in the near future and blame Dad.

The Intro.

John Barrowman comes out on stage in a long black trench coat, loud music signaling his entrance and stage lights flashing. He ostentatiously took off the coat with a little turn and flings the trench coat towards the back of the stage. Then he screams, “Wait a minute!” and puts back on a sparkly blue blazer that was also on under the trench coat. He tells the audience, “this was fucked up from the very beginning,” as he grabs the trench coat on the floor behind him, adding that he’s going to do this over, he’s going to do it right and do his own intro.

Photo Sheila M. Bivona

He comes back out on stage, twirling in his trench coat and takes it off in a flair, leaving on the sparkly blue blazer he had on underneath, now pleased with himself. The blazer is a blinged out TARDIS suit, inside and out, complete with white high-heeled pumps, that makes his massive balls hurt. He tells the professional photographers at the front of the stage to get their pictures and then, “fuck off!”

He sidles up to the ASL interpreter, introduces himself as a “Dirty man” and warns her that it’s gonna be interesting.

Photo Sheila M. Bivona

The Plane Incident.

John asked if the crowd follows him on Instagram (@johnscotbarrowman) and Twitter (@JohnBarrowman) and if they saw what happened to him on the way into DC? He proceeds to tell the crowd about an ordeal he experienced with American Airlines.  Apparently, the flaps stopped working somewhere in the middle of the transcontinental flight into DC. It started when the flight attendant signaled a problem with that he calls “the worry walk.” That tense fast-paced scurry to get where you need to efficiently. The Flight Attendant is on the intercom with the pilot and John hears her curt, high-pitched, “mm-hmm” reply to the pilot. That ends, then the pilot comes on the overhead and tells the passengers that they’re about to hit some bad turbulence and the flaps aren’t working. They might need to divert to a different airport because the airport they are flying to, Reagan International, has a really short runway and the pilot doesn’t want to go off the end.

Continuing, John tells us that for the next hour and a half, the flight attendants were still worry-walking throughout the cabin incessantly collecting trash.

He finally asked why they were coming through so much and the flight attendant answered, “because trash is flammable!”

John’s husband, Scott, is a pilot and makes John watch Airline Investigations. The previous night, they were watching a program where the plane couldn’t stop on the runway. Kelsey, his assistant with him on the plane, was texting Scott. Scott’s advice was that John should remain calm because he saw the same thing just the night before and knows it turned out alright.

Kelsey turns to John and asks if he was okay. John says that externally, he was very calm. Internally, he tells us, he was shitting himself.  Just before touching down, Kelsey asked again if they were going to be okay? John looked at her and said, “tighten up.” Grabbing her seatbelt to make it as tight as it could go and putting his foot on seat in front of him and braced for a hard landing. All went very smoothly for landing as they floated in gently and came to a really good stop; John compliments the pilot. Everyone was really calm, thinking it was over, until the fire trucks showed up. The pilot comes on again, calmly, “Welcome to Dulles. We thank you for your patience. It was a safety precaution, but we are on the ground now. Our friends at the airport want to make sure we’re okay.” John mutters aloud on the flight, “Okay?” And the flight attendant yells back, “Yeah, not on fire!”

The Sound of Music.

John begins to go into another flight story but is distracted, mid-story, by an Awesome Con camera woman. John snarks to her that her angle was basically a good shot of his balls. John tells the camera woman that she looks like a Heidi, to which he shouts, “I’ll be the Peter to your Heidi.”

Which is when John Barrowman breaks into a chorus of the “Lonely Goat Herder” from the Sound of Music and thanks the crowd for getting the joke.

Another Flight Mishap.

Returning to his UK flight story, John explains that the flight he was at no point goes over water, but there was the Scottish flight attendant going over the “in case of a water landing” spiel. John breaks into his Scottish accent and continues the story as the Scotsman he is. He began questioning the flight attendant as to why they would be needing the water safety message? Her response was that, in case of an emergency and if they have to divert over water. If we go down in water it’s like going down on cement, we’ll be dead anyway. These flotation devices are just to take your mind off it.

“Ding. Thank you for flying British Airways.”

Fan Questions.

John asked that those lining up to asking questions sit down so the audience can see this … he runs his hands down his body, squatting down to tell us, “Because I’m hung like a donkey!” 

He sees our ASL interpreter’s signing ‘hung like a donkey’ out of the corner of his eye. This causes him to let out the funniest laugh and makes her do it again.

“If you can do that quicker, you’re coming home with me.”

He laughs and turns back to the ASL Interpreter (Andrea), saying, “Your cheeks are turning red and I don’t mean your face either!” Raucous laughter.

Fan Questions.

The Farting Car.

A repeat Awesome Con attendee asks John how his Tesla was? John relays a story of driving his mother in it for the first time and all the little Easter eggs that are in the car. Like, the car farts when you use the indicator and press buttons. He didn’t tell her about these noises and just let them happen as they drove to see her reaction. He changed lanes using the indicator and he imitates the fart sound for us. John’s mother gives him the side eye. He turns on the other turn signal and it gives off a different fart noise, which he also imitates … in a prolonged way. His mom does a double take. John is supremely enjoying this but can’t change lanes again, as he’s already done so twice for no reason, pissing off the drivers behind him. “Fuckin Tesla drivers,” the guy behind him is probably thinking. John presses another button and delivers a different, funnier fart noise. His mother can’t take it any more and turns to him in full Scottish brogue:

“Is there something wrong with you, John? Do you need to stop at Target to go to the bathroom?”

John replies, “Why would I go have a shit at Target? Because it has a bullseye? No, someone might put their phone up, ‘oh look John Barrowman having a dump!’”

“Well you sound like you need to go to the bathroom because you’re farting an awful lot,” his mother yells.

“It’s not me, it’s the car,” says John.

She laughed and said, “Oh, dear God.” He levels with us, telling us she’s 84, done to the hilt and listening to fart noises in a Tesla.

He pressed another button and he imitated the sound, saying, “Oh that one sounds like you!” She laughed and agreed, adding, “Don’t tell your father!” She said she used to love when they’d have company over and she’d get up to the get drinks and fart walking down the hall. “Don’t let women fool you, we all do it!”

Photo Sheila M. Bivona

The Proposal.

A fan asked a question about his favorite fan photo op moment because he takes some wacky photos with fans. Today, he tells us, someone proposed and they were in the panel room then. She proposed to him, he had no idea and said “yes.” He threw in that she proposed because he’s hung like a donkey. Our ASL interpreter had been relieved a little while before and Mindy (Andrea’s replacement) was now the victim who had to sign ‘hung like a donkey.’ She had a slightly different interpretation of that sign.

John wanted to know who she was dating with the little spin at the end and asked if she had a mechanical one, with the funniest laugh. 

The Taxidermy Squirrel.

John is asked to give a story about a taxidermy squirrel he was given one by a fan. John’s sister was over one night and he enlisted Scott to help him play a trick on her by plying her with wine. John has a sleep number bed so it vibrates as you get to the setting. They sent her off to bed and waited outside her door for a few moments. John wasn’t expecting the squirrel to vibrate over to her with the bed setting adjustment. She started screaming incoherently. He was overjoyed to be playing tricks on his sister.  

The Flash.

A fan asked about The Flash musical episode John participated in and if there was a musical episode of Doctor Who, would he do it? He said that would never happen because David Tennant can’t sing, with a giggle. He loved The Flash episode because he got to play a club owner in an alternate world, singing a song from Guys and Dolls. The script writers gave him a caveat, a while back, telling him that if John died in this fantasy world, that was it, he’d die in the Flash World/Arrowverse … and he ended up dying in that world. Everyone “awww’d” and he said that’s alright, his character was blown up and there was no body and you know what that means … with a little kick up of his heel: there’s always a possibility.

The Face of Boe.

A fan asked John how he became the Face of Boe on Doctor Who? There’s a speech Captain Jack makes on the all the ways he’s died and he finds one way he hasn’t died. He thinks that may be the way he becomes the Face of Boe. John says that he and his sister will explore that in a future project related to Doctor Who, maybe in a comic.

“Don’t pee your pants, people.”

The 5 year-old John.

A fan asked John if his 5-year-old self was there now, what would he do? John replied that he still treats himself like his 5-year-old self. If he wants to roll half-naked down a hallway in a hotel, or dance in high heels and a hat in his backyard, he’ll do it. Suddenly, he’s interrupted by an insanely loud overhead announcement about a last call for autographs for KJ Apa. He said it’s that fucking pilot from American Airlines back again. Back to his answer, he couldn’t sleep last night so he bought 20 retro matchbox cars on eBay as well as a few 12 inch, vintage Star Wars figures. “I’m going to display them in my house and Scott doesn’t know and if you tell him, I’m going to kill” you pointing to the audience. John says he routinely brings out his five-year-old self and encourages us to do the same.

Hardest Scene.

The next question was what the hardest scene was for John to film. His reply was that he’s not one of those actors who frets over stuff, he just does it without angst. He knows his lines, he hits his mark, and somewhat mocked other actors who have to reach back to emote. Adding that he taps into that 5-year-old who was, “Fighting alongside Captain America and swinging through New York with Spider-Man, and I’m gay.”

“It wasn’t the environment and it wasn’t my mother that turned me gay. It was Captain America and Spider-Man who turned me gay. I’m kidding.”

He did say that is was difficult to film a scene with real food. He was filming a scene and they asked for real fries. By take 15, the fries were cold and then, “Last call signing for KJ Apa. He’s waiting for you at his booth” came on overhead. John screamed, “I’m going to find you, Pilot, and kill you.” The “lesson is if you have to eat in a scene, don’t really eat because then you’ll have to … never mind. You’re 15. The two gays in the second row knew where I was going with that.”

Romantic Gestures.

The next fan to ask a question thanked John for being an inspiration to so many people, adding that his superpower is giving strength to people without ever meeting them. The fan asked what were some heartfelt gestures John and Scott have shared, because their relationship is beautiful. John responds that we see the Instagram version, come live with them for a week to get the real scoop. He was at a loss for an answer and called out Kelsey, his assistant, to come out to answer the question about who’s more romantic him or his husband. Kelsey said that Scott was super dote-y by bringing John food on location one time, but when prodded, Kelsey said that Scott bringing John food was actually Kelsey’s idea.

He did come up with something: every day when they are home together, at 5pm they sit and eat chips with dip, have a cocktail, and sit and talk for an hour. John chuckled and said at night when they get into bed, John gives Scott a thigh kiss that sends Scott off to sleep. “Basically I gas him at night; isn’t that beautiful? That’s an inspiration to everyone around the world. [chuckle] You’re going to take back what you said to me in the beginning, aren’t you?”

Kissing His Leading Men.

John was next asked what it was like to sing “Music of the Night” with Steven Amell (Oliver Queen on Arrow). John said it was great, he can really sing and at the end, Stephen kissed him. He was proud to tell us that he gets kissed by all his leading men, voluntarily. Even ones he hasn’t worked with have kissed him. Matt Smith (the 11th Doctor) walked up to John and grabbed his face and kissed him, adding in some aggressive kissing sounds. John was like, “Dude I’m not gay.”

Blooper Real.

A fan asked John what his funniest blooper was? John was on a show called The Loose Women in the UK (similar to The View) a few years ago, wearing high heels. He was sitting on a stool and leaned back to display the shoes. He leaned back a little too far and fell off the stool. “They shit themselves.” He told us too look it up on YouTube because it is hysterical. Of course, I looked it up and it is indeed hysterical.

A Secret.

The next question was if there was a particular part in musical theater John would love to play? John responded, “uhhh yes, but I’m not going to say because, all I’ll say is, I’m talking to someone about something.”

The Outro.

The panel ended with John singing “Copacabana.” I laughed so much during this panel. John Barrowman is one of the most naturally funny people I’ve seen in a long time. His material and stage persona just leave you in stitches. His affection for his fans is so apparent. If you see his name on a con panel  near you, don’t miss the opportunity to see him live!

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For more on the panels, the cosplay and general convention mayhem of Awesome Con, follow our coverage at popculturereview.com. Also, follow us on Twitter @popcultureview and @SheilsMcGangsta for more pop culture news!

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