Ice Nightclub, Hamtramck
Leave! Britney! Alone! Those three words alone are enough to paint – with eyeliner – the image of a slim 19-year-old Tennessean, done-up in heavy eye make-up, tight T-shirts and long blond locks. But Internet phenomenon Chris Crocker’s overzealous devotion to Britney Spears was never a secret to YouTube junkies.
After throwing a hissy fit on his “Leave Britney Alone!” clip in defense of the troubled star’s slapped-together performance on MTV’s recent Video Music Awards, though, he became a publicity whore. Not only did the gay Southerner weep harder than that young Sanjaya buff on “American Idol,” but Crocker’s wailing prompted more than 8 million hits. Now, he’s fending off paparazzi. Pushing up his brassiere on late-night talk shows. Transitioning from small-town YouTuber to docusoap star. Clearly, his 15 minutes of fame are just getting started.
Crocker, who initially called during a local power outage and told me he wanted to have phone sex, chatted with Between The Lines to support his stop on Oct. 6 to Ice Nightclub in Hamtramck. That Monday afternoon – already past deadline – an interview with the in-gay seemed unlikely. Still, we couldn’t let this one go, disappointing those who were still wondering: Uh, is this guy for real?
You told me during our short conversation earlier you wanted to have phone sex, but what I want to know is: What would phone sex be like with Britney Spears?
Well, considering I’m gay, um – it would be the same as my phone sex with you. It would be wild and lots of breathing. And we’d moan like Asian anime characters.
When did your Britney Spears obsession start?
As soon as she came out. People have been turned off and on (by Spears) for a long time – they like her, they don’t like her – but I always stay true to her. Once I’m a fan (of somebody), I’m pretty loyal.
What has Britney Spears done for you that made you want to defend her?
She’s done more for me than my own parents have. She’s been like a mother to me … in a long-distance way. She’s my idol. She’s been like a ray of light. She’s really positive; watching her on stage is really inspiring to me, because I’m a dancer and a performer myself.
Are there any other celebrities you’d defend like you do her?
Oh yeah: Courtney Love and Rosie O’Donnell.
So – people better back off of Rosie.
She can defend herself, as we’ve all seen.
But you don’t think Britney can?
I think Britney can. She’s just overwhelmed right now.
Now I know that ‘Chris Crocker’ isn’t your real name. How did you pick that name?
Well, one day it was just time to pick a stage name and I was looking through my videos. And in my video called ‘Betty Crocker Jr.,’ I say, ‘I’m not Betty Fucking Crocker’ – ’cause I was making a pizza and it didn’t turn out so well. So, I was like, ‘I’m not Betty Crocker, but I am Chris.’ And then I kind of connected the dots. So I was like, ‘I’m Chris Crocker.’ It was kind of an inside joke for my fans that have been with me early on.
So now you’re ready to tackle TV, yeah?
Yeah, I’m ready to tackle TV. I’m ready to tackle the government. I’m ready to tackle everything and anything.
Tell me a little bit about this reality show.
Well it’s not necessarily a reality show, per say, like trash TV. But it’s a docusoap because it’s not going to be exploitive. It’s actually my journey from small-town life to the entertainment industry and what path I will eventually take in the end. And it’s called – we actually have a title for it now – and it’s called ‘Chris Crocker’s 15 Minutes More,’ so it kind of gets the joke out of the way.
Any idea of when it’ll start shooting?
I can’t say yet.
What has been the shittiest part of this sudden fame?
Just paparazzi. Because I’m in L.A. now and you can’t do anything. It’s insane. Like, you turn around and you just have no idea that they’re there. I was like a deer in headlights the first time I’d seen them.
Has this sudden fame been worth the nasty hate mail, and the gay jabs, and the late-night talk show jokes about you?
Oh, of course. I’ve been preparing myself for this very time of my life my whole life, because ever since I was in kindergarten, I was gay-bashed for bringing Barbies to show-and-tell. So I’m used to this.
A lot of people are saying there’s something seriously wrong with anyone who has an obsession with a celebrity that goes as deep as yours does. What would you say about that?
Well, my choice words or feelings, it wouldn’t be ‘obsession’; that wouldn’t be the choice word. It’s more of an affinity than anything. Of course, in the video, it was a little dramatic. Even looking back on it, I see that it’s humorous. I still feel the same way – but as far as the dramatics go, I guess I just emotionally drained myself on camera.
I’d say so. Thanks, Chris. Pleasure speaking with you.
Nice talking with you, too. We’ll have phone sex later. On or off record.