Ross the Intern has gone from unpaid Tonight Show outsider to star author and show-biz insider. Tuesday night he arrives at the Colony Theatre in South Beach.
Its a one-man show lights, sound effects, images, a game show with the audience, says Ross Mathews, whos on tour promoting his new book, Man Up! Tales of My Delusional Self-Confidence. We do some pop culture stuff at the top. Then I bring some stories to life and tell some stories that are not in the book. We get a little blue, so if you bring your grandma, get her a little drunk.
Following each performance, Mathews meets his public. I stay afterward and sign every book and take every picture.
Mathews says that the last time he and partner Salvador Camarena were in Miami we had the most amazing time, going to Washington Avenue gay bar Twist every night and dining with Gloria and Emilio Estefan.
Could it get any better? he says.
Mathews grew up as a big gay cartoon kid in rural Mount Vernon, Wash.
There werent a lot of people like me growing up, but I had and have a wonderful family behind me, he says.
Quips and snappy comebacks were Mathews defense mechanism.
If someone picked on me, I could outsmart them, in one sentence cut them down to size. I was this choir-band-drama kid. It was my weapon to get me friends, keep bullies at bay. It was my tool. Humor always helps.
He wrote Man Up! for boys and girls like him. I could have written a trashy, red carpet tell-all book. I didnt want to, of course, he says. I wanted to put something out that was, of course, funny, but also had a message. So little farm kids around the country could say I can be happy, have a relationship and be successful.
Mathews describes himself as 33, but with the skin of a 19-year-old.
I remember being a kid, knowing I was gay and thinking what does that mean to me? I didnt have anything to compare to that. I didnt have an example. It was before Queer Eye, before Will and Grace. Perhaps thats why when I got this platform I didnt want to use it without planting a seed, said Mathews, who was mentored by Jay Leno, Rosie ODonnell and Chelsea Handler.
Mathews and Camarena are together almost five years. We met like the pilgrims did, at a bar, Mathews says. I could never do online dating.
They currently are dads to a maltipoo and a Chihuahua. Were going to have children, were going to get married. Im very traditional. Lets get married first, then have children.
Ross Mathews appears 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach; $38.50; 800-745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.