A GoPride Interview

Michael Henry & Tim Murray

Michael Henry & Tim Murray take their queer-centric comedy on the road

Fri. April 19, 2024  by Jerry Nunn

I will have a specific Chicago song ready and we are going to go balls to the wall
Michael Henry & Tim Murray

michael and tim

photo credit // mckenna-pitcavage

Two funny gay fellas will take over The Den for one special night.

The gay duo Michael Henry & Tim Murray are bringing their stand-up act to the Wicker Park neighborhood in Chicago on April 21 for one special night.

These spontaneous sketch artists plan on packing in comedic jabs, queer musings and at least one song. They might even squeeze a visit to Sidetrack the Video Bar while in town.

Some may recognize Murray from The Other Two on Max or his many stand-up appearances. Henry is a Queerty Award winner and has cultivated a 60 million viewership on YouTube over the years.

The talented twosome talked over Zoom a few days before their arrival in the Windy City.

JN: (Jerry Nunn) Where are you beaming in from, Tim?

TM: (Tim Murray) I am in Los Angeles.

JN: You and Michael are both based in California?

TM: Yes. I moved to New York for the last six months because I was doing a play and stand-up there. Michael and I met in LA during the pandemic. We would go on walks together during that time and decided to perform stand-up together, so here we are!

JN: Were you neighbors?

TM: Yes. I had lived in New York for seven years and we had become online friends because of comedy videos. When I moved to LA I asked him where he lived and we were within four blocks of each other.

JN: So it was meant to be.

TM: It was so serendipitous and wild.

JN: What did you study in school?

TM: I had an acting major in college, but always wanted to pursue musical theater really badly. I tried to worm my way into that. I first did stand-up in the fourth-grade talent show and then eventually focused on it.

JN: What is your favorite musical?

TM: Wicked.

JN: That musical is about to be huge. I know critics that were crying during the early screenings.

TM: Really? I am so excited and I loved what the director Jon M. Chu did with Crazy Rich Asians. He’s the perfect person to make this film.

I have my witch show where I wear full Elphaba drag that I am bringing to The Den Theatre in the fall. It’s a Halloween themed musical comedy show about why queer people love witches. I can’t wait to pair it with Wicked!

JN: Well, I am excited to hear that you are coming back and you haven’t even arrived yet!

TM: That’s my vibe to come back again and again.

JN: Tell people about your first comedy show at The Den that is coming this week.

TM: Michael starts us off with about 20 minutes of stand-up then I do 20 minutes. I do a lot of crowd work and will improvise a song. There’s a joke in the show about people’s pretend crushes when they were a little queer kid to pass as straight. Mine was Celine Dion. Hello, the greatest singer of all time and so hot!

I ask the audience the audience about their crushes and then I improvise a song about it. We end the show with more crowd work where Michael and I give advice to the audience who really need two comedians telling them how to live their lives.

JN: So a lot of participating and playing off of the audience?

TM: Yes exactly.

JN: Michael, talk about your contribution to the act.

MH: (Michael Henry) I do boylesque, Tim does boylesque separately and then we do burlesque together.

TM: Honey, I do gurlesque and I am very femme. Michael is more masculine.

MH: Yes, you can do less while I do more.

TM: Oh please I was just telling Jerry that it is an hour and a half of me and five minutes of you if I am feeling generous.

MH: You have to do that long set, I will come in to headline for five minutes and then end with a show-stopping number.

TM: Your reveals…

MH: Yes, with the tassels.

JN: Now this has me wondering what you both will wear. Fashion is important to any show!

MH: For me, less is more.

TM: For me, more is less. We are joking about the burlesque element, but I did write a song called “Hot Gay Guys in Chicago” that I have worked on for weeks. Let’s just say there are going to be some fierce outfits. Well, from my end, nothing from Michael.

MH: Will there be a tearaway?

TM: I can’t reveal that.

JN: You better have some Chicago hot dogs in that act.

TM: We sure do!

MH: I always try to squeeze in a Chicago hot dog whenever I can!

JN: Have you been to Chicago often in the past?

MH: Yes.

TM: You answer that so fast, Michael.

MH: Because it’s true. I am a Chicago-ite.

TM: That is not true at all. We just went for the first time during the pandemic. I was so excited to take Michael there and told him he would have a blast. He turned to me on the plane ride there and asked, “What if I don’t like it?” I told him that it wouldn’t bother me at all. We both fell in love with Chicago of course!

MH: It was mid-December and we were freezing.

TM: We still had a good time.

MH: I had a good time at Sidetrack.

JN: Sidetrack is a great place. Michael, what is your background? Tim and I already talked about that.

MH: I went to school for acting in New York and then I moved to LA. I started practicing at Improv Olympic, The Second City and The Groundlings. I learned how to write comedy at Second City in Hollywood and then did musicals there. My stand-up started during the pandemic.

JN: You just use your full name as the title of your act. Did you ever think of a different name instead?

MH: We were going to use Sexy Michael Henry and Stinky Tim Murray, but we just used our names, which are our calling cards.

TM: We also tried to call ourselves RuPaul and Michelle Visage, but that was taken.

JN: Good move, because they have a lot of money and might sue you.

TM: The audience might sue too when they show up and they aren’t there!

JN: What are some hot topics you plan on discussing at the Chicago stop?

MH: How anal in is out.

TM: We like to know how everyone feels about anal. That’s always a big question!

MH: That can be a hot-button issue.

TM: Sometimes we don’t have anything to talk about. We like the audience to ask us questions and we always want to know what is going on in that particular city. We love learning. Our show is the opposite of HBO’s We’re Here. We don’t tell people how to be open and gay. We need the audience to help us instead.

MH: Our stand-up covers our personal lives and how unfortunate our lives are. I find that to be relatable and people get it. It fits me and I try to be as playful as possible. I am down to earth.

TM: That is why you fly Spirit Airlines.

MH: Tim talks about all these run-ins with celebrities and A-List hookups. I am the one that is very grounded but if you need inspiration he’s the one for that lifestyle.

TM: Thank you for saying that. I am living in Beverly Hills with a luxurious lifestyle. Michael is more…

MH: I am neighborly.

JN: Tim, you were on The Other Two television show so you must have met some celebrities.

TM: It is my favorite show of all time and I cried when I found out that I would be on it. I filmed the same day as Molly Shannon, but I didn’t get to meet her because I was scheduled in the morning and she was in the afternoon. It is my life goal to meet that icon.

MH: I saw Molly Shannon riding a bicycle once.

TM: I was on a plane with Rachel Dratch, another Saturday Night Live alumni.

JN: I have interviewed them both. Molly and I talked about her gay dad for her book Hello, Molly!

TM: That book is amazing.

MH: I love it.

JN: So how did you build a following on YouTube of 60 million views?

MH: I show a lot of skin!

JN: So an Only Fans YouTube channel?

MH: It’s Only me. [laughs] I try to be as relatable as possible. I have honed in on my audience, which is gay men. People want to see gay people talking about gay things. A lot of content creators get caught up in doing things that the general public will like. I do suffer gay people a don’t have to always be liked. I’m just like JoJo Siwa!

JN: Well, that’s a hot topic.

MH: Her whole thing is that she’s making “gay music” and she’s the first one to do that. She can think that but hey the song is stuck in my head and I am just as young.

TM: I knew that was coming…

JN: You are both gay pioneers and the first ones ever to do stand-up.

MH: Thank you for acknowledging that.

JN: I can hardly wait to see what you both do at The Den Theatre. I just saw Jeff Hiller’s show there and he was great.

TM: My friend called me right after seeing that show and said it was amazing. We are so excited to be at The Den. Jeff Hiller is one of the people who paved the way for us to do what we are doing. I remember going to see shows and he was the only gay guy up there with all straight people.

We are at The Den the same week as Janeane Garofalo.

MH: Jerrod Carmichael filmed some of his show there at The Den.

JN: I went to one of the tapings for him. Jerrod is a character. Will you have time to visit Sidetrack while in town?

MH: I always have time to squeeze in Sidetrack. Tim is getting married next month so he only has eyes for love.

JN: Congrats, Tim. Are you having a big wedding?

TM: Yes, we are getting married in LA in a theater. I am trying to figure out our honeymoon right now. I am thinking about Puerto Vallarta because we have to since we are gay.

JN: Is Michael your best man?

TM: Michael is not invited.

MH: I will Zoom in and crash it.

TM: We will make sure there is not a good connection so he can’t. No, he will be there, but my maid of honor I have known since I was three years old and we grew up together.

JN: One of my friends was at a wedding with Ariana Grande attending as a family member. Maybe she can pop in as Glinda!

TM: That would be cool.

JN: What would you want to tell Chicago audiences about your show to entice them to come out?

MH: It is a fun time and light. There’s nothing too heavy in it and it’s not too long of a show. We will be having a good time while making fun of ourselves and each other.

TM: We are so excited to play this venue because we have played Chicago in a couple of smaller venues, so this one will be very special and epic. I will have a specific Chicago song ready and we are going to go balls to the wall, so you will want to be there.

JN: I will be looking for your balls on the wall this Sunday!

Plan on having a ball at The Den Theatre, 1331 North Milwaukee Avenue, on Sunday, April 21 at 7:15 p.m. on The Heath Mainstage. Tickets for Michael Henry and Tim Murray can be purchased at thedentheatre.com or by calling 773-697-3830.


Interviewed by Jerry Nunn. Jerry Nunn is a contributing writer to the GoPride Network. His work is also featured in Windy City Times, Nightspots Magazine and syndicated nationally.