“I don’t love Barry Manilow, I lo-o-o-o-o-ve Barry Manilow,” Michael replied. “I’m obsessed with Barry Manilow! Also, that’s how I first knew you! Because you sang ‘Weekend in New England’ on ‘Idol’ and crushed it!”
“You know that’s the song I was eliminated off of?” said JHud.
“America really messed up!” declared the actor. “It was a complete mistake. You were amazing!”
Michael, who stars on the new Apple TV+ show “Shrinking,” explained the depth of his love for the “Mandy” singer-songwriter.
“The first thing I did when I was on television when I had any fame at all was to use every ounce of it to meet Barry Manilow,” he said.
“He was so cool. I’ve seen him in concert 15 times,” he informed. “I’m a Fanilow.
“We’ve kind of gotten to know each other,” he said, adding that they’ve gotten close enough that Barry has even come to see him perform in plays.
Said Michael, “I found out one day from one of the people who worked at the theater [who] said, ‘You’ll never imagine who bought tickets today — Barry Manilow.’
“From that moment on, I just assumed he was there every night,” he continued. “Eventually he did come… He walked backstage after the show. He loved it. He was so nice and gracious.
“Now, anytime I’m in a show, anytime I go onstage, I pretend that he’s here,” said Michael. “It makes me better!”
The “Shrinking” star first moved to Los Angeles when he was cast on the ABC hit series “Ugly Betty.” He told the story of when he went to buy a car, but the dealership wouldn’t finance one because he didn’t have money (yet!). He kept telling them he was on television, but, according to Michael, they replied, “This is Honda of Hollywood, everyone is on television.”
Not to take no for an answer, Michael literally went to ABC’s website to show the car salesman a promotional photo for “Ugly Betty.” “I’m the gay guy next to Vanessa Williams,” he recalled saying, “and that’s now I got financing. It worked! That’s how I got a car.”
Joked Michael, “I’ve been cashing in for being the gay guy next to Vanessa Williams ever since.”