Over two years ago now, James Barr and Dan Hudson formed an unlikely friendship when Talia, Dan’s girlfriend, moved abroad for work and instructed her gay friend, James, to ‘look after’ Dan. Their friendship has resulted in the award-winning comedy podcast, A Gay And A NonGay.
“I started hanging out with Dan a bit and Talia thought it’d be funny if we recorded it. We got into a studio and realised we had nothing in common with each other at all, but then slowly we became friends,” James explains.
Together they share their views on a wide range of topics, tastefully weaving comedy into the serious or the uncomfortable. “It’s about how the differences between us make us come together and find a middle ground. Despite our different opinions, views, our tastes in music or men or women, we can still find friendship in between that,” he says.
The weekly podcast regularly hits number one on the iTunes sexuality chart. Their candid conversations have attracted a large audience as well as rave reviews and awards, including the bronze award for ‘Best Comedy Podcast’ at the British Podcast Awards.
While the pair take a light-hearted approach to the topics they discuss, including STIs, HIV and coming out, the bottom line is that they always manage to make the listener relate or learn in some way. “I get a lot of straight men saying ‘God, I never thought of that’. A lot of things James comes out with are things straight people aren’t necessarily aware of,” Dan says.
“I probably wasn’t very aware either until we started the podcast, but I’m increasingly more aware now. I guess the knock-on effect is that other straight people are feeling that way as well.”
While Dan says he doesn’t find the topics they discuss on the podcast taboo, James has found that being so honest online comes with its challenges in his personal and romantic life. “I’ve had guys finish with me because of things I’ve said on the podcast, or I’ve had to edit old episodes to take out bits of information about certain people,” he says.
“My mum also listens and knows a lot about me now,” he laughs, nervously. “She heard an episode where I said I watched porn every night before bed. I’m very aware that she’ll ring me now between the hours of 8pm and midnight.”
Despite those challenges, James acknowledges how helpful it can be for others to hear people being so open. Dan and James regularly discuss what others won’t, from their own perspective, including depression and safe sex.
“The podcast isn’t necessarily something people have done before, so we’re showing that it can be done,” Dan says. James agrees. “And although we talk about some quite serious stuff, we have fun and laugh a lot. There’s a lot of comedy in what we do.”
Next month, A Gay And A NonGay will come to Dublin for its first-ever international date. Having just completed filming for a BBC Radio 1 documentary on gay conversion therapy in Northern Ireland, the podcast duo are looking forward to visiting the Republic together.
“I’ve been to Dublin before to DJ a wedding actually, a few years ago. I did all the usual hotspots — the Guinness and Jameson factories. A lot of alcohol…,” Dan jokes.
James, on the other hand, has never visited the city. “We’re really excited to see our Dublin listeners,” he says. Although, he adds, in his classic humour: “It makes me a little concerned because it means I don’t know any guys there! Normally, I rock up to a town to do a show and I’ve slept with half of the guys there.”
Their live podcast takes place on 10 November in The Sugar Club, as part of the Dublin Podcast Festival.
“It’s really exciting. And we don’t have to worry about stupid Brexit, thankfully,” James says, referring to the recent Brexit extension. “So we’re not worried about any backstop issues… Though I do love a backstop.
“And for straight people: Bring your own gay!”
To grab tickets for A Gay And A NonGay in The Sugar Club, click here.
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