"Rihanna's What You Came For" w. Munroe Bergdorf | Crooked Media
Pod Save America Live NYC & Boston guest hosts just announced! Get Tickets Pod Save America Live NYC & Boston guest hosts just announced! Get Tickets
February 15, 2023
Keep It
"Rihanna's What You Came For" w. Munroe Bergdorf

In This Episode

Ira and Louis discuss the Super Bowl a.k.a. Fenty Bowl and Rihanna’s return to the spotlight, Burt Bacharach’s legacy, the debate over sex scenes in television and film, couples posting on Valentine’s Day, and whether Jeanne Dielman is one of the best films ever. Plus, model, writer and trans activist Munroe Bergdorf joins to discuss what we missed at the 2023 BRIT Awards and her new memoir Transitional.






Louis VIrtel Welcome back to another episode of Keep It. If you see me walking down the street and I start to cry each time we meet. Could you walk on by? I’m Louis Virtel.


Ira Madison III And I am Ira Madison, the third, I am positive that birds do not appear every time of the year.


Louis VIrtel That is a clinical issue. If that occurs in your romance, it has nothing to do with love. It’s that it’s a hygiene thing. Yeah.


Ira Madison III That is a scary song, Karen Carpenter, okay. Birds suddenly appearing every time she sees this man, run.


Louis VIrtel She tried to get you. Jesus. Yeah. Wow. Yeah. Hitchcock is is he credited co-writer on this what’s happening.


Ira Madison III Of So Burt Bacharach died this week at the age of 94. Honestly, I did not know he was still alive.


Louis VIrtel It’s pretty remarkable he was still alive, because also Hal David, his main songwriting partner, he had a few over the years, including Carole Bayer Sager, with whom he won his third Oscar for Arthur’s theme, The Best That You Can Do. But Hal David also died at 91, but that was some time ago. So you would assume that Burt was like his age and that he’d be, you know, 114 now. So. But he’s not. But Burt was on my mind recently because there’s a new Dionne Warwick documentary out on HBO, Max and a couple of you’ve.


Ira Madison III Is it about her tweeting?


Louis VIrtel Yes. It’s called Dionne Warwick Touch Grass, and it’s about how she needs to get out.


Ira Madison III The tweet that she set out about about Burt’s passing was like, so sweet and moving. And I was like, oh, this feels like the first tweet that Dionne Warwick has actually tweeted herself.


Louis VIrtel Right. Well, yeah, I don’t know what in living color writers.


Ira Madison III Her niece is doing whatever.


Louis VIrtel Is on her Twitter. Yeah, it’s very shocking. But I will say about that Dionne Warwick documentary, I wish it had come out 20 years ago, because so many of the people that populated her time in popular music, you know, are obviously gone now. There are a couple of you know, at the time, Burt Bacharach is in the documentary, Barry Gibb is in the documentary, You know, a couple of relatives of her, like Cissy Houston, I think makes an appearance. But I really wish we had gotten this entire documentary years ago because Burt’s story with Dionne is so integral to pop music. They have such an amazing relationship. You can YouTube videos of them, literally working together on songs where he’s like, Dionne, I’ve got another humdinger on my hands. And she goes, Well, if it’s too hard, you can just sing it. And they have this fun back and forth. It’s impossible to pick a favorite song of theirs. It’s crazy to me, still, that American Idol would have Burt Bacharach week. This was a this was like an American sensation. And they would put on these, you know, lilting melodies for kids in like Charlotte Rouse crop tops to sing, it’s still mind boggling.


Ira Madison III Okay, that is the thing that I was going to bring up because I feel like Burt Bacharach is a name that is, even if you don’t really know everything about him for people our age, you know, that name because of American Idol and it’s so weird. I like I watched the season two, like top five do What the World Needs Now is love. Like, I watched that clip and it was like a mind fuck, watching like Clay Aiken walk out first, like Ruben back there, I was like this. Where are these people? Took it when we watched it every week people screaming, people screamed with like someone, like, hit a note.


Louis VIrtel Right. No, I don’t know how they brainwashed us into, you know, into this like kind of Eurovision thing that we were all obsessed with and I guess still are. It’s still like a popular network TV show. But the amount of fabulous songs they tweeted when he died that nobody made sentimentality seem sophisticated, like Burt Bacharach, It wasn’t just syrupy ballads. There was like some wit to everything he did. In the part of that is Hal David, his lyricist, writing a lot of those songs. I’m talking about Walk On By, I Say a Little Prayer, Anyone Who Had a Heart, Don’t Make Me Over, which is also the name of that Dionne Warwick documentary. My favorite, Do You Know the Way to San Jose, which is secretly the bleakest song in existence because it has this light melody, but it’s about how I failed at L.A. and I’m moving back to San Jose where I have get ready lots of friends. Oh, what could be bleaker? Oh. I’ve got lots of friends in San Jose. I’m going to go back there now and live in, live in filth, live in my failure.


Ira Madison III Make Way for Dionne Warwick is such a great album. And it’s like it’s like even look at the cover. It’s like it’s not even like the Dionne that we even remember from like when we were kids, you know, like she had such a transformation after that, you know, And the music is great. I like. I know that a lot of people who are millennials probably were introduced to Burt Bacharach, either from American Idol or through Austin Powers.


Louis VIrtel Yes. His sort of kitschy appearances in the Austin Powers movies.


Ira Madison III Yeah, but let me tell you something. You know, a song I really love.


Louis VIrtel Hmm.


Ira Madison III What’s New, Pussycat?


Louis VIrtel Oh, please, Tom. Tom Jones. I feel like we still are due for a little bit of a renaissance. For how? Well, he has a powerful voice, but it’s also just a kind of like hardy. There’s a hardiness about Tom Jones that I think is not replicated much in pop music nowadays.


Ira Madison III I’m always shocked whether, like I was at a gay club like a few weeks ago. Shocker. And Sex Bomb played and like everyone knew the lyrics and I was like, I know all of you were not watching the one season WB series Gross Point like I was, which had a bomb ass theme song. So how does everyone know this song?


Louis VIrtel That is really puzzling and good for you for being at whatever club that was.


Ira Madison III Yeah, I truly think it was like just, I think it was Flaming Saddles in New York.


Louis VIrtel I guess it could be nowhere else. Yeah. Yeah, that’s fabulous. You know what else I want to say about Burt Bacharach? I mean, he wrote Close to You for Carpenters. You for Dusty Springfield. Tom Jones, as we just said. I think something I really love about their songwriting, apart from the wit of it and just the the the lightness of it, is they wrote for vocalists who were rarely belting. It was really about like people who interpreted a song and you were they have an awesome voice, but you’re literally listening to what they’re saying in addition to listening to their voice. They really had a storytelling quality and I think like, for example, just to talk about Walk On By a song, we all know that the sweetness of the melody and the hurt of that song, I think what resonates with me about that is what could be more relatable to life. Like you feel a certain way, but you still have to put on a brave singsong face to get through life. So that like juxtaposition of sweetness and sadness is, you know, how to be a person, how to be how to, like, deal with things, how to go on with your life, how to walk on by, so to speak. So just second to none. He and Hal David are definitely up there with Lennon-McCartney or Carole King and Gerry Goffin, just the absolutely essential songwriters that everybody should be somewhat familiar with. Literally the Dionne Warwick first greatest hits, which is, I think, exclusively Burt Bacharach songs. Trains and Boats and Planes. Are You There with Another Girl? There’s fabulous songs there. I actually have a quick story about that. My friend Andrew and I, my friend who’s about 15 years older than I am, and I lived behind him in his guest house for seven years when I was in L.A. and on the weekends we would go put on Dionne and go to someplace like Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale or something where you can, like, walk around and talk. And one day we were driving to the Reagan Library with my dad in the car who was visiting. And of course, Andrew and I are like fagging out, talking about Dionne Warwick. We put on Are You There With Another Girl, which is about Dionne, suspecting that her man is cheating. And he goes, she goes to his house. And anyway, Diane, stalking him is what’s happening in the song. It’s a creepy song. And at some point it gets to a part of the song where she goes, Are you are you there with another girl? And then this other vocal comes in that’s like, bup, bup, bup. It’s like a loud, high pitched noise, and we’re kind of making fun of it. And my dad goes, That’s the voice they hear on her radio. Are you there with another girl? And she’s talking about, I can hear you’re playing the radio for some girl. Anyway, I just want you to know that I did not expect my dad to read us fucking fagots for filth about the dramaturgy of a Dionne Warwick song. And it sits poorly with me even now.


Ira Madison III Not your dad gagging you over Dionne.


Louis VIrtel I know, right? I didn’t think it would ever be me. Yeah.


Ira Madison III I mean, truly, Burt Bacharach is like that is the epitome of the the Whitney meme. You know, like, songs like that tell stories that people can identify with. Children were singing these songs at weddings, graduations on their way to the Ronald Reagan Library.


Louis VIrtel Which is a funeral to me. So, yes.


Ira Madison III Also. I have long wondered what the hell sparked your fascination with wandering around cemeteries because you loved doing it?


Louis VIrtel I did. Oh. During the pandemic, I would go to Forest Lawn and look for Clark Gable’s grave, and I guess it was just mostly a way to, like, you know, be outside and walk around and have something to look at as opposed to just like, you know, running down the streets, which, by the way, is deranged behavior that I can’t believe people still do.


Ira Madison III Yeah, I love a cemetery. You know, there was there was truly a cemetery across the street from my house in Milwaukee growing up. And so I you know, I used to hang out there all the time. You know, people would jog there in high school. I filmed a I filmed a short film there.


Louis VIrtel I also did that in high school because I grew up in a town, has a ton of churches in it, and therefore there are a ton of cemeteries there too. So you’re always like walking by one or something. In fact, Diablo Cody, who is from where I’m from, Lamont, Illinois, said you could. You could almost judge the the the class of somebody by how close they lived to a cemetery in Lamont. Like the further away you got, the more, you know, maybe you were ritzy or something. You know, we were like, we were smashed up against tombstones, both of us.


Ira Madison III Love those sock hops at the cemetery.


Louis VIrtel Sure. Yeah.


Ira Madison III Never stumbled on any mysteries, though.


Louis VIrtel Rarely, No. Yeah. Yeah. Great. Pumpkin. Never appeared either. Yeah, so.


Ira Madison III Well, we have got, ah, a packed episode full of a lot of music chat. Rihanna is back. Maybe.


Louis VIrtel Walking around. Yeah, she’s walking around. I saw that.


Ira Madison III Walk on by. She did that. Ah, the Super Bowl happens and we’re going to wade through all of the takes on Rihanna’s big return to music. And then we’re also going to get into another divisive topic in pop culture right now. Sex scenes in movies and TV.


Louis VIrtel And is it really all of Gen Z that’s upset about this or is it secretly six people? I need somebody to do the hard journalism on this.


Ira Madison III It’s six people and Penn Badgley.


Louis VIrtel Okay. Right. Oh, yes. Very stirring statement. Yeah.


Ira Madison III So we’ll get to all of that. Plus icon model trans activist Munroe Bergdorf is here with us this week to talk about her new memoir. And also, continuing the Keep It trend of getting boots on the ground information about award shows that we did not attend. She was just at the Brits recently and we’re going to get the tea on that as well.


Louis VIrtel Was she injured by the helium machine that inflated Sam Smith’s outfit? We’ll see.


Ira Madison III We’ll be right back with more Keith.




Ira Madison III Super Bowl 57 aired on Sunday with the Kansas City Chiefs, ultimately defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 38 to 35. And for most of our listeners, this is probably the first time you’ve heard any of that information.


Louis VIrtel Oh, no. I absolutely predicted that the Kansas City Whomever’s up against the Philadelphia You Go, Girls. I absolutely knew it would go down this way.


Ira Madison III Super Bowl 57. How many Oscars have we had?


Louis VIrtel We’re now at 95.


Ira Madison III Okay. So the Oscars have been going on longer than the Super Bowl.


Louis VIrtel It’s the Super Bowl is a surprisingly recent development in American culture. Like the Super Bowl began in 1967. It’s very strange.


Ira Madison III It’s the sixties. We go to the sixties where they were like, you know what? We need a bigger game.


Louis VIrtel Yeah, I guess people got sick of whatever they had been watching then. Baseball and golf, I guess.


Ira Madison III But we don’t care about that shit anyway. Because let me tell you something. As soon as Rihanna finished her concert, we started playing all the Super Bowl halftime shows, which I feel like is what every gay viewing party does.


Louis VIrtel Right. Well, I actually made the mistake of watching all the other halftime shows in the days leading up to Rihanna not doing the math that, of course, I’m going to be watching these afterwards, too. But by the way, I don’t know that that was brilliant math on our part anyway, because when you compare the Rihanna show to almost any other show in recent memory, you will be coming up short. I’m sorry. Look, again, it’s like the woman’s pregnant. She hasn’t performed regularly in a million years. You know, she’s like like Gene Hackman at this point where she pops out of her shell once in a while with, like, some weird book you don’t want or whatever.


Ira Madison III She is a little Willy Wonka esque.


Louis VIrtel Yes. Yes.


Ira Madison III Okay. Everyone. I can imagine her having a thing where they’re golden tickets in like Fenty makeup cases. And then she invites five people to the Fenty factory.


Louis VIrtel I need her to not get ideas like that, because let’s. Let’s put her back on the Billboard charts. I’m getting nervous. But look, I mean, she gave you the order like ABBA Gold of Rihanna hits. You know, there are there are there are a couple of notable exclusions. Like, I was surprised not to hear S.O.S. at all, but I guess it’s probably sick of that.


Ira Madison III No Pun Da Replay?


Louis VIrtel No Pun Da Replay. No If It’s Lovin That You Want. But you know, it’s one of my secret faves. If she played that, I actually would have fallen out. That would.


Ira Madison III But I would agree ABBA Gold is a apt description of it because I will say this was more of a medley that I think we’ve ever gotten in recent memory for a Super Bowl performance. You know, even like Madonna, Beyonce, you know, like Shakira, J.Lo, Katy Perry, like there’s at least one big score that feels like it gets more than 30 seconds. It’s the centerpiece of it. You know, like B and Beyonce, you know, had the. That’s the one we put on first after it. You know, you had not just the Destiny’s Child appearing, you know, but like there were different set pieces. I will say that visually, this was gorgeous. I like the.


Louis VIrtel Love to look at it.


Ira Madison III Camera work. I loved, like it was beautiful. I loved the dancers, but I would also say that. Not like this shit wasn’t in different areas.


Louis VIrtel No.


Ira Madison III Okay.


Louis VIrtel It literally went up and down. That’s what happened. Yeah.


Ira Madison III Like, there weren’t different set pieces. There were costume changes. She was really just vibing. And listen. I’m not saying I expected anything more because Rihanna has always been vibes.


Louis VIrtel Sure. No, she’s like. She’s like the premiere vibe. Yeah. Yeah.


Ira Madison III Like, she comes, she hangs out and we have a good time. You’re not expecting to be wowed. You’re not saying she’s the best pop star ever. She’s never been the best pop star ever.


Louis VIrtel I know but.


Ira Madison III Her music has always been great, and it dominates the charts, but she has never been like a performance beast.


Louis VIrtel No, she’s not somebody who’s, like, jumping in the air and landing in a split or anything like that. That said, I do feel like her fans went off the deep end defending this performance. Generally speaking. Because they’re like like, I just don’t think it’s an amazing defense to be like, well, if you’re not used to being underwhelmed, you’re not a fan of hers or whatever the fuck they’re saying. It’s like. Well, that’s that’s not good news either. I don’t know. Because also, she’s done plenty of great performances before, you know, like she’s, you know, the amount of AMAs performances she’s been great or VMAs.


Ira Madison III The VMA Vanguard is my favorite performance of hers.


Louis VIrtel Yes, I agree.


Ira Madison III It’s were three different. There were three different compounds. It felt like it felt like amped up. There was a lot of energy. I rewatched it and I enjoyed it. But I will say upon rewatch, like I was ready to turn it off before it ended.


Louis VIrtel Yes, I’ve watched it twice and the second time I wasn’t finding new and interesting things to look at or anything. But it’s like you said, like if you look at Madonna’s halftime show all together, including two snippets like Open Your Heart and Express Yourself, there are only six songs in that, you know, like, like she does like all Give Me All Your Love and which, you know, she will pay for her crimes eventually. But but like in this, you got way more than that. And so I was talking to a friend of mine and he said, What songs do you think will like top the iTunes or whatever the music charts, Spotify charts after this? And I actually didn’t know. I guessed that Diamonds, because it ended the medley, would be the big one. I guess the biggest percentage jump was Bitch Better Have My Money, which makes sense because this is probably the least but  popular. Yeah, and it opens it.


Ira Madison III I would say that because she opened it. And also, I think that no one was really expecting that song.


Louis VIrtel Right. Yeah.


Ira Madison III Just because it’s the Super Bowl and they’re always angry about anything, you know. But I thought I thought that was a great opener. I thought that that grabbed us all and I was like, Oh, this is going to be hot.


Louis VIrtel Right.


Ira Madison III Because of like, the lyrics also weren’t, you know, like, don’t act like you forgot, you know, like turn up to Rhianna. Like that feels like an anthem for her. The one I was shocked about, too, was not because the Kanye of it all, but like I was shocked about all the lights just because I was like, Oh, she remembered that song.


Louis VIrtel But it also was a little bit harrowing at that point because there were no features yet. So you were wondering like, Oh, is he going to come front Handspringing on out, you know, with a shout to Jesus or whatever?


Ira Madison III But I knew Jay-Z wasn’t letting that anywhere near his Super Bowl.


Louis VIrtel Right. Yes. No.


Ira Madison III I was shocked Jay, He didn’t appear.


Louis VIrtel I think Jay-Z was walking the perimeter, making sure he wasn’t there though. Yeah.


Ira Madison III That’s why Jay-Z jumped out for any of his features with Rihanna. He was making sure Kanye did not show up.


Louis VIrtel He was in the Light House. Yeah, looking out.


Ira Madison III Overall, I’m excited to have Rihanna back, but. It didn’t feel like a return. It felt somewhat some it described it as a retirement.


Louis VIrtel I know not a re-pology not not the RuPaul universe verbiage.


Ira Madison III But didn’t it feel like like she was like elder stateswoman. Like here’s some of those hits you love. Now goodbye.


Louis VIrtel I will say she did look sensational the minute she hit the stage. I’m like, I am. I love the sartorial shout out to André Leon Talley, which I loved, and he was so into her too, so that such a fun little pop cultural moment. But yeah, I mean, it just she did nothing. She didn’t do anything on stage. I didn’t know she was capable of. And again, I’m not saying she has to, like, jump through a ring of fire or anything, but it didn’t even it didn’t feel like there was a moment of real ingenuity there. Like, if you look at, like, the Shakira, J.Lo performance, and I don’t mean to compare the performance styles of like Rihanna to Olympic decathlete J.Lo, who will fully, you know, like pole vault over whatever Cuba.


Ira Madison III Or Bionic Woman Shakira.


Louis VIrtel Yes. Oh, yeah. Bionic woman, Shakira. But like in those performances, they both found, like, weird moments to let, like, J.Lo suddenly do a really Spanish oriented dance or Shakira, like, doing a shout out to Led Zeppelin. There’s this, like, interesting artistic pangs in there. And I also want to say about that performance, having two performers is, I think, a pretty awesome mix because then they get to volley between each other. And so you’re always caught off guard a little bit. There’s like a fun suspense to whatever’s going on. Not that I don’t like the Katy Perry or the Beyonce years or whatever, but just the idea that there’s something a little unique about the moment that it’s two people who’ve never been together on a stage before. And of course, once upon a time you’d see more of this at the Super Bowl with like Janet Jackson and N’Sync  swing again. But I think just two performers is a pretty ideal thing.


Ira Madison III I want a throwback next year to  sort of like the Aerosmith with NSYNC, Britney, Mary J. Blige,  and Nelly, like, give us like just a bunch of people, because I sort of feel like we have a lot of pop stars right now who can’t really carry.


Louis VIrtel Yeah.


Ira Madison III A show with a mass amount of hits like maybe an Usher. And I will say, fuck the people who were sort of tried to discredit Usher after the show, being like he doesn’t have the hits to do the Super Bowl. Are you kidding?


Louis VIrtel Excuse me. Who does, then? It’s been like 25 years.


Ira Madison III He’s got nothing but hits like so many number ones.


Louis VIrtel Right. I’m trying to contrive what I believe will be the medley coming up. Like, if it’s. First of all, it feels strange that Pink has never done it. One, because of the amount of hits and to I just feel like she has beaten up a cheerleader at some point, but she belongs at the Super Bowl.


Ira Madison III I think Pink culturally, though, I feel like if Pink is there, it’s with someone else.


Louis VIrtel Yes. I wonder who that would be.


Ira Madison III Who would bring out Pink, you know.


Louis VIrtel Usher and Pink. That doesn’t not speak to me.


Ira Madison III Yeah, I feel like someone like a I mean, I don’t know. I don’t know her vibe with Taylor Swift, you know? But I feel like I try to think about who would fit with Taylor. And I like if Taylor and I know they were courting Taylor for this Super Bowl as well. If Taylor’s at the Super Bowl next year and Pink came out, I think that’d be a little iconic.


Louis VIrtel Could be. Could be. Taylor, I feel like. But inevitably do it on her own, though, right?


Ira Madison III I know she loves women empowerment. I think that she would have, like some other women on stage with her for at least one moment.


Ira Madison III Oh, I would love it if she did like A Night of 100 Stars, like introducing woman after woman like she did on that old tour. Like, here comes Joan Baez again or whoever the fuck she was obsessed with at that moment.


Ira Madison III Ladysmith Black Mambazo are here.


Louis VIrtel Oh, my God. She’s going to take us to Graceland.


Ira Madison III So also, this is such a weird year, too, because I didn’t really give a fuck about any of the commercials. I think over Super Bowl commercials.


Louis VIrtel Well, it is just that weird feeling of do you think because you spend $200 million that the commercial will suddenly be funnier? I assure you that’s not the case. It is always a puzzling mix. Like you can see like like, oh, they’re going to put who Alison Brie or who is it? Brie Larson and Jon Hamm together and say, ham and Brie. It’s like.


Ira Madison III Yeah.


Louis VIrtel Is this supposed to be iconic because it’s words? It just doesn’t add up to anything for me. I mean, it’s just the grossest most corporate moments in popular culture that we all are find a way to be obsessed with via one form or another for the you know, for the queers. It’s the halftime show, but everything else just feels like loud. And, you know and unseemly.


Ira Madison III They used to be fun. I will say Superbowl for commercials like have always been expensive, but they used to be fun and, you know, not to be one of these old people, but like you used to not see the Super Bowl commercial until the Super Bowl.


Louis VIrtel Oh, totally. Right. Everything’s leaked beforehand.


Ira Madison III Yeah. And then they really started like, dropping the bottom line before. And then I’m like, who cares? You know? And none of them really, really feel as fun and innovative, you know, as, like, throw in some Doritos in a dryer at the laundromat, you know, like, that’s fun.


Louis VIrtel But also, I think just the because commercials are sort of like a lost language now, it doesn’t have the same impact to watch commercials anymore. Like, what is this show? And it just it feels old hat, you know.


Ira Madison III Also someone should drop like a music video during the Super Bowl or something, you know, like.


Louis VIrtel That would be nice.


Ira Madison III Instead of a commercial.


Louis VIrtel My brother Jim acquainted me with the fact that once upon a time during the in the middle of the Super Bowl, we wouldn’t watch the halftime show. We would go and watch the new episode of In Living Color on another network.


Ira Madison III Yes. Okay. Yes, I do remember that like  Fox and like other networks, like used to drop like a Super Bowl, I think mid Super Bowl. And also lost is the art of debuting a show after the Super Bowl or like the big Alias episode where they made a point of like she was doing spy shit but like in lingerie on a plane this time because it was like, Oh, we got to lure in the men.


Louis VIrtel Right. Right. Tits out for the boys, etc.. You know, something that always blows my mind is that the Wonder Years, which is among the quietest dramedy sensations of all time, it debuted immediately after the Super Bowl. What a crazy thing to watch. Like, oh, we’re going to it’s a 12 year old in 1968 whose crush it was loses her brother in Vietnam like that’s what we’re watching after the Super Bowl. So bizarre.


Ira Madison III I mean, now, speaking of like Super Bowl commercials that really got me horny, like they always, you know, they got to court men.


Louis VIrtel Right.


Ira Madison III Jesus.


Louis VIrtel Oh, my God. They had all these commentators on the Super Bowl, but nobody was more opinionated than Jesus. Oh, my God.


Speaker 2 Jesus opened her purse. Okay, let me tell you something I like. Usually I hate when people are repeating the same take on Twitter, or it’s like, okay, this is sort of original about it. You’re just like writing it when people kept saying, Well, if if the church could afford this much money for a Super Bowl commercial, they can afford to pay taxes. And everyone like posting that like it was an original thought.


Louis VIrtel Right.


Ira Madison III I do agree.


Louis VIrtel My Jesus  was some like weird organization, right. Yeah. That has like anti LGBT ties, even though the messaging of some of this was Jesus gets everybody, not just, you know the same people you think he gets.


Ira Madison III Well he got Josh Bassett this week.


Louis VIrtel I am upset because he, Josh Bassett is caught in God’s butterfly nets and I need him to get out of it.


Ira Madison III It’s kind of gag worthy, though. Getting baptized by homophobic mega church.


Louis VIrtel Mega-Church guy like you can hear the words, right? They’re horrible together. It’s just like it’s apocalyptic sounding.


Ira Madison III He’s been you know, he’s been running, running, running ever since that accidental coming out, you know, And it’s hilarious. I love how all roads always lead back to Harry Styles. But literally it was like him, say, on like a live interview that he thought Harry Styles was hot and that’s how he outed himself. And that will never not be funny to me.


Louis VIrtel Right. And now, maybe because of that, we will always see Harry Styles in spangled vests.


Ira Madison III No, it will also never not be funny that the next day he canceled his appearance on Keep It. He was supposed to


Louis VIrtel Oh right. Oh, I totally forgot that


Ira Madison III He came out the day before he was first to appear on the show, and then that ended.


Louis VIrtel It’s almost like he doesn’t think we’re inviting queer, you know, mentors, which really bothers me. What the fuck else are we?


Ira Madison III He did not want us to be all up in his business like a Wendy interview Okay.


Louis VIrtel Oh, wow. Yeah, because certainly we would have bullied him. You know how that goes with us. How we treat our guests.


Ira Madison III By the way, I got the Mariah lyric wribg. It’s the 2009 Harvard graduating class from her song that I referenced last week, you know, not 2010. So shout out to the person who bothered me about it in my mentions.


Louis VIrtel Oh, which, by the way, Mariah Carey has never done a Super Bowl halftime show. Wouldn’t recommend it now, but that would have been sweet once upon a time.


Ira Madison III I would definitely recommend it now. It’d be so funny.


Louis VIrtel I mean, I would hope she would first of all, never stand up just fully sitting on a tuffet the entire time, you know, carried around, you know, people feeding her grapes, May West  style and all that.


Ira Madison III I mean, but by the way, all the Super Bowl is lip synced anyway, so she’d sound great.


Louis VIrtel That’s true. That’s true.


Ira Madison III Yeah.


Louis VIrtel By the way, though, how much of Rihanna’s thing was lip sync?


Ira Madison III Well per NFL policy all halftime rehearsals are rerecorded and played back during the show as a safety net. So the performer sings over as little or as much as they like. But like when people were accusing Queen Sheryl Lee Ralph of lip syncing, I’m like, baby, Whitney’s Super Bowl performance was lip synched.


Louis VIrtel It sure was.


Ira Madison III She sang over a recorded track, you know, because it’s it’s cold as fuck out there.


Louis VIrtel Right. I believe when the Dixie Chicks did the national anthem, that was Lip sync, which it doesn’t look like that at all. So, you know, you have to open your eyes and and your minds to think about how the acoustics of these things work.


Ira Madison III Also, people need to figure out people also need to learn exactly what lip sync is, because, like, there’s a difference between Milli Vanilli.


Louis VIrtel Right.


Ira Madison III And like, you’re singing over a track that you’ve already recorded.


Louis VIrtel Right. Right. Can I just say, by the way, about Milli Vanilli, the haters are jealous because the box. I’m sorry, Baby Don’t Forget My Number. No. Excuse me. You’re in the car. It’s a good time. And Blame It On the Rain, etc.. Girl, You Know It’s True. I could go on and on.


Ira Madison III Milli Vanilli.


Louis VIrtel Actually I couldn’t. They don’t have that many hits.


Ira Madison III But they were ahead of their time, is what they were okay.


Louis VIrtel Yeah, right, Right.


Ira Madison III Who would give a fuck about two people lip synching right now?


Louis VIrtel Also, do you know what I want to say is actually secretly the funniest thing about Milli Vanilli? Like, so, okay, they couldn’t sing, so you would think, Oh, it’s in the service of, you know, incredible showmanship. The dancing is so fucking bad. The dancing is hilariously awful. Like, like, for instance, like Paula Abdul. That’s somebody who would lip sync almost any time she got on the stage. Paula is like popping and locking and, you know, puts on the blazer and leotard and gets down with it. Milli Vanilli, I believe they had hats.


Ira Madison III I that’s that’s a biopic I want. Honestly, the fact that so I was like, we are put these two up here.


Louis VIrtel And they’re like despairing as they put it together. Like, I guess it’s these two.


Ira Madison III Yeah. Know, it’s almost like it’s, it’s almost like the producers, it’s a hit that it’s like, Oh, we got to keep this going.


Louis VIrtel Yeah. I continue to be confused about their downfall because the way it legends as a precipitated they were doing some live performance the tape they were singing to started skipping, like you can look this up on YouTube like and it goes like girl you know it’s girl you know it’s girl you know it’s and they eventually just leave the stage like trying to get away from it and but tons of people lip sync, you know, like the Madonna VMA performance of Vogue is lip sync. If that started skipping, I wouldn’t think, oh, Madonna has no merit whatsoever. So I don’t I don’t know the exact moment. You know, they decided.


Ira Madison III But I feel like the real person had to have come out because the thing about Milli Vanilli was like it wasn’t even their voices.


Louis VIrtel No, not even close. Absolutely not.


Ira Madison III It was very Singing In the Rain.


Louis VIrtel Yeah. That’d be amazing if they talked like Jean Hagen, you know, just like, We got to give this back. Yeah.


Speaker 2 The Girl You Know It’s True video is actually what Diego Calvo watches at the end of Babylon. So. It’s why he’s crying.


Louis VIrtel Yeah.


Ira Madison III It’s so good.


Louis VIrtel And he’s right. Yeah. Hollywood is magic.


Ira Madison III All right. When we are back, Munroe Bergdorf joins us to discuss her new memoir, Transitional.




Ira Madison III Our guest today is an indisputable powerhouse, model, writer, activist and fashion icon. She is a contributing editor to British Vogue and rose to prominence in 2017 after becoming the first trans model to front a L’Oreal campaign. She’s beautiful. She is a genius. You know her from every single magazine cover in existence and her memoir, Transitional. In One Way or Another, We All Transition. It’s out next week. Please welcome to Keep It, Munroe Bergdorf.


Munroe Bergdorf Hi. Thank you so, so much. I always feel so strange when people do introductions with me, right there. It’s like.


Ira Madison III It’s like you’re Lydia Tar. It’s like, Here we go. This is like everything that you’ve done.


Munroe Bergdorf It’s a lot to live up to.


Louis VIrtel She was born. Yes.


Ira Madison III So before we even get into this, I have some questions because you were at the Brits this past week.


Munroe Bergdorf I was. I was in full latex.


Ira Madison III Tell us tell us all about it because we cover so many award shows on Keep It. And I feel like the Brits is still the one that’s sort of like foreign to us. I mean, it’s literally foreign to us. But also, you know, like, what the hell goes on at the Brits?


Munroe Bergdorf It’s pretty scandalous. I won’t lie. Brits, when we party, we party. And the music industry in the UK is notoriously quite scandalous on Brits night. Like, all rules go out the window, bets are off. It was pretty amazing actually. There’s like, no shame about being a little drunk on stage, so it just feels good to see everybody letting their hair down. People were kissing, people were partying. The bathroom was lit. Yeah, it was good. It was fun.


Louis VIrtel It feels like the Brit Awards. If I’m going back through time, like that’s where I get the really like gay Kylie Minogue performance or something, you know, just like I feel like they have a little bit more flavor and like they’re more uninhibited over there.


Munroe Bergdorf I think so. I mean, if you look back throughout history, the Brits has so many amazing queer moments, even if it’s not by queer artists, it’s still like very queer, like The Spice Girls Iconic moment with Geri Halliwell in the Union Jack Dress condom, you know, coming out of a massive CD player.


Ira Madison III Yeah.


Munroe Bergdorf Geri Halliwell as well did a solo performance where she came out of a giant pair of legs. So it is very queer. Yeah.


Ira Madison III Yeah. Well, then two queer questions about of the Brits. One, just out of curiosity, like, what did Sam what their outfit look like in person and did they change before they had to sit down?


Munroe Bergdorf I didn’t see the red carpet look, but I was living, because I saw on the screens as I came in. I think they arrived after me, but I know a lot of people were talking about it and I was living for it. I was also wearing latex. So I was like, Yes, I’m not the only one. I think I was like, okay, this is a movie. So yeah, it was it was great. I think that everything that Sam’s doing right now is very exciting. And obviously it’s getting people’s backs up and I live for that. So yeah, I think more drama. Isn’t it about time that theater came back? Things are so boring for so long.


Ira Madison III True. We need some drama You know.


Munroe Bergdorf Right now I feel like award show performances are like scandalous and racy and exciting again. And, you know, all that is is getting the evangelicals back surf. And we live for that. So.


Ira Madison III I have one more question about the sort of the Best Artist award, because that’s such an interesting thing to me, because I know there’s been a push in so many awards ceremonies, you know, for like the genderless, genderless categories. You know, I know specificly an actor dropped out of Tony consideration for Juliet because there wasn’t a category, you know, for non-binary actors. They didn’t want to put themselves into best actor, best actress. But then you have a situation like the Brits where it’s genderless for the first time and then no women are nominated whatsoever.


Munroe Bergdorf Yeah. Yeah. Well, I think that’s really down to the board who nominate the artists. If you’re going to have genderless categories, then you need to ensure that it’s a fair split and that the people being nominated that is representative of the industry as it actually is, you know, the Brits, that category isn’t nominated by the public. The nominees are, you know, is picked by a board. And I think that there’s no excuse really in that case. It’s not that there just wasn’t any women that were voted by the public. It was that women just consciously weren’t included. So I think it’s really important that there are genderless categories that non-binary people can be included within the ceremony. But I think that, you know, it’s really down to the process of nomination and ensuring that if you if you’ve got genderless categories, then just think about how you nominate and who is included, because there’s really no excuse to have a genderless category and then just not have women in there when there’s been so many incredible albums from women artists like Where was Florence and the Machines album?


Ira Madison III Yeah. Florence. Where was Crash? Like, these were the albums that, like, dominated the year for me.


Munroe Bergdorf Yeah, where’s Rhi in this?.


Ira Madison III I wasn’t thinking about the men.


Munroe Bergdorf Exactly. And, you know, people were like, saying, like, being annoyed at Harry Styles for winning so many awards. Ot’s like it’s not his fault. He did not ask for this. He’s not going to turn down an award. It’s you know, it’s it’s the people who pick the winners and who nominate the artists we need to look at like these boards are formed.


Louis VIrtel It’s not that I think people don’t know who to look at when it comes to like who makes the awards possible. And so the instinct is always to turn at the artist for getting the award. It’s like, well, they literally are just invited, you know, It’s like we’re clueless.


Munroe Bergdorf It was like when Harry won Best, was it Best Album at the Grammys. It’s like yay for him. But also, it’s not him that picks the winner. Do you know he didn’t think himself.


Ira Madison III Yeah. We know Harry’s spinning Renaissance. Okay.


Louis VIrtel Yeah.


Munroe Bergdorf It’s not a bad album either. You know, I think that they’re both great albums just for very different audiences. And, um, yeah, I think that people need to just, you know, think a little deeper. Don’t just lash out at the person that’s getting the, the accolade. I think it’s really about, you know, looking at the processes that overlook marginalized talent rather than, you know, just lashing out at the people who get the most shine.


Louis VIrtel In talking about your memoir, which is awesome, by the way, there are so many you go through so you go through so many, like harrowing autobiographical tales. And as it’s like, it’s a pleasure to hear your perspective on it, just like told. I would say for the most part, diplomatically, actually, given how much like people seem to brand you one way or the other as like being like a firebrand, basically. But my question, my first question for you about the memoir is, were there and what was the most pleasurable part of writing it, of just actually sitting down and being like, you know, possessing your story in this way?


Munroe Bergdorf I think the most pleasurable part of the experience was finishing it.


Louis VIrtel That speaks to me. You are a writer. That speaks to me.


Munroe Bergdorf I mean it. I mean, if you’ve you know, you’ve read it, you’ve read it’s a tough read. It’s hard. And it’s been a tough life . I don’t, you know, by no means have had the hardest life, but it’s been tough. And I think really that is, you know, the crux of the book is that everyone’s life is tough. And we all have moments of transition through getting through it. And I think the best part of writing it was being able to revisit moments from my younger years as an adult and looking at it through different eyes and being able to hug myself as a child and, you know, just I look at it from a different angle and also be able to root it in things that were happening at that time. We had a piece of legislation in the U.K. called Section 28, which basically is the Don’t Say Gay bill, where you couldn’t talk about you can promote, in the words of Margaret Thatcher, you can promote homosexuality in schools which basically sanctioned homophobic bullying and basically fucks an entire generation of queer people up. So I went to school during that and it was hellish. But it doesn’t just stop there because it really filters into your young adult years and it kind of pushed me into harm’s way in regards to child abusers and all of that.  You can read the book, but it was it was a really tough it was a tough road. And I you know, we were seeing a resurgence of that. So I really wanted to just reinforce the fact that we’ve been here before and nothing good comes of it. So, yeah, and also just wake people up to the fact that this doesn’t just happen in a vacuum, it has real world consequences. So when people advocate in anti-trans ways, they’re advocating for people to lose their lives and livelihoods and become disenfranchized to the point where some people lose the will to live. And unfortunately, I think, you know, if you know, you too have trans friends and, you know, we’ve all seen so many things happen just within like the lives of our friends, and none of that should happen. You know, we should be able to live a life of dignity and a life where joy is central rather than trauma.


Ira Madison III Yeah. I mean, even thinking about this week, you know, I’ve been you you were the first person that I saw the news about Brianna Ghey  posted, you know, about her murder this week, and it brought to light a lot of the fact that legislation, I guess, in Britain is you put in your book as well, you know, like it’s a lot of bad legislation there that really mirrors like America. Um, but it seems like even more in an intense way, you know, and the idea that even on her death certificate won’t even be able to list her own name, you know, and then you sort of have all of this, I don’t know, I feel like J.K. Rowling, It’s just like lurking the streets of London every day of of being in the news. It really feels like it’s it’s sort of intense anti trans sentiment that’s growing in London, in the U.K.. I mean, does it feel different than when you were younger? Does it feel like things have improved?


Munroe Bergdorf I think things have improved for the LGBT community exponentially. And I will also say, you know, I live in London. London’s probably the best place in the UK that you can live as a trans person. We’ve got an incredible man. He’s absolutely trans inclusive and runs multiple campaigns throughout the year with regards to trans safety marches of pride and celebrates trans pride. So, you know, we I’m very, very lucky to live in London. I’m very, very proud to be a Londoner. But the rest of the UK is like bedlam. And it’s it’s a mess in all honesty and anti-trans rhetoric is growing, is being seen as a legitimate and legitimate response to things that people don’t understand. Trans, you know, anti-trans pundits and commentators are being centralized instead of actual trans people when talking about what it means to be trans. I’m just like, you know, the 1980s. I mean, we all remember the 1980s and early nineties when gay men were being painted as child abusers and and, you know, potential threats to the safety of the public at large. And we’re seeing the same thing happen with trans people. But I think with the book, I wanted to make people aware about who gains from that and why are we accepting a government weaponizing its own citizens. That should be a crime. It is a human rights violation. The UK is slipping down massively when it comes to our human rights record. So I just wanted to kind of contextualize it and also, you know, reframe it. And so many of these people that are fighting for, you know, the disenfranchisement of the trans community are really going to look back in like 10 to 15 years and really cringe and try to and basically struggle to try and justify their behaviors, because it doesn’t it doesn’t serve anybody. And it’s also not in accordance to the law. There’s laws that are protecting us, but we’re seeing the prime minister, which is wild. We’re seeing multiple conservative prime ministers because they can’t seem to hold on to one basically go against the law, what the law says and go against what medical healthcare professionals say to send to their own opinions on who they think should have access to trans, trans, affirmative healthcare and what spaces we should be in, even though the law says what spaces we are allowed in and our health care system. And scientists have said what is and what isn’t reversible and who should have access to what medications.


Louis VIrtel Absolutely minor point. I just want to say, like the gay community in general, I feel like has done a pretty good job of like ironically calling people mother who are generally villains in real life, like character, like characters on TV and movies, for example, we’ll say Lydia, Tara’s mother. One person that we have never even approached in this way is Margaret Thatcher. It will never be Margaret Thatcher, ironically, is rad or whatever. Like, like, like not 1% ever. I just think that’s like very interesting for someone who.


Munroe Bergdorf She’s definitely not mother. She’s just, you know, like transphobic aunt or grandma.


Louis VIrtel Right. Yes.


Ira Madison III She’s the movie mother.


Louis VIrtel Yes. Yes. Yeah. Mother, exclamation point, lowercase mother.


Munroe Bergdorf Which is much more like The Babadook, to be honest.


Louis VIrtel Listed on the Wikipedia page. Other Babadooks. Yes. Margaret, listed first. I want to talk about just your interest. Before you were a model in modeling. Like, it seems like you took an interest in it almost, not just from, like, from a representation point of view, but almost, like, intellectually, Like, there’s like you, there’s a certain power in being a model, in a certain, like, voice you can give via that line of work. And how did you feel once you basically, you know, became a professional model?


Munroe Bergdorf I don’t know because I honestly didn’t really see myself as a model because I wasn’t conventionally attractive and I didn’t come to modeling from the perspective of I want to feel beautiful, I want to look beautiful. I want to, you know, from that kind of thing, which I think a lot of people associate wanting to be a model with. I really came at it from the perspective of really enjoying like what I was seeing in magazines with regards to being creative and storytelling. I was obsessed with Alexander McQueen. I was obsessed with Nick Night. I was obsessed with the way that fashion could make people feel things. And I was also massively aware with the fact that fashion was really one of the only industries where women and gay men were centralized. And, you know, there was room for people who were different. And, you know, there was and there was an element of storytelling that I really connected with. And I thought, you know what? I want to use fashion as a way to talk about my experiences and maybe open people’s minds that way. It was really before there was any any of that really in the industry. Of course, like people spoke about their experiences, but the idea of activism, especially trans activism, being merged with modeling, I hadn’t really seen that so excited me and it was great for my drive and it felt like I was doing something purposeful. It does feel like I’m doing something purposeful and it’s great to see how the industry since then, obviously not just because of my impact, like because, you know, I think that there’s been a real a turning point within the industry. And the industry really does stand behind causes, champions, marginalized groups. There’s been a lot of conversations with regards to diversity and inclusion to a greater degree than there has been in other industries. So yeah, it’s been a really big honor to be part of the change. And you know, we’re not done. There’s always another conversation to be had. There’s always much more representation to be explored. So I think it’s, you know, I feel really proud to A) be trans and be to be a voice for people who don’t have my platform or access or privilege.


Ira Madison III Yeah, we had Edward on the show, too, you know. Oh, it seems like y’all are really, like, shaking the table. Or at least than American fashion is. He certainly is.


Munroe Bergdorf I call him Uncle Edward. He’s great. Edward is just I’ve got so many nice things to say about Edward, but I don’t even know where to start all the time. Because when somebody takes a chance on you and brings you in, in a largely unprecedented way to, you know, be a contributing editor of British Vogue is beyond my dreams, you know, to even be I mean, I remember the first time that I shot for Vogue, I just couldn’t believe that I was there. And then I’ve done three Vogue copies, so I’ve done Teen Vogue in America. I’ve done and I know I’ve done two British Vogue covers. One was in Thailand and the other one was a print cover. So yeah, it’s just incredible to have these opportunities and to call Edwards a friend as well as a mentor.


Ira Madison III As you were crafting your memoir as well. You know, it’s so exciting to be getting new, just sort of trans stories out there. I know. You know, we’re talking about your memoir now, and I know my friend Raquel Willis just did her cover Revealed Today memoir. And it’s as more voices are, you know, appearing in the memoir space, sort of. Who did you look to sort of for inspiration for this memoir? Were there some favorites, some of yours, or were there sort of non trans authors to who you were sort of like, wanted to emulate?


Munroe Bergdorf Honestly, I didn’t. And I try I really tried not to make this book like anything that I had seen before. I really wanted to just merge my experiences and almost like use it as a case study rather than just a straight up memoir, which I’m sure that we’ll be seeing more of because trans bodies are so politicized, it’s hard to break it apart from, you know, policy and being involved in a culture war. You know, we don’t get to live outside of that. We we are politicized to the point where it is, you know, it’s impossible to break that apart. But I’m really, really proud to be in this position. And I think it’s incredible that we’re seeing many more trans people share their stories because ultimately, that’s the way that we change things. And also that’s the way that people who are trans see that there are so many different kinds of ways to be trans and so many different experiences within the umbrella, under the umbrella. And also, if we if we all don’t share our stories, then it just keeps happening. And that has been a big part of the problem, is that people have died with their stories and inside them. And there’s been so many different, you know, stories that could have changed the world that just didn’t see the light of day because of the HIV and AIDS epidemic or being murdered before your time or all of the different things that can happen as a result of transphobia and systemic failures. So I think the more opportunities and the more visibility the community is able to grasp on, to the more chance we have of having future generations of trans people who don’t actually need to live within these parameters of trauma and pain and can live the life that they want, which is what we’re fighting for. We just live it. We’re just fighting to live, you know, which is really, really hard for us. So we’re fighting for a better future for people who maybe are even born yet.


Louis VIrtel One thing you’ve said before is that Twitter is an awful space for trans people, just like, you know, on random days, you may have to deal with some unspeakable horror from somebody. You have no idea who they are, or maybe you do know who they are, you know, just for example. And I was thinking, what’s the most ideal social media experience for trans people or like where they can go? I don’t know how else to put it.


Munroe Bergdorf I don’t know really. I think it’s really down to the individual and and your personal relationship with social media. What is great for one person will be really terrible for the next. Personally, I can’t think of anything worse with regards to having social media than having a TikTok, just personally, because it would spin me out because I don’t have that kind of personality type. You know, I’m quite introverted and I like to live in the real world and not, you know, have to really deal with validation or, you know, numbers and views and going viral and all that kind of stuff. It just seems like a never ending quest for virality. And I don’t know, I think that that’s going to play eventually with people’s sense of where they get their validation from. So personally is not really for me. Twitter is great for some people in terms of how they get their news, but then if you’re of any marginalized experience, mainly, you know, trans people and black people is just kind of exposing you to harm in terms of trolls. So I don’t know. I think also you just need to think about how you use it and what are your expectations. So yeah, I think just be mindful about how all social media platforms making you feel and don’t just feel that you need to just endlessly give and give and give to these platforms that really are just public, you know, privately owned businesses, owned by billionaires who are feasting off of data and conflict. So, yeah, just be mindful of it, really. I think all of them have their positives and all of them have their negatives, but you just need to make sure that it’s a good space for you and that you’re using it in a way that’s healthy.


Ira Madison III One thing that was really interesting in the book, which I don’t think I knew about it, it was um, was that you would you started out deejaying?


Munroe Bergdorf Yeah.


Ira Madison III And I just want to know what was that experience like for you then? And sort of like what were like your favorite things that you used to play? Your favorite songs, you know, or like genres. Like what? What kind of genres that you spin?


Munroe Bergdorf Well, I say deejay loosely because he was playing the gay bars. It was fun. I had a really good time. I had a really good time. But it was yeah, I was playing like largely pop and dance and, you know, just like the queer bangers, really. But yeah, I had a really good time. I think it was just the, the, the years where I found myself. And what better space to find yourself than in a club. And, you know, it was it was great at times and it was really awful at times. You know, there’s nothing worse than being in a nightclub when you really don’t want to be out, kind of want to. Like I just stood behind the decks with a screw face, just pressing to play on Britney Spears.


Louis VIrtel It works.


Munroe Bergdorf Which I’m sure all gay club deejays can relate to that. Yeah, it was it was fun. I had a really good time and I got to meet so many different kinds of people and plug into my community and just feel really free with how I express myself. You know, I didn’t have to worry about what my coworkers were going to think about changes within my parents or I just I didn’t feel like I had to really censor myself, which I think a lot of trans people do in the workplace. So, yeah, it was it was great. I had a really, really fun time. It was fun until it wasn’t. And then I knew it was time to hang up the heels and the headphones and just, yeah, focus much more on fashion.


Ira Madison III Hmm.


Louis VIrtel I will say. Is there British pop music that you are? I guess you don’t. You’re not in America, so you don’t you’re not concerned about this. But for example, like I was at a pre-game recently and like somebody put on Sugarbabes, which is like, unprecedented here, like, it’s pretty rare you would fucking hear Sugababes at a pre-game is the music you’re frustrated is stuck in the UK that like seemingly like you guys are only celebrating and you know, over here we’re like blind to it.


Munroe Bergdorf Music’s pretty universal these days. I’m really glad that you guys got onto Charlie XCX.


Louis VIrtel That we did do a good job there. Finally. Yes, finally. Yeah. We get her now.


Munroe Bergdorf I feel like it was. It wasn’t really until you gays got into it han the other gays jumped on her and made her a superstar. So thank you for that  American gays.


Ira Madison III I’m sure Louis was tired of me talking about Charlie XCX last year, but I saw the Crash tour, like, I don’t know, like seven times.


Munroe Bergdorf Oh, wow.


Ira Madison III I was. I was following her like the Grateful Dead. Okay. It was festivals. it was New York, L.A..


Munroe Bergdorf Yeah. She’s great. I was actually with her at the Brits. She was. She’s. She’s a great time. She was walking around with a bottle of Dom Perignon in a T-shirt saying Real Winner because she didn’t win, but she is the real winner. She’s Charlie XCX so, you know.


Ira Madison III Yeah. I’ve looked at I’ve got I wish I was at the pregame Louis,  because Sugarbabes, I’m also the only person who would put on like I put on the Saturdays. I put out Girls Aloud.


Munroe Bergdorf Well, my goal. Have you seen that drag queen called Bailey J. Mills?


Ira Madison III No.


Munroe Bergdorf Oh, my God. So this is maybe a British thing that you guys could get into. It’s a drag queen called Bailey J. Mills, and they. It’s just so. Sorry they’re non-binary and they is. The humor is just so niche. It’s very, very strange. It’s like sometimes you don’t really know what you’re watching, but it’s just the funniest thing ever. And they do this sketch where they’re Frankie from the Saturdays with the swoosh haircut from the movie. And Frankie from the Saturdays, the actual Frankie from the Saturdays stitch there. And they do it together, and it’s the most deranged thing that you’ll ever see. But also complete genius.


Ira Madison III Okay, I’ve obsessed. I’m going to have to find that.


Louis VIrtel That’s good news for us. Okay. Right.


Ira Madison III Well, Munroe, thank you so much for being here.


Munroe Bergdorf Of course. Thank you. I love your podcast.


Ira Madison III Oh, we love you.


Louis VIrtel Oh, Jesus. That’s a crazy compliment coming from you. Your book is so awesome. Thank you so much. And you are awesome.


Ira Madison III Up next, Lewis and I are going to talk about sex. Baby.




Ira Madison III This week, Penn Badgley, star of the searing documentary You.


Louis VIrtel Yes. Which you are in as a documentarian on yourself.


Ira Madison III Yeah. You know my greatest role.


Louis VIrtel Michael Moore I would argue Michael less, that’s you.


Ira Madison III I’m still waiting for the actors on actors invite, you know.


Louis VIrtel You and Annette Bening, she’s like, Who the fuck are you?.


Ira Madison III Penn broke his silence this week about how sex scenes in movies have sort of ruined the sanctity of marriage.


Louis VIrtel Oh, that’s true.


Ira Madison III Yeah. What would encourage someone to be so brave? No, listen, he basically said to You showrunner Sarah Gamble, who we’ve had on Keep It.  I love Sarah, she said he said, Can I just do no more intimacy scenes? And Sarah, who’s a lovely person of course, said yes. You know, like she’s not going to force an actor to do sex scenes. I don’t know many showrunners who aren’t monsters who would you know, unless you’re a Sean Coady model coming to the director. And being like and you know what? No more sex scenes. I’m married. And you get agreeing with the actor. But I still feel like. That is a normal decision that was then compounded by weirdness of him saying it was to protect the sanctity of his marriage.


Louis VIrtel Right. I saw one comment online that I felt was most true, which is did he get caught cheating? And now he’s doing these extra steps to, you know, really be in the relationship show he’s committed. And this extra step is, you know, sort of compensatory. It feels very compensatory.


Ira Madison III Yeah. I mean, listen, I am thinking about when. I’m Melissa Reeves on Days of Our Lives had an affair with the actor who played Peter Blake and her husband basically removed her from the show.


Louis VIrtel Wow.


Ira Madison III And she eventually came back. But that actor has never been on the show since.


Louis VIrtel Well, real life soap dish shit going on here.


Ira Madison III Yeah.


Louis VIrtel Cathy Moriarty, show yourself.


Ira Madison III So that’s what it sounded like. You know, but this brings up a bigger conversation that is being had online. And as we said in our intro, this could just be like six people having this conversation, because what happens is a Gen Z person with like 500 followers will tweet something and then someone with a 100,000 followers will retweet it and argue with them and then they’ll blow it up.


Louis VIrtel Right.


Ira Madison III But it’s.


Louis VIrtel Quote, tweet based anger. Yes. Yeah.


Ira Madison III But there is this sort of conversation happening now about whether or not sex scenes in movies and TV are invasive.


Louis VIrtel Or essential to the plot as they feel like something people argue a lot. To which I say, you know what else is essential to a movie? Jokes. You know, like lots of things that aren’t essential to understanding the narrative of a movie, make the movie what it is. Make the movie the thing you want to watch. Guess what’s actually boring? Most stories we’ve heard every story. I don’t need to service the story and the story alone in order to be entertained. It’s like the frills and the, you know, the artfulness of whatever else is being done that’s interesting. And routinely that’s sex scenes.


Ira Madison III Yeah. You know, I feel like the one thing we could actually use less of in movies is plot.


Louis VIrtel Yes. Oh, please. Again, I mean, like I’ve talked excessively about the movie Metropolitan, but basically there is no story. It’s people hanging out and then people get mad at certain people, and then people have crushes on other people and then we move on from there.


Ira Madison III It’s all vibes, you know?


Louis VIrtel Yes.


Ira Madison III And that’s what we need more of in movies and less of this reintroduction of, I guess, like the Hays code.


Louis VIrtel It felt like these people really were like, Oh, I love when we finally regulated content hardcore and, you know, deleted all the racy shit.


Ira Madison III We’re going to put people on TV back to sleeping in separate beds like Lucy and Ricky.


Louis VIrtel Oh, yeah. Real Mike and Carol Brady shit. Yeah. People who don’t own toilets.


Ira Madison III Did they not have toilets in the Brady Bunch?


Louis VIrtel But it’s. I forget what show was the first to show one, but like, the movie, Psycho was the first movie to show a toilet, for example.


Ira Madison III It literally showed a toilet flushing. And Psycho, by the way, is a fantastic film. I mean, my favorite Hitchcock and the things that Hitchcock does in this movie to break the Hays Code specifically is fantastic. Like every aspect of that movie is about Fuck you to the Hays Code, which was a self-imposed code of conduct that Hollywood inflicted on itself in the midst of people feeling that, you know, like sexual mores were like out of control, etc., like very like Babylon era, you know, we came out of the Jazz age being too sexy, and then people were like, dial it back. But it’s the toilet. It’s a it starts literally with Marianne having an extramarital affair, which is a no no.


Louis VIrtel Right. Please don’t do that.


Ira Madison III She’s Janet Leigh is naked in the shower. You can’t even show women in their underwear. She’s in her underwear on the poster for the film, too.


Louis VIrtel Right, right, right. Tony Perkins has a gorgeous pencil neck, which is essentially queer, my character as not. And yet no ass, which is essentially not queer. So anyway, he’s breaking boundaries left and right.


Ira Madison III Yeah. Stealing money. That’s a crime, you know. Anyway.


Louis VIrtel John Gavin in that movie is  so hot, anyway.


Ira Madison III Honestly, I do enjoy the ways that the movie sort of like steps outside of what was allowed in cinema. Then I think we need to bring some inventiveness back. You know.


Louis VIrtel That would. That makes sense to me. Yes.


Ira Madison III You know, otherwise every movie is just going to be Jordan Firstman giving a blowjob on camera. Shout out to Sundance.


Louis VIrtel Right. So Jordan Firstman, who’s a queer comic, who I guess is not been on Keep It. Am I wrong?


Ira Madison III No.


Louis VIrtel No. He’s like a gay guy. We know.


Ira Madison III Yeah, yeah, yeah, gay guy we know.


Louis VIrtel He’s in a movie at Sundance where he gets, like, a real life blowjob. I’m sure you’re now thinking of that Chloe seven year movie, Brown Bunny.


Ira Madison III Brown Bunny.


Louis VIrtel Yes. Vincent Gallo and the absolutely scorching review from Roger Ebert about it. But yeah, that’s because I remember also when I was in college, that movie Short bus coming out, which had some real sexuality going on in it. And I guess what’s unusual about that movie is that we didn’t end up seeing a lot more like that, that it still became too risky for people to really, you know, in and crazy sexual situations. Jordan first one gave a quote about it being like, well, I’m a gay guy. If there’s a dick nearby, I put it in my mouth and it doesn’t mean much to me. It’s not precious to me or whatever. And, you know, confrontational take, maybe not everybody’s take, but at the same time, you would think there would be like maybe four movies a year that were like that, you know?


Ira Madison III Yeah. I feel like there was a period, too, where, like gays were making like independent films that were sort of like story, but also porn. I feel like there were like one or two of those that came out like a few years ago or something like early, like 2013 or something. But it really feels like that is a thing that you get to the brink of. And one or two people do it and then you move on from it because it’s just sort of like it’s not really marketable, you know?


Louis VIrtel Yeah, And maybe it’s not even sexy either. You know what it kind of reminds me of? Do you remember that Brian McKnight album he put out where he’s explicitly singing about sex?


Ira Madison III Yes.


Louis VIrtel I forget what the words were, but you just realize after a while, like, I do not need to hear you saying anatomical terms for things that are going into other things during sex to get through the song.


Ira Madison III Unless it’s Lil Kim.


Louis VIrtel Right. That’s different. But that’s like attitudinal. Yeah. I mean, like. Yeah, like you’re getting around, like, kind of abject sincerity with that. Yeah. I mean, I personally think we’re in the market for one. Great. I don’t know about unstimulated gay sex scene, but a memorable gay sex scene. I still think the one in Burrows last year where, like, Billy gets it on with, I think, a couple of people. There’s a very funny freeway scene, and that was a step in the right direction because there are parts of sex that I feel like we don’t have a lot of conversation about. Literally the moment to moment things in sex that occur that are sometimes funny or sometimes, you know, leave somebody out or whatever. There’s like lots of things to explore in those moments that I don’t think we’ve seen much of. So I’m interested in that.


Ira Madison III I think sex is, yeah, just kind of boring on TV right now, you know, TV and film. I think that hasn’t like weird with the White Lotus rim job scene is maybe like the most exciting thing we’ve had in years. What are we doing here?


Louis VIrtel Yeah, right. And also, that’s exciting because it’s just a reveal behind the door. Right? Right. And expect to see it and then like, bam, nudity.


Ira Madison III But let’s remember.


Louis VIrtel It’s more a gag than a scene.


Ira Madison III But remember how unsexy the 50 Shades movies were?


Louis VIrtel Oh, my God. Imagine thinking about those movies. I felt like they were, first of all, lit like a panera. And then second of all, the unmistakably non chemistry chemistry between the two leads.


Ira Madison III Okay, Not too much on Panera.


Louis VIrtel No. Ain’t nothing wrong with Panera, please.


Ira Madison III I was at some random American city I don’t remember which was like a couple of years ago or so. And there was a Panera around. So my friend and I got lunch there and as we were paying I was like, Oh wait, I still have a Panera membership. And I gave her my phone number.


Louis VIrtel Oh my God, not you scanning in to Panera.


Ira Madison III All right, we’re we’re back. Keep It. And we’re back for our favorite segment of the episode. It’s Keep It. I’m going to go first because my Keep It is very pressing.


Louis VIrtel Please do.


Ira Madison III Valentines Day used to mean something.


Louis VIrtel Oh okay.


Ira Madison III Okay. Like, remember at school, the the heteronormative task of writing a valentine to everybody.


Louis VIrtel Oh, yes. Me sending, like, a Daffy Duck themed valentine to my bully. That was life.


Ira Madison III You had to make one for everybody.


Louis VIrtel Yeah, Like, here you go, Jeff. Love you.


Ira Madison III I think one year, actually, I. I re-drew a Goosebump book covers and made personalized Valentines for everyone in my fourth grade class.


Louis VIrtel That is amazing. As in, you would trace the font on the cover and stuff.


Ira Madison III Yeah, I. I used to draw and I used to draw like my own, like little comic books and things and like fourth and fifth grade. And I would, I would hand them out to people as gifts.


Louis VIrtel Oh, that’s very adorable and thoughtful. What happened to that instinct? Do you think it was just squashed by the cruelty of life or?


Ira Madison III Probably. Oh, probably, yeah. You know. Or I found drugs.


Louis VIrtel Yeah. Oh, that’s right. Yeah. Yeah. You became satisfied.


Ira Madison III Yeah. I was a sixth grade tweaker. You know.


Louis VIrtel My favorite R.L. Stine book. Yes, go ahead.


Ira Madison III What happened to the importance of Valentine’s Day, where it felt like a novel expressing your love for someone you know?


Louis VIrtel Sure.


Ira Madison III This morning I woke up, and obviously I am inundated with Instagrams of lovers, you know, being like, This is my husband. I’ve loved him for several years and like the best year with this man, etc..


Louis VIrtel Point this guy all that. Yeah.


Ira Madison III Here’s the thing. If you post like that 265 days a year, then it’s not special on Valentine’s Day. Okay.


Louis VIrtel Yeah, that is true. That is true.


Ira Madison III Like, If so many people posted a series of photos with their boyfriend or with their girlfriend or whoever. It’s like, okay, you do this every day.


Louis VIrtel Right. Unfortunately, if people participate avidly on social media and they’re in a relationship, inevitably their relationship is a big part of their brand, which means that any expression of sincerity is unfortunately wrapped up in the whole thing. They like to promote about themselves that ultimately sincerity is going to feel schmaltzy and false always, because it’s what they produce. It’s their content.


Ira Madison III Was love always a brand? I don’t mean to feel like Carrie Bradshaw here, but, like, was it was it always a brand or was, you know, the like celebrity was like celebrity gossip and, you know, on like the brand ification of our personalities through social media turned dating somewhat into a personality.


Louis VIrtel Right. I think I only appreciate these kinds of posts from celebrity couples where they’re both truly celebrities, that it’s fun to say this is a day for Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen. It’s not a day for this person. I follow because he does CrossFit tips and then his boyfriend, you know, maybe will get into acting someday.


Ira Madison III Yes. You know, or the boyfriend who you’ve definitely had sex with before and the husband who you’ve never met.


Louis VIrtel Yes. Right.


Louis VIrtel I had a whole bit on Campbell about this. There’s the one with the abs and the one with the job. Yes.


Ira Madison III But the Ted Danson at Mary Steenburgen thing is very apt because I feel like a lot of couples that, you know, being a couple is their brand online is there’s not much going on with either of them individually.


Louis VIrtel No, right.


Ira Madison III Like I don’t know what job either of you do. I don’t know your interests. You see, I just do think you seem to just appear together.


Louis VIrtel Right. Your whole relationship is a play for a platform, which I enjoy that. I hope it lasts, bet it won’t.


Ira Madison III And you know what? The differences that you and I were simply not boring.


Louis VIrtel How do we tell people how hard it is to be fascinating? How do we move on being these people?


Ira Madison III Louis, this is my longest relationship.


Louis VIrtel Yeah, I know. Jesus. You know what? I don’t hate the I don’t hate that observation. And it speaks to me because guess whatI’m not doing? Dating.


Ira Madison III And you know what? Listen, we you and I have tried some polyamory before. We’ve had thirds. We’ve had birds on the show.


Louis VIrtel Some are selfish than others. Yes.


Ira Madison III And now. And now our work is strictly monogamous. I love it.


Louis VIrtel Right. That’s true. We found a resolve. Yes. I’m the more domestic one. Ultimately, there’s always one.


Ira Madison III We’re just saying that. So people start talking about our relationship on Reddit. Like they talk about the pod. Sy It, Boys.


Louis VIrtel Oh, right, guys. They’re nice, straight people. And then John Lovvitt, you know, is gay. That’s all that’s going on there. I mean, it’s not that fascinating. I know them well. They’re like the nice cousins you see at Thanksgiving. Yeah.


Ira Madison III All right, Louis, what’s your. Keep It.


Louis VIrtel You know what? This is not going to make me look good. I feel bad about this Keep It. But this, you know, stirred up a lot of controversy a couple of months ago and good controversy. I was happy it happened. But I unfortunately have to give my Keep It to Jean Dillman, 23 K du Commerce, 1080 Brouselles, which is not how you say that it’s a French movie, but as it’s the Chantal Akerman movie that came in first in these sight and sound all time poll, we decided it was better than Citizen Kane and Vertigo and all the movies that dominate this list. So I saw it recently in The Arrow here in L.A. Great theater. Ran into some of my favorite critics. Alonzo Darryl de was happy to see Chris Delamere, whom I’ve followed since the ship momentarily took over for Ebert and Roeper loved talking with them. This movie is, Do you know what this movie is about?


Ira Madison III Mm hmm.


Louis VIrtel It’s a three hour movie of a woman basically doing day to day, moment to moment tasks. It’s it’s not a real time movie, but it’s supposed to feel real time. And she’s going through her life, you know, making food, shopping, feeding her son. And then something at the end occurs that switches everything up. You’re watching her routine fall apart very slightly, like there’s there’s some slight decay going on in her day to day life. If this movie were an hour and 45, I’d be like, All right, this is a player for, you know, I don’t know about best of all time, but like a four star movie. I understand that the monotony of the movie is the point, and it’s artistically satisfying in that way. Like when it goes for what it establishes about the rhythms of life and why, one would need to interrupt that with, you know, maybe a shocking surge of some kind. But, man, it is fucking tough. I mean, it is just like you. It’s also like you get it. You do get the point. And you. It’s fun to talk about afterwards. But beyond that, I don’t know that it plays with any of the things that makes cinema typically great. And I feel like even if there was like some amazing dialog or some amazing other character in the movie or something, I might be more willing to sincerely consider it among like an all time classic or something, but. It’s just not the best movie of all time. It’s a it’s a crazy thing to say about this movie.


Ira Madison III Now, what did you say? That the monotony and there being no jokes and no other interesting characters is what women think every day when they’re working in the home. And maybe that, maybe that, Louis, is the points of the film.


Louis VIrtel This comment, what you just said right now is why Chantal Akerman isn’t with us anymore. She’s like, I have to get out of here.


Ira Madison III When you think about it? Jean Dillman is the a simple favor of the 1970s.


Louis VIrtel Wow.


Ira Madison III She’s Anna Kendrick doing her monotony on Instagram live, you know, and all of the disruption at the end is Blake Lively.


Louis VIrtel I can’t believe I never thought of it that way before. Sorry. I’m not on serious hard drugs, so I, of course, never thought of it that way before. Delphine Seyrig gives an affectless excellent performance. It’s I think my friend Chris also put it well about this movie. It’s basically a trick that can be played once, which is you get the point of it afterwards and you receive it and it sits with you. But ultimately. It’s one line gimmick. I would call it a gimmick of a movie.


Ira Madison III Hmm. I would actually say what’s interesting about the film is that it’s the slice of life thing from a seven is right. And, you know, David Lynch plays with this a lot in  you know, Twin Peaks and his films, you know, playing on sort of like old soap operas of the time. And I feel like the original like original soap operas, which were which women would watch in the household, right. From like the sixties and seventies. When I watch, like, old clips of like days where I was from like 1967 or something. They are really boring slice of life stories and feels like it is taking this to like a cinematic exploration of that.


Louis VIrtel You know, I was watching clips of recently the TV show Peyton Place, which had Mia Farrow and Ryan O’Neal. And it’s fascinating because they’re going to obviously turn into much different actors over the next years. But to see them in sort of conventional TV form is so surprising because Mia became one of our, you know, most interesting movie stars of the seventies and eighties. I think also something that bothers me about it is it’s a movie you do want to talk about, but it’s a short conversation. I don’t think it’s it takes you in a bunch of different directions. You say the one thing that needs to be said, you receive the point. And then that said, maybe that’s enough for some people. It’s not colorful enough for me.


Ira Madison III You know what’s so interesting about Peyton Place, too? It was created by Grace Butler, who once does this interview John Waters gave of like, his icons and like his books and like like it’s literary people. Others like her, like Lillian Hellman, Fran Lebowitz, or whatever. And he said that like Grace, who took Peyton Place, like her story is amazing because, like, as soon as she got fame, she left her husband, took tomatoes, became an alcoholic, bought Cadillacs and moved to the Plaza Hotel in New York and committed suicide.


Louis VIrtel Perfection. Finally someone gets like, Jesus Christ. Oh, speaking of Fran Lebowitz, do you know what I am obsessed with right now?


Ira Madison III No, what?


Louis VIrtel Fran Lebowitz, from time to time, appears on like a morning show, like CBS News, you know, the shows that are called things like that. Every fucking time. Whoever is responsible for introducing the interview segment says something like this. No matter what happens, Fran Lebowitz is talking. It’s always something like at the end of the day, whether you agree with her or don’t agree with her, she’ll be speaking. It’s just like, like it’s also like it’s one of those things where she doesn’t have a lot of biographical information you can really talk about. Like she only has the two books and, you know, like she went for Interview magazine or whatever. But ultimately, you have to be like, there she goes again with one of her opinions. It’s so funny.


Ira Madison III Who’s doing these interviews? Sarah Pauley.


Louis VIrtel No.


Ira Madison III Fran Lebowitz talking.


Louis VIrtel Yes. In this case, it was Mo Rocca, who, by the way, I sometimes forget, has led my ideal life, which is he was a Daily Show correspondent, and now he does things like interview actresses for a living. I saw Mo Rocca interviewing Brenda Vaccaro once about an afternoon she spent with Barbra Streisand and Sandy Dennis. Bitch. That’s my book.


Ira Madison III I actually do fore see a future for you where you talk with older actresses just about like an afternoon in their lives.


Louis VIrtel Right. And then, you know, somebody responsible who has the patience adapts that into like a 90 minute,  Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool type movie.


Ira Madison III Yeah. He is really what I always remember Mo Rocca, just because he’s one of the people who we sort of our generation sort of grew up with via like VH one.


Louis VIrtel Right. Yes. Because those talking head shows needed the one, you know, queer ish guy.


Ira Madison III When you think about it, we are sort of the best week ever hosts of our generation.


Louis VIrtel I mean, that is the nicest thing anything will ever say about me. And I understand you’re talking about us ourselves, but I’m going to go ahead and accept that compliment we gave ourselves because I don’t aspire to anything else.


Ira Madison III I would feel like, who who are like the original Best Week Ever hosts. Like, who would you and I be?


Louis VIrtel Was it Paula Tompkins? And who else was on that show? But you’re talking about just the talking heads on the I Love the 80s shows. Like Michael Ian Black and Sarah. I think I might be Rachel Harris, who wore glasses and had a sort of like a garafolo lite vibe.


Ira Madison III I think I sort of have like a Gary Cole thing about me, just sort of like baby angry all the time. But I’m sometimes sweet.


Louis VIrtel I forgot Gary Cole would be on that.


Ira Madison III Yeah, everybody did. Like, I Love the Eighties.


Louis VIrtel Yeah, oh God.


Ira Madison III It’s truly fascinating. I feel like you can even get like, you’ve got, like, Beyonce to do it at one point.


Louis VIrtel Right. Yeah. No. Yeah. They had footage of everybody. Somehow they’d ask him about. Yeah, you remember a Rubik’s Cube, don’t you? Get in the studio. But no, for a moment you would in the summer, you would go crazy with your friends because. Yes, Hal Sparks is talking about whatever Duran Duran. What a crazy moment we all had.


Ira Madison III And now we have Tik Tok, which is the wild, wild West. And let me tell you, like VH 1 or somebody get on TikTok and give us some official, you know, things like that. Again, I don’t want to hear someone, some random teenager talking about what a Rubik’s Cube is because they’ll probably be describing something else.


Louis VIrtel Right. Right. Misinformation.


Ira Madison III Un-fact checked.


Louis VIrtel Wow. You’re right. Now, in retrospect, I Love the Eighties feels like journalism. Like I like it has more sources than the average, you know, BuzzFeed article. It basically does count.


Ira Madison III All right. Thanks to Munroe Bergdorf, for joining us this week.


Louis VIrtel She really did fucking rule.


Ira Madison III Yeah. We’ll see you next week. Keep It is a Crooked Media production. Our senior producer is Kendra James. Our producer is Chris Lord, and our associate producer is Malcolm Whitfield. Our executive producers are Ira Madison, the third. That’s me. And Louis Virtel. This episode was recorded and mixed by Evan Sutton. Thank you to our digital team, Matt DeGroot, Nar Melkonian and Delon Villanueva for production support every week. And as always, Keep It is filmed in front of a live studio audience.