From ‘Fire Island’ to a New Netflix Special, Joel Kim Booster Knows  Success “Will Never Feel As Good As It Does Now”

“I feel insane,” he starts off. Joel Kim Booster admits it’s weird going from relative obscurity as a “very niche figure in the comedy world” to, suddenly, having a bunch of people gazing up at him in a speedo for 90 minutes in his debut feature film, Fire Island—which he wrote, executive produced and stars in. (It’s a great speedo, it should be noted, with plenty of bulge supremacy courtesy of the “gender-optional” brand R.Swiader.)

He’s on mile twenty-ish of a marathon press cycle that’s seen him volleying from Fire Island to his new Netflix comedy special, Psychosexual and the Apple TV+ Maya Rudolph-led comedy series Loot, the latter two of which premiere just days apart this week. “I quite honestly wish it would spread out a bit more,” he admits. “I think I will know I’ve finally made it when a company wants to release something of mine not in Pride month. That’ll be the watershed moment of my career, mounting something in July.”

Long before Booster was a Pride month staple, he was seeking out the very content he finds himself now making. Booster grew up surrounded by movies, working at the recently-shuttered Family Video in Plainfield, Illinois. It was there that he scoured the new indie gay films on the shelves: Trick, Mambo Italiano, Latter Days and more. “All of those classics,” as he calls them, noting how those movies walked so Fire Island could run.

Part of Booster’s balancing act now is deciding on how much of himself, the person not the performer, to give away. A recent interview that unknowingly spotlit his boyfriend, for instance, gave him and his partner pause. “I’m so used to being able to talk about any corner of my life no matter how salacious and now I have this other person who’s involved in my life and has a very different career than I do. Suddenly I have to be responsible for someone else’s life now too,” he says. Though Booster has made a career out of appearing candid and transparent about every part of his life, he admits that his brand of authenticity, too, can be a performance. He calls this the magic trick of his work: making you feel like you’re seeing all parts of him when, in fact, you’re seeing very little.

Joel Kim Booster.Courtesy of Taylor Miller.

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