Tommy Do uses his Instagram account to poke fun at the most chiseled niche within the LGBTQ community: #Instagays. The out L.A.-based comedian—who’s collaborated with the likes of Big Mouth writer Joel Kim Booster, writes for Reductress, and counts Cole Escola and Patti Harrison as his comedic inspirations—is not shy about calling out gay influencers whose attempts at “doing good” read as disingenuous (shirtless pics galore) and opportunistic (#ads, anyone?)
NewNowNext caught up with Do for some insight into how and why he critiques at the sculpted bods, gratuitous group shots, and unsubtle “spon-con” that inevitably clog up our Instagram feeds. It’s all in the spirit of laughing at ourselves, so kick back, show off that hot bod, and enjoy Do’s commentary.
When and why did you start using Instagram to critique Instagays?
I’m a writer, so all of my work has kind of been around this subject—feeling uncomfortable or awkward in what should be a very typical gay situation, like going to a circuit party or a pool party. I feel like it should be a fun time, but I have all this anxiety around it, so I started exploring those topics in my writing. I wrote a short film a few years ago called Masc Only, which Drew Droege directed. It’s always been a subject I’ve explored, and Instagram and Twitter have been the perfect vehicles to compartmentalize those thoughts.
What are your biggest qualms with Instagay culture as a whole?
I think people misinterpret [my content] as I have a problem with people with hot bodies. Which is absolutely not the case—I mean, I have a gorgeous body. [Laughs] No, I worry that that’s some people’s takeaway from my posts. And really, I feel like if you want to take off your shirt and be in the sun and have fun, you should definitely, definitely do that. I don’t have a problem with that at all. For me, it’s when people do something completely gratuitous—or something that is self-serving but they mask it in this caption or context that makes it seem like it’s community-oriented—that feels like a lie. And I don’t like being lied to.
My introduction to your posts was the “TRANS LIVES MATTER” hunk, which is the epitome of gratuitous.
It’s wild. Like, why would you? Just show your butt! It’s fine! Don’t pretend it’s for a good cause, you know?
How’d you even find a post like that—just searching through the #Instagay hashtag, or…?
That was sent to me by a friend. At this point, I get a lot of DMs from people following these guys. I don’t want to name that guy, but he’s adjacent to the comedy world, so we have a lot of mutual friends. But he does a lot of those posts that rub me the wrong way. I truly don’t want to start picking sides. It’s easy to do that—like, “Tommy’s against the Instagays.” I really just want people to laugh at themselves and see how ridiculous we’re all being. I’m completely guilty of it as well. I’m a completely ridiculous person. I’ll spend $9 on an almond latte and feel fine about it. [Laughs] I’m truly, truly a broken, troubled person. But I want people to throw me up against the wall and call me out on my shit. I’m really just a gay guy playing with dolls over here.
Have any of the influencers you’ve specifically called out come for your wig?
For the most part, people have responded positively, like, “Oh, wow, that is funny.” Or they’ll start following me. I don’t know if it’s fear-based. I can’t necessarily gauge that. … It’s very weird. It’s a strange dialogue. [My Instagram] definitely grew a life of its own. I just posted things that made me laugh! And now, people are hunting these photos for me. I don’t want it to turn into this Hunger Games kind of situation. But I want it to be a dialogue, truly. I don’t want it to be an “us vs. them” situation. Let’s laugh at ourselves; it’s okay!
Do you ever worry about coming off as mean or too harsh?
I question myself every day—like, Is this mean? Am I being mean? I think that, one, it’s not mean. It’s not necessarily nice, but at the end of the day, nice is easy. In doing this, I hope we can start a dialogue, and then it moves us all forward to people feeling comfortable and being kind. Really, truly supporting each other in a genuine way.
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Who took a massive dump this morning and didn’t flush the toilet and the smell from it almost choked me while I was taking a hot shower? Haha you did! Ohh that’s right you did! You little dumpy baby! Goochie goochie goo! Hahahahhahahahahhaq after you put on that amazing Neutrogena let’s get you some bananas because it smells like your insides are rotting #ad #instagay #gay #gayboy
Do you have a favorite post you’ve uploaded recently?
There’s this couple who did a Neutrogena ad. I sometimes imagine the dialogue they’re having in the morning while they’re taking these photos. I don’t understand what the advantage is of shooting these hyper-realistic photos. I love that one. I keep seeing Instagays taking photos with [disgraced former congressman] Aaron Schock, too, which I just—why?! I don’t understand. And I want to. I want to be open to it. But for me, it doesn’t seem like that’s the appropriate place to initiate a “dialogue” about somebody who’s voted against gay rights. With your shirts off at Runyon Canyon, too. Like, is that really why you’re here? Is this really about meeting people halfway? There’s this photo I haven’t posted yet, too, of a bunch of guys in a field in Seattle. They look like Children of the Corn. Like, who took this photo? Why?! [Laughs] It’s terrifying!
Are there any LGBTQ people on Instagram or Twitter who you think are actually using their platforms in a meaningful way?
I know Colton Haynes did a post the other day where he spoke about his mental illness. And he does fit into that world where a lot of people follow him because they like how he looks. The fact that he came out with this post about his struggles with addiction and mental illness and how the public perceives him—to me, that is worthy of a “good job.” He didn’t have to do that. He could’ve kept living in this fantasy world he’s created. For him to chime in about that unprompted was really brave.
What separates the Colton Haynes from the sexy queer celebs-slash-influencers who’ve tried and failed to be advocates?
It was the images he chose. He showed pictures of him in the hospital, his scars. They’re not flattering photos by any means. They were curated for this post, but they weren’t curated for the purpose of making him look hot.
What would your advice be to a hot Instagay who’s looking to use their platform for social good?
When you’re doing something for the [LGBTQ] community, actually do it for the community. In a way, you have to take yourself out of it. The second that you put yourself first but assert that you’re still doing this for a cause, you’re not doing it for the community. Be selfless. That means understanding that everybody poops. It’s okay. If you don’t look hot in a picture, that’s fine. Everybody is disgusting and takes the nastiest, nastiest dumps. And honestly, if you don’t have to double-flush, you’re not eating enough bananas. You looking glamorous doesn’t actually help anyone.
Follow Tommy Do on Instagram.