Flamboyant Berlin based cabaret duo open up about life, love and everything else in between.
A few weeks back we introduced you to a fabulous cabaret duo called The Tipsy Gays. Comprised of Berlin based Paul Gerritsen (a self-confessed fashionista, pianist and jack-off of all trades) and Santana Smoke (who describes herself as a YouTube slut, chubby chaser, singer, dancer, and catwalk whore) have tantalised YouTube fans with their delicious interpretations of popular songs. Mesmerised by their style, look and buckets of talent we wanted to find out more about the dandy duo. Here, speaking to GuysLikeU, the pair give us the lowdown on how they got together, coming out and dealign with bullies and the negative reactions from family members about being gay. Remember where you saw them first!!!!!!
Hey guys, thanks for chatting. Now tell us, where are you both from?
P: I’m from Calgary, Canada.
S: I was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Kissimmee, Florida. We met each other in 2015 rehearsing for a German musical here in Berlin.
We’re curious… are you, er, boyfriends?
S: Hell no! We are so not each other’s type.
Oh really! So how did you you come up with The Tipsy Gays?
P: Well it all started January of 2017 with the song City of Stars from the film La La Land. I fell in love with the song. One day I was practicing it in our dressing room and Michael started singing the other part. That evening I posted an instagram video of me singing the male part and tagged Michael saying he should sing it as Santana Smoke! The video had such a good reaction from all our friends that we decided to do another song. Michael suggested the most natural name to describe us (The Tipsy Gays) and that was it!!
You have so much charisma – do you do lots of live shows?
P: Actually no. We’ve done one as The Tipsy Gays and it had a great reaction but we are so busy that it is hard to put together a live show. However it is something we are open to in the future!
S: We have such funny reactions. Most are really nice and encouraging while others want us to kill ourselves.
How do you choose the songs?
S: We usually do songs that we just really like. We also introduce songs to each other.
You did a fabulous cover Steps’ Scared Of The Dark? How do you know about them?
P: So I had a good friend growing up who introduced me to Steps. It was before the time of YouTube or social media so we had to order the CDs and VHSs from HMV just to get Steps content in Canada. Anyways, I am still a bit obsessed with Steps (who isn’t?!) and so of course when the big comeback single came out I knew it was perfect for us! Michael could belt Claire’s part and there were some cool harmonies for us to sing. It was our first video to pass the 10,000 views mark!
So what’s the dream?
S: We mainly do it because we have fun but hey, we wouldn’t say no to fame and fortune!!
When you’re not Tipsy Gays who are you?
P: We’re performers at the amazing opera house, ‘Komische Oper Berlin.’ Ranging from classical Opera (The Barber of Seville) to Operetta (Candide) and musicals (Fiddler on the Roof and West Side Story)
Take us back to when you both realised you were gay?
S: I realised when I was a child that I was gay. But I didn’t come out until I was 24. Felt like I needed to keep it in due to what I thought my family wanted. It did often cross my mind that I didn’t want to be gay. I thought my family would be so disappointed in me. Luckily my family did no such thing and they except me completely. I first kissed a boy shortly after coming out. I was desperate! Saw a cute boy looking at me from across the room at Tilt Nightclub in Rochester, NY. I called him over with my hand and we just kissed. Never did learn his name or see him again but it felt so good.
P: I always knew I was gay. I would buy men’s workout magazines pretending to be interested in how to build muscle and was obsessed with my gym teacher when I was 13 years old. He had a 70s porn moustache and a big hairy chest to die for! Haha! I had written a kind of fantasy including me and my gym teacher in the locker room showers and my parents found it! Luckily they basically guessed I was gay and that I had just made it up, so I guess that was my coming out. My first gay experience was with my first boyfriend who I met through a friend. Our first kiss was very innocent and sweet. Luckily my whole family especially my parents were totally accepting about me being gay so I didn’t have such a hard time accepting myself.
Who were your gay role models?
S: My little brother came out just before me. He is also gay and a Drag Queen (Juana Smoke) in Los Angeles. He and a few other family members came out around the same time and that gave me the confidence I needed to come out. Especially considering how successful and happy they were.
P: When I was in high school there was a senior who was openly gay. I was completely awed by him and his confidence.
Who was the first person you told and their reactions?
P: I told my best friend in high school via a note that I passed to her during class. She of course had guessed before so it was a relief for us both not having to pretend!
Did any one react badly to your coming out?
P: My aunt and godmother is a devote Catholic. When she found out I was gay and in a homosexual relationship she wrote me a letter expressing her concern. She explained that what I am is a sin and that I would get AIDS and die. Although I feel quite sad about it I feel like it is my duty to show people like her and anyone who do not know any gay people that we are just like anyone else… just more fabulous of course!!!
Bravo, Paul! How was school – did the other guys treat you well?
P: For me school was always quite difficult. I was always very artistic and soft spoken. Wearing different clothing and being in the marching band spinning flags and dancing made me an easy target. There were a couple of jerks who would push me into lockers or make fun of me. Luckily I did have some close friends who made school bearable. I just wish I had been more confident in who I was. We only have one life so you’d better LIVE!!!
Can we get an amen up in here?! When you were out, was the gay scene everything you expected it to be?
P: I did go to the gay club Boystown in Calgary once or twice a week, but it was somehow quite innocent and a light introduction to the scene. I didn’t really know what to expect but I loved it! Being able to dance freely on the dancefloor was my escape.
Have you bored of it now?
S: Not at all bored with it. Berlin has constant new parties and locations popping up. So it’s changing a lot and a good amount of parties are heavily mixed which is nice. I think Berlin prides itself on it’s mix of cultures and appearances.
Do you think you can meet the one on the gay scene.
P: Heck yes! I met my dreamy husband at a gay bar!! He couldn’t speak english and I couldn’t speak german but we made it work somehow. For weeks we just relied on body language! (LOL!)
That’s amazing! Before you met Mr Right, did you had your heart broken
P: Well I kind of broke my own heart once by breaking up with someone else in a terrible way. I was a jerk and couldn’t forgive myself after I realised what I had done. It was awful.
In your time, have you ever fallen for someone and they’ve not been into you?
P: I did fall for someone I was in the marching band with but by the time I was brave enough to admit it he had a boyfriend. I even had to share a room with him all through a European tour! Now I think back to it I wish I had been more brave and forward. Another life lesson: Tell people what you feel before it’s too late!!!!
Do you think there is too much pressure on finding love – do you think we should be a bit for open to new experiences
P: I think putting any expectations or pressure on anything is a bad idea, whether it be love or work. It only creates stress that hinders the natural process.
Have you had any dating disasters along the way?
S: Showing up at someones door for a Grindr date. Them opening the door and me having to turn around and walk away because they looked nothing like their photos.
Have you experienced any homophobia?
S: I was called a faggot in the playgrounds of my school when I was as young as seven years old. I was closeted then. That has followed me til now and get the occasional faggot being called out from a car window.
You’re gorgeous – do you have loads of fellas after you – do you take advantage?
P: You’re too sweet! LOL. Berlin is full of beautiful men. And how can you take advantage when the other person is always willing?!!? LOL!!
Do you believe in monogamy – or is that too hetereonormative?
P: Monogamy works for some and for others not. I know straight and gay people that have open relationships that work, and others that would never be able to share their partner. For me the most important thing is honesty to oneself. If you know sex with one person is not enough for the rest of your life than own it and find someone who can accept who you are!