Scott Nevins: The Bi-Coastal Curious Star of Bravo’s ’The People’s Couch’
Entertainer, host, comedian and producer Scott Nevins leads his life by words of wisdom from his 86-year-old Aunt Grace: "Why worry what other people think, do they pay your rent?"
He shared this wisdom with the nonconformist kid back when he was running around his parents’ house performing numbers from his favorite musicals. And though drawn to what many may consider typically "gay" things, Nevins, 33, has never fallen for the conformity he sees in some of the gay community.
"I’ve traveled to so many of the big ’gay’ destinations around the world for work, and I’ve found that so many people look, dress and act alike. I think it’s because many of us grew up being outsiders, longing to belong to something." He adds, "those scars never leave you, and so when people find their group, I think they are quick to try to fit in" he says. "I’ve never felt comfortable with that though, I always wanted to be an individual. I’d much rather stand out than blend in."
Couch Potato with a Six-Pack
The handsome Instinct Magazine cover boy (and former "fat kid") brings this outsider-looking-in sensibility to his role on Bravo TV’s buzzworthy new series "The People’s Couch,"based on the UK hit Googlebox.
The show rotates between several groups of friends and family members watching and reacting candidly to a variety of pop culture TV staples like "Long Island Medium," "Million Dollar Listing" and the various "Real Housewives" franchises. Nevins’ scenes are filmed in his house and feature him nestled on his white couch between media savvy friends Emerson Collins (Producer of Del Shores’ "Southern Baptist Sissies") and former child star Blake McIver ("Star Search," "Full House").
After a short run of three episodes last fall, Bravo purchased twelve more of the well-received series, which begin airing March 10 and will continue running on Mondays at 11:30.
"We watch TV and eat snacks and we’re not trying to be funny. Instead, we have full-on conversations," says Nevins, who adds that the show works thanks to the chemistry between all the featured groups and the spontaneity of their responses to the show. Nothing is scripted.
"Sometimes we forget the cameras are there. We’re saying what we really feel and that’s why people connect. Plus, our editors all have a great sense of humor. So they know when something is naturally funny and bring it out."
A Boy From Flushing
Nevins grew up in Queens in a nuclear family led by his father - a fireman, bar owner and former professional baseball player who shared his son’s love for musicals. "My dad loved musicals like "Oliver!" and "West Side Story" and we’d watch them together," Scott remembers. "Soon, I was dressing up as my favorite characters (including donning a red scarf, hat, carpetbag and bird-head umbrella as Mary Poppins) and performing for my family."
Surviving 14 years of Catholic School, he completed his degree from SUNY Purchase in three years and then moved to Manhattan, where he pursued several theater-related interests, including directing cabaret shows. In his mid 20s, Nevins took on the challenging assignment of Entertainment Director at the popular bar Therapy. During this time, he began presenting "Scott Nevins Presents" on Monday nights, interviewing Broadway, film and music stars and packing the venue on the slowest night of the week.
His successful emcee work lead to opportunities in a number of arenas, from headlining at Caroline’s comedy club (a gig performers wait years for) and donating his time and quick wit to charities close to his heart, including Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. He also created "SPARKLE: An All-Star Holiday Concert," a fundraiser for Desert AIDS Project, which has become one of Palm Springs’ most anticipated events, and has expanded the event to include Sparkle fundraisers in Los Angeles and New York.
No Longer Bi-Coastal Curious
Inspired by the success of his Caroline’s show, Nevins developed "Celebutant: Don’t You Know Who I Think I Am," a self-deprecating one-man show which drew raves nationwide and helped land him a spot on Sirius Satellite Radio.
His quick wit and political savvy led to a regular spot on TruTV’s "Smoking Gun" (now "The World’s Dumbest...") and he still appears on an occasional episode. "With that show, I finally became bicoastal," he says. "I love LA - the weather, driving, the overall quality of life."
Hitting the road with showbiz royalty
with many of the celebrities he admires, including Broadway legend Carol Channing, Scott has evolved from fan to close friend.
He and Lorna Luft have become especially close, even though he often does uncanny vocal impressions of Judy and Liza in his act. "When we were new friends, before she saw me perform, I told Lorna that I ’do your sister’ and ’your mother’ in my act," he says.
"Lorna was great. She said, ’Oh honey, just don’t mess it up when I’m there tonight.’"
Luft loved it, and, since then, the two have become frequent collaborators. Fans can catch them live at several warm weather dates this spring. In addition to hosting Luft’s show and opening for her at Puerta Vallarta’s Red Room Cabaret (March 12-15), Nevins will headline his own show there on the 14th. They’ll also team up at Ft. Lauderdale’s Sunshine Cathedral on April 26th for an evening titled "Up Close and Personal with Lorna Luft and Scott Nevins."