Emmy nom Tituss Burgess reveals what we want to know most: Did he sing ‘Peeno Noir’ to celebrate?
Time to bust out the Pinot Noir.
On Thursday, actor Tituss Burgess scored an Emmy nomination for his role as Titus Andromedon on the Netflix comedy “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” The show scored seven nominations overall, including outstanding comedy series.
The role of Titus with one “s” -- a wannabe singer and roommate to the titular character -- was written specifically for him (without his knowledge) by the show’s creators, “30 Rock” vets Tina Fey and Robert Carlock.
Burgess also became a household name after a music video of “Peeno Noir,” a song from the show that rhymes words with “noir,” went viral. Now, there are GIFs, buttons and T-shirts with the lyrics on them.
We chatted with the actor after the nomination news.
How are you feeling about the nomination?
Oh my god -- I’m elated and so grateful. I’m always grossed out when people say ‘I’m so humbled by this...’ but I really am. I got quiet [when I heard about the nomination]. I just couldn’t believe it.
Where were you when you heard the news?
I was in my living room with my best friend Heather. She was comforting me as I sobbed uncontrollably. She rubbed my back. ... I just wept and wept. People kept calling, managers and agents, and I had to talk to them and I was like “Can you just wait a little bit? I can’t process!”
Heather told me last night she was going to show up at 11 to my apartment. I was fine this morning. I woke up earlier than I’m used to -- I cleaned and I got coffee. I had to keep busy. Just the sight of her face gave me this rush of emotion. ... I’m going to cry right now.
Have you talked to anyone else from the show yet?
I called Jane Krakowski. She didn’t think she was going to be nominated, so that’s really fun. Tina and I have been emailing back and forth -- I didn’t know she was nominated until after she congratulated me. Tina is all things. If there’s not another word for superstar, we need to create it. But I think Ellie Kemper was snubbed. ... I will stand by that.
I have to ask… Did you sing ‘Peeno Noir’ to celebrate?
I actually had Pinot Noir last night at dinner at this restaurant. I came home and I was ready to go to bed. I threw my clothes everywhere. I still can’t find my keys.
Your eccentric character Titus is considered a breakout hit of the show. Were you surprised by how many people became obsessed with his character and the ‘Peeno’ song?
The song... It just wasn’t something I thought was going to be a thing that people hung on to the most out of all 13 of our episodes. That’s the thing that people literally yell out at me. It’s so lovely to watch [the song] have a life of its own.
You’ve had a lot of success on Broadway as well, but do you find you are recognized way more now on the street?
I’m having the success that I thought I would have in theater. The television world has embraced me. I have been able to pick and choose and do things that are closer to my heart. I love theater and I can’t wait to return but there will be a little more of a pause on that. I will return when the project is right.
What would you say has been the craziest part about this whole experience?
The whole experience. I’ve never experienced anything like this before in my life. I greet it with awe and wonder and I’m in complete disbelief that I am getting to work with the giants that are Robert, Tina, Ellie, Jane. ... It’s just not something I dreamed for myself.
It just goes to show if you wait long enough and do what you are supposed to do on the way up the ladder, maybe the scale will tip in your favor.
For more news on the entertainment industry, follow me @saba_h on Twitter.
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