Andrew Rannells on His First TV Job: A ‘Sex and the City’ Headless Stripper (It Wasn’t Fun!)

     June 24, 2020

Andrew Rannells‘ career has included starring in the Broadway blockbuster The Book of Mormon, tons of voice work for animated shows including Big Mouth, a series regular role in Showtime’s Black Monday, and countless guest star appearances on TV shows including How I Met Your Mother, The Knick, and Another Period. His very first on-screen appearance, though, isn’t one he talks about that often — in fact, it’s not even on his official IMDB page. But to be fair, it’s hard to tell it’s him.

“I was on Sex and the City as a headless stripper,” he tells us in an upcoming Collider Connected interview, as seen in the above video clip. How was the experience? “It was not great.”

His “character,” such as it was, wasn’t headless for supernatural reasons. But Rannells’s face was never featured in the fifth season episode “The Big Journey,” as he was playing one of two go-go dancers at a gay bar where Charlotte (Kristen Davis) and her best gay friend Anthony (Mario Cantone) are talking about Charlotte’s new relationship with Harry (Evan Handler) in a gay bar.

andrew-rannells-black-monday-tca

Image via Showtime

As Rannells describes it, “So the scene starts and it’s two men in speedos, grinding against each other. And that’s me and then another young man. And then it comes down to Kristin Davis and Mario Cantone — they’re watching us.”

If you watch the episode, it’s not hard to find the scene in question, and when you watch it, it is 100 percent true that the faces of Rannells and his scene partner are not ever shown — in fact, both men are treated basically as set dressing, and there is no clear way to tell which man is which.

“I had never been on a film set like that before, and the other guy and I had to oil each other up in front of everyone,” Rannells adds. “Kristin Davis is sitting there watching me put baby oil on. I was like, ‘What the hell’s happening?'”

It is thus totally understandable that Rannells says that “for a long time, it was a credit that I left off [my resume].” But now he’s willing to tell the story, and fate gave him a moment of catharsis after getting cast as Elijah in another HBO female-led comedy: Lena Dunham‘s Girls, which happened to shoot in the very same soundstage as his Sex and the City appearance.

“Then I got to actually speak lines for the first time on television, but for HBO, and on that very same stage,” he says. “So it’s pretty crazy.”

If you want to try to guess which of two bare torsos Rannells might be, Sex and the City is streaming now on all the HBOs. In addition, Black Monday returns to Showtime on Sunday, June 28.

Television