Joel Kim Booster Thinks Grindr Killed the Sex Club

By
Photography Ryan Pfluger

Published December 19, 2019

Jumpsuit by Gucci. T-Shirt by Calvin Klein Underwear.

Adopted in South Korea by white evangelical Christian parents who then moved him to suburban Illinois, Joel Kim Booster has made a career mining his own experiences for laughs. On his debut stand-up album, last year’s Model Minority, the 31-year-old comedian alchemized his unusual upbringing into comedy gold, while also bringing to light the many absurdities and micro-humiliations of being gay and single. Booster, who has written for beloved shows such as Big Mouth, Billy on the Street, and The Other Two, plans to bring his sense and sensibility (it’s an allusion to an Austen reference you’ll read about in a minute or two) to Trip, a series in development at Quibi that he describes as Pride and Prejudice set on Fire Island. Here, he offers up his opinions on 16 topics chosen at semi-random. 

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POKÉMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU

Rita Ora plays the villain in this film. In a lot of ways, it’s the gag of the century. Also, I’m slightly horrified at the level of attraction I have for Ryan Reynolds’s voice in Pikachu’s body.”

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LIZZO

“A gift.”

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GUACAMOLE

“It’s become a clarion call of basicness. There’s a reason why it’s widely beloved, because it’s good and everyone should enjoy it. But I find that some people use it as a placeholder for personality, and that’s when it goes awry for me.”

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ELIZABETH WARREN

“I’m a Bernie [Sanders] sun with an Elizabeth rising, as the kids like to put it. She’s taken the leftist ideology that I fell in love with in 2016 and put it through the meme-ification needed to appeal to white, college-educated liberals, and it’s been very effective. I like her and I like Bernie and will be very happy when either of them beats Joe Biden in the primary.”

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LIVE-ACTION DISNEY REMAKES

“As someone who is both concerned about the overgrowth of capitalism and works in the industry, I find it very troubling. Get Warren or Sanders in the presidency and break up Disney. I know it seems very benign that we’re getting these live-action movies, and I will watch every single one of them on a plane, but the amount of money they make is sad.”

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THIRST TRAP

“The only problem with thirst traps is when we let the captions run wild. Your thirst trap should say nothing other than you are thirsty.” 

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SEX CLUBS

“I wish there were more of them. I remember going when I was in my early twenties and they seemed scary and interesting. I don’t want to write a think piece, but Grindr has sort of killed the need for them. I feel like we missed out a little bit.”

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GRINDR

“Grindr has been supplanted by Instagram. Everybody I know is just DMing each other on Instagram, and that’s where I’m exchanging most of my nudes these days. I use it as a travel tool more than anything. When I’m on the road it’s nice to check in and see where we’re at as a community in different cities.”

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TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET’S GOLD CHAINS

“I want to caution any queer person to stay away from Timothée Chalamet. I don’t know why we’ve adopted him as one of our own, but it’s dangerous. I think Timothée Chalamet is a wonderful actor, but I find his presence in queer life to be smallpox in a blanket, and we should be aware of it.”

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JANE AUSTEN

“A lot of her observations about the way we interact with one another are still prescient and incisive. But a lot of people think she’s lame. She’s not one of the bad girls of that period of literature. Her heroines aren’t Anna Karenina. They’re not tortured by the patriarchy. There’s a lot of subtextual stuff going on that people don’t give her credit for. She’s dirtier than people give her credit for. She has an anal sex joke in Mansfield Park that’s tattooed on my body.”

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TED BUNDY

“Is he one of the hot ones? I feel like every two weeks we drudge up some weird serial killer and we’re like, ‘Yas, queen!’ And people are suddenly agog over it. We’ve had enough of Ted Bundy. Move on. There has got to be a serial killer that we haven’t already explored at this point. Where my female serial killers at? Give us a girl.” 

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GOTHS

“Billie Eilish is bringing them out of retirement. She has kick-started a new generation of Hot Topic kids. I feel like Hot Topic has changed with the rise of nerd culture. Everything from The Avengers to Harry Potter—the culture that Hot Topic was always sort of representing has become mainstream culture. Are Christian parents dropping their kids off at the mall and telling them not to go into Hot Topic anymore? I don’t think so. But will they begin to now that Billie Eilish is on the scene? I hope so.”

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MISSY ELLIOTT

 Missy Elliott is our Andy Warhol. I tweeted this and I got only a little bit of flack for it, but I was really fucked up when I said it. Now it’s become something that I’ve accepted as my truth. The visuals that she brings and the way that she has been able to evolve steadily in her long career is remarkable. In terms of Pop Art, she gets it. She’s one of the greatest artists of our time.”

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LOVE ISLAND

 “Shockingly, a cultural blind spot for me. I consume untold amounts of trash, but for some reason that subgenre of reality television is something I’ve never been able to engage with. The ship has sailed on it and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get on. It’s too crowded now.”

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FIRE ISLAND

 “Fire Island is a kaleidoscope of gay experiences and there’s a plurality of ways to experience it. Some are very positive and some are very negative. It all depends on who you go with and what kind of journey you want to go on when you get there. There’s something really healing about going there and dealing with your chosen family. My memories of Fire Island are not tied up in sex and partying. My memories are sitting next to my friends on the dock watching the sunset and finding a deep warmth.”

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NICKI MINAJ’S RETIREMENT

“Did it even trend?”

This article appears in the Winter 2019 issue of Interview magazine. Subscribe here.

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Grooming: Tracey Raffelson
Photography Assistant: Nicol Biesek