Paul Iacono is gearing up to make his return to the spotlight after a five-year hiatus from the stage and screen ― and yes, he’s OK if you call it a comeback.
HuffPost caught a sneak peek at the actor and singer’s forthcoming concert, titled “Paul Iacono, Unfiltered,” via the video below. In it, he sings a playful rendition of “It Was a Shit Show” from the CW series “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.”
The performance is inspired by Iacono’s on-and-off romance with a British man he met on the gay dating app Grindr a decade ago. In December of last year, the pair reconnected and hit it off once again. The relationship has taken a number of “absurd and enlightening” detours since then, and whether their story ends on a happy note is open to interpretation.
“It’s a beautiful and hysterical love song about a disastrous relationship, and it really hits home for me,” Iacono told HuffPost. As for his current relationship status, he added: “I’m single, but this person is still in my life. We’ve sort of figured out a happy medium. It’s complicated, but that’s the New York dating world, I think.”
Watch Paul Iacono perform “It Was a Shit Show”:
“It Was a Shit Show” is just one highlight of the “Unfiltered” set, which also features an array of Broadway show tunes, jazz standards and novelty songs. The concert, which premieres Sept. 7 at The Green Room 42 in New York City, is billed as an “uplifting, hilarious and inspiring” look at Iacono’s life as a gay Manhattanite and former child performer who found himself at a personal and professional crossroads after turning 30.
The New Jersey native rose to Hollywood fame in 2010 as the titular star of the MTV comedy series “The Hard Times of RJ Berger.” In addition to that show’s two-season run, he turned in well-received performances in the 2009 remake of “Fame” and the coming-of-age comedy “G.B.F.” (for “Gay Best Friend”) in 2013.
After his youthful success, Iacono started to transition into a new phase of his career five years ago, when he began focusing more on writing. At around the same time, he said his mental health began to take a turn for the worse, and in 2020, he was diagnosed as bipolar. The isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic that year didn’t help.
“The show is about allowing yourself to feel inspired by the good and the bad, and to come through it all embracing your flaws, quirks and imperfect journeys,” Iacono, now 35, said of “Unfiltered.”
“The only way to keep going is to learn to laugh at yourself — I’ve learned that these past five years — and to embrace your own unique messiness and learn from it, grow from it.”
Iacono credits The Green Room 42, which underwent an extensive renovation earlier this year, for giving him and director Eric Gilliland space to “be a little outrageous, be a little obscene and try something new in a safe way.”
In addition to “Unfiltered,” he said he’s written five plays, three of which are currently being developed for production. While this spate of new projects has helped him “feel more like myself again than I have in a very long time,” he’s quick to note: “That’s not to say that I’ve solved all my problems. I definitely haven’t.”
“I wish I didn’t have a mental breakdown. I wish my love life wasn’t so disastrous,” he explained. “But the show is a way for me to process and share the aspects of my life that, up until now, have made me horribly insecure and frightened. If my story can help one person, then I’ve done my job.”
Need help with mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.