Burgess, best known for playing Titus Andromedon on Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” appeared alongside Laverne Cox on Sunday’s installment of “Watch What Happens Live.” Things took a cumbersome turn when Cohen asked the actor about his experience working with Eddie Murphy on the upcoming film, “Dolemite Is My Name.”
“He was very problematic for the gays at one point when I was coming up,” Cohen said of Murphy, referring to the comedian’s early stand-up routines from the 1980s that are rife with anti-LGBTQ humor and jokes about HIV/AIDS.
Though Murphy remains dogged by the statements, he issued a public apology in 1996. “I deeply regret any pain all this has caused,” he said at the time, adding, “Just like the rest of the world, I am more educated about AIDS in 1996 than I was in 1981.”
From the sounds of it, none of Murphy’s old attitudes carried over into his working relationship with Burgess, who is gay.
“He wasn’t problematic for Tituss, and we had a wonderful time,” Burgess told Cohen. “He was great. Any troubles he may have had with gay people, I guess, are gone because he loved me.”
At that point, Burgess appeared to express his discomfort with the question by mouthing words to someone off-camera, prompting Cohen to take pause. “Keep going, girl,” the actor quipped to him. “Do your show.”
However, Burgess went even further on Instagram, blasting the moment as “a display of ratchet behavior by a well-connected man having blatant disregard for one of his guests” in the comments section of a video posted Monday.
“She can be a messy queen,” Burgess wrote. “Yes I said it! Don’t care he knows either … if only time were taken to know who I am and not assuming that I am the character I play on tv he would know how to conduct a proper interview…”
Cohen “was lucky I had my wits and Christian values THAT day,” he added, suggesting the host “rip a page from Anderson Cooper and learn to do his job.”
For his part, Cohen seemed taken aback, and suggested on his “Andy Cohen Live” radio show Monday that he had “no idea” why Burgess reacted the way he did to the line of questioning.
“He wasn’t having me,” Cohen said, as reported by People. “I ran into him at a bar in Harlem like, eight months ago, and we had a really nice talk. So I don’t know.”
Still, he stressed that he remained a fan of Burgess, who he praised for having “made an entertaining show.”
“Sometimes it’s fun to watch the show when the guest hates the host,” Cohen said.
Watch the awkward “Watch What Happens Live” moment between Andy Cohen and Tituss Burgess below.