We Forced Jackson Galaxy to Watch ‘Cats’
On paper, My Cat from Hell host Jackson Galaxy should love the 2019 musical Cats. As Galaxy himself tells me, “This movie could potentially be my ultimate sweet spot. Not only am I the cat guy, but I was a theater guy for many years and I’m a songwriter.”
So again, you would think that Galaxy would have been sitting in the front row on Cats’ opening weekend. But until recently, Galaxy had avoided this movie like a cat avoids a bath. In fact, he says, “I don’t like Andrew Lloyd Webber music, and I’ve actually dreaded this movie for a long time because, as the cat guy, I knew eventually it’d be a thing.”
Well, the time has come: I managed to convince the famed cat enthusiast to watch Cats the musical from beginning to end, and to decide whether or not it belongs in the nearest litter box.
Okay, moment of truth: What did you think of Cats?
Let me begin by saying this: Thank you for making me want to crawl inside my own couch and disappear. This movie took three of my favorite things — cats, theater and music — and mashed them together into this demolition derby of a film. I got sober many years ago, but this movie was one of those times I wish I was tripping on mushrooms. I kept threatening my wife, telling her, “Babe, I’m done. I’m only going to watch five more minutes,” but somehow, I made it through.
What was so bad about it?
Oh, so much. The music, the CGI, and there’s this thing like, is it supposed to be sexy? It’s so uncomfortable. Plus, poor Jennifer Hudson. I felt really bad for her. I mean, she could sing the Band-Aid commercial and I’d cry. She’s so good. And yet, they just drained the mojo out of her.
And I love Idris Elba. I love Judi Dench. I love these actors, but who the hell talked them into this movie?
Who was the worst for you?
Probably Rebel Wilson. She was terrible. And God almighty, when Taylor Swift comes down from the ceiling, it was horrible. I really like her, but it was hard to watch. I’m crawling in my skin right now thinking about it.
What bothered you about the CGI?
It was really weird. I give some props to the digital guys for trying to get the tails and the ears right, but for the most part, they didn’t use them well. Like, if a cat is scared, their ears will go back, but the CGI just said, “We’ll make ‘em wiggle a little.” I swear, there must be so many people in this movie who don’t know anything about cats.
Do you think Cats is a good representation of cats?
I wondered that. Cats was the longest-running, most popular show on Broadway for a long time. So was it a good thing for cats? Did it turn a lot of people onto cats? Or did it do the opposite and create this impenetrable fortress between “cat people” and the rest of the world? That was something I was trying to untangle while I was watching the movie.
Ultimately, I think this movie propped up that image of “crazy cat people,” which is definitely not a good thing. I mean, if I didn’t have a cat and I went to see this movie, am I going to want this thing in my house that breaks everything and is just generally a dick? I don’t think so. As an ambassador for cats, I was embarrassed by this movie.
Were there any highlights for you?
I felt that Ian McKellen’s song was a highlight. Also, at the end, Judi Dench is going through that whole thing about “what is a cat?” and that “a cat is not a dog.” When she said that, I thought, “That does justice,” because that’s some of what I teach. I do a one-man show that revolves around the idea that a cat is not a dog. They’re two completely different species with two completely separate journeys through time with us.
Who do you think was the most accurate representation of a cat?
That’s a great question. I’d say the magician cat (Mr. Mistoffelees played by Laurie Davidson). He nailed it a few times with his facial expressions and body language. I thought he was good and most everybody else tried way too hard.
In real life, what kind of music do cats like?
That’s a big debate actually. I’ve had people tell me cats love EDM or Vivaldi, but my cats hate music. Especially if I pick up a guitar, they just clear the room.
What do you think the word “jellicle” means?
No fucking idea. And they say it so much in the movie that, after a while, every time I heard the word, it was like a jackhammer on my head. By the end of the movie, I was like, “Don’t know, don’t care.”
Finally, do you think James Corden would be better behaved if he was neutered?
Yes! I thought he had some funny moments, but yes, he needed a good chop job.