Top LGBTQ talent sounds off for Audible’s ‘Hot White Heist’

Adam Goldman has been ahead of the curve for most of his career, whether it’s been intentional or not. So much so that the writer, director and occasional actor muses that he’s also “the Beyonce of streaming entertainment.”

That’s because years before Apple, Disney, Warner Bros. and every other entertainment juggernaut entered the streaming wars – and even prior to Netflix’s first original series dropping in 2013 – Goldman introduced the internet to “The Outs.” The LGBTQ-focused, original web series premiered in 2012 on Vimeo.

The scripted series detailed the lives of Mitchell – a character Goldman played because “we needed someone who didn’t mind not getting paid and wanted it to see the light of day” – his best friend Oona, played by co-writer Sasha Winters, and his ex-boyfriend Jack, played by Hunter Canning. The three characters navigated LGBTQ life in New York while captivating audiences across the world.

The show was crowdfunded through two Kickstarter campaigns, the first of which raised nearly $1,700. The second exceeded its $8,000 goal to bring in more than $22,000 with just over 500 backers, proving yet again that audiences were ready for original LGBTQ content.

Vimeo funded a second season after that. Guest stars included LGBTQ icons like “Cabaret” and “X-Men” actor Alan Cumming, who met with Goldman after praising the series on Twitter, and comedian Bowen Yang, who went on to join the on-air cast of “Saturday Night Live” in 2019.

Other fans included Russell T. Davies, creator of the groundbreaking drama “Queer as Folk” and more recently HBO Max’s “It’s A Sin.” The screenwriter called the series “absolutely gorgeous” and “beautifully shot.”

“We just wanted to get it made,” Goldman reflects. “So we wrote it, shot it, edited it and put it up on Vimeo. At the time, people were saying nobody wanted to watch television on their computer.
“This was like 2011, 2012,” he continues. “‘House of Cards’ was coming out and people were saying, ‘why would I stream a TV show on Netflix?’ It was just the right timing … it became really easy to put your own stuff online and we were there for that.”

Even so, Goldman adds that “if you had told me in 2012 that Disney was going to be investing several billion dollars into streaming … I would have laughed you out of the room. It’s pretty crazy.”

The entertainer went on to create “Whatever This Is,” another series which featured Cumming as a guest star. The veteran performer subsequently hired his newfound friend and collaborator to write material for the 69th annual Tony Awards, which Cumming hosted alongside Kristin Chenoweth in 2015.

Now the pair is partnering for “Hot White Heist,” an Audible Original streaming exclusively on the popular podcast and audiobook service. Its six, scripted episodes star a dream team of high-profile, openly LGBTQ actors and premiered in its entirety on June 17. Just in time for Pride Month.

“‘Hot White Heist’ follows a crew of misfits from across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum as they attempt the stickiest heist in history: stealing a hidden supply of sperm samples from the U.S. government,” the project is officially described. “Why? To help a scrappy lesbian cult in Montana finance a top-secret project, of course. Or, to put it more simply, it’s a sperm bank heist.”

The podcast was written, produced and created by Goldman. Cumming directed while also serving as a producer via his Club Cumming Productions, along with Broadway Video. The entertainment company was founded by “Saturday Night Live” creator Lorne Michaels to produce “original comedic content for every platform.”

Rachel Ghiazza, the executive vice president and head of U.S. content at Audible, noted that’s exactly what they’ve done with “Hot White Heist.”

“The masterminds at Broadway Video continue to create amazingly original series that have our listeners laughing nonstop,” she shared when the project was announced in February. “These exceptionally funny and smart storylines paired with rosters of distinguished voices are audio entertainment at its best.”

“The collaboration and medium allow us to work with talented creators telling stories from new perspectives,” Broadway Video Enterprises President Britta von Schoeler added. “Producing [“Hot White Heist”] during the pandemic provided some much-needed levity. We hope [it will] do the same for Audible’s growing listening audience.”

The concept for “Hot White Heist” stemmed from a tweet. Reflecting on the heist genre – crime films that involve teams of people carrying out daring thefts – Goldman says he shared that “I wish we had a queer heist, and no, it wouldn’t be a sperm bank heist.

“And then I was just like, ‘Oh. I guess that actually is ridiculous enough to work,’” he recalls. He held onto the idea and sent a pitch to Cumming, who’d just founded his production company. It seeks to produce content that’s eclectic, inclusive, daring and joyful, a perfect fit.

“We have really similar sensibilities and he sort of understood how fun it would be to have all of this queer talent together,” Goldman says.

“He has such incredible talent and instincts that it made sense for him to direct this. It was a challenge because he was directing over Zoom and I was sort of there giving notes with him, but he really nailed it.”

“I have worked for Audible as a performer and writer many times, but I’m really excited to be making my directorial debut with ‘Hot White Heist,’ Adam Goldman’s hilarious, witty, and biting script,” Cumming shared ahead of its release, “and to be bringing together so many friends from my LGBTQ+ family to be in it!”

The impressive ensemble is led by Yang, now a longtime friend of Goldman’s. The podcast’s creator says he always had the performer in mind for his LGBTQ-focused tale.
“I wrote the lead character, who’s a guy named Judy for Bowen,” he says. “He’s been blowing up in the last year or two and is an incredibly friendly, humble, talented, smart and funny actor. So even before I knew he could do it, I was writing it in his voice.”

“It’s been a very special honor to lead the cast of ‘Hot White Heist’ and act alongside queer performers whom I’ve admired so much,” Bowen shared when the series was announced. The performer promised it is “a funny, caper-y thrill” while musing that “I’d like to take this opportunity to announce that I am gay!”

Rounding out the cast are Cynthia Nixon (“Sex and the City”), Abbi Jacobson (“Broad City”), Jane Lynch (“Glee”), MJ Rodriguez (“Pose”), Shannon Woodward (“Westworld”), Stephanie Beatriz (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”), John Cameron Mitchell (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”), Cheyanne Jackson (“American Horror Story”), Jonathan Bailey (“Bridgerton”) and Tony Kushner, the writer of “Angels in America” who plays himself.

Fan favorite performers from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” are also featured. They include season six winner Bianca Del Rio, season nine finalist Peppermint and Brian McCook’s Katya Zamolodchikova from season seven, who was also a finalist on “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” season two. Cumming cameos in a voice role as well.

Goldman says the casting process was later in the creative process and that ensuring LGBTQ actors filled the LGBTQ roles came naturally for the project. “It’s a really big conversation,” he says of the debate. “I think that actors should not be limited by their own life experience when playing a role – but that being said, it’s not like acting is a meritocracy anyway.

“I think it’s really contextual,” he continues, “and it was always part of the pitch, almost like a queer sort of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ thing. There’s all this incredible queer talent that people know and love and who are really good at what they do – so we thought, what if we asked a bunch of them to be involved in this thing that can be entirely of our community?”

“Hot White Heist” was also initially conceived as a feature film. Goldman says that while he always received positive feedback when meeting with interested parties, there was reluctance given its subject matter.

“It’s a sperm bank heist,” he deadpans. “It’s about people stealing sperm. That’s kind of ridiculous and raunchy, so even though they’re stealing the sperm samples to sell them for money – it’s nothing gross – I think there was a little hesitation about that.”

He went back to the drawing board. The concept landed at Broadway Video and “got in front of Lorne Michaels,” Goldman says. “He loved the idea and said, ‘we have this partnership with Audible, let’s do that.’”

It was the collaboration with Audible and Broadway Video that helped attract the podcast’s talent. The proven partners “made their ears perk up,” Goldman explains, “and also Alan had relationships with some of them.”

“But I think at the end day, if the project or script isn’t fun, people aren’t going to sign up, especially people who have a lot of offers coming in and have a lot of stuff on their plate,” he also notes.

“So it’s a point of personal pride for me that people read this ridiculous story and thought it was fun and funny enough that they wanted to lend us their voices, because it is. It’s super silly.”
It’s also groundbreaking, highlighting talent and characters from across the LGBTQ spectrum. Goldman says at its core, it’s a tale about members of the community coming together to accomplish something.

“Judy, Bowen’s character puts together this team,” he explains, “and he says, ‘we’re only going to hire queer people.’ His mantra is ‘representation matters,’ even within the show. We have a lesbian on the team, a bi couple on the team, a trans hacker on the team. We tried to make it as much of the community as possible.”

Having the confidence to do so stems from his early work. “‘The Outs’ was really important to me for a lot of reasons, but one of them is that it was a personal story that centered on the LGBTQ community,” he says.

Its fans continue to advocate for the series, which remains available to stream at years later. “Even if it didn’t get picked up by HBO, it shows there’s an audience and a hunger for these stories,” Goldman notes. “It gave me the ability to be unafraid in telling stories about queer people.”

Doing so with a cast that is 100% openly LGBTQ is particularly exciting. The majority of the “Hot White Heist” crew also identify as members of the community.

“I’ve had the most success artistically when I’m making something that I wish already existed in the world,” Goldman says. “This is definitely one of those cases and we made it. It’s been really rewarding.”

Part of the “cultural hole” Goldman hoped to fill was that the project “is just fun.” He urges listeners to give the Audible original a chance for that reason.

“I was really happy with the way that we managed to make something really fun, light and enjoyable for queer people in a year that was really hard for a lot of people,” Goldman says. “I think we succeeded. Dive in and see where it takes you.”

All six half-hour episodes of “Hot White Heist,” an Audible Original and Broadway Video production, are now streaming exclusively on Audible. Listen at or in the Audible app, available on iOS and in Google Play Store.

The podcast is intended for adults only and is included with Audible Plus, the platform’s all-you-can-listen service. 30-day trials are available. Learn more about creator Adam Goldman and his work at

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