Sean Hayes is in a car on his way home from a business meeting in Los Angeles. His husband of seven years, Scott Icenogle, is driving.
“Do you have sugar?” the former “Will & Grace” star asks Icenolge. “I haven’t eaten.”
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Icenolge hands him a piece of candy. “I’m the diabetic but Sean is stealing all my stuff,” he says.
Fixating on things like low blood sugar is old hat for Hayes. He is, after all, a self-described “hypochondriac,” he says during a Zoom call from the car.
So much so that Hayes has turned his health worries into a podcast. Launching May 5, “HypochondriActor” is hosted by Hayes and Dr. Priyanka Wali, a San Francisco-based MD who is also a stand-up comedian. While the show will feature guests sharing their own health stories, Hayes cracks, “I did this for free medical advice.”
“I constantly think about everything that’s wrong with my body,” he says. “You can literally say any part of my body on the inside or outside, and I’ll probably have a story about it.”
It’s true. When I say, “left nostril,” Hayes recalls the time when a doctor got a little too aggressive during a follow-up exam after having surgery to correct a deviated septum. “He had this little fetish of clearing out all the dried scars and scabs, but he hit it too hard and my nose started gushing blood,” he says. “I was swallowing all this blood because it’s coming out of my nose like a bath tub faucet. He had to call the ER to cauterize it.”
How about “pinky toe”? Hayes practically brags that he’s currently being treated for a very painful case of plantar fasciitis. “I’m an open book,” he says. “My favorite part of talk shows are when people come on and they talk about their medical issues, because I think it connects us. If you’re suffering from an ailment that they’re talking about, it makes you feel like you’re not alone. Maybe it normalizes it and gives you hope.”
This is Hayes’ second podcast following “SmartLess,” a series he co-hosts with Jason Bateman and Will Arnett that began in July 2020. Each episode includes one of the hosts bringing on a mystery celeb guest that the other two hosts have to guess who it is. “Jason and I were hanging out right before the pandemic and we sent an email to Will asking him if he wanted to host a podcast together — without a question mark,” Hayes says.
Hazy Mills, Hayes’ 17-year-old production company with Todd Milliner, is jumping full throttle into the podcast business. The company currently has about a dozen podcasts in development. “They’re all really different,” he says. “What I like about Hazy Mills producing them is we’re very very very hands on. We help develop them. We help put them together and we help launch them. It’s not like we’re putting our name on it and selling it to iHeart or Spotify. We do it all in house. We deficit them ourselves. We produce all of them from the beginning to the end.”
For the last two years, Hazy Mills has co-produced the SAG Awards. Do they have dreams of producing the Oscars next?
“No,” Hayes says. But then he quickly adds, “I wouldn’t turn it down.”
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