Interview by Jana Letonja

Benito Skinner, known for his online persona Benny Drama, is an American comedian and actor. He is known for his celebrity impression, skits and original characters on social platforms Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.In March, he is returning with his podcast and has recently announced that he sold his scripted comedy ‘Overcompensating’ to Amazon.

white shirt & jacket JOHN ELLIOTT
loafers BMC by Brandon Murphy
socks UNIQLO

Benito, tell us what made you love comedy? And why did you decide being a comedian is something that is what you’re supposed to do?

I think comedy has always been an escape for people. And for me, growing up in the closet in Idaho, that escape was very welcome. That’s one of the main reasons why I’m a comedian, to give people that escape and honestly give it to myself. Making sketches and performing helped me truly start to love being gay. Now more than ever things are so scary, especially for the LGBTQIA+ community, so if comedy can give someone even a moment of peace, that’s a really beautiful thing. It feels like a privilege to be a comedian right now. 

full look JACQUEMUS

You are know by your online personna, Benny Drama. Why did you decide on this name?

I wish I could say it was more thought out than it actually was, but at the time my brother and all his friends called me Drama and I just liked the way it sounded. I put a 7 at the end because that was my football number. And now strangers call me Benny Drama. The choices we make have lasting impacts, remember that.

white shirt & jacket JOHN ELLIOTT
loafers BMC by Brandon Murphy
socks UNIQLO

You garnered a impressive following for your celebrity impressions, skits and original characters on social media. How surprised were you on the reaction you got from the fans?

It was less surprise and more happiness that my videos were connecting with people and that people wanted to share them. And that they were relatable. Once they got in the hands of the people I was actually doing the impressions of, that was so surreal. In both instances I was so happy that my work wasn’t seen as mean or bullying, but as more of a friend making fun. I think people could see I was having fun making these videos and I was doing it about people that I respect and am interested in. The fact that my work has been met with joy when there is truly so much joy making it, I feel so lucky. 

full look DIOR

How do you decide on which celebrities you’ll impersonate? What impacts your decisions?

Most of the time I’m just a Stan of the person. Like Lana Del Rey, she was an obvious choice because I’ve consumed so much of everything she’s ever made. Then the impression comes naturally and can take on a life of its own because I’ve happily done the research. And sometimes I do what I like to call “impersonation f***fests”, where my followers will request people for me to impersonate. That’s led to some new ones. Honestly, if the impersonation means I can get a new wig and costume, I will gladly do it. 


This March, you are returning with your podcast. What can the fans expect to hear when it returns?

Fans can definitely expect the same deranged bimbos, me and legend Mary Beth Barone, that were a part of the first podcast, but this time it’s a little bit longer and we are fully in creative control. It also feels a bit more personal because we already have this relationship with the listeners from the last podcast. This new one feels so much like us and we are both so proud of it and excited for people to start listening again. It truly is our peace and the fact that it makes people giggle on their way to Sephora gives me goosebumps.

shirt & trousers MARNI X CARHARTT
sunglasses “Jeff” JACQUES MARIE MAGE

Podcasts are very popular currently. What would you say makes yours unique and stand out among the rest?

What I love about ours is that it really is about positivity and loving things. Obviously there’s a place for critique in the world, but there is something special about a podcast being about loving things without judgement. I think it kind of beautifully kills the idea of a “guilty” pleasure. You don’t need to feel guilty for loving anything, as long as it’s not hurting anyone. 

As an actor, you were recently seen in Peacock’s ‘Queer as Folk’. What excites you about acting? When did you develop a passion for it?

I’ve wanted to be an actor since I was a kid, but truly had no idea how that would ever happen for me. It still kind of shocks me that I get to do it. And what excites me is being able to be a character for more than a couple minutes on the internet. For the past few years, I’ve been acting, writing, editing, doing the costumes and then doing my hair and makeup for everything. So I’ve loved getting to collaborate with other people to create a fully formed character, one that I can live with for a bit.

shorts MARKET
loafers BMC by Brandon Murphy
socks UNIQLO
sunglasses “Runaway” JACQUES MARIE MAGE

You also sold your scripted comedy ‘Overcompensating’ to Amazon. This script revolves around an Idaho football player as he struggles to accept his sexuality in college. What was the inspiration behind this script? How did it feel selling it and knowing that it is now in development?

The initial inspiration was my experience going to college as this closeted football player from Idaho and meeting this girl who changed my life. I’ve always felt so protected by women and their relationship to gay men is something I’ve always wanted to write about. Of course, there is so much humor and joy in these relationships, but I really feel like the women in my life are the reason I’m here. The show is really about feeling like something is wrong with you, so you have to do all these kind of funny, but also kind of devastating things to make up for it. But sometimes you find the people who make you feel like you don’t have to put on a whole damn show. To know it’s in development is terrifying and so exciting. I really think people will be able to see themselves in this show. I’m so proud of it and hope my babies will be too. 

full look BRAIN DEAD JW Anderson apple knit vest
Margiela oversize black denim jeans (Benny’s Own)
Vans x Bianca Chandon sneakers

We know that you have collaborated and support many fashion brands as well, like Thom Browne, Dior, AMI, Tory Burch, Valentino and more. How do you view fashion? What fascinates you about fashion? What do you love the most about fashion?

I got into fashion when I was a kid, because it allowed me to express myself in a way I didn’t feel comfortable expressing myself via my actions. I love that I’m saying that as if I wasn’t wearing Abercrombie flip flops, but it was fashion. That love of fashion only grew more and more as I got older, probably in the form of a shopping addiction. Then it became an integral part of my career because not only can fashion help me express who I am as a person now, but also help me become my characters. Getting to choose a look for a character is still my favorite part of what I do. I spent a month buying neon suits for Deliverance Richards. 

jacket ERL
t-shirt HIRO CLARK

With podcast returning and ‘Overcompensating’ being in development, what are some of your other upcoming, exciting projects?

I’m so excited to be in Chelsea Peretti’s upcoming film ‘First Time Female Director’. That was a dream come true getting to work with Chelsea, Amy Poehler, Meg Stalter, Meg Mullally, Kate Berlant. Icons! I can’t wait for people to see it. I’m also beginning the process of filming my first comedy special, which I think is going to be really unhinged. It has a little of everything in it, so I think the people who have followed me for a long time are going to be surprised, but also fed.

Talent BENITO SKINNER @bennydrama7
Photographer NICK RASMUSSEN @byNickRasmussen
Stylist ANDREW VOTTERO @atvottero
Make-up LILLY KEYS @lilly_keys
Hair RYAN TANIGUCHI @ryannyc
Editor TIMOTEJ LETONJA @timiletonja