Saturday afternoon at San Diego Comic Con actor John Barrowman took to the stage in the Indigo Ballroom of the Hilton hotel for his solo panel. Why, during arguably the biggest pop culture convention of the year, does one man deserve an entire panel of fan Q&A to himself? Because he’s John Barrowman. And if you weren’t in that ballroom, you missed out on the most entertaining hour of Comic Con 2015 or any year.
With acting credits on both the big and small screen as well as on stage and an extensive history as a jokester, Barrowman knows how to keep a crowd entertained. That is to say, how to keep them gasping for breath because they’re laughing so hard. Within ten minutes of stepping on stage Barrowman was already crying with laughter, as was the majority of the audience.
One of the reasons fans love Barrowman so enduringly is because, like them, he’s a massive geek. During his panel he showed off his Ra’s al Gul ring from Arrow, which he’s taken to wearing and showing off while out and about, even while grocery shopping. But everyone also loves him because when John Barrowman is around everything is an opportunity for a joke and an innuendo. Fans know to expect plenty of teasing and most came prepared to give as good as they got. At this point the actor is so well known for the latter he hardly has to make them himself. The audience in the ballroom was anticipating the double entendres and Barrowman’s trademark cheeky smirk at every moment. “Stop it!” he cried with a flirty wave.
Stories about his various roles on stage and screen were the source of most of the answers to fan questions. “On camera I looked hot but at home I looked worn,” he said, noting that essentially summed up his career. But which role has been his favorite? Barrowman confessed he doesn’t usually pick one because “when I’m doing something that’s what I put my 100% into.” But the fan who posed the question, a little girl dressed as a steampunk Dalek, was so adorable he couldn’t refuse. He loves playing Malcolm on Arrow but Captain Jack Harkness will always have a special place in his heart. One of his favorite parts of playing Jack was meeting people who said they were inspired by the omnisexual 51st century time agent.
Therein lies the true reason Barrowman deserves his own panel. He’s quick to make light and tell stories ranging from embarrassing to hysterical or both, but he knows when to answer seriously too. As the panel wound down he took a moment to encourage everyone to take pride in who they are. “You need to stand up and be who you are and don’t give a sh*t what anyone else says,” he said passionately. “I’m a geek, I’m a nerd. Be proud of it. We rule the world.”