After Two Emmy Awards, He's Ready to End Bisexual Erasure in Hollywood
Travon Free, standing at six feet seven inches tall, was initially set for a promising basketball career — but that was before he became a two-time Emmy Award winner for his work on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. “Basically, I had hoop dreams, then those hoop dreams turned into Hollywood dreams after knee surgery,” he says. While bonding with teammates, the Compton native discovered a latent comedic voice and started his new journey. The next few years would be dedicated to honing his writing and diving headfirst into stand-up.
Then, in 2012, the unthinkable happened: After submitting his work to The Daily Show, the writing room enlisted his wits, and, within a few years, the team was awash in Emmy nominations. His first award, for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series, came in 2015, and he returned for a victory lap in the same category two years later after joining the Full Frontal staff. “You’re standing on that stage and all the biggest TV stars in the world are sitting right there. They’re looking up at you and you’re looking at them. You’re like, Oh man! Viola Davis is looking at you right in the face right now!” he says. “Winning one time is cool, but then winning a second time, you’re like, Oh, shit. I might actually know what I’m doing.’’.
After his Emmy wins, he feels he’s at the pinnacle of his career, but reaching the top means more responsibility, and this time he’s hoping it’ll be on his own terms. With Him or Her, which boasted interest from HBO and early cosigner Issa Rae, Free plans to delve into the Black, bisexual male experience in a way television has never experienced before. “I’m only really interested in telling stories that I connect to on a deep level, and I knew I had this story that was about me, but it just didn’t exist,” he says..