by Bryan Safi, writer for infoMania and host of “That’s Gay.”
Another performer at the festival is none other than RuPaul’s Drag U. star and world-famous drag artiste Lady Bunny! Lady Bunny and I had a very intimate conversation via email about a makeover-crazed America, why Martin Lawrence is scary, and, of course, “no homo.”
Q: Lady Bunny! What are you planning to do at the Out Loud Comedy Festival? And what else are you working on right now?
A: With the Castro Theater’s giant film screen as a back-drop, I’m premiering a song parody of Katy Perry’s “California.” It’s the first time I’ve ever produced a video project and thanks to my co-stars and fab crew, I am thrilled at how rotten (in a good way) it turned out. I’ve always admired queens like Varla who incorporate video into their act–I’ve just never gotten it together until now. I’ve also been working on some stand-up comedy and will throw in a little of that.
Q: I loved watching you as a judge on Drag U. Is RuPaul every bit as amazing as I hope?
A: Ru is my drag mother and roommate from Atlanta, Georgia in the early 1980s. We also lived together in NYC for several years. So while we’re close and can always pick up where we left off, it wasn’t until we appeared together in Starrbooty and Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild that we reconnected since he’s mainly been living in LA. We share a demented sense of humor.
Q: Did you have a favorite guest judge?
A: I truly liked all of them but really connected with Mia Tyler and Kelly Osbourne. But I was in total awe of Chaka Khan. Rags To Rufus was the first album I ever bought! She’s one of the world’s greatest singers in my book.
Q: I’ve talked before about the “gay best friend” and how oftentimes, women see gay men as accessories and go to them for help. Now, Drag U was about transforming ordinary women into extraordinary drag queens. Are you afraid that women on the streets may attack you for guidance now?
A: America is make-over crazy. And especially since Queer Eye [for the Straight Guy], there is a perception that gay men or drag queens can transform anyone with their helpful hints. And do you know why we have such a knack for correcting figure flaws, hairstyles, flattering clothing, and body language? Because straights can be evil and if we don’t learn how not to swish and what not to wear, straights may beat us up or even kill us. So the message I’d like to send to these makeover crazy women is that if you value us and our tips, then value our lives and teach your sons and husbands not to beat and murder us. Because you bitches can’t get any more tips from a dead gay.
Q: Who are you loving in the media right now? Who are you hating?
A: I am loving Michael Moore, Senator Alan Grayson, Rachel Maddow, and Keith Olbermann for having the balls to keep the truth out there. I’m hating all of the housewives from all the Bravo shows. Last time I checked, housewives cooked, did laundry, and raised their kids. Not like these horrors.
Q: It seems like the only images we get about female impersonation are from RuPaul’s Drag Race and Drag U. Who or what inspired you to get into this line of work?
A: I was enthralled by drag queens I saw at a young age in bars in Chattanooga, Tennessee where I grew up. Except for TV and film, I’d never seen women–much less men–wearing sequinned gowns, huge hair and false eyelashes before. My mom was attractive, but no definitely no glamorpuss.
Q: Rate these queens on a scale of 1-10. Tyler Perry’s Madea —
A: Zero. I’ve never seen it or had any desire to.
Q: Two — Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie?
A: I thought it was pitiful that they worked in a love scene with Dustin and Jessica Lange. Totally unbelievable that they’d be in bed and she wouldn’t notice his stubble.
Q: Three — Martin Lawrence in Big Momma’s House?
A: Zero. Wouldn’t see it. I find Martin Lawrence very scary for some reason, although he was funny when he did that drag character with the very long nails.
Q: Four — Nathan Lane in The Birdcage?
A: Zero. He ruined the role by playing it as a clown. In the original film, the queen may have been older and not so attractive, but she was still regal so you feared her tantrums and catered to your whims. Nathan killed all of that with his slapstick take on the character.
Q: Is there anything on TV or in film that you feel really gets it right when it comes to portrayals of gays and gayness?
A: The maid in The Birdcage was a riot–and he was straight! But drag is often misrepresented, as is transsexualism. I still can’t get over how absurd it was to have Terence Stamp, with a full beard visible, play a post-op transsexual in Priscilla. News flash! You get electrolysis before the chop! However, I did think Felicity Huffman did a great job as an awkward pre-op in Transamerica.
Q: My show at Out Loud is about the State of the (Super Gay) Union – a look at how we’ve been portrayed in the past year. What’s something you’d want to change about the state of gays right now?
A: While I support equal rights for all, I can’t understand why gays would want to serve in the military now. We should never have gone to Iraq and Afghanistan is a never-ending, mismanaged quagmire. How does anyone look at that and think “Where do I sign up?” As an oppressed people, gays shouldn’t want to join a military force which oppresses others. I agree that they should have the right to serve if they want it, I just can’t see why they do.
Q: How often do you use the phrase “no homo?”
Get tickets to the first ever live version of Bryan’s segment on Thursday, October 7 and tickets to see The Drag Queens of Comedy on Saturday, October 9th at San Francisco’s Out Loud Comedy Festival.