We all know the official prizes of winning RuPaul’s Drag Race: money, makeup, maybe some titties from BoobsForQueens.com. But one unofficial prize that’s been enjoyed by Drag Race and All-Stars winners Sharon Needles, Chad Michaels, Jinkx Monsoon, Bianca Del Rio, and Alaska Thunderfuck has been your very own movie-parody stage show written and directed by midnight movie maven Peaches Christ. And now, it’s Season 8 champ Bob the Drag Queen’s turn for this elite rite of passage.
Bob and Peaches will costar in two performance of an all-new parody of turn-of-the-millennium comedy classic Legally Blonde at the Castro Theatre on March 18, with performances at 3 and 8 p.m. The stage show, titled “Legally Black,” will be performed live at each show preceding a screening of the original film. Tickets and VIP packages are available (and going fast) at PeachesChrist.com. Below, we chat with Bob the Drag Queen on the morning of this year’s Oscar nominations to talk about the show, living in Viola Davis’s shadow, and which Rugrats character she identifies with most.
How are you, Bob? This is a great day. This is the day the Lord has made and I feel really excited to be a part of it. That’s the short answer.
Is that because you got your Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for Fences this morning? You see? Exactly. You know what’s going on.
Thanks for taking the time to speak to me, I’m assuming you’ve been bombarded with well wishes. Any time something big happens in Viola Davis’s life, everyone calls and congratulates me. Literally every time: when she got her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, when she got her Emmy, when she gets an Oscar nomination. If she gets a discount on yogurt, I get a call. If she gets a good parking spot someone’s like, “Congrats on that parking spot, Bob!”
Her nomination was part of a record number of acting nods for people of color. What are your thoughts on this development in the #OscarsSoWhite saga? Part of me wonders if it’s how the Academy really feels or if it’s just a response to not wanting to seem racist. So it’s a victory in my mind, but also a side-eye. Like when the American Ballet Theatre made Misty Copeland their first black principal ballerina. Everyone was like, “Oh my god, the first black principal ballerina, can you believe it?” And I was like, “No I can’t believe it, but mostly I’m shocked that it took until 2015 for them to have a black principal ballerina.” They’d been around for 75 years! No one ever mentions how many Februaries they blew through without choosing a black principal ballerina, you know what I mean?
I do. Moving on to Legally Black, how did you first get connected with Peaches Christ? I knew of Peaches Christ’s work as a fan; I mean, I’m a drag queen and she’s one of the most famous drag queens in the world. She did a production of her show Return to Grey Gardens with Jinkx Monsoon in New York City and cast me in the Jackie Onassis role. The character was named Jackie Molasses; maybe because she’s slow, I don’t know. So that was the first time that we worked together, and then I worked with her at a Drag Queens of Comedy show, and we were both on a comedy queens panel at DragCon. So we’re both really hilarious ladies!
How did Legally Blonde become the movie you chose to parody together? Well, I wanted to do Sister Act because I’m a huge Whoopi Goldberg fan, but Miss Latrice Royale stole it. And then I wanted to do The Color Burple, which would be like The Color Purple but starring me. But Peaches called me and said, “I have a crazy idea to do a movie where the lead character isn’t played by a black actor. What about Legally Blonde?” She wanted to call it Legally Bob but I said, “No, we have to call it Legally Black.” She said, “That’s a lot.” And I was like, “Well Peaches, I’m a lot.”
So if anyone has a problem with the name… The name was my idea. But if any heat goes down, just tell them Peaches Christ is a racist and I do not condone it.
Legally Blonde is one of the whitest movies ever made. How will the story be tweaked for you? It’s a white movie, but it’s also made to be white. It didn’t, like, stumble upon its whiteness. It’s not one of those oblivious movies where you you’re like, “Wow, this is a really fucking white movie.” It was made to be as white as possible, which lends itself to comedy. And where there’s comedy, I’ll be there, just call my name. I believe that’s a direct Diana Ross quote.
What can fans expect from the show? If it’s Peaches you can expect it to be really well done, and if it’s me you can expect it to be hilarious!
You’re still in the midst of touring the world as the Season 8 Drag Race winner. Did you hesitate to take on a scripted stage show in the middle of all that? How will you find the time? I’m an actor; I went to school for theater, so it won’t feel odd to me. I used to do plays while studying for midterms, so maybe it’ll just feel like that. Or maybe I’ll be completely overwhelmed and won’t know any of my lines and will become the Mariah Carey of stage shows. I don’t fucking know! Now you made me nervous, asshole!
I’m sorry! You can just walk around the stage saying, “Look, I’m trying to be a good sport here,” the way she did. Exactly! “Well, I was number one at some point!”
Then just blame Peaches, call her a racist, and get outta there. Boom. See, that’s what makes me a winner. I have a backup plan already. If it all goes to shit, I’ll just be like, “There’s this racist bitch named Peaches Christ who forced me to work! You could call it slavery…” [Laughs.]
Speaking of your acting background, it was great seeing you on High Maintenance. Can we expect more screen acting from you? I shot a movie called Cherry Pop! which is on the film festival circuit right now. I love acting, it was my first love; I stumbled into standup comedy and drag, to be quite honest with you. It doesn’t feel foreign or weird to me to book acting jobs. It feels like I’m going back to my roots. And even though I still do standup comedy, there’s a lot of acting in there as well.
Where are you right now? Are you on the road? Where am I? Look behind you, girl! No, I’m actually back home in New York City gluing a wig down because I have a photo shoot to promote Legally Black later today.
So you just got back from the road. Did you have shows the night of the inauguration and the Women’s March? Yes. Not to brag, but I was in Cincinnati for the Women’s March, and I think I was in Chicago on the day of the inauguration.
What was it like performing those nights and feeling the energy in the crowds? Not to be humorous, but people of color have always known what it feels like to be disenfranchised in America. I think this is the first time that white people have had to know what it feels like to possibly be disenfranchised by your president on a large level. White folks are freaking out, like, “Can you believe this is our president?” And black folks are like “Oh, this is the first time you’ve had a president who was openly against, like, most of the country.” But for us it’s not that weird, it’s pretty much the status quo.
I certainly wish he was not the president, but I can’t really say that I hope he fails. Because if Donald Trump fails, then we fail. This is not a game of pool, you know? I hope he does a good job. But if he doesn’t, he won’t be the first president to do a bad job. Won’t be the last president to do a bad job, either. Even having a Democratic president doesn’t always work out for people of color.
Indeed it doesn’t. What’s been the most surprising thing about being out on the road since winning? I don’t know that anything has been that surprising, but the best thing has been meeting moms. I love meeting moms! I was performing in gay bars for a long time and not many moms were coming to see me, but moms really gravitate toward me now. When me, Kim, and Naomi walk into a club together, you can always see who the fans are for. Like, you see a young twinky skinny boy with eyebrows drawn so big that they connect in the back of his head — that’s a Naomi fan. If it’s a thick, shy, nerdy girl, that’s gonna be a Kim fan. And if it’s a mom with her daughter, the daughter’s a Naomi fan and the mom is my fan. The daughter’s like, “NAOMI CAN I GET A PICTURE,” while her mom is saying to me, “I just love your message, you really teach my kids how to be confident!”
Boyfriends, too. Boyfriends, husbands, and moms really get a kick out of Bob the Drag Queen for some reason. Maybe it’s because I’m nonthreatening; I don’t seem scary or hard to talk to. Although out of the three of us, I probably am the scariest and hardest to talk to, actually. They’re both really nice, and Naomi is so small that you can just push her all around. And I’m not a bitch, but I’ll be like, “EVERYONE LISTEN TO ME!” [Laughs.] If we were the cast of Rugrats, they’re like Phil and Lil. Well actually, Kim is such a Chuckie. So Kim is Chuckie, Naomi is both Phil and Lil, and I’m Angelica. I just stand there screaming, “You stupid babies!”
Sounds like the perfect mix. Anything else you’d like to say before we wrap up? Well, I’m excited for the show, but more important than anything: our country is in a really interesting political climate right now. So, I just want to remind anyone who’s reading this interview…I just want to remind you that ”Purse First” is available on iTunes for $1.29. [Cackles wildly.] More than anyone else I crack myself up and that is the most important thing, girl. I will always make me laugh.
Bob The Drag Queen in LEGALLY BLACK
Saturday, March 18th | 3pm & 8pm, 2017
“Don’t judge a queen by her wig color!”
BOB THE DRAG QUEEN
and many, many more of your SF-drag favorites…
Don’t miss the World Premiere of Peaches Christ Productions’ latest movie send-up, taken from the hysterical and over-the-top comedy film LEGALLY BLONDE starring Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair, Jennifer Coolidge, Luke Wilson, and Raquel Welch! The live show will precede a screening of the 2001 film LEGALLY BLONDE.