Lady Bunny: Let’s Just Laugh

Lady Bunny Returns to San Francisco with her Hit Show 'Trans Jester' | Interview by Peaches Christ

Congratulations on the incredible success of “Trans-Jester!”  Can you tell us what inspired you to do this particular show at this time?  Along with many new PC norms, I’m perplexed by a newfound friction between the drag and trans community. It never existed before. While I consider myself to be an ally to the trans community, I’m also an adult whose words don’t need to be policed. And I’m a comedian to whom words are a tool. My parents raised me to not say fuck or shit and I said “Fuck that shit!”As my many trans friends can attest, I feel closer to the trans community than to any other segment of the LGBTIQA–or whatever we’re calling ourselves today–community. So I’m very confused when I hear things like that Scottish trans pride parade which banned drag queens who wanted to march in support of trans people because the drags might confuse the trans youth. Well, trans might confuse many straights, just as drag queens might, too. In fact, conservative ‘cisgender’ members of the gay community have long looked down on both drag queens and trans and have occasionally thrown trans people under the bus when it comes to legislation. With the rise of the boated alt-right and then the evangelicals who’ve always frowned on gay rights, I wish we could put the in-fighting on hold and fight the real enemy. Not each other.

We’re so precious now that some militant trans activists tried to shut down a Brooklyn screening of “Paris Is Burning” a couple summers ago because the promoter booked white bands to play the event. How many movies about trans people of color are there? Now trans people are howling to shut down one of the few authentic movies about them which made audiences fall in love with them and often repeat their words in conversation? I don’t get it. Any more than I get a NY Times article which claimed one college campus branded “Hey, you guys!” as sexist because it excluded women. Crybabies! “Hey, you guys stay out of that popcorn or it will spoil your dinner!” is what moms nationwide have said for decades–and they weren’t trying to disparage their daughters. They were in a hurry.

How is this show different from Lady Bunny shows you’ve done in the past?  I’ve worked with a co-writer, Beryl Mendelbaum. She’s excellent at both writing in my voice and also adding elements from self-deprecation to the absurd to keep my rant section of the show–I call it “the lecture”—from seeming preach-y. I also do a couple of show tunes in this show, one specifically written for San Francisco. I’ve never been a Broadway queen, but the two show tunes in the finale are regarded as showstoppers.

A friend of mine in London described the show as “vile and brilliant”. He loved it. How has the response been to “Trans-Jester!” outside of New York City?  Is there a noticeable difference performing for different audiences?  Something about this show is resonating with audiences everywhere.The 2 week run in London sold out completely before I arrived so they’re having me back for 3 weeks in June. I was just nominated for a MAC cabaret award for the 6 month NYC run at Stonewall. Trans-Jester! contains my usual raunchy song parodies and deranged one-liners, but now that I’m doing them within the context of “What are we still allowed to laugh at?”, they’ve’ taken on a new meaning. The debate about politically correct behavior has left a lot of people confused–often because they want to do the right thing but they’re being made to walk on eggshells around so many subjects. Discussion then becomes stifled. And with a president like Trump in office, this country clearly needs many more discussions, not less. Even the uncomfortable ones. One interesting thing is that while I’m slamming overly PC behavior, I’m not using my penchant for un-PC language to mask my dislike of women, immigrants or muslims a la Trump. I’m from the far left, one of those “butthurt” liberals who signs those petitions to caution about the bee population dying out. But I still need to laugh. And I laugh the most at twisted humor.

Audience members coming up to me post-show often tell me about they agree with me in my assertion that political correctness has gone mad. It’s partially a generational thing. As I say in the one song:


“My generation fought for medicine for AIDS, now we fight over silly names.”

I come from a time when gay stars weren’t out and when my friends were dropping like flies. I’m now in a time when I worked a benefit for a large city’s pride party last summer and the manager confided in me with an eye roll that they’d changed the plaque on the bathroom 3 times in as many months. Call me one-fashioned, but I’d rather put a drawing of a turd on the door and spend that money for those 3 different plaques on fighting discrimination. It isn’t only gender-related. I’ve been told in England that one student group spoke out against clapping, as it was perceived to be possibly upsetting to timid people who might develop nerves from any loud, sudden sound. So Heklina can feel extra relieved now. Those crowds weren’t not applauding because her shows sucked, they were just being extra-PC!

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San Francisco loves Lady Bunny.  Is the feeling mutual?  What do you enjoy doing when in SF?  I’ve heard you like burritos.  
I worship the burritos at Pancho Villa in the Mission! I have been known to arrive in SF, drop off my bags and cab it straight there for a bite of heaven. But I also love the Thai food and those Vietnamese sandwiches. I’ll eat hot sauce until I’m ill. Sometimes I have to remember not to do any high kicks after a particularly “saucy” day. And the joke in there is that I could do high kicks at this point regardless of what I’ve eaten. Or as if I could ever really do them ever! I also love the magnificent Castro Theater. And face it, San Francisco is the prettiest city in the country. I’m partially color blind so I love to walk around with friends who aren’t so they can tell me–that house over there is olive, eggplant and light blue with gold accents. I’m drawn to unusual color combinations. That explains my make-up, wardrobe and teeth.

There’s a rumor out there that Heklina taught you how to trick on Craigslist? Can you verify the truth of such gossip?  
Most of what Heklina has taught me is what not to do in terms of make-up, wig and styling choices. But she may well have taught me about CL–I’m not tech-savvy in any way. Craig’s List and drag are a match made in heaven. Even when I worked large, mixed clubs there might be a just few drag/trans chasers amid hundreds of people. Put an ad on Craig’s List and my inbox lights up because so many chasers are so undercover that they’d never even set foot in a gay bar, drag club or trans party. So rather than limit yourself to the selection of men in just one club, in Manhattan you’re actually able to harvest that good dick from all of NYC’s boroughs and even New Jersey and Long Island. Mama don’t waste a shave, so sometimes when the mood hits I’ll turn multiple tricks per night. My secret is using a really old, heavily photoshopped photo–of someone else much younger and prettier than me. Actually, it was Heklina who taught me that!Drag and trans aren’t anywhere near the same by any means, yet we do share certain things. If you’re dressing like a woman as a sexual costume because that’s what enables you to attract the kind of guy you want, on some level you’re what I think they now call gender fluid. Or is gender fluid when I’m in drag and have diarrhea? Well, at least diarrhea IS a water-bass lubricant! Gee, is that 3 diarrhea jokes in a 5 question interview? Just warming’ up!



Peaches Christ Productions
and Fudgie Frottage Proudly Presents LADY BUNNY in her highly acclaimed one-woman show, a journey of raunchy political incorrectness, hysterical song parodies and engaging storytelling, “TRANS-JESTER”The Verdi Club, Thursday April 13th, and Friday April 14th, at 8pm.  Tickets are available at PeachesChrist.com!

lady bunny transjester SF web
The Verdi Club is located at 2424 Mariposa Street, between Potrero and Hampshire streets, in San Francisco’s vibrant Mission District. The Verdi Club website (www.verdiclub.net) is full of great information about the venue’s history, directions, specifications, galleries and vendors. Check out this wonderful venue and community resource.

With the purchase of a VIP ticket, audience members are given priority seating (front four rows), as well as attendance to the meet and greet with the one and only Lady Bunny herself, which takes place immediately following the show. These exclusively and limited VIP ticketsare in short order, so be sure to get them before they sell out.All tickets are Will Call, and can be picked up at the venue when doors open 60 minutes before the show begins — Doors are at 7pm for both shows.

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