The irrepressible Lady Bunny will perform her hit show “Trans-Jester!” one night only, Jan. 28, at the Rrazz Room at the Raven in New Hope. The act is a mix of cabaret and comedy — “a dirty, raunchy, twisted romp with songs,” the chanteuse said in a recent phone interview, that asks, “What can we still laugh at?”
Lady Bunny mocks political correctness in her act, and mentions how a common phrase like, “Hey, you guys!” has been deemed sexist because it ignores women.
“Trans-Jester” focuses on gender pronouns such as “zir,” “ze” and “hir,” in part because Lady Bunny isn’t sure she has met one, “and I’ve been out of the closet since I was born!” she deadpanned.
Explaining further, the performer said she was “at the laundromat — talk about glamour!” and heard about a law on the local Fox News in New York where “employees who have transitioned at work are protected in cases where Will became Wilma. You’ve been living as a woman for a decade, and your boss is repeatedly harassing you and calling you ‘Will’ or ‘he.’ Fox is trying to spin it with the employer in mind. The way Fox framed it hints at how another type of person is thinking about [our community] and these gender terms.”
“Trans is one of the last taboos, and I’m glad that people are waking up to it and learning about what it is,” she added. “I can’t stand that the wedge has been driven between the drag and trans community. If you treat everyone with respect, you don’t have to worry about the labels. But that’s not going to happen.”
Taking a beat, Lady Bunny remarked, “I’d rather talk gender politics than [Trump] politics. I don’t think people want to hear about the news in a cabaret with a drag queen. I know I don’t want to hear it. I want to laugh.”
And audiences will laugh, hard, at the show’s raunchy energy and outrageous comedy.
“I’m a salty old kook who isn’t afraid to express herself on topics and new terms,” she warned. “If you don’t like dirty and raunchy humor, don’t come. If you don’t want to be challenged, don’t come. It’s not a lecture, but I will provoke thoughts, such as, What am I doing here? What is that horrible outfit? and, I used to like her wigs … ” she laughed.
Lady Bunny credits her act to working with a co-writer, Beryl Mandelbaum, a fictitious Jewish retiree from Boca Raton she met on Facebook.
“We developed a writing relationship and wrote the show together. She’s a genius, and knows when to pull back and add humor — and that keeps it fresh.”
Over the course of her career, which has included Wigstock and song parodies, such as her explicit (and hilarious) rendition of Katy Perry’s “Firework,” Lady Bunny has seen queer culture go mainstream.
Just as she waxes her legs, she waxes nostalgic about the early days.
“I came up in the world of nightclubs and maybe I was drunk and young and foolish and happy. I was exposed to Frankie Knuckles and Louie Vega and the DJs in New York and Baltimore were incredible. You would never tell the DJ what stupid Top-40 song you wanted. You’d ask him what the incredible song is you don’t know. He took you on a journey. Now you have Taylor Swift and Kelly Clarkson remixes in clubs — and that’s tired! I love my rights, but you can keep your straight culture! We used to have better taste. Straight DJs would see what records were breaking in the gay scene. I liked the voices. They didn’t have to be young, they just had to sound good. The yearning you hear in soul and gospel — Patti LaBelle, and the struggle for a better world — that never stops, but it might intensify now.”
Rather than get political again, Lady Bunny mentions a side project she has coming out this month, an original dance track called “(For You) I’ll Wait.”
“It’s not comedy or parody — it’s meant to sound good, and make you dance and shake your ass, and feel good,” she said.
“I don’t think people are aware that I write music,” she added.
What Lady Bunny is of course known for is her wigs, her fabulous frocks and her inimitable style. So what advice does one of the most legendary performers have for budding drag queens?
“Try to find something you’re really about. Experiment as much as you like, don’t just bend in the wind to any current trend. If what you do takes off, you’re going to be doing a lot of it for a long time. Only you know what you can be.”
Lady Bunny performs 7:30 p.m. Jan. 28at the Rrazz Room at the Raven, 385 West Bridge Street in New Hope. For tickets and information, call 888-596-1027 or visit www.TheRRazzRoom.com.
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