The Drag Race legend, and comedy superstar talks cancel culture, drag going mainstream, and not apologizing for offending you…
By Bianca Guzzo
Hurricane Bianca is not slowing down anytime soon. The Drag Race icon hasn’t stopped hustling since being crowned as “America’s Next Drag Superstar” at the end of the show’s sixth season. Since her time on Drag Race, Bianca has starred in two movies, released a book, and taken her infamous insult-comedy act all over the world. She remains one of the biggest successes to come out of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and she’s just getting started.
IN recently sat down with the comedy queen to chat about cancel culture, finding your passion, and not apologizing for what she says.
Your It’s Jester Joke tour is coming to Canada’s west coast later this month. What’s unique about performing in Canada, and for Canadian audiences?
Well I’m always amazed that I can get back into the country. You people are very strict. No, it’s always been a treat. I enjoy Canadian audiences. People are always asking me “What’s the difference between a Canadian audience, and an American audience?” and I say “three drinks, three drinks for them, three drinks for me and we’re all laughing at the same shit”. So I’m grateful. It’s usually a fabulous, and fun crowd, probably because all of you have healthcare. I don’t know, maybe that’s the difference.
Drag has obviously changed so much in the past 5-10 years, with it becoming so much more mainstream. As a performer, how have you seen it change?
Well I mean it’s a completely different beast at this point. Also just looking at Drag Race the television show, it’s completely different from when I did it six years ago than compared to what it is now. But it is pretty amazing to think drag is in people’s living rooms, and has opened peoples eyes, and I think that’s where the credit goes to Drag Race, because they’ve kind of humanized what drag queens are. You get a chance to see that we are either actors, or performers of some level that have brains, and function, and do this as a job, as opposed to people that use it as an identity you know for me. I think that it’s kind of just humanized it; you know where the average family wouldn’t have stumbled upon a drag queen normally.
What is a piece of advice you would give to queens who are newer to performing in this current era of drag where it is more mainstream and a little bit more accepted?
Don’t do it! It’s a trap! No! I’m kidding (laughs). I think it’s just important to find your talent, or find a talent. Figure out what you do, and try everything. Whether it’s a singer, dancer, comedian, whatever it is. Find something that is your act to perform, and realize that is your gift to other people. I realized you know “hey this is a job. I’m not just sitting around eating bon bons on a private jet”. Literally, you’re schlepping from city to city on a bus, and don’t have much of a social life. So there’s still work in it. It’s not as glamorous as it appears to everyone else. So you have to have faith in what you do, and love what you do, in order to kind of get through it. With everything, and everybody. You know, everyone should have that philosophy.
Comedy is at a strange place right now. As a comedienne who pushes the boundaries, how do you deal with the current “cancel culture” climate, and people who try to “cancel” queens, or comedians over controversial jokes?
I don’t care. I can’t care. I can’t care about people that don’t get it, don’t understand it, or me. You know we live in a world now where because of social media there’s so much noise. I don’t think that people are far more sensitive now then they were then. I just think we hear more people’s responses because someone has to blog it, someone has to write it, and everyone has a twitter account. I mean you take any celebrity, or any gay performer for Christ’s sake. They will rip you down, and they will try to find a way to do it. They’ll even misquote you and pull something out… Of course that is just the culture that we live in. I can’t worry about it, because usually the people that want to rip you down don’t like you to begin with. So it is what it is, and it can happen at any stage… I don’t sensor myself on that level, and I refuse to apologize. It’s a joke, I’m a comedian. I’m a joke! I’m a man in a wig!
You have fans from Drag Race, and Hurricane Bianca. What can they expect when they come and see you live for the first time?
That’s why I call the show It’s Jester Joke. We’re here to laugh for an hour and a half at shit that’s honest, and things that are there in the world that many people say you can’t laugh at, but you know you HAVE to. I just come from a place where I’m one of those people that goes to a funeral, and I find something to laugh about. That’s just the way I work, and I think that in this moment of time with PC culture, and cancel culture it’s important to laugh. I’m the biggest joke there is…I think it’s important to cackle, to come and laugh, and form your own opinion for Christ’s sake. You have to find the humour in everything, and it bears repeating, trust me.
What is next for you after you wrap up the It’s Jester Joke tour? I know you’re heading back to the West End in London after this tour wraps up.
Yeah I don’t waste much time. I finish on the 30th, and then fly out on the 3rd back to London to do eight more weeks. So I’m doing that, and also, I’m hoping to shoot in 2020, the third installment of Hurricane Bianca, and obviously I’ll be planning another tour… Every day is a journey, but I try to squeeze in as much as I can, I truly do.
If you’re in Canada you can catch Bianca Del Rio’s It’s Jester Joke tour before it wraps up in Edmonton on Sunday, November 24; Winnipeg on Wednesday, November 27; Regina on Thursday, November 28; Saskatchewan on Frida,y November 29; and the final tour stop in Calgary on Saturday November 30. For tickets and more information visit thebiancadelrio.com.