Lady Bunny cannot, will not, be tamed! And as a trailblazing drag sensation whose impressive career in entertainment spans decades (and oceans), why would she want to be? From NYC to Tel-Aviv, Lady Bunny is a straight-shooting glamour-puss who’s never (too) cruel, always edgy, and has managed to carve out a uniquely unparalleled corner for herself in the world of show business.
With glitzy outfits and sky-high hair, the “First Lady of Wigstock” says what she wants, when she wants, and you perhaps need to get over it. But what’s underneath the character? Who’s really under all the blonde hair and makeup? Well, Lady Bunny (born Jon Ingle) is a caring, involved and inspiring advocate for social and political justice. The wigs and shoes come off, but the humanitarian underneath remains.
“I do a lot of song parodies of Christmas classics,” Lady Bunny says of her new special, What Child Is This? “The idea of Santa Clause spreading COVID around is not only topical, it pokes fun of the ridiculous premise of Santa having COVID but still wanting to distribute gifts anyway.” A dark subject, but someone’s got to make light of it!
“I also decided to use animation for the first time in this special because the subject matter is slightly grim,” Lady Bunny says of her promo song and video for Santa’s Spreading COVID Around. “This may not be the first video for people to run and show their kids, but the animation lightens up the subject matter. I wanted to do a song that would kind of strike the nerve of what people may be feeling, where instead of feeling festive perhaps they’re feeling a bit more apprehensive. We’re all still on edge, you know? Like something doesn’t quite feel right… I’m just glad people are enjoying the video, but I actually think everything else in the show is funnier! This song is cute, but it isn’t a knee-slapper like other stuff in the special.”
With so many specials and shows under her Christmas tree, I wanted to know how this specific online special differs from the countless others Lady Bunny has blessed her audience with over the years.
“I think it’s better than my past Christmas shows because I’ve trimmed all the B-list material from the final product,” Lady Bunny says. “Generally, when you get people to leave their homes and come to an actual performance, which is unfortunately not possible right now, I have people telling me, ‘My God, you have so much energy putting on a 90-minute show!’ And I just tell them, ‘Well Hunny, I’m old school, we don’t get up on stage with nothing!'”
In a regular show, there are “peaks and valleys,” as Lady Bunny puts it, but What Child Is This? is a non-stop, 45-minute gag fest: “I cut the valleys out,” Lady Bunny says. “Since you’re not going to be in the room with me, it’s pretty much Christmas hilarity! But remember, it is dirty and it is not suitable for children! There are a lot of Drag Queens who like to do Drag Story Hour; more power to ’em. And there are Drag Queens who get work calling bingo games; even more power to ’em! RuPaul likes to spout platitude all the time, you know, feel-good stuff, but that’s not my path,” she proclaims with a chuckle. “This is very different, it’s a dark and twisted show, and it’s quite crazy!”
Crazy Christmas content? We’re sold! From updated classics like Rudolpho The Uncut Reindeer and the remaking of a Mariah Carey holiday classic; All I Want For Christmas (Is A Vaccine), to Joy & Happiness, a single that brings listeners into 2021 with a signature dance beat, Lady Bunny also sprinkles some politics in the mix with a grating rendition of ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas, which puts Santa himself in the White House! Ho Ho No Collusion!
“I’m so glad we got rid of Trump,” Lady Bunny says of the 45th President of the United States, “just as I’d be glad if we got rid of any Republican president or lawmaker, but a lot of Democrats are acting very naively as if a magic switch has been flipped. They’re acting as if climate change, Black Lives Matter, income and equality, unaffordable insurance, violence against Trans people, all started happening when Trump was elected, in fact, a lot of these things got worse under Obama and Biden’s eight years…
“Joe Biden was no one’s first choice in the primary,” Lady Bunny continues, “and Kamala Harris didn’t even win one delegate. She had to drop out before she got embarrassed and lost her own state of California! Biden is a corporate Democrat, one who cozies up to corporations, and he’s already filling his transition team and cabinet with defense contractors and Wall Street insiders who have helped crash the economy in the past, and even though 80% of Democrats support Medicare for all – which is a step towards the kind of health system you enjoy in Canada – Joe Biden has said he would veto it if it passed.
“Well, Joe Biden doesn’t have an ideological objection to Medicare for all, it’s simply that his campaign is funded by insurance and big pharma companies. Democrats cannot act like Joe Biden is not corrupt, I have a lot of problems with that hypocrisy! Yeah, I’m glad Trump is gone, but if you’ve been raging about Trump’s corruption, and then turn a blind-eye to Joe Biden’s corruption, you’re a sucker!”
Lady Bunny continues to comment on the 2020 political climate; “Also, this was not the landslide win that the media was predicting, it’s actually unnerving. If Biden doesn’t get in there and do things for the working class who are struggling, even before the pandemic, then many political pundits smarter than me say we will have a more ‘powerful Trump’ should there be a next time. If Biden doesn’t help average workers, the Democratic party is really in trouble and could lose House seats.”
It’s clear Lady Bunny is a passionate advocate, and her arguments serve as a reminder that drag is and always will be political. “This was not an unqualified win,” Lady Bunny says of Joe Biden’s win over Donald Trump, “this was a ‘we’re sick of Trump,’ and now we have to put pressure on Biden to not cut social security, which he has tried to do repeatedly in the past. To not give more money to the police. To not side with big financial institutions that have crashed the housing market and the economy. Let’s not forget, Joe Biden has a long history of hurting hard-working Americans. I mean, he’s not Trump, but he’s a typical politician with lobbyists and tons of money and perks and troops around the world… All we have is our voice, and we’ve got to use it. If you make no demands, you’ll get none.”
Politics aside, 2020 saw the debut of Canada’s Drag Race, where ten viable Canadian contestants from across the country competed for the first-ever coveted title. I asked Lady Bunny what she thought of the debut season and the top three finalists (Rita Baga, Scarlett Bobo, and the winner, Priyanka).
“I haven’t even seen the U.S. Drag Race,” Lady Bunny tells me through laughter, “I’m far too old for reality TV! I mean, I’ve seen clips online, and Ru is an old friend, one of my oldest, and I’m glad the show is doing well, but I’m of the I Love Lucy generation…I appeared on the Drag U spin-off for three years, and I enjoyed doing that, but I’m the type of person who likes scripts and actors, what can I say?”
Speaking of Drag Race, many younger fans were most likely introduced to Lady Bunny from the show; does she ever feel any new or added pressures from these fans when releasing a new project?
“You know, I don’t really feel any pressure,” Lady Bunny says, “but a lot of people are politically correct and there’s one part in the show where I thought, ‘should I leave this in there? Are people going to take screenshots of this and crucify me?’ But I have an audience, and they expect me to do what I do, so I’m never going to appeal to people who are overly PC and I don’t try.”
In our final moments of the interview, I ask Lady Bunny if she has any advice for her fellow drag performers, many of who aren’t able to foster the same opportunities as they may have before COVID. Lady Bunny paused for a second before saying, “Hunny, this is the second pandemic that I’m experiencing after AIDS, so at a certain time you just need to say, ‘If I die from COVID in the next month or year, would I be happy with myself if I didn’t do the show that I wanted to do, that I thought was funny?’… I wouldn’t!”
Lady Bunny adds, “The internet is an equalizer, and just like the established queens have to figure out how to be creative and reach people online with a podcast and putting out music, etcetera, we’ve got to figure it out. If you have a viral Tik Tok video and you’re a young queen, hopefully, you can understand what made that video go viral in the first place and you can replicate something noteworthy …build a fan base! It’s harder for all performers right now not just drag performers but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.”
Glamourous and boisterous, Lady Bunny is always sure to have you laughing or gasping (or both!), and overall, she’s a truly iconic figure in herstory: a no-bullshit community leader who wants the very best for her LGBTQ+ family.
So this holiday season, unlike any we’ve had before, glitter-suit up with Lady Bunny as she decks our halls and slays our bells with some much-needed fa-la-la-la-laughter! Something we could all use this year, surely.
“Lady Bunny’s latest conception arrives just in time to ruin the holidays!”
LADY BUNNY in…
WHAT CHILD IS THIS?
WATCH NOW: VOSS EVENTS
This is not a live event.
Tickets $9.95 USD so you can view the special on-demand through Monday, January 4, 2021
Co-written by Beryl Mendelbaum
Shot & Edited by Mikhail Torich
45 MINUTES OF LAUGHTER!
**Adult content. Not suitable for children.**