Bianca Del Rio, the alter ego of comic Roy Haylock and season 6 winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, is a self-professed “clown in a gown.” She’s got a foul mouth and unapologetic humor, but her subjects hardly have time to feel the burn before she glides on to the next topic. The NY Times calls her “The Joan Rivers of the Drag World,” and Joan herself called Bianca’s humor “So funny! So sharp!” Her last “Rolodex of Hate” Tour became an instant sensation, and Bianca released her first featured film “Hurricane Bianca” in 2016. She is currently touring her new global comedy tour, “Not Today Satan,” which stops at The Pageant in The Loop on Saturday, May 13. We chatted with the “Queen of Hate” herself in anticipation of her St. Louis return.
It looks like you have a few days off before your next show. What do you like to do in your down time while on tour?
Currently it’s plotting and planning, because I’m actually starting a new show this fall, so it’s kind of just writing and catching up on life. This summer I have a couple of one-offs, which I call them, which are random gigs: going to cities I’ve never been to, doing a solo show or doing a travel show with a couple of the girls. And getting home and starting my life, which is everything from the glamorous life of laundry, to thinking of what’s to come next. So it’s not really off, you know? It’s catching up on life.
How does this tour differ from your last one?
This is more controlled as far as we have a route. In the beginning, we’re always getting with different promoters, so it’s kind of all over the place. Because you’re a nobody, they would go ‘We have five dates, let’s see how those sell,’ and then they would add more and more. The first show we did 93 performances all over the world, and then this one differed because it was more of a controlled environment. Currently I’ve done 55, and I have 12 left. But we’ve done Australia, the UK, 29 cities in America, and now I’m finishing my last one in America. And Amsterdam as well. So it’s kind of condensed, which is great as far as travel is concerned. I was on a bus, which was brilliant. It was a random tour bus and I just go across America.
And you’ve been on this tour for a while. Are you over it?
No, I’m never over it. What’s great is you have a live audience, and there’s nothing better than a live audience. Since Drag Race, it’s been almost three years, which has been kind of wild. I’ve been jumping around; I did one show for quite some time, and then this new one. I started this show in Australia, and then I’ll be going back to Australia in the fall to start the new one. So with time passing, it’s kind of fascinating that you don’t realize the amount of time that has passed. You’re like ‘Wow, it’s been a year.’ Then you’re ready to start a new one, which is great. The fact that anyone’s interested is great.
People are definitely interested. And Bianca, I know your platform is “Hate,” and your shows always sell out. So what does that say about us Bianca fans?
Fan: that’s a big word. I never use the word “fan,” and I never use the world “bland,” which are two things that I think ruin a drag queen. What I think is interesting is that, especially with America currently with this administration, people need a laugh. For me, while I appreciate the fact that everybody shows up, I appreciate the fact that people get a sense of humor, and still have one. Apparently there’s a joke in office, without being too political, that you need some relief. And also, I laugh at myself before I laugh at anyone else or make fun of anyone else. And that’s always been the trick in the game. You don’t think of yourself as better than hate. We can all relate, currently.
Absolutely. Now I know the show is about your life in Los Angeles, how does that differ from your life growing up?
With this particular show, there’s things about LA, but it’s also just things that I do on the road. What was happening was when I was traveling with the last show, I came to terms with what was going on in my reality, which was: you’re traveling, you’re in a different city, you don’t have much of a social life. A lot has been trash television, which is a big thing that I talk about in the new show, and how I bonded with these ridiculous people on Hoarders, Forensic Files and My 600 Pound Life, things I never expected but then I just became fascinated by all of it. It was more about what my world was when I was traveling and thinking of the new show. It’s kind of funny, traveling with this new show and now figuring out what I’m going to talk about in the next one. It’s kind of like where you are in the world. I talk about everything from the moments of Drag Race – which is very small – but also all stars on Drag Race, and where I am now in my life. And how glamorous people think it is; it’s not that glamorous. So the reality, it’s kind of like I’m unveiling where I am as a human, which is really sad.
And I just wanna make sure I got this right: can you explain your experience with My 600 Pound Life?
Well I’m fascinated by it. No matter where you go, it’s always on TV. It’s my fascination with it because, you know, trash television is our world. There’s so many reality shows and so many things going on. But I have a view on it, which is something I discuss in the show. I’m fascinated by it because it’s completely insane to me. That there’s that many people who are over 600 pounds, and it’s a series! That’s nuts. And you know, I think being a drag queen is kind of nuts. When you watch this, you feel pretty normal.
Everyone I love is dead, so it’s kinda sad. I don’t know. I mean, I would love any Drag Race girl, because we can always use someone. But like I said, everyone I love is dead. Obviously, Joan Rivers is one of my favorites. Always. Not going to be on my tour, but that’s somebody that I would love to have back around again. I think the world needs her.
Do you see any potential, up-and-coming ‘Joan Rivers’ likes today?
Unfortunately, you look at something with Amy Schumer, who I adored and thought was very, very funny in the beginning. But now it’s kind of a homogenized version of it, which is awkward for me. Because I think that the only fun is in truth telling. Now I find it, ‘I’m going to be a movie star and I’m going to be best friends with Kate Hudson, and I can’t say this.’ I remember vividly, she was on Saturday Night Live and she apologized for a joke to the Kardashians like two days later. It was a bad joke. And I thought, ‘You’re apologizing, first of all, to a Kardashian, which is a fucking joke in itself. And, it’s a fucking joke.’ So I thought that was kinda shitty. But then I realized, in this business, it’s a group of people around you telling you, ‘oh, you cant say that. Oh, you can’t do this,’ which I think is kinda fucked up. I do believe in saying what you have to say. You may not like it, but change the channel. But not to homogenize what you are, who you are, and what you’re about. That bothers me. That took me to another place and I kind of lost an ounce of respect, and I thought, ‘you know what, she’s making movies and living her life,’ and that’s great but that’s not necessarily what it’s about. I think staying true to what you are; own it. Joan Rivers never, ever apologized for anything she said, and there’s truth in that. You may not like her, but I think it’s funny.
Good advice. What do you look for in a good audience and what can audiences expect here in St. Louis at your show?
What I love is a drunk crowd. If you don’t know who I am, then you wouldn’t be there. So it’s not like, ‘oh, let me walk in blindly to a comedy show.’ You obviously have some connection to Drag Race or you’ve connected to the fact that I’m a man in a wig, which works to my favor. It also can be a curse in real life. But in theory, they have an idea of what I am and what I’m about, which is great. You kind of have to do your research so you’re not walking in on a funny moment without knowing who I am. But I think, expect the unexpected. I have a loosely based script, but that doesn’t mean I don’t go off on tangents. And the way the show started in Australia last year is completely different from where I am now. Without shifting too much, but also thinking about what to talk about next. I think that’s also the bad thing about being a comedian. There’s so many things that you can discuss: United Airlines, Donald Trump, all this stuff. Like, you can’t go there yet. You have to finish this out and then you can discuss it after. Doesn’t mean you get one in every now and then. But I say to expect the unexpected, which is always good.
What is your drink of choice on stage?
I always drink white wine on stage. I have one when I’m getting ready, and then I have one on stage.
Classy. I like it.
Also, it keeps you from getting too fucked up and forgetting what’s going on. I used to, in the bars, you’d have a drink, two drinks, three drinks, and then I started to realize that by the end of the night it got really blurry. And when people are paying, you have to be on it. Also, when I’m in my room getting ready backstage, I also do a meet and greet before the show. So it works out well for me. Getting in drag, have a sip of wine, doing your meet and greet, and then having a good 45 minutes before I do the actual show, which is when I review my notes and figure it out. And then on stage, its like, ‘here we go.’
Congrats on your movie, Hurricane Bianca. What’s the next big thing for Bianca Del Rio?
There’s a sequel that’s happening. It’s called From Russia With Hate, and I’m working that out. I’m supposed to film that in November, which is pretty genius. Without giving too much away, I’m a science teacher and I’m going to a science fair in Russia. Rachel Dratch is getting her revenge on me, and she goes to jail for molesting a young boy. She’s the villain seeking revenge on me. We’re happy that she even agreed to be a part of it again.
Well Bianca, is there anything else you’d like to add?
No, that’ll be it. I’m touring and I have 12 more stops of the “Not Today Satan” tour. All tickets and information at thebiancadelrio.com. Stay tuned to know what’s to come next.
You can also visit ThePageant.com to get tickets to Bianca’s “Not Today Satan tour,” stopping at The Pageant in The Loop on Saturday, May 13 at 8pm. V
by Kevin Schmidt