She was crowned the winner of 'RuPaul’s Drag Race' (2014) and has enjoyed three consecutive sell-out Australian tours; now the self-described “clown in a gown” Bianca Del Rio is returning to Australia with her 2019 tour ‘It’s Jester Joke’.
Frequently described as the Queen Of Mean, drag queen Bianca (a.k.a comedian Roy Haylock) will once again tickle Australia’s funny bone with her razor-sharp observations and painfully blunt commentary on everything from politics to family and beyond.
With final preparations underway, Bianca stepped out from the cloud of hairspray to chat about her new tour.
Your new show is titled ‘It’s Jester Joke’ – a title which seems pretty tame compared to your previous shows ('Rolodex Of Hate' and 'Not Today Satan'). What inspired the title? Considering the current social and political climate, I want to do a show that reminds people that some things are just a joke. Not everything needs to be serious. Sometimes we just need to lighten the f... up. I'm a man in a wig. DO NOT take anything I say seriously.
What can audiences expect from this show? How does it differ from your previous tours? I always say expect the unexpected. Once I have a drink and a microphone, there's no telling what will come out of my mouth. The audience is a large part of my show. Every audience is different, so every show is different. This tour will be different from the previous tours because I'll have a different dress and a different wig... But the same ugly mug.
You are a self-proclaimed “clown in a gown”, why do you describe yourself this way? Have you seen me?! It's pretty self-explanatory. This face outside of a circus is unacceptable, but I always wear a sparkly, sequined masterpiece.
Your humour has been described as “controversial” and “brash” (among other things) by critics. How would you describe your style of humour? Everyone with a social media account is a critic these days. I don't listen to them. But I would describe my humor as self-deprecating with a touch of hate, a dash of truth, and a healthy portion of typical drag queen judgement.
Have you ever had an instance where the audience reacted unfavourably to a joke? Is there any topic you consider off limits? I've been doing this for 23 years, so I've had lots of jokes that haven't landed. I'm definitely not everyone's cup of tea, and that's okay. Nothing is off limits to me. Comedy is about pushing limits and making audiences uncomfortable at times. If you're not offending someone, you're not pushing the limits. If you're not pushing the limits, you're boring.
As a costume designer who or what inspires your style? Are all the costumes featured in your new show designed by you? When you've been doing this as long as I have and travel as much as I do, you learn what works for you. I know the style that fits me best, so I have the same wrinkle-free sequined dress in every colour. I like something big and bold to distract from my face. Not everyone needs to be a fashion queen... Some of us have personality. You hear that, Violet Chachki? Yes, I make all of my own costumes. I'm too cheap to pay someone else.
In 2014 you were crowned the winner of 'RuPaul’s Drag Race' (season 6). How have your experiences on the show shaped you as a performer? What is the biggest lesson you learned from your time there? That was a long time ago and I'm old... And drink a lot. I can't remember that far back, but I'm sure if you Google it I've answered those questions many times before.
If you could dine with any three people in the world (living or dead) who would it be and why? Well... Hmmmm... I need more information before I can answer that question. Who is paying and where are we eating? That could mean the difference between Aretha Franklin and Karen Carpenter. You are offering fans the chance to participate in meet and greets with you through your VIP ticket packages – is this something you do with all your tours? Why? Yes, I have a pre-show meet and greet at all of my stand-up shows. It's the perfect way for me to meet the first few rows of my audience for the evening, and I love to meet the freaks who are willing to pay to see my corpse-like beauty up close.
What is the strangest encounter you have ever had with a fan? Oh my God... I will never forget that night. It was so surreal and by far the most awkward moment of my entire life. I was on stage in front of a crowd of thousands. The energy and heat in the room was off the charts. I was living my best Beyonce life... And took the fantasy a little too far. During my performance, I was dripping with sweat and got too close to the fan on stage and my wig got caught in it just like Beyonce! Wait... That's the kind of fan you were talking about, right?
Do you consider yourself a role model for up and coming performers? What advice would you give to anyone hoping to follow in your shoes? Hell no! I am not a role model and do not want that responsibility. My advice is DON'T DO DRAG. It's a trap. You think, "Oh it'll be fun to put on a wig, makeup, and a dress for Halloween". Then BAM... It takes over your life and you're getting in drag every night for the next 23 years.
Bianca Del Rio Australia 2019 Tour Dates
20 February – Queensland Performing Arts Centre 21 February – Canberra Theatre Centre 23 February-24 February – Comedy Theatre (Melbourne) 26 February – Perth Concert Hall 28 February-1 March – State Theatre (Sydney)