Lady Bunny, not exactly a Disney character, has been performing her politically incorrect, drag comedy longer than most people have been alive. Rumors are she performed her first set at The Last Supper. This coming weekend, Sunday, July 19th at 5pm, she brings her show “Pig In A Wig” to the Drive-In at Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus. The event will showcase all the usual suspects – Bunny’s notorious one-liners, costume changes, go-go dancing, and her Laugh-In-style joke routine, with even some new jokes thrown in. Why is Lady Bunny taking to the stage and braving the COVID air? Simple: “Laughter, not Clorox, is the best medicine,” she contends, “so if you’ve been cooped up for months and are ready to unwind from the safety of your own car, I’ll cure your cabin fever and make you laugh your masks off!”
Lady Bunny, whose full name started out at, Bunny Hickory Dickory Dock, was first seen in the Atlanta gay scene in the 80’s (1980’s just to clarify, not the 1880’s you were assuming), moved to NYC to become an official club kid, and started the long-running Wigstock annual drag festival that lasted over 20 years and featured big names from gay and mainstream music both.
She has dipped her toes, and probably more, into mainstream media with appearances on Sex in the City, Comedy Central’s Pamela Anderson roast, Star magazine, and has DJ’d around the globe for Prides and Hollywood A-List parties. She has also stopped by the RuPaul’s Drag Race world with appearances on Drag U and All Stars. Wig, a documentary covering all things Wigstock, is available on HBO.
We sat down with Lady Bunny for a Metrosource exclusive and talked about, well, everything.
How the hell have you been surviving quarantine? Any quarantine survival tips?
Yes. I found a way to make everyone in NYC social distance. I wear a mask and nothing else, and people run away screaming.
You are known for your pointed comedy; do you think comedy needs to be more politically correct and mindful of our current social and political environment?
Not at all. I’m 57, and with all this Corona nonsense I may not make it to my 58th birthday. So, this is not the time to compromise on who I am. My audience appreciates dirty humor, so leave the children’s story book-telling to Harmonica Sunbeam and Nina West. I’m a tramp!
How has drag changed the most, from your point of view, in the last ten years?
More emphasis on elaborate make-up, wigs and costumes, and less emphasis on the ability to perform. Pearl and Miss Fame are gorgeous, and they have cutting edge looks. But they aren’t performers. In my day, stage presence was how queens were judged.
What is one of your favorite memories from Wigstock?
A queen named Shasta Cola choreographed a whole troupe of dancers to interpret a Bjork remix. It was so imaginative, with a cast of 30 in sensational costumes, that it was like an acid trip with no acid needed. Which isn’t to say that I didn’t take any just to be on the safe side. Shasta’s act was so thrilling and well-executed, that I asked her to recreate it a few years later–which I seldom did with anyone.
What made being a Club Kid so special?
I’ve always considered myself a drag queen, so I wasn’t exactly a club kid. They wore 5 eyes on their forehead and painted themselves blue. I was more of a glamour girl with a vintage flair from the late 1960’s/early 70s. But much like Amanda Lepore, Julie Jewels and Aphrodite, I’m glad we were accepted among this crazy crew. And we worked with them at their parties like Disco 2000 and other Michael Alig events.
What elements must successful “camp” entail?
Camp isn’t simply outrageous and exaggerated. It contains a wink to gay sensibilities. In fact, “He’s a bit camp” could mean that “He’s effeminate.” Bjork’s swan dress was camp, and that awful mask RuPaul wore at the end of Drag Race Season 12 was more camp that what he wore to the camp-themed Met Ball the year before. Elvira is camp, Charo is camp and Cher’s headdress with ponytail (which she removed onstage) is definitely camp. As was Barbara Cartland and almost anything Carol Channing ever did.
Is the drag industry in any danger of being too commercial or overexposed?
Of course, unless it goes in different directions. A lot of drag queens are now copycats who seek to mimic the looks of successful Drag Race queens. How many elaborately contoured noses, death drops, and flat-chested queens can you see before you get bored? Also, there was a drag boom in the 1990s which included RuPaul’s first success, Priscilla, To Wong Foo, Wigstock: The Movie and more. Then one day, everyone got sick of it. So, audiences can be fickle.
What is the most awkward celebrity meeting/encounter you have had?
I was hired to sing Happy Birthday to Pete Townsend of The Who, as they began a “Tommy” revival tour at Madison Square Garden.
What challenge would you add to RuPaul’s Drag Race?
I would challenge the producers to come up with better lip-synch songs. Neutron Dance by The Pointer Sisters? I’m from that era and this was never a hit back then. Why should queens half my age be forced to try and work it to largely forgotten B-sides?
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done at a Drive-In?
I honestly don’t remember because it’s been so long. I must admit that I’m more familiar with the drive-thru at fast food joints. But I don’t even drive. So, if you see me behind a wheel, RUN!
What do you want to tell your fans during this Pride Season, being cooped up at home?
I watched several corporate-sponsored pride revues online and all I could think was “Didn’t we used to be a fun community?” Everything as so serious that I was dying for a Kevin Aviance, Murray Hill or Tammie Brown to somersault across the stage spouting gibberish. I know there’s a battle between those who want to make pride a march vs a parade, but we’re a creative crew. Or used to be…
What is your creative process in creating a new show?
I sat around writing COVID jokes during NYC’s lockdown, and put them all together into a 35-minute comedy special called Cuntagious. It got a good response, so I’m currently working on my next one. You can still watch Cuntagious on VossEvents.com if you can’t make it out tom the drive-in. It contains parodies like “Sissy That Cough” and more.
What is your coming out story?
Honestly, I was never in. I had an older sister who told my parents on me, but it was no big surprise to them. I’d grown up doing local theater, had long hair and eccentric taste in clothes. So, I don’t think my parents were too surprised. Luckily, they accepted me completely.
What does Pride mean to you this year?
I’m gonna be honest–it was a bust. I need to be with throngs of people. It’s like our Mardi Gras, so I hope a vaccine or medication permits actual festivals next year.
What celebrity would you want to share your quarantine bed with?
Is calling yourself a Pig in A Wig disrespectful to pigs?
No, because this show is so down and dirty that I think pigs would approve of my mud-wallowing. But it might be offensive to Muslims!
Lady Bunny stars in Pig in a Wig, Sunday, July 19th at 5pm at Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus. General admission tickets are $49 per car (2 people) at VossEvents.com. Additional passengers are $25 each. VIP tickets also available.
Last modified: July 15, 2020