Interview: Bianca Del Rio puts in hard work to piss people off

The insult comic and drag queen fights for her right to spite.

Bianca Del Rio - Jovanni Jimenez-Pedraza
Jovanni Jimenez-Pedraza
Bianca Del Rio

Bianca Del Rio is struggling to imagine how Satan would look in drag. He’d look a lot like herself, she figures, but when pressed for details she decides that maybe he’d look more like President Trump, but with better style.

“He’s definitely [going to be] cunt-like,” she says.

The insult drag comic extraordinaire and sixth winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race may not know exactly who Satan resembles, but she will certainly confront him and other topics on her “Not Today, Satan” tour, which is stopping by the Straz Center in Tampa on April 7.

Sadly, these topics are not actually compiled in a physical “rolodex of hate,” the term Del Rio uses to describe her quick, poison-tipped wit. But she’ll never turn down a homemade Rolodex from the fans, and throughout her tour she has received several.

“I’m impressed. First of all, where do you even find a Rolodex anymore?” she says. And the tribute is even more remarkable, given that “it definitely takes time to...categorize all the nasty shit I say.”

All the hard work she puts into pissing people off is what earned her the winning title on Drag Race back in 2014. She still has love for the program that not only paid her $100,000 but also implanted drag culture right into the American living room. Now, the self-described mixture of Joan Crawford and Bozo the Clown is just happy to see 13-year-old boys comfortable in high heels going to her shows with their grandmothers.

“One of the perks of Drag Race is that [for] 80 percent of the show, we’re out of drag and [the audience] can see us as people,” she says.

The “Joan Rivers of the Drag World” seems proud of her career, and especially that illustrious title. Appearing on the “ruthlessly funny” late comedian’s internet talk show was “the highlight of my life.”

“Everyone thinks, oh, it’s supposed to be winning Drag Race,” she says. “But it was really that episode of ‘In Bed with Joan.’ Winning Drag Race is a close second.”

Del Rio admires Rivers for not apologizing. Like Rivers, she thinks comedy should be able to handle a bit of unsanitized, offensive filth in good fun.   

click to enlarge Bianca Del Rio - Jovanni Jimenez-Pedraza
Jovanni Jimenez-Pedraza
Bianca Del Rio

“It’s like, get over yourself,” she says. “It’s not rocket science. It’s not cancer.”

Still, she won’t shy away from pressing issues. Del Rio agreed to star in, and supply one-liners for, the film Hurricane Bianca precisely to raise awareness of LGBT job discrimination in a country where your sexual or gender orientation can get you fired in 29 of 50 states.

Not that Del Rio is worried for herself. She has a book, another tour in the fall, and a Hurricane Bianca sequel in the works.

In Tampa, she will take her act from the nightclub to a theater, where she can perform a set uninterrupted by drunk selfies. However, this doesn’t mean the club won’t come to her.

“I can guarantee you there will be one person in a banana hammock,” she says.

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