Bianca Del Rio, the incredible creation of Roy Haylock, is possibly the reigning queen of in-your-face drag empresses and she has a robust following to prove it.
An alum of RuPaul’s Drag Race her outsized un-PC humor and snark have earned her the tag of the “Joan Rivers of the Drag World” and Bianca will admit to choosing comedy over beauty to get her point across. The self-described “clown in a gown” caught up with OUTvoices during her big world tour and she won't be stopped by this pandemic.
You're going to be in Phoenix during Pride. Do you remember your first Pride and what does it mean to you?
Bianca: Well, you know it, to be very honest, I am 46 years old now and I could barely remember Pride, but because I lived in New Orleans, my very first Pride was there, which means alcohol, alcohol, alcohol. So I can't remember a damn thing, which means things went really well. And of course, now we're living in a world where drag is on television, drag is being celebrated, drag is winning Emmy Awards. I'm getting to travel the world with a tour. I think things are doing pretty well. So I'm very happy that people are getting on the Pride bandwagon and understanding that we are all part of the world. You know, we're part of the culture we're real people and we exist and we pay taxes, so we deserve attention too.
Your show is called Unsanitized and your comedy is unfiltered. In an era of cancel culture, how do you do it?
Bianca: It's a tricky slippery slope. But in the end you have to find your audience. And that's when I realized that if if by chance, someone's not interested in what I'm doing or someone finds it to be offensive, then you're not my audience and I'm not for you. But because of social media, they just can't walk away. They have to sit there and pick and prod and poke and make it a point that this is what bothers me and this is what who gives a shit. It's not the life. Lots of things I don't like, but I don't spend my time on the internet. I could live a very happy life without the Kardashians, trust me. But I'll spend my life, you know, discussing it or bringing it up every goddamn five minutes. Who gives a shit?
Some drag queens in the female impersonator vein go for stunning looks and how credibly they can embody feminine beauty standards. But what you do is different. Why?
Bianca: Well, growing up, I was never told I was the pretty one, and I'm well aware. But the good thing about being the ugly one is you know your strengths. That was never part of my esthetic, so to speak. And I think that, you know, you found your way, you found what works for you. And you know, those people that have had surgeries just before that had surgeries that impersonate celebrities to even look more like a celebrity. That was never the route I wanted to go. It is strictly, you know, vaudeville. It's strictly comedy. It's strictly a show to me, you know, so none of it is real.
So I'm well aware of my limited beauty access, but we do have face tune online, which has been very helpful on occasion to blow out some of my ugliness. But I have just found that you stick with what you know, and that's always been my game. But there's just something to be said about insult comedy — it always begins with self-deprecation, you know, so you are the biggest joke there is. So therefore, there's nothing that anyone can say to me that would offend me. So hopefully the things I say to them shouldn't be so offensive either.
So what's in Unsanitized? Is it pandemic commentary or more?
Bianca: Oh, it's got everything in it. I mean, how can we possibly go through this without that? The "unsanitized" came up, you know, obviously, because I was expected to tour as soon as the pandemic started. So I had a completely different show planned and I was actually supposed to begin in Australia and New Zealand. And we all know that the was kind of wild and that didn't happen. So, you know, being home for a year and a half, I thought, what's the best way to go about that?
There's no way that I could not talk about the year 2020. I mean, so much had happened. So we touch on everything from Drag Race in particular, which was an overload during this time period to the pandemic to politics and to how all of us have gained weight. How did this happen? So all of it gets covered, and it's fascinating to see because, you know, if anything, it's one of those things whenever there's a huge tragedy brings us all back together. It's funny how we can all sit back and we have to get out and start laughing about it.
What has been the public reaction to the show?
Bianca: The audiences have been so receptive. I don't know if they like me are just happy to get out of their god-damned house! But it has been it has been kind of overwhelming and wonderful, so I've been grateful for the audiences that have been here and they've been following the rules and the masks and the protocol and all of that kind of stuff. So it's been pretty great. So I have no complaints and we just announced today more UK and Europe dates, so I'll be stepping into 2022 until September with the show.
Want more Bianca?
If you can't be there to see Del Rio delight audiences live, catch her in Hurricane Bianca (Netflix), its sequel Hurricane Bianca 2: From Russia with Hate (2018) (Hulu), the Vimeo original comedy special Rolodex of Hate, and the Logo original television specials Not Today Bianca. Bianca has also taken her trademark wit and sharp commentary to the page in her book Blame It On Bianca Del Rio: The Expert on Nothing with an Opinion on Everything (Harper Collins 2018). She also hosts the new Bianca Del Rio Podcast.
Del Rio in Phoenix
BIANCA DEL RIO UNSANITIZED COMEDY TOUR, CELEBRITY THEATRE, 440 N. 32nd St, Phoenix 85008
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 7 Doors 7pm, Show 8pm
Tickets & Info here.