Bianca Del Rio & Lady Bunny Are the Hilarious 'Hateful Hags' We Need Right Now
Bianca Del Rio & Lady Bunny Are the 'Hateful Hags' We Need Right Now
Comedy legend and drag royalty Bianca Del Rio talks to PRIDE about her and Lady Bunny's latest news-themed comedy special Hateful Hags Network.
If you're looking for a heartwarming, feel-good, family-friendly show to watch and get cozy to during the holiday season, Bianca Del Rio and Lady Bunny's latest digital comedy special definitely isn't it. But if you're looking to cackle your ass off and inject some much-needed, super shady humor back into your life, Bianca and Bunny are definitely your gals!
The two drag legends are teaming up once again for Hateful Hags Network, a hilarious (and as the title suggests, hateful AF) news-style spoof that promises some delicious roasts of many of the beloved queens we've seen compete on RuPaul's Drag Race over the years. (Watch out CNN, HHN is coming for your gig!)
PRIDE got the chance to chat with the legendary queen of insult comedy herself, Bianca Del Rio, to talk about working with Lady Bunny, the end of the Trump era, where she stands on an all-winners season of Drag Race, and more.
PRIDE: To start things off, can you take us behind the genesis of the Hateful Hags Network project and what the inspiration behind it was, especially because live performing and the drag community have taken a big hit this year since everyone has been in quarantine. What made you want to bring this project to the world and spread your hilarious hate?
Bianca Del Rio: Well, first and foremost, anytime Bunny calls me and has some insane plan, I'm always on board. If she calls us, 'Girl, can we...' I'm like, 'Yep. Sign me up,' because it's always a hoot. And what I love is, working with Bunny, what's so great about it is that she is as rotted as I am, and maybe even worse. So, when I'm with her, I'm kind of the good guy, which is a rarity. But it's always a joy to get to work with her. And as you were saying before, these online shows and how people present them, and God bless everyone who's been doing it, it's a very difficult thing to do solo for comedy because you don't have an audience reaction, you have no one to bounce off of. So it creates that awkward moment when you're not having live people respond to you. So I've been hesitant to do anything solo, yet, when I get to do something with Bunny, it's great because we work off of each other, and even if everyone hates it, we were laughing.
That's how I said yes to this. It's one of those things, that I've done far and few online stuff, just because it's been overwhelming. Everyone's had so many shows and so many things going on. And also, I just didn't feel excited about it. But then, when Bunny calls me and says, 'Let's talk some trash about everybody,' I'm like, 'You know what? It's about time.'
I know you and Lady Bunny always talk about how hateful y'all are, but I know y'all love each other deep down, right?
Yeah. Well, well, I do as much as I can from my elders. And I got to say, though, what's so funny is that Bunny was one of the first people I met in New York. I actually met her in New Orleans many, many years before, but then actually got to work with her in New York. She was always very generous and we clicked instantly. We both come from that rotted world, we both know we're not pretty. We both know that we're not thin. (Well, I'm thin.) But we feed off of each other because there is no bullshit. I enjoy working with her just because it reminds me of my early days. Everybody was fun, everybody could take a joke, no one was sensitive like they are nowadays. So it's always a treat to work with Bunny.
An iconic duo!
Well, it's funny, we were discussing this whole thing, and we were discussing the premise of what we were going to do. We have all these jokes about people and all these other queens and all this stuff, and what was funny is that I wanted to call it the Crusty C--t Network. But then when we thought, 'You can't have that in the title!' No respectable magazine is going to want to talk to us with the "crusty c--t," so we went with the "hateful hag" instead.
With all the discourse happening in the world right now, there are people out there who are like, 'We need to spread love and positivity,' and other kumbaya messages. What's your response to something like that, especially since the title of the special is called Hateful Hags Network.
Well, the thing is, I think that people in general just have to be reminded that you have to find the humor in everything. You just have to. Not saying everyone should live their life the way I do, I just mean that it just makes it a lot fucking easier if you laugh. Currently this week, we were curious as to when we were going to put the show out. And the great thing is, luckily, thankfully, we're in a better place with a new president, so hopefully, that will lighten people's moods. As we go through these next 72 days or whatever it is, that we can bite the bullet, just laugh, and just go, 'Okay. Things are going to get better.'
So we're here as a reminder to not take yourself too seriously, and also talk shit about everybody before they die of corona. We got to be quick. Some of these people may not be with us. We got to act fast!
The thing is you got to laugh. You got to! You have no choice. Come on, it's insanity, the world we live in.
Hateful Hags Network is just a special right now, but I feel like this could be its own full-blown Weekend Update-type show. Would y'all ever want to expand it into its own series with Bunny?
Oh, without a doubt. Over the years we've had quite a few offers to either do a radio show. Years ago, we were asked to do a radio show together and at that time, I had moved to Los Angeles and she was in New York. I was touring and she was traveling the country as well, and so, we never really were able to do anything at the same time. So this could definitely be a start. We've had many random offers through the years of, 'You should do this. You should do that,' and we just never could get together to make it happen. So after doing this and realizing how easy it was, we were like, 'Oh, wait. This is something that we should continue.' So fingers crossed. It's just one of those things, we'll see how this one goes and take it from there. But I'm always up for anything. Why not, you know?
Last year was an amazing year for you. You sold out Wembley Arena, which is like, how many drag acts can say that?
God bless. It's still a wild ride. Yes.
Was this special a way for you to get back out there for your fans virtually and provide a laugh to them?
Yeah. Since Drag Race happened for me, I had been on the road a lot. You're just plowing through, whether you're in one country or the next country, you're just schlepping along. And I loved that type of schedule. So this was this weird timing. I was supposed to get my tonsils out and buy a house and just have some reality for a couple of weeks, and then it turned into this monthly nightmare.
So everything that I had planned for this year, everything obviously gets pushed back and pushed back and pushed back because we really don't know what's going on in the world. So I just thought if this would be the one outlet for me to do it, for me, it has to be fun, and it has to be right. As I was telling you before, Bunny just makes it easier, at least having someone else there to create this online content. But yeah, any chance that I can go back and do something new, it just has to be right. This just seemed fitting, and we hope we can continue. I'm always there for a hateful joke. Trust me. You have to be.
So this special is a riff on journalism and broadcast news. Were there any like ridiculous anchors or any other TV news personalities you were like looking back on for inspiration for the special?
Well, it's very funny now. If you watch Fox News or CNN, me and Bunny just seem completely normal by comparison. The idea that these are journalists or these commentators that we have on both ends of the spectrum... Now I sound like Trump, 'Both people on both sides are good.' But I mean what's crazy is that it's just polar opposite and they're all about theatrics.
So Bunny and I are there, but at least you know that we are telling jokes, whereas Fox News is laughable, but we actually know that it's a joke. So we were just cackling. The worst is we bring up the hate in each other, so once we start, it's like, 'Ooh, well let's add this,' or, 'Ooh, let's add that.' So it's extra hateful about some of our beloved friends in the industry. We don't get too political, but we try to give people relief from the politics and the world.
As the years go by, the Drag Race fandom just keeps getting bigger and bigger. What do you have to say to these younger generations of fans that are just coming up, who may not necessarily be used to your brand of insult comedy?
When I dive into something and if I want to know, like for instance, if I wanted to be a lesbian, I would do my homework, and I would know in my head that not all lesbians are the same. So that much I know. I think that the brilliance of Drag Race, obviously it's opened it up to so many people, but also, you have choices when you get into this group. There are different types of queens, not everyone's the same. Drag is whatever works for you. So the people that don't necessarily get me or get Bunny or understand it or feel threatened by it, well then maybe you're not my audience.
There was a time when drag queens were fun. There was a time when drag queens had a sense of humor. There was a time when drag queens just didn't cry on national TV, trying to win $100,000. It's a different world. But I go, 'If you have an open mind, if you have a sense of humor, or if you're near death, let's just say that, then we are your cup of tea.' So I hope that the kids get it, and if not, they have Trixie and Katya they can laugh at. Because no one else is.
I saw this post floating around on the internet talking about where each Drag Race winner stands on coming back for an all winner's season. Do you have any update on that?
I've said this before: no one of importance has ever asked me this. No one from World of Wonder has ever offered it. No one's ever said, 'Hey, we have the idea...' No. I'm not interested in doing it. I just think it's silly for me. Would you go back to high school? We're good.
But I've also said before that it's a completely different show than even when I did it in 2013. It was a completely different setup. Now these girls go into debt to go on the show, and buy new teeth and buy new dresses and buy $600 wigs, thinking they deserve to win. It's a different world. We had a different set of rules and a different game, and I'm grateful for the experience, but I have no desire to go back and deal with those people again. I don't care.
How would you describe Hateful Hags Network to audiences who are getting ready to watch it?
It's a spoof on current news and topics. Reading and being hateful to our dearest friends in the business. It's just a twist on the news and we're not too political, which is a really nice change for a lot of people. And if you don't find anything we say funny, you can look at our beautiful selves. That alone. If you're a young drag queen, you can look at us and go, 'I must stop before I turn into this.'
I remember last time we spoke, I asked you about Trump's presidency, and you were like, 'He can't run a comb through his hair. What makes you think you he can run a country?'
I think we've shown that, haven't we?
So let's reopen the library for 30 seconds...
About him?! Oh, god. I can't even. I'm at this point with him where I'm exhausted by him, you know what I mean? The craziest thing is, when you read it and you listen to it, and I don't know what's worse, him or the people that follow him, it's just an insane...
I'm just internally like, 'I can't take this anymore.' It's like actually having sex with someone in prison: it's painful, but you got through it, and you go, 'I don't think I ever want to do that again.' I'm good. I've had enough dirty prison dick. I'm good, I'm good, I'm good. Four years of this has been enough that I'm ready now just to go on parole and go live my life and deal with a boring president. I'm excited. I'm excited for that. Because I'm just tired. Are you not? When everywhere you go, it's all about him. Ugh. Done. I can't. I can't, I can't. White people, ugh.
Hateful Hags Network premieres Thursday, Nov. 12 at 8pm ET/5pm PT on Vimeo!