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Mar 05 2014
Bunny Or Die: An Interview With The Original HOT MESS Comments (0)
Lady-Bunny-AaronBunny hops to it every Friday @ Hot Mess
If you're ever in New York, you'd be a damn fool not to check out the wildly popular Hot Mess Drag Revue, a raucous event hosted every Friday at 42West (formerly XL). Hostessed by glamorous Milan, RuPaul's Drag Race star Bianca Del Rio and drag legend Lady Bunny, this "adults-only interactive performance" has been exploding heads for two years now, pulling laughs right out of its patrons' asses...almost literally.
I was honored to interview Bunny about the drag show that Michael Musto has dubbed the best in NYC...
Boy Culture: How are the new digs, now that XL is 42West?
Lady Bunny: Um, I thought it was BPM now? I'm senile!
BC: What makes Hot Mess unique?
LB: It's the only full-scale drag revue that I know of in NYC. It's an hour-and-a-half long with production numbers, costumes galore, a hilarious emcee and dynamite solo acts in a state-of-the-art club. Bianca, Milan and I grew up watching shows like this in the South, and we wanted to recreate it. There's plenty of great drag in NYC, but much of it happens very late at night and is short or with a small cast. It's tough to get  people to leave their computer screens nowadays, so if you actually get them off-line, you've got to deliver. Hot Mess does.
"There's an emphasis on twisted and demented humor."
There's an emphasis on twisted and demented humor and also some incredible dancing! Milan is a top notch choreographer, and he electrifies the audience with his own show-stopping solo numbers. So it has the feel of a nightclub show, but it's at 9:30PM instead of 2AM.
BC: Has her RuPaul's Drag Race fame gone to Bianca's head yet?
LB: No, but since she wasn't on the first episode of RuPaul's Dog Race, she hasn't actually been on the air much yet! Just wait! Actually, if Drag Race exists to showcase talented queens, then they've struck gold with Miss del Rio. She sews costumes professionally for Broadway, styles immaculate Bunny-dragwigs and does expert (if kooky) makeup. And the bitch can read the house down. Everyone who catches her emceeing falls in love with her, including all of the groups who she mercilessly rags on. She's that funny and quick.
BC: Who do you think will win this season?

LB: I have no idea who this season will crown America's next drag superstar, but Bianca is already a superstar in my book. I'm not sure that Logo can air all of her un-PC madness, so for the full, uncensored Bianca experience you've gotta visit Hot Mess Fridays whenever you're in NYC. You haven't lived until you've seen a table full of real women howling after Bianca threatens to kick them in the pussy. But then she decides not to because she'd "probably lose a shoe." Yes, she's that ill! Those other Drag Race contestants better watch out for her mouth. Bianca has a way of getting the upper hand.
BC: What's the most outrageous thing that's ever happened at Hot Mess, and what are you surprised hasn't happened yet?
LB: We have one group number in which the crazy Sugga Pie Koko "shoots" everyone in the cast. We lay on the floor "dead" and I can't help myself from giggling while I'm supposed to be playing  a corpse. This number features Tina Turner, Prince, Rihanna, The Weather Girls, Gene Kelly and Michael Jackson. It's more outrageous every time.
It was a different kind of outrageous when a guest star, Princess Janae Banks, took the stage to talk about the cancer which since then has taken her life, soliciting donations for cancer research. I was very nervous that she might lose the crowd when she said, "I have cancer but cancer doesn't have me. If cancer had me, I wouldn't be on this stage right now." But she didn't lose them. They roared with approval. I almost found Jesus through her that night.
"I almost found Jesus through her that night."
We've had quite a few amazing guests, like Sharon Needles, Latrice Royale, Tyra Sanchez, Manila Luzon, Jiggly Caliente, Princess Diandra and Octomom. And Kris Jenner, RuPaul, Lance Bass, Raven-Symoné and many other celebs in our audience.
Sometimes I'm surprised the cast hasn't killed each other. There are egos involved and just the way that rock groups split up, the cast at Hot Mess has gotten into it. Drag queens usually have opinions, and we don't always agree. So I'm surprised we're all still together. 
BC: What would you tell someone planning to bring their shy, sheltered mom with them to see Hot Mess?
LB: This might be a better show for those fun aunts or sisters, to be honest. Leave mom at home and you'll be more likely to remain in the will. Or if you must bring mom, loosen her up with several pre-show cocktails. It can be quite raunchy and wild. The crowd joins in the fun in a segment called "Wig In A Box," which is basically an excuse to put the audience in wigs, give them shots and watch them make fools of themselves as Bianca berates them. Always a show highlight. Especially when Bianca tells the black girls they already know how to put on wigs and thanks the Asians for manufacturing the wigs. The crowd is completely mixed in terms of race, sex and sexual preference.
"Leave Mom at home and you'll be more likely to remain in the will."
BC: Who's the biggest hot mess you've ever encountered?
LB: Definitely Tan Mom. We hired her early on at the suggestion of a publicist and she put the "special" back in "special guest!" Footage from it flew all over the internet and we got international press coverage for the night. For once, Bianca barely needed to say a thing. Tan Mom looked a fright, seemed wasted, flashed her panties, fell several times and lashed out at audience members. So she basically stole my act! I had tried to feed her a line and say that her daughter, who people were concerned about after Tan Mom allegedly put her in a tanning booth, was doing very well at school and had even become a brownie. She flew into a rage at the mere suggestion of it.

BC: What else do you have going on, Bunny? (Plug, plug, plug)
LB: I spin a new tea dance at The Monster on Sundays from 6-10PM on the first and third Sunday of each month. The twinks may rule Hell's Kitchen, but we're still shaking our groove thang in the West Village. I perform at the Red Room in Puerta Vallarta on March 19-23 and join Bianca, Coco Peru, Willam, Shangela and several San Francisco queens in Queens of Comedy at SF's Castro Theatre on March 29. I open my new solo show, Clowns Syndrome, at La Escuelita on April 22 every Tuesday for an open-ended run with all-new material. (I rarely say that.) Keep an eye out for Bunion on the big screen in My Dead Boyfriend, in which I have a scene with Heather Graham where we recreated Wigstock in Tompkins Square Park with 30 drag queens. And I've just written an eyebrow-raising blog for Huffingtonpost Gay Voices, "In Defense Of Alec Baldwin."
But of course, Fridays belong to Hot Mess!
Get yer Hot Mess Drag Revue tickets here. Images courtesy of Aaron Cobbett/Lady Bunny.