You know I love RuPaul’s Drag Race—and you know you love it too. Writer and overall rad gay dude David Sedaris agrees and, if his upcoming appearance on the new season with his sister isn’t selling enough, he actually did a radio interview to spread his love for the show.
No, no, no: this story isn’t new but Lambda Literary gave us a little reminder this week in their news round up and it’s very much worth the listen. Sedaris spoke with BBC4’s Mark Lawson in 2013, on the heels of the warm Season 5 and the bright hot, maybe-best-season-ever, Season 4 before it.
Sedaris explains to Lawson why the show is so appealing, while Lawson talks about the show with somewhat embarrassing witticisms (like referring to drag queens as “crossdressers”). Other than fangirling with an iconic gay writer on something that seems arguably below him, the best part of his talking about the show is his distilling the show’s appeal down so well. For example:
I don’t watch [competition reality] shows like that normally, like I wasn’t familiar with that whole formula. Someone told me about a show later called Face Off, where people who do makeup for horror movies compete—but they don’t have the personality that a drag queen has.
Yep, yep, yep: that’s exactly it, Davey. Moreover—
Whenever the gay pride parade would start, drag queens would always be at the head of it and I would think, “Oh no…now everyone is going to think that every gay person is a drag queen.” And, now, I don’t think that way at all. Really, drag queens just do not give a damn what anyone thinks of them—I mean, anyone outside of their audience. While the rest of the gay world is busy trying to fit in, drag queens are like clowns, really. Fantastic clowns.
I love that idea of “fantastic clowns.” It’s so wonderful and so David Sedaris. I’d also add in “scary” to the description, too. He touches on their representation of females in an interesting way (“There’s not a drag queen who decides she’s going to be Angela Merkel.”), his favorite queens (“Latrice Royale…that was a really good name.”), and that, yes, the show is ridiculous because drag queens are ridiculous (“If you think about it too hard, you’re going to be missing out on the fun of it.”).
One point that really resonates with me (and maybe you) is that Sedaris says he “lives” for the show, that he can’t think about anything else for a week until a new episode comes out—and that is exactly the appeal of the show. Perhaps it’s a gay thing, perhaps it’s a “(slightly) effeminate male thing,” but the show has an odd urgency, that you have to watch, that you have to see these people in your (gay) family succeed. That’s why the show feels gross and bad when everyone in the cast is mean: you want everyone to do well because you care so much about the show and about all involved. That’s why myself and so many critics and so many fans get frustrated with the show when it’s boring, repetitive, or just not good: it’s our biggest, most successful gay entertainment export right now—and we can’t fuck it up.
So, indulge in your RuPaul’s Drag Race. Feel no guilt because everyone loves this show—even one of the world’s greatest living writers. You can listen to the interview below and you absolutely should let this build the buzz within you for his Drag Race debut.