Legendary comedic Drag Queen Lady Bunny discusses the middle ground on drag queen story time, why she won’t support Biden, and the status of her friendship with RuPaul.

There’s been a bit of back and forth lining up an appropriate time for YOUR ex to chat over Zoom with Lady Bunny, who resides in New York. The time has been locked in, and Bunny has requested ‘no camera’ as she isn’t working a gig that night and doesn’t like to be seen out of drag.

Zoom is lagging, and I’m caught by surprise when Bunny’s distinctive southern accent blasts out of my laptop. ‘Oh, hi. How is life at 6:30pm in New York?’ I ad-lib, aware it’s an odd opening question. There’s a pregnant pause until a voice that sounds like Gollum shrieks, “Well, this is a time that I look forward to more than any other time. I’m so glad that you chose to begin with that question!” it exclaims before Bunny cracks and cackles in fits of laughter.


“I’m just teasing you. I’m crazy!” she says, back to her soft southern tone. Ridicule for my poor line of questioning is complete.

The drag queen, who came up on the New York scene at the same time as RuPaul, is known for her ‘adult-only’ comedy, and she’s instantly a hoot to talk to.

I will travel to Brisbane the week following our interview to watch her perform at the city’s famed ‘Big Gay Day’ event, and her management were keen for her to talk to YOUR ex as she hopes to tour New Zealand for the first time next year. But what could we expect from a Lady Bunny show?

“A lot of cancellations,” she purrs with an audible smirk. “Obscene ticket prices, dreadful tech and costumes that are bottom of the barrel!”

She sounds delighted with her playful answer but concedes she might need to sell it a little more.

“My show is called ‘Don’t Bring The Kids’ because it’s nasty! I’m not trying to hoodwink kids! I came up performing for inebriated gay people in a club, where I was encouraged to be shocking and vulgar. I make the distinction that my drag is not for kids!” she says with the same sparring political penchant that she displays on social media.

The first of many tangents follows.

“The Republicans will call the left ‘Groomers’ because they like to read stories to kids. I’m like, ‘Groomer?’ Honey, look at my wig. I can barely groom myself! Plus, if I did want to grope kids sexually, I’m not going to go to a fluorescent-lit library where the brats are with their parents. The whole thing is so insane!”

Drag Queen Story Time

Lady Bunny’s take on Drag Queen Story Time is not black and white.

“Let’s be real,” she says with her most serious, matter-of-fact, tone. “[Because they take place in libraries and schools] it’s money from the government that goes to the to pay for the drag queen story hour. And there have been one or two in this whole program that were caught doing questionable performances, and that’s because drag queens don’t always know how to be around kids.”

She is quick to provide a personal example.

“I DJ’d at a bar mitzvah, and they asked me to play Akon’s ‘I Wanna Love You’ for a little girl to dance with her daddy. Now I’m from the world of clubs. I didn’t realise the ‘e’ meant ‘explicit version’! “I wanna fuck you, you already know,” booms out over the dance floor, and I literally sank to the floor in that DJ booth. That was when my knees still worked!”

She continues, “That doesn’t mean that all drag is tacky and rude like mine. You can do an elegant Whitney Houston number, but if you come out and do Whitney with a crack pipe, that’s going to mess with parents. And once the government is funding it, we all get to have a say in where our money goes to.”

Bunny believes both sides are missing this nuance because they are determined to paint the other as monsters.

“I wish we could talk without labelling each other a ‘groomer’ or ‘transphobe’ or ‘bigot’. Like puberty blockers and women’s bathrooms, these are wedge issues designed to divide communities, and I can’t bear that.” She says, genuine sadness in her voice.

In an age of polarisation, it’s refreshing to hear a reasoned middle ground, and Bunny is quick to shun the idea that drag can save the world.

“I’m getting tired of this idea that drag is a magic wand,” she tells us frankly. “Regardless of what certain old friends/drag queen show franchise owners say, it’s not! I love it, and most of my friends are drag queens, but come on, it’s not therapy. In fact, half of them need therapy!”

Why Lady Bunny Has Never Performed In New Zealand

Lady Bunny was due to visit our shores in 2019 to perform a show at Auckland Pride. “They told me they were cancelling Pride because of something to do with a local Black Lives Matter thing,” she says. I suggest it was probably related to the dispute about whether uniformed police should be allowed to march in the Auckland Pride Parade.

Her take on that debate is a little off-centre. “Well, I don’t know about in the parade,” she confesses, “but I do like to suck policemen off!”

It’s a lewd though effective way of swerving the question, but she becomes more direct when our conversation turns to American politics.

“We might see a depressed turnout,” she surmises about this year’s American presidential election.

“72% of Americans polled a few months ago did not want Biden or Trump. Trump is winning in all of the crucial swing states. If Pennsylvania and Michigan don’t go for you, you ain’t winning. Biden clearly has cognitive issues. I’m on the left, but I can still see that. I have never had any use for the Republican Party, but the Democratic Party is trash also!” she says sombrely.

“I vote third party, and a lot of people tell me, ‘No, that will put Trump back in the office.’ I say, ‘Listen, darlin’, you need to earn my vote!’”

Starting Drag At 10 Years Old

Born in 1962, Lady Bunny grew up in Tennessee and began regularly dressing up in drag at age ten.

“I was making my own eyeshadow with blue food colouring and baking soda. I had some cancer victim’s sad wig from a thrift shop and threw on some old woman’s clothes. My best friend, who was straight, was my husband, and nobody said anything to us. It was completely accepted. And girl, we turned it out!”

In terms of coming out, Bunny is quick to assert, “I was never in.”

Many people would presume ’70s Tennessee would be a hard place to grow up as a gay kid, but Bunny challenges that notion, saying, “You have to act like you have a purpose and that the purpose isn’t going to change for somebody else.”

Meeting RuPaul

It is etched into drag folklore that Lady Bunny and RuPaul met in a gay bar in Atlanta and went on to flat together in New York, but Bunny tells us she has no memory of meeting Ru.

“Someone sent me a passage from her book in which she talked about meeting me, but maybe I’m just more memorable than she is,” she quips.

While asserting she is no fan of reality television, she admits to watching Drag Race and seeing the impact the 14-year-strong franchise has had on the art form of drag.

“Nothing rammed home the changes more for me than seeing Shannel come back for (the current season of) All Stars after appearing on Season One. Her drag in Season One was very frosted, layered secretary. You know, real woman, but always with a touch of glitz, like rhinestones she put on the heels, but it was sedate. Now she’s wearing full metallic headdresses!” She exclaims, noting modern drag’s excess.

Indeed, it is rumoured that the current season’s frontrunner, Gottmik, spent a quarter of a million US dollars on her costumes for the show.

“I wonder why she didn’t wear any of those costumes in the promo shot?” Bunny chirps before going in for a full read. “I guess he wants to let the impact build because, honey, I was yawning! He’s still got that clown face makeup on!”

After our laughter subsides, she quickly assures us, “I’m kidding. I worship Gottmik,” and talks fondly of the two of them performing together during the pandemic.

Her Relationship With RuPaul Now

The burning question, though, is not her relationship with Drag Race’s contestants, but how she gets on with Drag Race’s host these days.

“People are so silly,” she confides. “Ru will say something on TV like, ‘Lady Bunny is like Sunday school – she has no class!’ And they’re like, Ru read you! I’m like, ‘Dumb bitch, Ru is an old friend of mine, and it’s not exactly a terrible thing to be mentioned regularly on an internationally popular drag show.”

However, Bunny admits it has been a long time since the two hung out, having last worked together in 2019.

“It’s super fun when we do catch up. We pick up where we left off. But we’re not in close contact and haven’t been since [Ru’s] primary residence became LA.”

Back in March of this year, Bunny made entertainment news headlines for calling RuPaul out on social media for ‘destroying the planet’ by profiting from fracking on their Wyoming ranch.

“She deserved it!” Bunny exclaims nonchalantly before I ask if this has knocked her off Ru’s Christmas card list?

“Oh, Honey. Christmas cards are wasteful,” she chimes back.

Lady Bunny Live

At Brisbane gay bar The Wickham’s annual Big Gay Day, we have secured a front-row spot to watch Lady Bunny perform. Women in their early twenties flank us. One told me that Lady Bunny was the only reason she brought a ticket to the festival.

Despite attracting a fan base young and old, no topic is too taboo for Bunny to make jokes about, usually delivered as she shimmies onstage to versions of popular songs that she has rewritten for comic effect.

“Kim, Khloe and Kourtney. The only KKK that will let black men in!” she quips to a crowd of shocked-looking faces.

Then follows up, “Kate Middleton has cancer. The good news is William won’t be the only royal with premature hair loss.”

It feels like her audience could turn, but Bunny’s bawdy defiance ensures everybody knows that she is a person with purpose. And that purpose isn’t going to change for anybody else.

Follow Lady Bunny on Instagram @official_lady_bunny