Jackie Beat brings her twisted holiday cabaret to New York just in time for good little boys
In 1957, Elvis recorded one of the most melancholy Christmas songs of all time. “You’ll be doin’ all right, with your Christmas of white/But I’ll have a blue, blue Christmas,” he crooned in “Blue Christmas.” Looking to outdo the King in the tears-in-your-eggnog department this Christmas is drag star Jackie Beat, who debuts her sixth annual holiday show, “Blew Christmas,” at Fez on December 17.
The show includes the songs “Sleigh Bells in Leather With You” and “How the Bitch Stole Christmas,” and appears to have something to do with smacked-out hookers.
Beat first brought her twisted holiday sensibility to New York in 1998, when she performed “Jesus Christ, It’s Your Birthday!” which featured the songs “Jew Christmas” and “Go to Hell,” sung to the tune of “Silver Bells.” The show so angered local Christians that it was featured in The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights’ 1998 Report on anti-Catholicism.
In an e-mail interview, Beat explained why she’s bringing her new show to New York, why being gay is like a Ferrari, and what she plans to do with a naked Colin Farrell.
ERIK PIEPENBURG: How would you describe your show?
JACKIE BEAT: My show is a terrific place to meet the love of your life and land that six-figure dream job you’ve been looking for!
Honestly, it’s a wonderful way to escape from the stress of the city and the holidays (and the nearly lethal combination of the two!) and just laugh and enjoy yourself. I take great pleasure in making people laugh at things that they shouldn’t. These are the deepest, loudest laughs of all—and that laughter is music to my ears.
EP: What holiday shows did you enjoy as a kid?
JB: All those creepy stop-motion Rankin Bass specials like “Frosty” and “Rudolph.” I adore the Heat Miser [in “Year Without a Santa Claus”]—so punk, so ahead of his time! Those awkward, wooden characters were kind of like the freaky little dolls in Disneyland’s Small World. If it had been taken over by Satan. And he was gay.
EP: Is “Blew Christmas” anti-holiday?
JB: It is ultimately a celebration, while on the surface it may seem anti-holiday to some. As far as I am concerned, anyone who is offended by me is either really, really dumb or was cursed with a terribly underdeveloped sense of humor.
EP: Are you religious? Christian? Jewish? Other? Nothing?
JB: I guess I would check “Other.” In New York I was “nothing,” but L.A. is so beautiful and the weather is so good that one quickly becomes all New Age and spiritual––drinking green tea instead of black coffee and doing yoga instead of getting your “workout” in a backroom.
EP: How would you compare audiences in New York and Los Angeles?
JB: They show up, honey! In L.A. things are so spread out that just getting people to go out is like pulling teeth. San Francisco audiences can be surprisingly uptight and politically correct. I love San Francisco, but they always gasp if I use the N word. I mean, what’s so bad about saying nachos? Heklina, who runs Tranny Shack where I perform, has gotten e-mails from offended people saying they will no longer patronize her club because of me. And, God love her, she still books me because she knows that comedy is about pushing the envelope and breaking the rules.
EP: What’s gay about your show?
JB: Nothing. Okay, there are a few veiled references, but I like to think that they serve to show young people that choosing the gay lifestyle is definitely the wrong choice! I am so blessed to be gay and I do think that being gay is very different than being straight. I do not want to be straight, seem straight, act straight, or be mistaken for straight! I do not want to assimilate. And although I respect everyone’s right to choose what they want personally, I do not want to get married.
Heterosexuality is nothing to aspire to, people. Do you think a gorgeous red Ferrari ever sits in the garage wishing it was a beige Gremlin? No!
EP: What do you want for Christmas?
JB: I want to come home and find Colin Farrell—buck naked, tied to my bed. Oh, and world peace.
EP: Is your show naughty or nice?
JB: Both, like me.