NY Times Honors 'Sewer Mouth on Go-Go Wings'

It’s always odd to see a “family newspaper” aglow over profane entertainment that it couldn’t possibly describe in its pages. That celebration of the unprintable happened in Monday’s New York Times, with a David Rooney theater review headlined “Under the Bouffant, a Sewer Mouth on Go-Go Wings.”

Rooney’s supposedly sublime “sewer mouth” was the drag queen named “Lady Bunny” (real name: Jon Ingle, born 1962) who’s dragged the drag divas back out of the mushy mainstream:

A once proud and subversive warrior tribe that deified freakdom, drag queens have become awfully mainstream. Tame transvestites are now passing for Kardashians, while biological women all over television are communing with their inner drag divas on shows like “Mad Fashion,” “RuPaul’s Drag U” and “The Real Housewives of You Name It.”

But whatever happened to authentically scary, sewer-mouthed, gutter-glam fierceness? That endangered but not extinct form of alternative entertainment has a resplendently tacky old-school flag bearer in Lady Bunny, frugging with infectious abandon on a toxic cloud of Aqua Net in her first cabaret show in 10 years, “That Ain’t No Lady!”

Playing Tuesdays at La Escuelita Cabaret Theater, this 90-minute set of filthy stand-up and pornographic song parodies strives to awaken the ghosts of a pre-sanitized Times Square. After an opening mash-up of X-rated Katy Perry revisions, the Lady warns, “That concludes the PG portion of tonight’s entertainment.” She’s not kidding. Much of what follows makes “The Book of Mormon” seem like “Bambi.”

Keep in mind that Rooney (also a drama critic for The Hollywood Reporter) named “The Book of Mormon” to his top ten theatre picks of the year, honored as “an uproarious show that scaled blissful heights of profanity.” One might at least consider profanity hitting “blissful depths.”

Rooney can’t really describe the “unprintable” details even as he raves over them. Here are some hints courtesy of another rave review at TheCelebrityCafe.com:

She opened the show with her own rendition of Katy Perry’s curious hit, "I Licked a Girl and I Vomited" followed by "West Virginia Girls" and "Firework," accompanied by a generously sized dildo prop....

Lady Bunny then proceeded to sing an amusing version of that same song ["Like a G6"], called "Like a Cheese Stick," about uncircumcised men, which caused uneasiness at points....

Keeping with the heartfelt theme, she paid a tribute to the late Amy Winehouse, consisting of a "Rehab" parody and some horrible jokes about her. According to Lady Bunny, that is how she pays tribute to a true vocal talent, which under the circumstances, is hard to comprehend. Before singing vulgar, but hilarious versions of more popular songs like Avril Lavigne’s "Constipated," Nelly Furtado’s "I’m Like a Turd" and Kelly Rowland‘s "When Drugs Take Over," she chose to display her "Firework" music video that was banned from YouTube. Let’s just say that they made the right choice in disposing of the video, as it was almost impossible to watch.

Finally, in keeping up with the holiday spirit, which quite frankly was the most entertaining part of the act, Lady Bunny’s energetic and sidesplitting encore was a medley of her own renderings of Christmas classics — including "I Saw Daddy Fisting Santa Claus," "Walking Around in Women’s Underwear" and closing the show with none other than Mariah Carey’s "All I Want for Christmas Is You."

Overall, every person who buys a ticket to see the legend, Lady Bunny, should already know what they’re getting into — a night of laughs, possible nausea and feeling a bit violated when leaving.

Rooney’s own review concluded: “Most of Lady Bunny’s best lines are unprintable here, but more than any performer I saw this year ‘the old pig in a wig,’ as she calls herself, made me weep with laughter, often while groaning with disgust. And isn’t that what the best low comedy is all about?”

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis