Drag’s Bawdy Lady Bunny Springs Into Adult-Only Action, in ‘April Fool’

Lady Bunny photo by Steven Menendez.

Easter came early this year, putting all of its eggs in a basket that saw plastic pastel-colored straw, dyed eggs, marshmallow peeps, and hollow chocolate rabbits high-tailing it to March 31. Some say a super-funky lunar calendar is the cause, while others wonder if these beloved springtime traditions simply thought it best to cede full ownership of April to the elephant in the room—a caftan-swaddled, high-heeled, steely-eyed, self-professed “pig in a wig” who goes by the name “Lady Bunny.” But you can call her (and her current stage show) April Fool.

NYC’s own foul-mouthed goodtime gal since the early 1980s—when she and fellow Atlanta transplant RuPaul become part of the drag scene’s DNA—Lady Bunny also served as the mother-clucking main hen, while at the helm of Wigstock—the nearly 20-year, almost-always-annual outdoor festival famous for giving stage time to talented contemporaries and promising up-and-comers. Along the way, the internationally known entertainer became, well, an internationally known entertainer through her constant presence as a stage performer, recording artist, and DJ with a soft spot for spinning the hypnotic best of 1970s disco and soul.

“From riotously risqué to vividly vulgar,” says the press release for her latest escapade, “Bunny gleefully delivers full-strength, downright dirty, gobsmackingly un-P.C. adult humor.” Having seen her on stage countless times over the decades, we at Chelsea Community News have little doubt the Lady Bunny of April Fool (playing NYC through April 24) will deliver on the promise of that hot press release copy, and then some. But to be sure, we checked in before the show’s premiere and emerged with this delicious Q&A.

Scott Stiffler, for Chelsea Community News (CCNews): So you’re back playing The Green Room 42…

Lady Bunny (Bunny): It’s a beautiful room. The location is great. They manage to keep the tickets at 22 bucks and there’s no [food/drink] minimum. That appealed to a lot of people who don’t drink or want to have food or whatever.

Last year [for the run of Don’t Bring the Kids; click here for our coverage], they were so accommodating. I broke my toe and had that hideous boot. Now I have to come up with another excuse [her injury delayed last year’s run at The Green Room 42]. And it’s always an interesting mix [the audience] at the Green Room. I’ll have older fans but it’s also right in Hell’s Kitchen. [plenty of] Twinks were at the last one, and they all appreciate the newer stuff [music] that might be a head-scratcher for the older people.

CCNews: The show title, April Fool—is this a riff on Easter and all of spring’s other references to renewal? What exactly can we expect from the show?

Photo by Steven Menendez.

Bunny: Well as I say, after a long winter, I’m very much ready to bust out. For the spring, which is a time of reawakening, I do a version of Peggy Lee’s Fever—a parody version where I dish all the dirt on celebs and drag queens. And I’m also doing another Peggy Lee song that’s kind of rare, which is called Ready to Begin Again by Jim Leiber, from her insane album Mirrors, from the early 70s. This is like, for the cabaret hardcore… This would be a song that only older gays or people who are really, really into Peggy Lee would know. It wasn’t a hit, but the song is kind of melancholy. The lines are like, [Bunny sings] “When my teeth are at rest in a glass by my bed / And my hair lies somewhere in a drawer / Then the world doesn’t seem like a very nice place / Not a very nice place anymore.” And it just goes on and on and builds and she has a renaissance where she cheers herself up by putting on jewelry… I mean, we all have to get on with it no matter what hand we’ve been dealt. And if that means putting your teeth in and wig on, well… I’m happiest when I’m working, when I’m in front of an audience.

CCNews: What else do you have for us, in terms of music and parodies?

Lady Bunny (Bunny): I’m taking some inspiration from Beyoncé’s country album to parody not only her songs, but some of my favorite country songs of all time, including Stand by Your Trans, Don’t Come Home a-Snortin’ with Lovin’ on Your Mind, and songs about me—like Man I Feel Like a Womenand Crazy. Also, some Dolly Parton… This show is before I head out for my big summer. I’m doing a tour in Australia in May, and also [here in the US], a bunch of Prides. So I’m just trying my stuff out around my people before I hit the road. There’s a lot of new stuff. I don’t think there’s another show that goes from Peggy Lee to Lizzo to Beyoncé.

CCNews: We spoke with you during the pandemic when digital drag was the only game in town—in the world, for that matter. Now that live entertainment has resumed, is there anything you’ve seen on stage lately that stands out, drag or otherwise?

Lady Bunny (Bunny): Yes. It’s Oh Mary!, a play with Cole Escola playing Mary Todd Lincoln as a bratty, evil drunk who’s dying to sing cabaret [at the Lucille Lortel Theatre through May 12]. And Cole, I never knew who he was and I’m sure he feels the same way about me. This kid…he’s not a kid, he’s 40. That’s a kid to me! This “kid” is ready to combust… It’s just like when Lypsinka grabbed me and said, “C’mon bitch, I’m gonnna give you a theater lesson,” and took me to the original production of Dreamgirls. This [Oh Mary!] is magic. I was in shock, I was howling. It was so clever. It’s a fully realized play with props and characters and it’s just so, so funny and really, not even terribly dirty—which I give it extra points, if you can be funny without being dirty.

Spring chicken? No. Got great gams? Oh, yeah. | Lady Bunny photo by Steven Menendez

Oh, and Claywoman [Michael Cavadias], who used to be Lily of the Valley, who was part of theSqueezebox scene. Claywoman is his latest creation and for the past few years, he just dresses in drag and walks out inch by inch looking like he’s seven thousand years old with a haggy wig and wearing threads that are falling off of him and just this idiotic “I’m from another time” schtick and has gotten guests like Murry Hill, Amy Sedaris, and Christeen [drag/performance artist Paul Soileau]—who’s another one I love, love, love. She does her own original music and she’d really giving you a punk edge because her songs are actually social commentary about how cheap things like the Kardashians are—and in a drag bar, they’re more likely to impersonate the Karsashians. I am looking for something that’s a little bit smarter than a death drop. So I’m much more interested in that [Christeen] than lip synch numbers where you do the splits and stuff. Drag is so copycat now that people just see it on TV and just do it. They copy everything. They copy the outfits, the makeup style, the hair. Just ask Trixie Mattel. She’s a Lady Bunny impersonator who gets paid more than Lady Bunny. That’s quite a feat!

CCNews: Well, copycats come and go, but few if any of your contemporaries can claim to equal your output of crowd-pleasing filth—just a relentless cavalcade [of oral sex and poop jokes]. It’s become its own aesthetic. Is that something you found along the way?

Lady Bunny (Bunny): I’m gonna tell you the truth, honey. OK, this goes back probably 30 years: I’ve always enjoyed comedy, but I never thought of myself as comedy—I thought I was pretty! And as I became less pretty, comedy took center stage. And honey, if I hadn’t made that decision, the audience would have done it for me!

“April Fool” is performed for at 7pm on Friday, April 12; Sunday, April 14; and Wednesday, April 17 & 24. Runtime: 75 minutes. At The Green Room 42 (570 10th Ave. at W. 42nd St., 4th Floor of Yotel). The cover charge ranges from $20-$45. For tickets, visit www.TheGreenRoom42.com. To visit Lady Bunny online, click here.

Photo by Steven Menendez.

LADY BUNNY is a living drag legend, international sensation, razor-witted comic, fab DJ, and one kooky queen. Since Wigstock and the days of cutting her comic teeth reducing even the toughest New York City crowds to shrieking hysterics, Bunny’s fame has gone global. She tours constantly, taking her bawdy brand of humor to audiences from Cincinnati to Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, London, Marrakesh and Sydney. Bunny has been lucky enough to share the stage or screen with many of her idols including Patti Labelle, Joan Rivers, Bea Arthur, Charo, Lynda Carter, Chaka Khan, Grace Jones, and Christina Aguilera at Radio City Music Hall. One-woman show titles like “That Ain’t No Lady!,” “Trans-Jester,” “Pig in a Wig,” and most recently, “Cuntageous,” offer a hint as to what to expect. From riotously risqué to vividly vulgar, Bunny gleefully delivers full-strength, downright dirty, gobsmackingly un-P.C. adult humor. Lady Bunny can be seen in films and television, most recently in Wig, the HBO Wigstock documentary made with Neil Patrick Harris, and the feature film Hurricane Bianca: From Russia with Hate. She was the “Dean of Drag” on three seasons of “RuPaul’s Drag U,” has been roasted by Joan Rivers, roasted Pam on “The Comedy Central Roast of Pamela Anderson,” and emceed the LGBT prom in one of the most popular episodes of “Sex and the City.”

Bunny DJs lavish fashion week affairs, corporate bashes, and private parties as well as–yes!–gay weddings and bar mitzvahs. Like many DJs, Bunny moved into songwriting and recording. In addition to writing and producing her pop song parodies, she has released several solo singles, including “Take Me Up High,” which hit #18 on the Billboard Dance Chart, and two duets with RuPaul, “Throw Ya Hands Up” and “Lick it Lollipop.” Bunny has been photographed by Andy Warhol and many of the world’s most influential fashion photographers, including Francesco Scavullo, Mario Testino, and Ellen Von Unwerth. The Daily NewsTime Out New York and V named Bunny as one of the most stylish New Yorkers. Her shows have elicited rave reviews from The New Yorker and The New York Times.

Bunny can be seen co-starring with Flotilla DeBarge in “DAP,” the duo’s video parody of Cardi B’s “WAP.” Their filthy version racked up over 100,000 views in its first week and cheered by fellow comedians Margaret Cho and Jenifer Lewis. “Ebony and Irony,” Bunny’s new podcast with “RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars” winner Monet X Change, is available on all platforms, and she has a new on-demand duet special with Bianca del Rio called “HHN: Hateful Hags Network.”

THE GREEN ROOM 42 | Founded in 2017 and located in the heart of the theatre district in YOTEL Times Square, The Green Room 42 is Broadway’s newest and most spacious cabaret club. Hailed by the New York Times as “Broadway’s Off-Night Hotspot,” our curated nightlife experience features your favorite Broadway stars in live performance, and a delicious menu of food and drink. The Green Room 42 opens the doors of hospitality to the nightclub stage while providing value and accessibility to the New York theatre community. Past shows have featured artists such as Josh Groban, Tina Fey, Katharine McPhee, Sara Bareilles, Kathleen Turner, Alice Ripley, Eva Noblezada, Reeve Carney, Lillias White, Frances Ruffelle, Frankie Grande, David Phelps, and over 5,000 others. The Green Room 42 has become a cornerstone of the Broadway community, redefining the cabaret industry, and all it’s missing is YOU. Sit back, have a drink, and relax, because we’ve got your evening all planned in Broadway’s off-night hotspot.


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