In the four years since she won season six of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Bianca Del Rio has rightfully become the Joan Rivers of drag comedy. “Nobody in ISIS is as hateful as Bianca Del Rio,” legendary drag queen Lady Bunny once said.
She’s launched three international, stand-up tours and starred in two films, Hurricane Bianca and the upcoming sequel, Hurricane Bianca 2: From Russia with Hate, which features Rachel Dratch, Wanda Sykes, and Kristen Johnston. She even has her own line of makeup remover called the Bianca Remover.
Now Del Rio is the author of a forthcoming advice book, Blame It on Bianca Del Rio: The Expert on Nothing with an Opinion on Everything (out May 22 on Dey Street Books), which hatefully begins: “Dr. Phil is a fat, loud blowhard with a Texas twang and male-pattern baldness.” Somewhere up there Rivers is beaming with pride.
RuPaul’s Drag Race broke the glass ceiling for drag queens and made stars of winners like Del Rio, Sharon Needles, and Jinkx Monsoon. But when it came time to writing a book, Del Rio didn’t want to pen the typical grandiose celebrity memoir.
“I thought that was far too egotistical,” Del Rio says over the phone while on break from her current stand-up tour, Blame It on Bianca Del Rio. “I didn’t want to write some boring story about gay life and being abandoned. Nobody cares.”
Instead she solicited questions from fans in letters and emails and on social media and compiled her “bitter, unqualified responses” in an advice book so hysterically scornful the venom practically glistens on the pages.
“I get asked a lot of questions,” Del Rio admits. “’What eyeliner do you wear? What color is that lipstick? Why were you born?’ So I thought, why not address these in a formal way?”
The questions are organized according to topics ranging from family and friendship to sex and etiquette. In one chapter a fan asks, “My new boyfriend and I are totally in love—but we’re both totally bottoms. What should we do?” Del Rio’s answer? “I think the Yellow Pages people said it best: ‘Let your fingers do the walking.’”
Another asks, “My boyfriend has a pencil dick. What should I do?” to which she replies, “Practice your penmanship.” And if you’re wondering what Del Rio would say to Donald Trump if he “grabbed your pussy,” she would tell him to “turn me over; you know he likes to flip properties.”
Del Rio insults the Kardashians, Lady Gaga, Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon, “Jesus freaks,” lesbians, the obese, and nearly every city in the world. And she dedicates entire sections of the book to celebrities she thinks are too perky, including Kelly Ripa, who “makes Kathy Lee Gifford look like Sylvia Plath,” and her travel pet peeves, which include “people who travel with faggy little pets as ‘companion animals.’”
Del Rio isn’t just paying homage to her insult-comedy predecessors, but following in the footsteps of drag comedians like Divine, Jackie Beat and Coco Peru.
Del Rio was born Roy Haylock in New Orleans to parents of Cuban and Honduran descent, which, as she joked in her first stand-up tour, The Rolodex of Hate, “basically means that I have an enlarged penis, no credit, and a tendency to take things that don’t belong to me.”
She designed costumes for the New Orleans Opera and, after moving to New York, for musicals such as Wicked, Mamma Mia!, Gypsy and The Lion King. While working in clubs, Del Rio honed her skills as a host and comedian in drag, talking and killing time during other performers’ costume changes. By the time she competed in RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2014, Del Rio had been doing drag for 18 years.
“That’s how I came up with my repertoire and my love and affection for an audience,” says Del Rio, who currently lives in West Hollywood. “I didn’t go the normal route of singing, dancing and lip-syncing, which a lot of people do, and they do it better than me.”
Del Rio credits the two-time Emmy-winning RuPaul for turning a once-niche market like drag into mainstream entertainment. “It’s all over the place,” Del Rio says of the reality TV series. “They show us out of drag and we’re not as threatening as we used to be. Most encounters with drag queens used to only happen in bars. Now we have Drag Race.”
Even in an age when political correctness is threatening to kill comedy faster than you can say Michelle Wolf, Del Rio delights in being offensive.
“I’m a 42-year-old man in wig making fun of myself along with everything else,” Del Rio says. “What’s funny is funny. It doesn’t matter what expense it’s at. There are people who don’t like that and I understand. I don’t like the Kardashians, but I still live a full life. We live in a country that elected Trump. Clearly you have a sense of humor.”
Before it’s officially on sale, Del Rio’s book will be available Fri., May 11 and Sat., May 12 at RuPaul’s DragCon at the L.A. Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa St., downtown. Del Rio will be signing books beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Sat., May 12.
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