For those who enjoy a good insult joke in their humour feed, The Drag Roast of Heklina may well test their limits as to how mean we can purposefully be while in search of yuks. Put a covey of talented drag queens on stage (San Francisco’s Castor Theater) and there isn’t any doubt that the fur will fly and no topic will be considered taboo (including references to the dark side of Bill Cosby, Kevin Spacey, AIDS and white supremacy—overt or veiled as the case may be).
Serving as MC—and hurling her own grenades into the mix—is Jackie Beat. Undoubtedly realizing that her obesity is going to be remarked upon throughout the show, the snappy hostess spares no one including the roastee (“Old, ugly, riddled with AIDS).
First up is Sister Roma (can you hear the habit jokes already?), whose Caucasian visage is reinforced with white face. In 2018? Really? The Harvey Weinstein dig was most certainly a gag.
Jinkx Monsoon spent a large part of her set making horse jokes (replete with a carrot that was utilized as a prop of the oral kind) and corset digs (prompting one of many hashtag graphics—#justlikehercorset—that offered flashes of visual relief).
The glamourous life being backstage with drag queens (“everything smells of balls and duct tape)” kicked off Julie Brown’s routine. The “highlight” was her vocal contribution (#girlfighttonight), where the “choreography” involved chasing Heklina around the stage in hopes of kicking her ass (a surrogate, thankfully, completed the task).
The poorest reader of them all (scripts were employed), Peaches Christ, provided some of the few positives before another raft of Jackie fat jibes.
Alaska Thunderfuck—the only queen that could claim to be skinny—offered the most polished and well-timed delivery (a master at gauging when the audience was ready for more) and some jokes that might work on any occasion (“Julie puts the lust in lacklustre”). Filling in for the ailing Katya (on the road to recovery with a stint in a rehabilitation facility) also brought the house down with—even though you could see it coming—a trans-fat pillory of Jackie: timing is everything.
A guest appearance by out-of-drag, Bob the Drag Queen (a.k.a. Caldwell Tidicue) was most certainly a “colour” correction that provided him/her the opportunity to mention the 2016 Academy Awards and white cocksuckers in the same sentence.
In rebuttal, Heklina artfully turned the tables on her ridiculers (in the name of showbiz of course) and, finally one-upped them all playing a basic economics card.
The production team (notably editor Cheyenne Picardo who also directed this herd of saucy kittens) kept the pace moving well; the live audience seldom felt the need to boo rather than clap and laugh.
There were a couple of serious moments, notably the obvious notion that “we [the world, not just the LGBTQ community] live in difficult times.” The very fact that this sort of production can be made and widely seen, offers some hope that humour may yet “trump” greed, power and corruption, even if it takes men wearing women’s clothing to remind us! JWR