Bianca Del Rio is not for the easily offended

Bianca Del Rio photo by Shuan Vadella
Bianca Del Rio photo by Shuan Vadella

What is the purpose of woke comedy? Nothing. Even in 2020, when canceling everyone was “in,” most secretly found it cringeworthy anyway. One of those people is the most iconic thing to come out of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Bianca Del Rio. In this exclusive, BDR gets us pumped for her Dead Inside World Tour, which is not for the easily offended and set to run through 2025. BDR doesn’t hold back when talking about comedy, fellow Drag Race winners, and her upcoming television projects.

RuPaul’s Drag Race was airing for five seasons prior to your debut in Season 6, but it was your season which made many fans, like myself!

Bianca Del Rio: Well, what a great way to start the interview! Season 6 was 10 full years ago. We filmed in 2013 and it aired in 2014.

Ironically, 2014 is also when I started going to gay bars. You were doing a local appearance at the one near me, Feathers in North Jersey, and we met…

BDR: Oh yes! I’ve been to Feathers (in River Edge) many times. I was there only twice before Drag Race. A lot of my friends worked there while I worked in the city. Then after the show aired, I was there a ton of times.

What got me most excited about your tour is how you described it as “not for the easily offended.” I felt relief because I thought comedy was going to be canceled for a moment since everyone is so sensitive now. I just want the clock to be turned back. Do you agree?

BDR: Are people more sensitive now, or are we just hearing about their opinions more because of social media? More importantly, I don’t think people are offended, as much as they just want to point out someone and get rid of them under the guise of “doing the right thing.” This is exhausting because no one is perfect. Also, a majority of the time, people will laugh at anything behind closed doors…they just don’t want to publicly admit it. It is a catch-22 here.

I do have to say there is an audience for my comedy. There are people with thick skin who can take it, and are willing to laugh at themselves. I am grateful I have found them and they have found me. My show is not for everyone, and if you are one of those people who don’t get it, you are missing out.

Can you give a tease of what we can expect on the Dead Inside world tour?

BDR: Everything! The world is a shit show right now. There have been many different versions of what I was going to do; however in America things move so quickly. There is a new scandal every day. So I usually start with more material than I need, and from that I downsize as well as interject whatever is happening in the current news. There is a semi-scripted portion of the show where I talk to the audience, find out what is going on in their lives, and what they are experiencing. Outside of that I change it up as much as I can from show to show. There is a plethora of new topics to discuss; it just varies night to night and where I am specifically.

Bianca Del Rio photo by 
Matt Crockett
Bianca Del Rio photo by Matt Crockett

I love comedy. I try to be the gay Howard Stern on my podcast, Will Love Listen. Do you like the concept of changing your shows nightly or prefer sticking with a script?

BDR: You get so bored when you have to adhere to a script. Moreover, scripts can make tours tricky, in part due to social media since most shows can be exposed almost immediately. If you know a show before you see it, it does not create a magical evening. Obviously there are some jokes you keep structure-wise. However, I am most at ease and comfortable with the audience when I mix up my shows. Something can happen newsworthy that day, you create a joke, and the show later that night is the perfect time to use it. It gets hard to do the same thing every night. I don’t work in a cubicle for a reason (laughs). Nevertheless, I have some friends who are performers that are very much by the book. Which, in my opinion, is more acting than anything else.

Is there going to be a lot of audience interaction on this tour?

Bianca Del Rio photo by 
Shuan vadella
Bianca Del Rio photo by Shuan vadella

BDR: YASSS! Each night I do a meet-and-greet prior to the show. There are usually 150 to 200 people I have the chance to meet before I go on. By doing this, they are at ease, I am at ease, and we get to experience each other. I get to find out who is the drunk, who is the fun one, who is the asshole, who is in a miserable marriage, etc. Their tickets are usually in the first 20 rows. Hence, when you are that close to me, I can be your best friend or turn on you in a minute. It’s like being at Sea World.

Is there a location you are looking forward to going most?

BDR: I am just excited to go everywhere. I have been off for a year so I am just eager to get back on the road. I am looking forward to being in front of a live audience again. I have been fortunate to do film and television work, yet none of it compares to a live audience. All of the hard work is worth it when you get back out there again. As long as I am working, I am happy.

I liken RuPaul’s Drag Race to being the gay American Idol. As with American Idol, there is a winner every year, yet only a few become Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. It has been ten years since your season of Drag Race premiered, and it is clear you are still the first winner who comes to mind when the show is mentioned. Did you ever think you would become so successful and achieve so much notoriety?

Bianca Del Rio photo by 
Shuan vadella
Bianca Del Rio photo by Shuan vadella

BDR: That is a huge compliment! I do think it is somewhat attributed to the earlier seasons being a different time for us all in multiple ways. We were the only franchise available to viewers at the time. Therefore, all eyes were on us, globally.

When the show premiered I was able to work in the U.S.A., U.K., Asia, and Australia. I was traveling the world doing shows. Then, as the show became bigger, it branched out into different franchises internationally. Thus, the winners of later seasons did not have the same trip around the sun as we did. Secondly, the earlier seasons were spaced out by a year, which gave whoever won that season enough time to build an audience. Whereas now turnaround is a lot quicker. I am glad I did it when I did it and had the experience I had. The show is a different beast now.

Drag has become much more competitive now because it is mainstream, there are many outlets, and in turn a lot more drag queens vying to be booked. What are some tips you have for those trying to make it?

Bianca Del Rio Dead Inside Tour
Bianca Del Rio Dead Inside Tour photo by Shuan Vadella

BDR: Are you a brilliant dancer, singer, or lip-sync artist? Find the avenue you love and the audience will come to you. I measure success by working: as long as I have a calendar filled up I am good. I have been to Carnegie Hall yet I have also been to The Ritz where there were only two people. Don’t be afraid to take anything that comes your way. Even if it is not glamorous initially, it makes you appreciate the better gigs when they do come to you. The work is the payoff, the performances are the payoff, so don’t get sidetracked comparing yourself to other queens who are doing better.

Instead of comparing yourself, don’t hesitate to reach out to other queens and ask for advice. Work ethic is most important. You can’t be afraid to pursue what you want. Look at the entertainment business today: there are so many people who are rich and famous, and while we may think there is nothing special about most of them, it is usually their work ethic. On occasion you get nepotism and some useless bitch… but a majority of the time success is attributed to work ethic, sometimes more than talent. Just look at TikTok!

Do you have any additional projects in the works?

BDR: Hurricane Bianca 3! I will be on the road with this show until 2025 and in between breaks may be filming the movie. It was set to film Fall 2023 but the writer’s strike pushed it back. There is also another television project in the works I can’t disclose.

Bianca Del Rio
Bianca Del Rio photo by Matt Crockett

Would you ever do a reality television competition show a la E!’s House of Villains or Peacock’s The Traitors?

BDR: Yes! I was actually asked to do Celebrity Big Brother in the U.K. but could not commit due to scheduling. Being trapped in a house being a cunt to people? I would LOVE to do it. The TV project I filmed is not that type of show, but as soon as I can announce it, I will let you know.

Will Loschiavo
Will Loschiavo is Out In Jersey‘s entertainment editor. He has worked for Top 40 radio stations in New York and New Jersey, written for various publications, and currently works media tech operations for NBC. Will is the host of the Will Love Listen podcast available on iHeartRadio, Amazon Music, Spotify, Apple, and Google. Follow on Instagram: @WillLoveInc.