December 09, 2011



There surely have been drag queens more beautiful and more vocally expressive, but none has ever made me laugh as hard and consistently over the years as Lady Bunny. She’s brought her one-woman show to La Nueva Escuelita (every Tue., 301 W. 39th St., only $14.98;, and will definitely give those Latina mamis a run for their pesetas.

(phot by Billy Erb)

“I totally agree with you that Escuelita is a landmark,” she told me. “What people don’t know about is Mario de Columbia, a queen that I used to marvel at there years ago. Mario lip-synched to opera, and when she hit a high note, she’d lift her ball gown and there’d be a huge dildo and the crowd would go nuts! She was the comic relief and died recently. And then I realized –– dildo, crack pipe, Chicken McNuggets, douche bottle –– that I am now in her footsteps! I love it there and happy that I’m the only white queen that they’ve ever hired. I love that crowd, though I don’t love the Reggaeton music.

“But they have a great stage and a real curtain with decent lighting. These other cabaret places want you to go on at all these different times and I would not remember when my show was, plus they take so much of the door and you’ve got to charge a lot. My friends can’t afford it and I thought, ‘Wow, people are broke.’ So it’s gonna be $14.98, as cheap as my humor, and a one-drink minimum instead of two.

“It’s fun for me to put together a more structured show. I think people don’t really think of me now as a performer so much as a DJ, or writing fashion comments for ‘The Star,’ or having done Wigstock, so it’s time for me to reassert myself.”

Rest assured, Bunny’s humor is as sick and wrong as ever, as witness the rave quotes she uses about this new show, including “I laughed my tits off –– Chaz Bono,” and “My jaw dropped –– Roger Ebert.” I had one for her – “I was shaking … with laughter – Michael J. Fox” –– but she said, “I already have that! I ride Facebook like a freak and asked all my friends if they could think of others. People came out of the woodwork: ‘The worst night of theater I’ve ever endured –– Mary Todd Lincoln’; ‘I laughed so hard I think I disturbed my downstairs neighbor ––Anne Frank.’ It just lets everyone know right from the start, okay, this whore is sick, and the show hasn’t even started yet.”

Originally from Chattanooga, Bunny, née John Ingle, said she always had family support: “They always said you do whatever you wanna do, and I would ask, ‘Don’t you want me to be a doctor?’ And they said, ‘Not if you don’t want to!,’ and now they say, ‘You really called our bluff!’ There have been rocky times and broke times and downright pitiful times, but they’ve always been very supportive. I don’t think they really understand it, don’t have cable TV so they can’t watch me on ‘Drag U.’ They just got a color TV. Real country.

“My Dad’s a professor at the university there, a Quaker and the town liberal. He once spoke at our church and it had a swastika draped on it the next day. I was never in the closet, always a sissy, but I was on student council. I managed by being class clown. It got a little harder in high school with kids that hadn’t grown up with me and not accustomed to my regal bearing, so I was sent to a Quaker boarding school in England.”

Bunny came to New York in 1984 with a posse of fabulousness from Atlanta that included Ru Paul, Larry Tee, and Lahoma Van Zandt: “Everybody here then was into all black Goth looks with the brooch, and we were like the retarded flowers and thrift store group, so we definitely stood out. I was resident go-go dancer at the Pyramid for years, and one thing led to another.