“RuPaul's Drag Race” panel judge and radio host Michelle Visage traces her solidarity with the LGBTQ community decades back, to her first New York City club experience as a teen.
“I met about 20 of the freakiest, weirdest, most fabulous gays and girls that I'd ever met, and I knew I was home. I had found my tribe. I was taken into a 'house' and was introduced to the ballroom scene, and I never looked back,” says Visage, who hosts “The Drag Queens of Comedy” at the Castro Theatre on Saturday.
It will be a first for the TV personality, who adds, “I have been around drag and the art form since I was 17 years old. I've seen every kind of drag and appreciate it all, but I have never done this before. I am assuming this is traditional stand-up. I am sure it's mixed mediums within their comedy routines, but it's all stand-up, nonetheless.”
Saturday’s lineup – likely to be racy and raunchy – includes: “Drag Race” notables Bianca Del Rio, Alaska 5000, Shangela and Willam; “Girls Will Be Girls” star Coco Peru; Wigstock founder Lady Bunny; cabaret star Jackie Beat; and local legends Heklina, Peaches Christ and Sasha Soprano.
Visage, who initially found success with early 1990s R&B-dance groups Seduction (“Two to Make It Right”) and The S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M (“It's Gonna Be a Lovely Day”), is best known today for her work with RuPaul. She has co-hosted VH1's “The RuPaul Show,” WKTU's morning show, and the RuPaul: What's The Tee? podcast with the drag superstar.
Since 2011, Visage has been a panel judge on “RuPaul's Drag Race.”
“I love working side by side with my bestie,” she says. “We know what each other is thinking just by looking. It's a rare, special friendship.”
She had hoped to find amity with gay blogger Perez Hilton, when the two became housemates on the U.K.’s “Celebrity Big Brother” earlier this year – until Hilton questioned her representation of the gay community.
“If he doesn't want me to speak up for him or defend him, then so be it,” she says. “I am there for the ones who do need a voice or who do want support from an ally. Until we don't have to use the word 'equality' anymore because it's naturally there, then we still have to fight, from where I'm standing. I will always have time for my gays…always.”
IF YOU GO
The Drag Queens of Comedy
Where: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., S.F.
When: 7 and 10 p.m. May 23
Tickets: $45 to $250
Contact: (415) 621-6350, www.thedragqueensofcomedy.com