Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang are your culture consultants on the brand new Las Culturistas podcast that discusses Art, fashion, music, and MERCH. Rule Number 278 of Culture: the most important thing in the universe is CULTURE! Matt and Bowen bring us this week’s The 5. Where culture and comedy meet, you’ll find RuPaul right at the center. You can listen to Matt and Bowen weekly on Las Culturistas on the Forever Dog Podcast Network.
She’s a Supermodel of the World, drag queen luminary, recording artist, business mogul, and (finally!) an Emmy-nominated reality show host, but RuPaul has yet to receive the credit she’s due for being a comedic force in media over the last 20 years. In her own words, she’s one “fierce ass enter-taint-er,” and we Culturistas are quick to agree. Here are five of Ru’s funniest and fiercest moments on the best TV show (which happens to be her namesake), RuPaul’s Drag Race.
In what has become a momentous tradition of the show (despite it being shockingly absent in Season 8), RuPaul takes the final three/four competitors of each season out to a mentor “lunch” of which the main course is orange Tic Tacs. It’s wonderfully cheeky and sweet and satirical all at once, and the way RuPaul makes it a matter of great import is truly inspired. Culture Rule #203: Commit to the bit!
The sixth season premiere of Drag Race was a two-parter, and the producers seized an indelible opportunity to have Ru keep repeating in both episodes that she had “two big openings” (e.g. “The only thing better than one big opening… is two big openings.” That’s all the joke was, but like a greedy cowhand, they milked it for all it’s worth, mawma! Culture Rule #42: Double entendres are a huge part of culture.
Some say that puns are the most lowbrow form of comedy. Whether or not that’s true, it is an absolute fact that RuPaul is the pre-eminent master of English wordplay and that future generations will marvel at her turns of a phrase for millenia to come. Who can forget “Your bovine design was not divine. Where’s the beef?” Or even “Miss Fame, Donatella me that was your best celebrity impersonation.” Undeniably genius. Culture Rule #67: Puns can be culture, if they’re good enough!
Season 7 fan favorite Katya took fifth place and shifted the dynamic of the entire competition after her departure. Ever with her finger on the pulse, RuPaul built up an outrageous amount of suspense as she was about to name the winner at the crowning ceremony, but then took a moment to call Katya forward, which made the audience go completely bananas. But instead of crowning Katya in an upset, Ru asked her to fetch a sip of water for her, which was staged to perfection. It was both a menacing wink to the audience and a middle finger to any fans who were hoping for a Katya crowning. Culture Rule #2: Long live Ru!
This last one didn’t technically happen on Drag Race, but it’s an immortalized moment of RuPaul’s comedic prowess that will not soon be forgotten. At the height of her ‘90s fame with the release of her single “Supermodel (You Better Work),” RuPaul was ready to show the world that she was one of the funniest performers we have through her cameos in both “Brady Bunch” films. She’s aptly cast as a guidance counselor because she has given us truly impactful nuggets of wisdom (just listen to her “WTF with Marc Maron” episode, trust us), and with total fierceness, she gives Jan words to live by: You. Better. WORK!
Matt Rogers is a comedian, actor and writer based in Brooklyn, originally from Long Island. He performs with the Maude team CHOIR at the UCB: NY, the sketch group Chess Club Comedy and acts and directs with the nationally recognized arts education collective Story Pirates. He has been featured on Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. Bowen Yang is a comedian living in Brooklyn. Bowen hosts numerous shows throughout New York City, including Live on Broadgay, Drag Court and Lake Homo High. He performs with Pop Roulette and the Story Pirates and has appeared on Broad City and The Outs.