If you watch RuPaul’s Drag Race, you would surely know Bianca del Rio, season six’s winner. She’s known mostly for her razor-sharp wit and her jokes, told mostly through the expense of others. If you thought she was evil on the show (and by evil I mean deliciously devilish), nothing will prepare you for her It’s Jester Joke, the queen’s comedy tour that made a two-day stop in Manila. Even I, who have watched the series, got an exclusive interview with her, and attended her hilarious press conference, was not prepared for the deluge of insults I heard on the show. And I loved every single minute of it.
Bianca del Rio did not spare anyone in her standup routine. She poked fun at members of the LGBT community, people with disabilities, straight people, couples, Asians, and everyone in between. There were even touchy subjects like mental health and suicide, but she made it work and had everyone roaring in delight.
Del Rio said that she follows a script but she works with the crowd, making each show unique. There’s an interactive angle to It’s Jester Joke and during the evening I watched, there were some people who came in late. At one pair who showed up in the middle of her standup, del Rio retorted, “What were you doing? Definitely not shopping because your clothes are ugly!” (obviously not verbatim because I was laughing my head off). It never feels like she’s giving the same performance over and over because she has jokes unique to the Philippines.
As the winner of Drag Race, a lot of her material comes from the series. She made jokes about a lot of her fellow queens but my favorite bits were the ones targeting Jiggly Caliente and Manila Luzon. Both are Filipino performers so there’s a local touch to it. Still, since most of the people (including me) in the audience are the show’s fans, we had a great time listening to del Rio rip the contestants and even RuPaul to shreds.
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I initially thought that It’s Jester Joke would be problematic because of her offensive humor. But somehow, she made it work. Maybe it’s because she admits she’s not a good person and she doesn’t care anyway? And when we laugh, does that make us complicit? It’s a lot of thinking for a comedy show and to be honest, it’s jester joke. Get it? Just a joke?