It's that time of the month, when we start thinking about getting gifts for the nice (and naughty) people in our lives, kitsch-ing out our homes with lights, tinsel and trees, and snatching up tickets to Jackie Beat's music- and comedy-filled Yuletide extravaganza at Silver Lake's Cavern Club. This year the legendary drag performer has a monster of a show planned. We asked her about it.
L.A. WEEKLY: Your Christmas show is back! What's new this year?
JACKIE BEAT: First, it's a holiday show. … It is all-inclusive and I would never want to alienate anyone! Translation: I want everyone's money, no matter what bullshit they ascribe to this time of year!
What's new? New songs, a new costume and a new attitude! Just kidding. It's the same old bad attitude. If I had a good attitude, no one would buy tickets and I'd have to find a real job!
Tell us about the show's name, Menstrual Krampus.
This will be my 20th annual holiday show and I always explain that coming up with new material, and show titles, is the exact opposite of my dick: It gets harder every year! I have never really done the Krampus thing so I thought that would be cool and right up my alley. Krampus is the evil German anti-Santa who eats bad children. I love how here in America, if you're bad, you get a lump of coal in your stocking, but in Germany the bad kids get eaten alive by a cloven-hooved half-goat/half-demon with claws and horns. Happy holidays! Oh, plus I always think it's really sophisticated and subtle when a cisgender gay white man makes fun of words like “menstrual.” As they say, it's not rocket surgery!
What do you love about Christmas? What do you hate about it?
I love that it has such a special place in people's hearts. They have childhood memories they cherish and family traditions they follow each year. And there is nothing more fun than destroying all that by rewriting sacred songs and heartwarming hymns. My shows are like that scene in Female Trouble where Divine doesn't get the cha-cha heels she wants and goes ballistic, attacking her parents and knocking over the tree. But it's to music and it goes on for over an hour. I guess that pretty much describes what I also hate about Christmas. It's a love/hate relationship.
Let's talk about Jesus. Why is his birthday still such a big deal?
He had a great PR person, his own father. God was all like, “My only son wasn't just born in a barn — unto a virgin, no less — but also died for your sins, people! The least you can do is celebrate his fucking birthday!” Besides, everyone loves a button-nosed, blue-eyed white baby, right?
Your song parodies are epic! Please share a couple of your all-time favorite holiday “carols” and maybe a new one you'll be treating us to in the show. What's your process in creating them?
In addition to some of my classics — all available as MP3s on MissJackieBeat.com — I will be doing a few new songs this year. I'm doing my very arresting version of “Last Christmas” by Wham. You guessed it, it's all about how I spent the holidays in prison last year. I'm also doing “We Need a Little Christmas” from Mame, but it's about trying to write yet another new song for my holiday show. Very meta! “Waterfalls,” the '90s hit by TLC, is now a step-by-step guide for first-time turkey cookers called “Butterballs.” And I am also doing my version of Queen's “Bohemian Rhapsody,” about how you can enjoy all you want during the holidays and still stay slim. It's called “Bulimian Rhapsody,” and I'm really hoping it doesn't leave a bad taste in anyone's mouth.
You skewer pop culture like no one else — brutally and beautifully. Who are your biggest targets lately and why?
Trump, obviously. I hear a lot of comedians say they don't do material about Trump because it's too obvious. First, what's wrong with obvious? Second, I feel it is my duty to constantly remind people that this is not normal. Trump lies so much and says such disgusting, outrageous things that we are literally exhausted and no longer even reacting to it. To which I say, “Hell no!” This is not normal.
Drag is so popular now. What are your thoughts about this?
If I complain about Drag Race I will just sound like Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard bitching about the talkies. I think it's great that drag is so popular now, but it's a little difficult to deal with the fact that there are like 150 Drag Race losers taking jobs away from me. And I'm not even being mean — they didn't win. They're losers! But I'm not bitter.
What do you want for Christmas, Jackie?
I want everyone to come see my show. Here in Los Angeles all six shows have sold out, so we have added a Sunday matinee at 3 p.m. You can also come and try to get a walk-up. We sell less tickets online than the venue's capacity, so come have a margarita and give it a try. I am also doing the show in New York, San Francisco and San Diego, so visit my website MissJackieBeat.com to learn more.
And one more thing … I have just started doing a new podcast called Judge Jackie — it's exactly what you think it is — and I need everyone to check it out and subscribe to it on iTunes! You thought I was going to say “peace on Earth,” right?
Menstrual Krampus: The Best Holiday Show, Period! Fri., Nov. 30-Sun., Dec. 2, at the Cavern Club Celebrity Theatre (at Casita del Campo), 920 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake. brownpapertickets.com/event/3779177.