Bob The Drag Queen And Monét X Change: Some Tea, Some Shade RuPaul's Drag Race Season 8 winner Bob the Drag Queen and All-Stars 4 contestant Monét X Change dish about discovering drag, choosing their stage names, and hosting their podcast Sibling Rivalry.
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Bob The Drag Queen And Monét X Change: Some Tea, Some Shade

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Bob The Drag Queen And Monét X Change: Some Tea, Some Shade

Bob The Drag Queen And Monét X Change: Some Tea, Some Shade

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  • Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

This is ASK ME ANOTHER, NPR's hour of puzzles, word games and trivia. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Now here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.

(CHEERING, APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Thank you, Jonathan. It's time to welcome our special guests. You know them from "RuPaul's Drag Race," and they co-host the podcast Sibling Rivalry. Please welcome Bob the Drag Queen and Monet X Change.

(CHEERING, APPLAUSE)

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: I agree. I agree.

EISENBERG: Thank you so much for joining me. This is so exciting.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Now, right off the bat, for those of you who don't know, how did you both come to your drag names? Monet, let's start with you.

MONET X CHANGE: OK, mine is really simple. So I am a born and raised New Yorker. Anyone else a New Yorker, yeah?

(CHEERING)

MONET X CHANGE: And I was sitting at Dallas BBQ on...

(CHEERING)

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Nice.

MONET X CHANGE: ...The one on 42nd Street 'cause I'm a classy lady. And...

(LAUGHTER)

MONET X CHANGE: ...Looking across, I was, like, I want a really cute, like, punny drag name. So I'm looking at all these things. There was, like, a "Ripley's Believe It Or Not." I'm like, that's not cute. And then I was like...

(LAUGHTER)

MONET X CHANGE: ...Oh, money exchange - I was like, currency exchange. And I just put an accent and a T. Then I was Monet X Change.

(CHEERING)

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: Didn't you say that your name was almost Currencia X Change (ph)?

(LAUGHTER)

MONET X CHANGE: Yeah, I was going to do Currencia X Change, but I'm like, something about that smells like cultural appropriation. So I was like, let's not do it.

(LAUGHTER)

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: My name is Bob the Drag Queen, and - I agree.

MONET X CHANGE: (Laughter).

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: My original drag name - for, like, three years, I actually used to perform under the name Kitten Withawhip, which is from an old Ann Margret film. But no one ever got it, and then people would call me Kitty or Katie (ph).

MONET X CHANGE: And she always used to carry a whip. That was her shtick.

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: A bullwhip.

MONET X CHANGE: She carried her whip everywhere she went.

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: A 9-foot bullwhip literally everywhere I went.

(LAUGHTER)

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: And I was like, why is everyone scared of me?

(LAUGHTER)

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: And then one day, I was, like, doing karaoke, and this guy, like, forgot my name. And he goes, give it up for your host, Kate (ph). And I was like, oh, yeah 'cause Kate's a drag name. Hey, guys.

(LAUGHTER)

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: I'm Kate, Kate the drag queen. And then next time, I was like, thank you. Give it up for me, Kim, Kim the drag queen. And at the end of the night, I was like, and one more time for me, your host, Bob the Drag Queen. And I was like, that sounds really funny. And my friends are all like, that name is terrible; do not do that.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: And you were like...

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: And I was like...

EISENBERG: ...That is exactly why...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: That is exactly why I'm going to do it. Now, both of you started drag at different points in your life. Monet, were you not born in Saint Lucia?

MONET X CHANGE: Well, I was born in Brooklyn, but I...

EISENBERG: OK.

MONET X CHANGE: When I was 6 months old, I moved to Saint Lucia with my family.

EISENBERG: OK.

MONET X CHANGE: Yeah.

EISENBERG: You moved to Saint Lucia with your family. And what was your exposure to any drag in Saint Lucia?

MONET X CHANGE: Well, that's the thing, girl - little to none, you know? You know...

EISENBERG: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

MONET X CHANGE: Just me being even a little bit feminine was, like, a red flag for everyone on the Caribbean island. You know, they're all like, that's the one; we see him.

(LAUGHTER)

MONET X CHANGE: So, you know - so, like, I had none of that in my life, and it wasn't until I had moved back to Brooklyn when I was 10 years old. I started taking the bus and the train to school from fifth grade. Anyone else in New York was that kind of kid - yeah. So I would see all these things on the bus, and I would see all these things on the 1 train. And I remember going to high school and seeing drag queens getting off the train as I was getting on the train as I was getting on the train to go to school. I was like, these men are very weird and scary, and I will never have that as a profession. And here we are. You know what I'm saying?

(LAUGHTER)

MONET X CHANGE: So that was my first exposure to kind of what drag was and what drag could be and what drag still is in some places.

EISENBERG: Yeah. And you were a classically trained singer...

MONET X CHANGE: Yes, yes, yes.

EISENBERG: ...And some opera training.

MONET X CHANGE: Yeah. I am a basso profundo. I went to school for opera performance and music education, and I actually taught on general music K-5 for a year and a half. And I was, like, waking up at 5 a.m. to teach New York City kids - absolutely not.

EISENBERG: Right.

MONET X CHANGE: No, no.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Is there anything about being a classically trained opera singer that has translated over...

MONET X CHANGE: Oh, oh, for sure.

EISENBERG: ...To drag performance?

MONET X CHANGE: Opera and drag is the same thing. It's just that opera singers wear bigger lashes. You know what I mean? Like, it's like...

(LAUGHTER)

MONET X CHANGE: They're pretty much the same thing. And, like, going to school, I had to do classes like the singing actor. And I had to do all those things. A lot of things that really translate to drag and how to be a very present drag performer and lip syncing and looking people in the eye while you are taking their money - you know what I mean? - that's like...

(LAUGHTER)

MONET X CHANGE: ...A skill I learned as an opera singer, too. So, yeah - lots of parallels between opera and drag for me.

EISENBERG: Bob, you came to New York 22 years old to do stand-up.

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: Yeah. I moved here to be an actor and to do stand-up and to be a Broadway actor, but no one told me that if you can't sing, you probably won't be on Broadway.

(LAUGHTER)

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: No one told me that. I also grew up with a mom who told me I could do anything. So I was like, y'all don't even know how amazing I am.

(LAUGHTER)

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: My mom was always one of the moms who was like, you are just so handsome; why aren't you modeling? And I was like ma, I am handsome, but model - let's not get crazy.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: You're talking down your mom from your possible accomplishments. And your mother owned a bar growing up.

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: Yeah, she owned a drag bar in Columbus, Ga.

(CHEERING)

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: Yeah, and I was - I actually illegally would work at the club 'cause momma, like, couldn't get a babysitter. So she would put me in the booth.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: OK, this amazing mother just sort of changed.

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: I know, right?

(LAUGHTER)

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: Would put me in the booth to take the money, but I just, like - I had big hands. I was, like, a big kid.

MONET X CHANGE: I had - girl, look at...

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: I used to have big hands, but now I'm just so dainty.

(LAUGHTER)

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: So she would, like, put me in the booth to take the money, turn the lights off. So this, like, black, hairy hand would come out.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: How old were you?

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: I was probably - maybe, like, 9...

(LAUGHTER)

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: ...Maybe 10. I don't know.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: OK, so now let's talk about "RuPaul's Drag Race."

MONET X CHANGE: Oh, this is - I was on "Hoarders," not...

EISENBERG: Monet, your first runway challenge.

MONET X CHANGE: The infamous.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) The infamous. You made a dress out of yellow and green sponges.

(CHEERING)

EISENBERG: Which has become a thing.

MONET X CHANGE: (Laughter) It has.

EISENBERG: Have you been approached by any sponge companies for endorsements?

MONET X CHANGE: You know, I have emailed Brillo every day this week, OK?

(LAUGHTER)

MONET X CHANGE: Scotch Brite has stopped answering my DMs.

(LAUGHTER)

MONET X CHANGE: I was like, I don't understand why I have not. I'm like, girl, I could be - we could be making money together, girl. I'm like, get it together. But they have not approached me yet.

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: And, Bob, your catchphrase is purse first.

EISENBERG: Purse first, yes.

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: Which is something that was inspired by you working, like, putting a purse together on the show.

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: Yeah. I, like, would make these patterns for sewing. And Monet could tell you back before "Drag Race," I would like sew - I would sew literally every single day. I was never an amazing sewer, but I could sew really fast. And the things I could...

MONET X CHANGE: Wait. Wait. Can you say that again? You were never what?

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: An amazing sewer. But I was really good at winning "Drag Race" the first time.

(CHEERING)

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: So I sewed my dress really, really, really fast. And then I was like now - so I sat around. Then I was like, let me make a headband. Then I was like, make an apron. And I was like, I'm going to make a purse. So I made this purse, and everyone kept being like, that purse is gross. I was like, I know, but I really love this purse.

It's like - so I would just carry the purse every day. I put all my stuff in it. I also like - people have been recently like blaming me for the idea of branding queens. People are like, if Bob the Drag Queen never did a purse, we wouldn't have to hear brown cow stunning every episode.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Now, you both have a lot of projects going on individually. But you also do a podcast together called Sibling Rivalry.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: How did this start? Bob.

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: I was doing a show at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre in Berkeley, Calif. But I could never see Monet at all like - even less than normal because we were traveling. But now I was like over, you know, on the other side of the country.

MONET X CHANGE: And we talk every day.

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: Yeah. And we we always argue and, like, goof off. And I said, Monet, let's just do a podcast as a way to like keep in contact and like hang out and then like have a thing together.

MONET X CHANGE: If anyone doesn't listen, I'm normally right, but I think what makes me right is the fact that I'm a more informed human being.

EISENBERG: That's fantastic.

MONET X CHANGE: So it's just honest conversation and conversations we have all the time. And it's just us arguing for good or for bad.

EISENBERG: For both of you - you know, the drag community is evolving very quickly right now. And obviously, thanks to "RuPaul's Drag Race," it's never more popular and mainstream. What kind of mark do you hope to leave on the community? Monet.

MONET X CHANGE: I think that what we are trying to do is just be authentically ourselves. So for future generations of drag, I think what is going to be staying power is being the most authentic version of yourself as possible and also something that New York City's very signature for is queens being able to stand on a stage by themselves for an hour, two hours and just delivering the best of them and you guys sitting there and being entertained. You know what I mean?

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: All right. Are you guys ready for an ASK ME ANOTHER challenge? I know.

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: We watched Season 10. Monet does not do well at challenges.

(LAUGHTER)

MONET X CHANGE: OK. First of all...

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: Monet has been called everything except the winner of this week's challenge.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: All right. Monet, you studied opera.

MONET X CHANGE: I did.

EISENBERG: Bob, you're a theater kid. So you are going to play a special edition of our favorite game, This, That Or The Other. We're going to read you a lyric. You ring in and tell us if it's from an opera, a musical or a drag queens original single now available on iTunes.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Here we go. Here's your first lyric. Everybody loves a winner, so nobody loves me.

(SOUNDBITE OF , "")

EISENBERG: Monet.

MONET X CHANGE: A drag queen single.

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: Girl, that is Liza Minnelli in "Cabaret."

(CHEERING)

EISENBERG: Let's throw to the clip.

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: I was like, yes, Trixie Mattel.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CABARET")

LIZA MINNELLI: (As Sally Bowles, singing) Everybody loves a winner, so nobody loves me.

JONATHAN COULTON: Put on the costume and the face in white powder.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Bob.

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: That is from an opera.

COULTON: It was. It was "Pagliacci."

EISENBERG: Let's listen.

(SOUNDBITE OF OPERA, "PAGLIACCI")

UNIDENTIFIED SINGER #1: (As character, singing in foreign language).

EISENBERG: Some excellent lip-syncing happening right now.

(LAUGHTER)

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: Also to the people listening at home, I want to describe that right now I'm wearing a full-length Bob Mackie gown.

(LAUGHTER)

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: My hair is up in an elegant bun. And Monet is wearing the sponge dress.

(LAUGHTER)

MONET X CHANGE: Oh, no, you would be so lucky, OK?

EISENBERG: Here's your next one. My name is Roxxxy Andrews, and I'm here to make it clear. I know you love me, baby. That's why you brought me here.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Monet.

MONET X CHANGE: That is from the opera "The Magic Flute" - no, I'm kidding. It's "Roxxxy Andrews." That's "Roxxxy Andrews."

EISENBERG: Let's hear it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "READ U WROTE U")

ROXXXY ANDREWS: (Singing) I'm Roxxxy Andrews, and I'm here to make it clear. I know you love me, baby, that's why you brought me here.

MONET X CHANGE: Yeah. That's the aria from the...

COULTON: They call me Mimi. I do not know why.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Oh, Monet.

MONET X CHANGE: Oh, "La Boheme." Hello.

COULTON: Yeah. Let's go to the clip.

(SOUNDBITE OF OPERA, "LA BOHEME")

UNIDENTIFIED SINGER #1: (As character, singing in foreign language).

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: Monet, get off my gown.

EISENBERG: I like that...

(LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE)

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: They'll believe anything.

(LAUGHTER)

MONET X CHANGE: You are ridiculous. I can't.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Here's your next one. I'm an ordinary woman with feelings. I'd like a man to nibble on my ear.

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: (Singing) I'm an ordinary woman. It's musical theater. (Singing) I'd like a man to nibble on my ear.

EISENBERG: That's right. You sing it perfectly, Bob.

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: I love that song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LITTLE GIRLS")

UNIDENTIFIED SINGER #1: (Singing) I'm an ordinary woman with feelings. I'd like a man to nibble on my ear.

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: It's from "Annie."

EISENBERG: "Little Girls" from "Annie."

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: "Little Girls." OK.

EISENBERG: That's right.

(CHEERING, APPLAUSE)

COULTON: This is your last clue. Let's make it count. What a novel way to be forgotten. Who could know that limbo felt like this?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Bob.

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: That is from an opera.

COULTON: Let's go to the clip and see if you're right.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOLD ON")

JINKX MONSOON: (Singing) What a novel way...

MONET X CHANGE: You're wrong. You're wrong.

(APPLAUSE, CHEERING)

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: You didn't win.

EISENBERG: Monet is dancing around the stage, so happy that Bob got something wrong.

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: It's so rare. You also didn't win, Monet.

(LAUGHTER)

MONET X CHANGE: But something better happened. You were wrong.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: That was "Hold On" by Jinx Monsoon.

EISENBERG: All right. That's the game.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

EISENBERG: Congratulations, Bob. You won an ASK ME ANOTHER Rubik's Cube.

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: Woo.

EISENBERG: I know. Bob the Drag Queen is currently on tour. Monet X Change is on "RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars" Season 4 on VH1.

(CHEERING)

EISENBERG: And they will be back for another game later in the show. Bob and Monet, everybody.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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