Sherry Vine on a Drag Race ‘Legends’ season and why she has ‘no interest’ in reading to kids

The Sherry Vine Variety Show star Sherry Vine with blonde hair and a silver dress in front of a pink background

New York drag legend Sherry Vine tells PinkNews why the second outing of The Sherry Vine Variety Show promises to be “bigger” and “faster” than the first.

When PinkNews speaks to Sherry Vine over Zoom to ask how she’s feeling ahead of the second season of the aptly named The Sherry Vine Variety Show, she’s “jacked up on coffee” and the final episode of the season hasn’t finished being edited yet.

It perfectly epitomises Sherry Vine’s brand of controlled chaos that makes the series such a hoot.

Each episode of season two – marked as different from the first by offering “a lot more content” and being “a little bigger, a little faster” – features an original song by the drag icon, as opposed to one of her trademark dirty parodies. That’s not to say that those songs are the highlight, though, for all episodes are equally as strong, with special cameos from the likes of Bianca Del Rio, Tammie Brown, Monét X Change, Kelly Mantle and more delivering side-splitting sketches a-plenty.

It’s a recipe for drag perfection and Vine’s comedic genius goes hand in hand with her political savvy: that much is evident in a sketch with Bianca Del Rio and Jackie Beat, where the trio promise not to become sanitised versions of themselves in order to “read to the children” – a topic that has sent conservatives into a tailspin round the globe.

In The Stepford Wives-esque sequence, the queens are one-by-one turned into robots hell-bent on steering clear of dirty jokes and double entendres. So what does Sherry Vine think about drag queens cleaning up their acts in real life? Her answer is characteristically sharp.

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“I don’t want kids at my show”, Vine declares. “It’s an adult show. And I’m not going to tone down or tailor my show so that 15 year olds can come; I’m not going to do that. I have no interest in doing that.”

The Sherry Vine Variety Show. (Froot.TV)

When prompted on the current (abhorrent) state of the US population’s relationship with queer people and performers, she pauses to take a breath before adding a caveat to her previous statement.

“The choice should be up to the parents. And if a parent wants to take their kid to a drag brunch or a drag reading, which is about not talking about sucking d**k, then they should have that right.”

Vine notes that the very discussion is itself a symptom of Republican spin. Conflama about whether a drag queen sings about anal sex or reads Disney, she says, is “a diversion.”

“It’s just a spin. Let’s not talk about guns, drag queens are the problem – that’s all it is. 100%. So that part of it makes me angry.”

Despite dealing with tricky topics in a good-humoured manner, both in an interview setting and on the show, it’s clear that Vine has a message – and it’s one that she’s communicating simply by virtue of putting content into the world as a drag queen.

Vine recently starred in a telethon for the Drag Isn’t Dangerous campaign, an intiative to help combat rising anti-queer laws and legislation across the US. The telethon, attended by the likes of RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Jinkx Monsoon and Ginger Minj, raised over half a million dollars and was, for Sherry, “like a sorority.”

That feeling of love doesn’t soften Vine’s next warning, though.

“Everyone, anyone that’s queer or trans or drag has to join the fight because it’s just the beginning”, she states. “This is literally the tip of the iceberg before they start to chisel away from all of our rights.”

The Sherry Vine Variety Show. (Froot.TV)

You’d be forgiven for thinking, given the previous talking points, that The Sherry Vine Variety Show is purely political. It’s not, and Vine’s broad and breezy answers bely the amount of hard work clearly put into the show.

One episode sees Vine poke fun at ‘look queens’ and the entire Drag Race franchise with a sketch set in a themed restaurant that serves as a reminder of the importance of being dumb for fun.

“My show, even though it’s dirty, is so stupid. It’s just dumb. I mean, it’s literally just dumb,” says Vine.

“My 85-year-old mother comes to my shows. And she’s like, well, it’s dirty, but I’m laughing so hard that I don’t kind of it doesn’t register to me that it’s offensive because it’s so funny.”

Vine’s inspiration, it transpires, is legendary comic Carol Burnett, who had her own groundbreaking variety show during the 1960s and 70s.

“Everything I do, like if I’m writing a sketch or whatever, I’m always have to stop and be like: ‘What would Carol do?’ Let’s bring it back to like, physical comedy and just allowing yourself to be silly and dumb.”

It’s a testament to Vine’s star power – built over decades rather than in just a few short weeks on a TV set in front of RuPaul – that she’s able to summon some of the most in-demand drag queens in the world for a sketch.

She recalls how Drag Race season six winner Bianca Del Rio “had just finished a 13-month world tour in South Africa, flew to LA from there, and the next day was in our studio, doing that episode before going for foot surgery.”

“And I kept saying, like, “Girl, you don’t have to do it, don’t worry.” And she’s like: “F**k you, b**ch. I’ll be there”. And she was.”

The Sherry Vine Variety Show. (Froot.TV)

It’s nigh-on impossible to talk to any prolific drag performer without mentioning the behemoth that is Drag Race, which looms large behind almost all queens who manage to crack the mainstream. Vine takes it in her stride, though, and pays the show its dues.

“If they had Drag Race 20 years ago, I would have crawled through glass [to get on],” she admits. “Who didn’t just want to be world famous TV star and make that kind of money? I mean, girl, please.”

While Vine “can’t do a death drop” – “If you see me do a death drop call 911, because it’s not on purpose” – a Drag Race appearance isn’t completely out of the question. There’s just one very special stipulation.

“Wouldn’t you love to see like a ‘Legends’ season with, like, me, Jackie Beat, Coco Peru?” she teases.

“I think it would be so fun, because you get to see all these old queens who love each other, but certainly aren’t afraid to rip each other. We’ve been pushing that for 15 years. I don’t think it’ll ever happen.

“But I’d say “Yes” in a heartbeat.”

The Sherry Vine Variety Show is out now on in the United States and Froot.TV elsewhere.

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