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TCA press tour: RuPaul rocks the critics

January 9, 2009 | 12:24 pm

RuPaul came to the TCA press tour today. Where do we begin?

First of all, he looked debonair in a pin-stripe suit and a pair of leopard-print fly shoes, opting to leave the drag queen regalia to three of the contestants on his new Logo reality series, "RuPaul's Drag Race."  He insisted on standing at the podium, like Logo President Brian Graden, instead of sitting in the chair provided for him, mostly so he could do Bill Clinton imitations. Clearly, RuPaul had never been to TCA before, because no one laughed, leading him to observe:

"This is a somber lot, isn't it? Are you American? Do you speak English? Is there booze in your cups? Ladies, give them booze!"

That landed him some laughs. Then it was off to the races. Pity the pour soul who asked him what he owes to Tyra Banks.

"Nothing! And don’t you ever bring up that name again! Where is this man's car? Shannel, key his car. Security, get this man out of here! She learned everything from me darling!"

The critic attempted a follow-up: "But what if I said that the show reminds me of 'Top Model'?"

"Then you're retarded. Don't give me no Tyra ... ! That's it! I let her borrow all my used wigs. That's it!"

That ended that. Next, the drag extraordinaire was asked to tell the story of how the show, which premieres Feb. 2, was developed. Whose idea was it, anyway?

"The universe called and we answered that call. This was a show that had to be made. Whether it was come up at a toilet stall at Illusions on Santa Monica Boulevard, I mean, really, it doesn’t matter. The fact is that we have this show that is going to turn TV upside down. The whole world loves drag, whether they admit it or not.  We live in this culture that's hypocritical where we hate drag because it's misogynistic but we also love it because it's sparkly and shiny. This was a show that had to be made, darling! Egg? Chicken? It's here, eat it up! Egg? Chicken? Chicken, egg? What came first? I don't care! Give me my breakfast!"

We were still feeling sorry for the critic with the Tyra question when one of the more senior TCA members, Rodi Alexander, piped in with an unfortunate idea. She wanted the three contestants who were milling about the audience to stand on stage with RuPaul and answer questions. Oh boy! RuPaul immediately seized on an opportunity and urged Alexander to join all of them on stage. This made a lot of us wince because it was just a few press tours ago that the New Jersey critic fell at a party and broke her hip. But with the help of the host, she made it on stage.

"This is what press tour has been leading up to for 25 years," whispered South Florida Sun-Sentinel TV critic Tom Jicha, watching the tiny Alexander sandwiched between very tall and ornate people. When RuPaul mentioned it was funny that Alexander was up there, she replied: "What's funny is putting me up here with men, looking like beautiful girls, and then I have to go look at me when I go home."

"You're lovely!" RuPaul answered. "Isn't she lovely? Isn't she lovely?" RuPaul then started doing a bootie dance that he wanted Alexander to do, at which point a critic interrupted and asked a question, adding, "Sorry, Rodi, I don't want you to throw out your hip. I mean that sweetly."

— Maria Elena Fernandez