The series pays tribute to the variety shows of the 70s, like Sonny & Cher and The Carol Burnett Show with original songs, comedy sketches, interviews and ad parodies. Sherry’s season two guest list sounds like a “who’s who” of drag fabulousness – including Jackie Beat, Bianca Del Rio, Tammie Brown, Monét X Change, Kelly Mantle, Drew Droege, Varla Jean Merman, Ongina, Pandora Boxx, Honey Davenport and Manila Luzon.
Sherry has been entertaining audiences for over 30 years. Her hilarious parody videos have been viewed over 20,000,000 times on YouTube. She opened for Bianca Del Rio on her recent “Unsanitized” tour and she and Jackie Beat recently competed on Drag Me to Dinner, facing off against Jinkx Monsoon and Bendelacreme.
We had the distinct pleasure of chatting with Sherry about the new season and lots more in our exclusive (and entertaining) interview.
I am so glad to get to talk to you. I feel like now I’ve completed my “drag Mount Rushmore”. I’ve chatted with RuPaul, Coco (Peru), Varla Jean (Merman), Lady Bunny, Peaches (Christ), Jackie (Beat) and now you.
Oh my God, I’m the youngest out of all of them! I’m totally kidding. I’m not, but I’m in the middle there.
Well, it’s an honor to talk to you. I’m a very big fan. I saw you open for Bianca on her tour and you were fantastic.
Oh my God, that was so much fun. You know, that is honestly the best job. It’s the best because I get to perform for all those people and have more people know who I am and I’m treated like a rockstar, but it’s 100% not about me. And it’s great. You know, like I don’t have any of the stress of like, are tickets selling da, da, da? You know what I mean?
So, let’s talk about the show. Congratulations on the second season.
Thank you so much.
I saw the first two episodes and I thought they were fantastic and I love that you pay tribute to the variety shows of the past. When you filmed the first season, the world was quite different. What was the production process like for the new season?
Oh my God. It was like night and day from the first season. I mean, I don’t usually like to pat myself on the back at all. I’m very critical of everything I do, but when I watched season one, I’m like, I literally don’t know how we did it. There were so many restrictions and rules and boundaries and everybody was kind of terrified and we kept saying, should we do it? Should we do it? And we were going to wait, and I was like, you know what? This is the best time to get Bianca and Alaska and all these people because they’re sitting at home. And so, it was very challenging and so this time we were just like, okay, we don’t have to be in one building. Let’s find as many locations as we can. We can use more actors. Like in season one, Mario Diaz literally plays all the male roles because it just made it easier than trying to get someone else and test them and stuff. So anyway, we had free reign this time to do what we wanted to do.
You open the episodes with original songs and I love “Grab ‘Em”. I’ve already got. Is it harder to come up with new songs from scratch or to do parody songs?
It’s a lot harder, certainly for me. I mean, I’ve been doing parodies for over 30 years and I have such a process in place for how I write a parody. And to do an original song, was kind of stepping out of that box for me. “Grab ‘Em” is the perfect example – I have never, ever in my entire life done that where we were in the studio, they were just kind of coming up with melodies and guitar riffs and stuff like from scratch. And Barb Morrison, who produced it, said, “just make up some lyrics”. I’m like, “Oh no, no, no, no, no, no. I need to take it home and listen to it a thousand times and spend time with it and see what comes to me.” And they were like, “Just make something up. If you don’t like it, don’t use it.” And I was like, “Okay…this isn’t gonna work.” And what it ended up being came off the top of my head in like 20 minutes in the studio.
Well, you couldn’t tell. It’s a wonderful song. What are the other songs that are going to be on the EP?
I wanted everything to have a completely different celebration of a different genre. So “Grab ‘Em” is kind of our pop rock song. Episode two has a song called “Only One”, which is a total sixties girl group homage like the Ronettes and the Shirelles. And then episode three has this song called “Schlong” because I had to have one that was just stupid, filthy and silly.
Episode four is a song called “Sex in Heaven”, which is our disco song that Jackie [Beat] wrote the lyrics to, and it’s me, Jackie Honey Davenport and Mario Diaz. And then the fifth song…I was kind of obsessed with Legendary on HBO and I was like, I have to do a house song. I was in New York City going out every single night in the early to mid-nineties, so house was like my life, Uhhuh. And so this song that markaholic (Mark Byers) did called “Elements” is like deep vogue the house down. It might be my favorite just because it’s so fun and the sound is amazing and like I said, it’s really stepping out of my box. I mean, girl, when you see me duck walk, you’re gonna fall on the floor.
The show is a homage to a variety shows and comedy shows, who were some of your favorites growing up?
Well, the one that I talk about all the time, because there just is no one that’s a bigger influence on me, is Carol Burnett. My mom will tell a story of me being like three or four years old and watching The Carol Burnett Show and sitting on the floor as close to the TV as I could and pointing to it and being like, that’s what I want to do. It just had singing, dancing, acting, comedy, being silly, gorgeous costumes, everything in one show and Saturday Night Live can be fun at times, but it just doesn’t have all of that.
Like, to me it’s funny and they have commercial parodies and stuff that I love, but, and some musical acts, but I wouldn’t call it like glamorous, like Cher, Marie Osmond, Barbara Mandrell, Carol Burnett, all you know, in Mackie. It was just so gorgeous and campy without trying to be campy.
Well, I do have a request for season three. If you could do one open where you do like Cher on her variety show where she used to come out with that wrap on and then like sing the first couple of like bars slow and then whip it off and reveal a fabulous Bob Mackie creation…
Girl, you read my mind. I’ve wanted to do that forever. Season one, we just couldn’t put it together physically. But “Schlong” does kind of open like that. There’s me, just very still standing there and a big reveal. But yes, I agree. I’m obsessed at how Cher would do anything like a rock song but start it as a ballad for 30 seconds and then it would kick in. I loved that.
What is it like to be a drag icon?
Well, I mean, to be honest, I never think about that. I have kind of embraced it. I used to kind of be like, oh, don’t call me a legend because I was trying to be modest, but now I feel like after 32 years and with all the queens that come out of Drag Race that are so famous and stuff, I was like, okay, you know what? I have paid my dues. I just am very happy and blessed that I’ve been able to, after 32 years, still be relevant and be able to perform and that people still want to see it. So that’s all I can say. Hallelujah. At this point, there’s nothing else that I want to do or would or could do. You know what I mean? I’m not going back to school at my age. So, I’m hoping that I can just kind of keep it going for another 20 years.
You’ve done drag, you’ve done music, you’ve done comedy. What is the most fulfilling for you?
Well, to be honest, and I’m not just saying it because we’re talking about the show, but the variety show was my childhood dream and to see it realized gave me so much joy. I write it. I’m involved in every single little thing from start to finish, and I love that. And what I love about OUTtv is that they’ve never said no. It’s like 100% artistic freedom. Can we do this? Can we say this? Can someone show their ass? And they’re like, uh, okay. They’ve never said no, and that is kind of rare. It’s very fulfilling. And then second, nothing fulfills me more than performing on stage. Like when we do Golden Girlz, or even if I’m doing my cabaret show or opening for a Bianca in front of 1500 people, it’s like I can lie down to go to bed just 100% fulfilled and happy.
Is there anything that you haven’t done yet that you still want to tackle?
I’m going write my memoirs, which is going be kind of a fiction/non-fiction thing, but I am not going to do that while my mother’s still alive (Laughs) I’m kidding. I mean, I could and just not ever tell her and not let her read it – because it will be very salacious, of course. I’ve always wanted to do a classical play like Three Sisters or Hedda Gabler with drag queens. I think that would be amazing. I’ve never really tackled a classic play on stage in drag.
Besides The Sherry Vine Show, what else, do you have anything else in the works?
Next week I leave to start a tour of a new show called Everybody’s Girl, and I’m literally doing it all over the United States and Europe, so people can go to sherry vine.com to see where I will be and all of that. And we are doing the Golden Girlz in New York at the end of June and then again in LA in August.
Sherry Vine Answers the Socialite Seven
Who has been the biggest influence on you?
What are three things you can’t live without?
Oh my gosh. Okay. Coffee is number one. Exercising, because I’ve got to stay snatched and the ocean.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Littering. I’m not very strong politically or whatever, but it just, I want to pull my hair out when I see people walking down the street and they just throwing stuff down.
What talent or superpower would you like to wake up with in the morning?
Oh, honey, I want to be Mystique.
If you weren’t a drag performer, what career would you have chosen?
I’d probably be teaching acting.
If they made a movie of your life, who would you want to play you on the big screen?
Well, I think it’s pretty obvious that it would have to be Charlize Theron.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Create your own path. Don’t rely on anybody else to do it for you. Don’t try to copy someone else’s path. Create your own path.
The Sherry Vine Variety Show’s second season premieres on OUTtv on Thursday, June 8. You can also catch Sherry on Drag Me to Dinner on Hulu. Follow Sherry on Instagram, YouTube and her website, check out one of her upcoming live shows and listen to her music on Spotify.