Sunday, January 30, 2022

Video: The time Madeline Kahn put drag and radical queer theater on primetime television

LGBTQ folks loved us some Madeline Kahn. She was highly talented, very funny, and could do anything. She was the only person I knew who could upstage Barbara Streisand and she did that in her first screen appearance. And, of course, she was a wonderful ally. As we cruise into a new week which will bring us probably more drama and eyerolling moments (particularly with the book banning madness going on around the country), let's have a light moment courtesy of LGBTQ video historian Matt Baume. Apparently, Madeline put drag on primetime television decades before RuPaul came on the scene:

Did you ever hear about the time Madeline Kahn used a failing sitcom to introduce America to radical queer theater, convincing ABC to broadcast an appearance by one of the most subversive drag artists in the country? This is the story of how Charles Ludlam, Charles Pierce, and Charles Busch revolutionized queer theater, and how their influence can still be found on your favorite drag shows to this day.