Bob the Drag Queen Is Ready to Make You Laugh at Stand Up Live in Phoenix

Bob the Drag Queen
Bob the Drag Queen Jacob Ritts
Bob the Drag Queen is coming to Phoenix.

The multitalented drag star has traveled around the U.S. with Shangela and Eureka O’Hara – her costars of the HBO unscripted series We’re Here – spreading love and joy and building community as they help people channel their inner strength through the power of drag performances. This visit, though, is not that.

Bob is coming to town solo to perform a one-show-only night of comedy on February 2 at downtown venue Stand Up Live. Fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race know not only that Bob was the winner, but that she could quickly credit her comedic skills as a huge chunk of that victory.

Stand-up has been a part of Bob’s career for well over a decade, and she has a couple of comedy specials under her glittery belt.

“I started writing material for stand-up about 15 years ago,” she tells us. “I just sat on that material for about two years, and then I did my first set in either 2008 or 2009 in a New York comedy club. That was also my first night of doing drag. The drag actually helped encourage me to get up on the stage.”

Stand-up is notoriously a tricky business, requiring some thick skin and mental toughness. For Bob, working in stand-up or drag, preparing mentally is the same. “All of my shows have an element of stand-up to them. If I’m hosting a show with other performers who aren’t doing stand-up comedy, or if I’m doing one of my drag shows with musical numbers in it, I’ll keep my jokes shorter and sweeter – and I’ll do more crowd-work, interacting with the audience – than if I’m doing a strict stand-up show.”

If you roll up to this special stand-up event, you’re going to get to know more about Bob. She’s got plenty of personal tea to spill. “I’m a black southerner living in L.A., and I lived in New York City for 12 years, so I have a lot of experiences to talk about. I really make content that centers around my experience as a person.”

She also wants you to know that you don’t have to know her through drag to dig her stand-up work. “My content (on this stand-up tour) isn’t all about drag, so you don’t have to be a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race to get my comedy – my comedy outside of drag shows tends to be based on my experience as a black person.”

In addition to working the comedy circuit, Bob is also excited that We’re Here has been renewed for a third season. “We were also nominated for a GLAAD Media Award (which recognizes branches of the media for their outstanding representations of the LGBTQ community). It’s the Outstanding Reality Series category which we won last year. I’m very proud of that.”

Bob knew the show would make an impression from the get-go. “When we did the pilot, I couldn’t see the whole vision because, in each town, we are filming three separate stories, but after I watched the first episode, I said to myself, “Wow, this is gonna have a huge impact.”

She says that a lot of the credit for the show’s success is thanks to the producers and the showrunner Peter LoGreco. “He’s a brilliant documentarian – the whole team is outstanding. I have no problem telling people they can trust us because I’ve seen how much integrity these storytellers have.”

As Bob and her fellow drag queens visit these different cities across the country to help people with their personal challenges, the broader perspective is often affected. Meaning? Sadly, too many residents in these spots are not so welcoming to this crew with nothing but good intentions. Thankfully, their openness and honesty lead to the opening of some minds. In every case, it makes for an emotional program.

Bob says it’s a mixed bag of emotions. “Sometimes it’s cathartic, sometimes emotionally draining, but it’s nice to share these experiences with people, and it is very rewarding.” She copes in the usual ways. “I don’t have any special coping tools or anything,” she says, laughing. “I cry, I talk to my friends, I eat, and I just kind of ride the rollercoaster of emotion and let it do its thing if I’m being fully honest.”

If you want to get to know Bob via an audio forum, she does the Sibling Rivalry podcast with Monét X Change. The pair will be taking that show on the road for some live podcasting events, yet another way to catch Bob in person. She’s down for the on-the-road life but wouldn’t mind a residency one day.

“I like performing for people in different places. I don’t necessarily love traveling, but I do love getting out and seeing people. To be honest, in a perfect world, I’d love to do a residency somewhere where I didn’t have to leave very often (laughs), but I do like going out and performing for people,” she says.

“Making people laugh truly gives me my happiest moments, and when you travel, you get to see more people.”

Bob the Drag Queen. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 2. Stand Up Live, 50 West Jefferson Street. Tickets are $30 to $40.
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Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young