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Digital Subscriptions > Gay Times > November 17 > “Do I feel like a mother hen for London’s queers?I’m 45 now! I’m a daddy!”

“Do I feel like a mother hen for London’s queers?I’m 45 now! I’m a daddy!”

We got a little motto, always sees us through, when you’re good to Mama, Mama’s good to you… And the Mama – sorry, daddy – we’re talking about in this instance is acclaimed drag star, cabaret performer extraordinaire, and matriarch of London’s queer scene, the one and only Jonny Woo. Since 2003, Jonny has donned the highest of heels and strutted his stu across the stages of ­e National ­eatre, ­e Royal Opera House and even his own “unsafe” space of ­e Glory, in East London. Now, ahead of his critically-acclaimed Un-Royal Variety show at the Hackney Empire, we deconstruct drag, gender and political correctness with the man who’s literally seen and done it all.

The Royal Variety is your strand for mainstream entertainment, so I thought it would be nice to do an alternative for that! What you wouldn’t show the Queen.

Although it’s not about producing stuff that’s offensive or being like, ‘Oh, let’s just fucking show our arseholes’ – because you wouldn’t show that to the Queen! But more like queer, political and provocative stuff.

With the first Un-Royal Variety last year, it was just going to be my pals and I thought, oh, Myra Dubois! David Mills! Gateux Chocolat! What a great variety show – that’ll be brilliant. And then the European Union referendum happened and I was like, ‘Oh fuck.’ Everyone got really annoyed and pissed off, so the show had to be political. So last year, given the nature of the climate we were in, it had a political vibe to it.

2016 was – according to everybody – the worst year ever. I don’t think it was quite the worst year ever, but there were a few things that happened – and 2017 is it’s big, bad, ugly sister! So there’s plenty of material and stuff happening that’s feeding into the narrative of this year. There’s stuff I’m playing around with like, ‘How do I, as the host, create original material around all these ideas, but still keep it upbeat, exciting and fun?’ Obviously we’ve got all the artists bringing stuff to the table, and I’m not dictating to them, but by the very nature of the work they do, there’ll be some kind of political commentary.

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About Gay Times

Call Me By Your Name is on everybody’s lips and we’re excited to deliver a world exclusive, and comprehensive, interview with the cast in the latest issue. Ahead of his critically-acclaimed Un-Royal Variety Show at the Hackney Empire, we deconstruct drag, gender and political correctness with the man who’s literally seen and done it all: Johnny Woo. In our Girls’ Club feature, acclaimed photographer Laura Lewis takes us into the heart of Tokyo’s gay district for an intimate look at one of the city’s safe spaces for its trans community. With a same-sex marriage vote tearing Australia apart, we speak to campaigners to find out why this plebiscite is about much more than getting hitched. MNEK invites us into his hit-making studio where we discuss the intersectionality of race and sexuality, self-care and the journey we go on as queer people to find out who we really are. Elsewhere in the issue, we jump into bed with Sean Teale, star of the horror-comedy Mr B&B; we dive into the troubled waters of Eliza Hittman’s Beach Rats; Sir Derek Jacobi on awards, marriage and the secrets to a happy life; Graham Patrick Martin on surviving James Franco; Kathy Griffin; Judith Light; Marc Almond; Tori Amos; plus, style, travel, opinion and much more!
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