Let’s get this roast a-cookin’. Every few years it has become a tradition on this show for the girls to get up and perform a roast, a time-honoured tradition that goes back decades and made popular by the Friars Club. It’s a strange kind of event where the entire point is to insult everyone in the room and make them laugh while you do it. It’s a very difficult form of comedy to master. If it’s handled correctly it can be a hilarious night for everyone involved. Handled poorly and it can convince an unstable human being to run for political office… so, will this be a hilarious night for everyone or are we going to have to deal with President Lady Bunny in about 140 years (I’m kidding, the planet will be dead by then)
So, let’s go full Fatal Attraction and boil this bunny.
Enter The Werkroom
We come back just after Latrice has been eliminated and it’s still shaking everyone. Manila is devastated because she clearly wanted to see her friend make it a little further, even Monique was clearly shaken by it. As expected, Manila pulled out Monet’s name from her titty. It’s not even a shock because everyone knew it was coming, but everyone seems to be angry at Manila’s choice. Honestly, there’s something refreshing about the fact that someone is actually picking based on something other than report cards because it means that there’s a goddamn reason for the queens to pick who goes home. They’re allowed to use strategy, to use friendships, to use just not liking someone to decide who will be sashaying away and it creates a little more drama than just “Oh, she did the worst, she’s going home”. That’s fine for a regular season, I want All Stars to surprise me.
This week we’re going to have a funeral/roast of Lady Bunny. The queens are asked to perform a eulogy that doubles as a roast and Monique gets to pick the order since she won last week. Interestingly this time we don’t have anyone trying to pretend that going first is the hardest job like they did in season 5. This time they’re actually being accurate and pointing out that the hardest part of a roast is going last because you have to not only be funny, but you have to prepare more material than anyone else and be ready to drop jokes during the roast itself. If you want evidence of this, find some of the old Comedy Central roasts where Lisa Lampanelli is the one going last and just look at the pile of papers she had with her, she’s crossing jokes out during the telecast because you have to prepare twice as much material as you’re going to need.
When Ru comes in to do her walk around (which, from what I’ve heard, she’s been doing the entire season but we’ve just never seen it because VH1 thinks they have something better to put on than two hours of Drag Race) it’s nice to see her offering everyone feedback again. She clearly seems to want to help everyone shine and we get a few really excellent moments with some of the queens. There’s an interesting exchange with Trinity where we get to see Trinity feeling nervous because, while she’s funny one on one, it’s different than being funny for an entire act. There’s also Manila just killing RuPaul with laughter which makes everyone else terrified that Manila could win this easily. On top of Ru’s advice, they also get a session with Cecily Strong, which is honestly a lot more interesting because Cecily clearly knows comedy. She seems to really love every single one of the queens that she’s working with and it’s nice to see how she goes in on everyone’s jokes and helps punch them up. She’s clearly such a big fan, which you can tell by how she delivers the iconic line “I don’t get cute, I get drop dead gorgeous” during the introductions to the judging panel, so she gets how to make sure these queens are giving their best
So, one by one, let’s talk about the individual roasts.
Monet X Change delivers a classic roast, chock full of great jokes that land effortlessly. Even the “patient zero” joke, the same one that we heard from Peppermint about Michelle Visage during the season 9 roast, landed wonderfully. She completely commits to the eulogy format and from the moment she comes in she gets the room going and has everyone laughing effortlessly. She really gave the room life.
Trinity killed the room. This might actually be worse than her season 9 roast because at least that one was so over the top that it was funny. This is just painful. What sucks is that I get what she was trying to do, she was doing a character that’s so self-absorbed that they’re more concerned about their nails than about the person they’re eulogising and that could be a great framework to wrap a performance around… but you need jokes to wrap around it and there were none of those here.
Monique Heart took us to church and I could’ve watched this for an hour. I would actually go to church if the preacher was like Monique. Every joke was not only hilarious but delivered with so much energy that it was impossible to look away. The editors might be trying to be shady by cutting in that clip of Valentina saying she didn’t get the jokes but the joke is mostly in the performance, how Monique delivered her roast was the reason that it worked. Her jokes may have been just above average if you were to write them down, but it’s all in the delivery and her delivery was amazing.
Naomi was pretty. She was really pretty, I mean that makeup was great and the outfit was right, her hair was just stunning… oh, sorry, I forgot she was doing a roast. That’s OK, she clearly forgot she was doing a roast too because she forgot to bring a decent joke with her. At least Trinity had a concept (that didn’t work) Naomi just had nothing. There was no conceptual idea for how to present her roast, there were no jokes, there was nothing about this set that was worth watching. It’s by no means the worst roast set I’ve ever seen because I saw The Situation try and do a roast so my bar is obscenely low, but it’s definitely the worst of this roast so far.
Valentina also had an idea, opening with a reference to the infamous mask incident was a unique idea… in theory. In practice, it was the most awkward thing because the best joke she had was “I couldn’t finish my eye makeup’. After that, her jokes just felt mean and poorly thought out, like she didn’t even change a single word after her session with Cecily. Her last roast in season 9 was enjoyable because she brought manic energy to it and you almost felt like she didn’t understand what she was saying, but here there was none of that charm.
Manilla comes out, does a great bit of physical comedy and delivers the best set of the night. Her jokes are sharp and brilliantly written and she does something that no one else thought to do (Or at least, what no one else was shown doing in the edit of the episode) and she roasts everyone else on the dais along with Lady Bunny. It was a smart hilarious set that would’ve been a fantastic closer… and then the dead bitch sat up.
Yeah, the roast ends as all roasts should end, with the guest of honour getting a chance to return fire. I honestly wish they’d done this in the previous roasts, having Michelle or Ru roasting the girls with professionally written roast jokes would’ve been hilarious. Lady Bunny shows them all how it’s done, roasts everyone flawlessly and really made the roast worth watching
Runway Top and Bottoms
The runway is Angelic White, a perfect counterpoint to the mourning black that everyone’s been showing in the roast.
Monet comes out with a bodysuit, a long train and a pope hat. It’s a really nice look, I love that the train became a carpet for her to walk down, I enjoyed the reveal of the Sacred Heart on her chest plate and everything about the outfit looked lovely. I mean, it’s another bodysuit and we’ve seen that so often from Monet that it’s up there with the pussy cat wigs but hell if Bianca can wear the same outfit 12 times and still win, why can’t Monet?
Trinity comes out with a gloriously extravagant outfit that looks like it should be worn on a stage while singing opera. Everything about it is gorgeous, from the giant boa that covers one shoulder to the wings on her head to that damn train that seems to just float behind her. Say what you will about how her comedy set went (and I did) but her look on the runway is the kind of elegance that we’ve come to expect from Trinity.
Monique Heart comes out with her own version of the sacred heart and an asymmetrical dress and oh my god it’s just perfection. It doesn’t need a wig, it barely needs anything. This is what Monique came here for, she came here to show that now she had the money to prepare ahead of time that she could be the best queen in the game and here she is being exactly that.
Naomi came out as Prince and it’s a really great reference to make. She sells it from the second she walks out from behind the stage and the only thing I can say negative about it is that I wish that the reference went all the way down instead of just from the waist up. Because from the waist down it’s just legs, which I know is in her brand but I loved what was on the top half so much that I wanted to see how much more could be done with the look. The look that she’s referencing took the same material to make pants out of it. Can you imagine how it would have looked if she’d had a pair of those lace pants tailored to her legs? I mean just saying, do the reference completely if you’re going to do it.
Valentina comes out wearing a silk gown covered in ostrich feathers and crystal knots and I’m torn. On the one hand, it’s a strange look that has a lot of attention to detail and is unlike anything we’ve seen so far… on the other hand, I genuinely thought that she just got regular rope and spray painted it silver. There’s a certain something about it that I like, but there’s also something about it that I just can’t get behind. I will say that, as usual, her face is stunning and that wig is to die for, but I just don’t know how to feel about the dress.
Manila Luzon comes out looking like she should be singing about how Hercules went from Zero to Hero. Her look is pure Grecian goddess with just enough spots of colour popping out to break up all the whiteness. Manila has always had an eye for how to put a look together and every little bit of fabric just seems to fall in the exact right place and even though her look does share a style with a few other girls (Because ‘Angelic’ conjures a very specific set of images), she stood out with how she assembled it and I love it.
After the roast and the runway, it’s revealed that Manila Luzon and Monet X Change are the top two. I definitely agree with Manila, though I could’ve put Monique in the top again no problems. What I refuse to accept is that everyone else is in the bottom. Monique doesn’t deserve to be in the bottom, she had a great set and she had a great runway look. This is not the time to suddenly say “Oh everyone who isn’t on the top is in the bottom” because that’s just bull… bull that’s about to get even worse.
Lip Sync For Your Life.
The lip sync song for the week is Jump To It by Aretha Franklin and from the start, both queens are delivering the kind of lip sync this song deserves. They’re light and fun, they know every word and they’re bouncing off each other effortlessly. The highlights of the performance are when they are just side by side and interacting, making it impossible to pick who should win because they’re both amazing, so Ru doesn’t pick, she declares them both winners which is so well deserved. They both got a tip and they both get to eliminate a queen… or, at least, they should have been able to pick someone but for no reason, the rules get suspended.
Well, I say no reason, Willam spilled the tea months ago that the week that Valentina has a high likelihood of going home is the week she gets saved. We’ll have full confirmation next week if both queens had Valentina’s name on their lipsticks but it looks kind of shady to wait until both girls did a really high-quality lip sync to pull the rug out from under them. It’s even shadier because this happens just before the eliminated queens return, meaning that whatever the challenge is next week it’s going to have uneven teams. We had this in AS2 which meant Roxxxy had to host by herself, but that was because Adore left and not because of a pointless cliffhanger. I don’t even know how to feel about this, this is up there with the bullshit of the jury from the last All Stars. It’s a pointless twist thrown in to try and shock the audience for literally 7 seconds because if they had just eliminated a queen this week and then had her come back with the returning queens, it would really have not seemed so obvious that Ru was saving a girl.
So, join me next week when we see just what the hell they’re going to make the girls do and if this was just a cheap attempt to save a queen who should’ve gone home.
Trinity: I’m made of preservatives so, bitch, I ain’t dying any time soon
RuPaul: Don’t overthink it, you’re giving a friggin’ eulogy to a dead whore
Manila: Dearly beloved… and Michelle Visage!
Lady Bunny: This can’t be hell, Bianca Del Rio isn’t here