With a career traversing three decades in music, film and TV, Saturday Night Live welcomed its doors to the legendary RuPaul Charles this past weekend. In a moment some would consider far overdue, the Queen of Drag made herstory as the first drag entertainer to host the live show.
Ru’s SNL gig signals a tangible benchmark, where queer culture has been increasingly more embraced in mainstream entertainment. The Queen of Queens took the opportunity to connect with the more 9 million viewers at home and update Americans with some fun new rainbow-striped terminology. Considering that large responsibility, three words came to mind as Ru took the stage for his opening monologue: “You Better Work!” And work he did!
For his opening monologue, Ru appeared out of drag, sporting a bright pink suit tailored to the gods! After a quick one liner referencing his hit VH1 show RuPaul’s Drag Race, he delivered a few cheeky zingers about the good ole days.
“Back then, New York was full of drugs, streetwalkers, and seedy nightclubs,” he said. “But it wasn’t all good.”
For those surprised to see the star dress out of character, Ru reminded viewers what drag is all about. He said, “You’re born naked and the rest is drag. So whatever you put on after you get out of the shower, baby that’s your drag” Ru followed that by telling the audience not to take life too seriously, with the exceptions of love and kindness. “Just have fun,” he said. “If you follow your heart, dare to be different and use all the colors in the crayon box, who knows where you’ll end up. If you’re lucky, you just might find yourself hosting Saturday Night Live.
The SNL host brought his comedic chops to several skits, both in and out of his signature drag look. Specifically, “The Library” skit is a must watch! Ru’s standout moment of hilarity came in the reading room, where he redefined the importance of reading for the sake of the children. Playing himself, Ru visits the San Diego Public Library in the sketch to remind the boys and girls that reading is fundamental! Naturally, Ru’s take on “reading” involves shading classic childhood books with a punchy dig all while wearing some fabulous eyewear. The sketch was Ru simply teaching us that reading is just “personalized insults wrapped inside glorious word play.”
Ru even came for James with his giant peach, as well as The Very Hungary Caterpillar, who is clearly wearing the wrong shade of foundation!
As for poor Madeline, Ru pointed to the book cover and said, “I have bad news, child. The Eiffel Tower is not in the woods. Girl, you betta draw France right, bitch.”
He continued, “Somebody’s trying to act like they’ve been to Paris. You ain’t never been there, girl.”
Musical guest Justin Bieber also added to the episode, performing a slowed-down rendition of “Yummy” and closing the show with “Intentions,” which included a cameo appearance from Quavo. He may not have had a musical surprise Justin and Quavo, but Ru did not disappoint in his first SNL hosting spot. Hopefully this is the first in a long line Queens to host future episodes.