Christmas is NOT Canceled: Interview with Performer Jackie Beat
“Christmas is NOT Canceled” is a hilarious new show by theatrical star Jackie Beat who is famous for hosting big, bawdy, bold and ballsy holiday shows full of festive freak outs.This year the performance will be virtual and live-streamed and feature Alan Cumming, Amanda LePore, Elvira, Margaret Cho, and more.
Jackie Beat has been a darling of the drag scene since 1989 and even had the opportunity to tour with Roseanne Barr and was the subject of the documentary film titled “My Name is Jackie Beat” which featured commentary from Joan Rivers, Margaret Cho, and Roseanne. Jackie recently discussed this years holiday spectacular via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you discover your love for theater and how did you think up your holiday freak-out series?
Jackie Beat (JB): The holidays have always stressed me out. Family fights, over-eating, overspending, drinking too much. Plus, there’s just something so fun about taking songs that everyone loves and remembers from their childhood and ruining them forever. And my love for theater is just like my gorgeous singing voice, razor-sharp sense of humor and pear-shaped body: I was simply born with it!
MM: So, how do you decide what to freak out about each year?
JB: I watch the news.
MM: How do the shows differ each year and has one stood out in particular?
JB: It depends on what is going on in world news, politics and pop culture. This year, there is obviously a lot of material about the Coronavirus and everything that goes with it — like self-isolating, wearing face masks and eating everything in sight while sobbing uncontrollably.
MM: How long did it take you to write this year’s piece and what inspired its content?
JB: I actually write very fast. I whipped up seven new songs in less than a week. And most of the in-between songs banter is improvised, which is very difficult without an actual audience to interact with. And again, what inspired the new material is current events.
MM: Is it sort of trippy to be broadcasting it online due to the modern-day epidemic?
JB: I have learned that if you are a truly entertaining person, then it translates. It’s different, but it can be done. I’ve kept really busy during all of this and have done dozens of episodes of my cooking show “Quarantine Cuisine” and my talk show “Best Friends Day Wednesday” on Instagram Live. I have also done many digital drag shows and Zoom parties. All I need is a ring light — and two hours of makeup.
MM: How difficult was it to move this to an online space?
JB: Thanks to everything I just mentioned, not difficult at all. I always try to focus on the positive so I’ll just say that as much as I miss touring and traveling, it is nice not having to deal with one of the busiest and most-annoying airports in the world, LAX, and I don’t have to wear shoes when I do a show now!
MM: What segments of this show are your personal favorites and why?
JB: I’m very excited about all my fabulous special guests!
MM: Why do you think this series has remained so popular over several decades?
JB: Because it’s good?
MM: What are your favorite Christmas memories from childhood or adulthood?
JB: My mom was born in Italy, so all my best holiday memories are about the amazing food she made. We would always have cheese tortellini in chicken broth and these special imported nougat candies she bought at the only Italian store/deli in Scottsdale, Arizona. I also remember
her playing the Italian language version of “Frosty The Snowman” on the stereo. It was strangely hilarious.
MM: How did you get major stars like Alan Cumming on board?
JB: Me and the show’s producers are blessed to know a lot of amazing, talented people. And we simply asked them to make a video telling me what they want for Christmas. So, it wasn’t like asking for a kidney. A lot of my friends are fellow drag queens like Bianca Del Rio, Alaska, Jinkx Monsoon, Nina West, BenDeLaCreme, Tammie Brown, The Vivienne, Peppermint, Coco Peru, Varla Jean Merman, Willam, Sherry Vine, Heklina, Peaches Christ and Elvira — yes, I consider her a drag queen- and they obviously had to be all dolled-up in their videos so I really appreciate them taking the time and effort to be involved. I love Alan Cumming, but he’s not wearing a lick of makeup in the video he sent me!
MM: What projects are coming up for you soon and is there anything else that you would like to mention?
JB: This is the only project I care about right now. The only thing I want to mention is that the world is a real horror show, so give yourself and perhaps even your friends and family the gift of laughter by buying them a ticket to my show! Oh, and it is NOT kid-friendly, sorry. Unless you don’t mind your children hearing a big man/lady clown say the c-word!
“Jackie Beat: Christmas is NOT Canceled can be seen:
Saturday, December 12 at 5 PM PST / 8 PM EST / 10 PM GMT.
Saturday, December 12 at 8 PM PST / 11 PM EST.
Sunday, December 13 at 7 PM GMT / 2 PM EST / 11 AM PST.
General admission is $20 per device and VIP tickets are $35 (includes show + afterparty). To purchase tickets and for more information visit www.SpinCycleNYC.com