Direct from the brilliant comedic mind of Philadelphia drag performer Troy Hendrickson, Aunt Mary Pat DiSabatino has managed to do what is crucial for any comedian; to find relatability with audiences nationwide. From music to comedy to introducing her own equally madcap family to us, Aunt Mary Pat is slowly becoming one of our favorite cultural touchstones on the East Coast, and is poised to be taking her Delco sensibilities national in 2020. I sat down with Aunt Mary Pat (and the man behind her, Troy Hendrickson) to talk about her humble beginnings on stage, what it has been like taking her act on the road, and how she sees Aunt Mary Pat evolving past Delco and beyond!
Michael Cook: For those that have never seen Aunt Mary Pat on stage, how would you describe your performance style, and the character as a whole?
AMP: Aunt Mary Pat is an experience- I would say its definitely a variety performance. It’s a bit stand up comedy, a bit of musical numbers, a bit of improv, and a bit of self help. I don’t consider AMP as drag, per se. It’s more of character acting for me.
MC: Take me back; how did Aunt Mary Pat make her debut?
AMP: Aunt Mary Pat started as an accidental online viral video. I made a video making fun of my own mother after the Eagles won the Super Bowl, and it just took off and kept growing. After that, we developed the live show, music, and personal appearances.
MC: The “Delco” area is home for Aunt Mary Pat; tell me what makes the quintessential Delco girl?
AMP:She’s gotta be down for a good time, needs to realize only she can talk shit on her family and friends, but should defend their honor if anyone else does, goes “down the shore” in the Summer, loves the Eagles, not above Franzia, knows where the best hoagies are from, and can PARTY PARTY PARTY!
MC: When did you know that Aunt Mary Pat had the potential to go beyond the Delco border and could possibly go national?
AMP: It was pretty early on when I received a message from a lady in Germany. She thanked me for the videos and said while she didn’t understand the references, she found it so funny. I thought “well maybe I have something here”. I check the comments and would see articles about me from people with no connection to Philly and it was so mind blowing. I’m just happy people are connecting with the character the way that I intended.
MC: You recently completed a tour of sold out spots all over New Jersey/Philadelphia; what was it like to take Aunt Mary Pat on the road? Any fun experiences that happened?
AMP: I love touring. I love performing live. It is exhausting- but as soon as you see a crowd smiling, happy, and laughing, it gives you a second wind. Crazy things happen all the time- but I think the funniest thing is I did a brunch show, and we had a second seating that evening. A lady had to be physically carried out of the show because she took the term “party party party” too literally!
MC: You dove into the music scene last year with both an EP and a holiday album, and you even filmed music videos, making it a true musical experience. What was that whole process like?
AMP: I love making music. It’s probably my favorite part. I work with an amazing writer/producer named Kendoll King. We just have a blast working together. The music has been well received by my fans and followers too. I can’t wait to get back to work making new music; it’s absolutely in the plans.
MC:The Philadelphia drag scene is known to be eclectic, diverse, and dramatic. How would you describe such a multi-talented group of performers in Philadelphia?
AMP: It’s eclectic and it’s beautiful. We’re a small scene compared to California or New York…but we’re great. We really love our differences and our city. I am proud to have gotten my start in Philly.
MC: Your husband Larry, your daughter Kelly and your friend Rita Marie are all supporting characters that you have brought to life courtesy of Aunt Mary Pat. Can we expect to see more of them?
AMP: Totally! My goal is to have a stage show with all the characters involved in some way. I love this little universe we’ve fleshed out.
MC: The gay community has had a very trying year politically and things seem very dark at times. What do you think are the biggest issues facing our community and what do you see as what your part is in helping to address them?
AMP: The world is getting better. From where I was as a kid, to now- worlds apart; but the work isn’t done. Trans women are being murdered. People are dying. Queer people are fighting for visibility and equality. Our work isn’t done. I’m proud of this character for challenging stereotypes and gender normalities. I think we need to elect a presidential candidate who has a clear vision for us. I think we need to support each other and lift each other up. I will continue supporting my local LBGTQIA+ groups, and hopefully start a national fundraiser.
MC: So if you have a vision board; where do you see Aunt Mary Pat taking your career?
AMP: I want to do another album. I’m working on a scripted show for AMP. I want to do a live stage show. I want to tour new cities. Beyond that- I really want to be able to do other characters, perhaps try comedy as just Troy someday, and maybe work for Saturday Night Live? Who knows- I am just determined to entertain people and make them smile!
All Art Courtesy of Aunt Mary Pat (Facebook)
Follow All Things Aunt Mary Pat, including upcoming tour dates, here