From New Jersey to New York City to Philadelphia and back, Pissi Myles has been sprinkling her own brand of comedy all over the East Coast for years. It was not until she made her stunning appearance at the impeachment hearings that the entire nation started to take note of what many of us already know; Myles, much like the volume of her hair, is a force to be reckoned with. From the cover of the New York Post to appearances on almost every major news channel, the LGBT community saw one of their own offering representation, directly in the hallowed halls of the House of Representatives. As Myles took a breather from suddenly being the newest political pundit of the moment, I caught up with her to chat about how this opportunity came her way, what it was like finding herself on the cover of national newspapers, and what it’s like being one of the newest political voices for the LGBT community.
Michael Cook: Pissi, you are suddenly the name on all of our nightlife and political lips! Tell me how it all feels to be getting this much attention?
Pissi Myles: It feels wonderful! I don’t think any drag queen is one to turn down a little bit of national press attention, but I have to say it’s a bit unexpected. It didn’t occur to me until I was getting out of my uber at the Longworth Building just how important my presence there would be to people.
MC: So take me back, how did you end up invited to the impeachment hearings?
PM: Well Jack Bury, the political director of Happs (a start-up open-source, live broadcasting news app) saw my show “Pigs in a Blanket” at Barracuda the Sunday before the hearings, and he came up to me after the show to say that he liked me and thought I was funny. I said, “Thank you!” and he said, “I want to bring you down to Washington D.C. as a reporter for the impeachment hearings.” I laughed! I thought he was kidding, but three days later I was walking into the congressional office buildings with a camera and an opportunity to make some noise.
MC: An important question; how does one choose what to wear to the impeachment hearings?
PM: Well in this case, it was very easy! Jack saw me wearing that red dress at Barracuda, and he was like, “Wear that!” so I did!
Were you surprised at the reaction? You were on the cover of the New York Post! Did you hear from anyone that truly shocked you?
I was absolutely gobsmacked. I really didn’t expect that reaction from the media. As far as I was concerned, I was there to do my job. But of course, going anywhere in drag is a political statement, so I was glad to be given the opportunity to speak up for the disenfranchised. I was really glad to hear from a lot of people! RuPaul, for one, tweeted me, which was a bit surreal. I was also so, so touched to hear from Missi Pyle, my namesake! She has always been so kind and supportive, and when everything started to happen, she reached out with such kindness and encouragement. She is a really awesome person! Beyond that, I was really grateful to be featured on NPR. I mean, what a fucking thrill!
MC: From The Adam Sank Show to The X Change Rate, you appeared all over discussing the event. What was it like being courted to appear and express your own political views?
PM: It felt right, if I’m being honest. I’m a very political person, and I’m glad to be able to share that with people. I’m also a funny person, so it was nice to be able to make some jokes and have people hear them on a wider scale. What has been the reaction from people at your shows? Nightlife and politics tends to not mix at times… Everyone has been so excited for me! I’ve gotten countless messages from people who were touched or inspired by my presence in the capital. The next day I had my show at Pieces in NYC, one of my favorite shows to do, and such a wonderful crowd showed up and laughed and listened to me. It was such a gratifying experience to be able to be the clown I always am, but then to get to sing “Over the Rainbow” and share why that song is a gay anthem, how it is political for the queer community and how it is about being visible and striving toward greatness. It was a humbling and wonderful experience.
MC: What was it like being in those hallowed chambers? Did you happen to see Mitch McConnell or Ted Cruz slither past? If so and you had a chance to speak with one of them, what would you say?
PM: If I had the “chance” to meet Mitch McConnell, I’d probably ask him if the skin on his neck was so stretched out from trying to push his head up his own ass. He is a selfish man with no respect for this country or his constituents, and he deserves to lose his place in the Senate. His partisan antics are offensive and should offend people on both sides of the aisle.
MC:You also got the opportunity to speak with several of the candidates about their issues and what their particular platforms are? What did you get the most out of those interactions? Anyone surprise you?
PM: Well, sort of. I got to chat with a few of the Democratic Presidential hopefulls at the Democratic debate in Atlanta, which I was covering for Happs. I got to chat with a couple of the candidates about Trans rights, since it was the Trans Day of Remembrance. While they all spoke very eloquently about the need to protect Trans people from violence moving forward, I would have loved to have heard some specific steps they might have planned on taking moving forward, but it was nice to know that the candidates I spoke to supported Trans rights and had a mindset to support measures taken to protect our Trans family in the future, a stark contrast to what we’re seeing in the current administration.
MC: Tell me; can we expect to see you at more of these events? Pissi Myles goes to the Iowa Caucus maybe? Pissi hosts the next Democratic debate?
PM: You certainly can! I’ve already been talking to the folks at Happs about future opportunities to report with them… even possibly in Iowa! If there’s an opportunity to effect change, or a venue with an ice cream bar, you can expect to see Pissi Myles!
MC: What do you want to see for our political future as a country?
PM: Frankly, I want to see progressive policy put into action with regard to climate change and gun control. I want to see these “Religious Freedom” bills, which amount to nothing more than legalizing discrimination, crushed before they have a chance to do any real harm. I want to see healthcare reform that prevents private institutions from taking advantage of sick people to make money at their expense. Most importantly, I think it’s time we replace Columbus Day with Pissi Myles Day- I’m much more supportive of indigenous people and the preservation of their land and heritage, and I am also known to wear a beautiful headdress!
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Art Courtesy of Pissi Myles (Facebook)
Shot In Pink Dress Courtesy of Courtney Charles