Even during a global pandemic, Sherry Vine was able to churn out revolutionary (and hilarious) content this past year. While relaunching raucously funny reimagining of sitcoms is right out of this drag legend’s wheelhouse, it is the launch of The Sherry Vine Variety Show that is giving this longtime Carol Burnett fan a true “pinch me” moment. I recently caught up with Vine to chat about the launch of her new show, the biggest lessons she takes from the past year, and why continuing to live in gratitude is an absolutely necessity now.
Michael Cook: It’s truly surreal that the world is opening back up but you are one of the artists who put out some truly remarkable entertainment during such a challenging time.
Sherry Vine: I truly never imagined it. I was lucky to be immediately able to transform my living room into a studio by March, order all the equipment, because this is what it was going to be. I had to learn a lot, but was lucky to be able to make that transformation and people really wanted to see it; it was great. From the minute I did my first live show back and I actually heard applause for the first time in a year and a half, I almost cried.
MC: I truly think that with all of the digital content we have seen during the past year, it is almost like a brand new medium was born, one that I don’t think will be going away any time soon. I think we might see elements of digital performances (like the recent Digital Drag Fest) along with live performances.
SV: You know, the funny thing is, when we were seeing that it was going to be out last show, Jackie and I were promoting it that way. People all over the world were saying “no, please don’t”. Jackie and I were talking about it and were thinking that this could be something we could do even after we get back to “normal” for people who can’t come to see us live. With The Golden Girlz, that was a huge success, bringing the video of the live show that we did a couple years ago. In July of this year, we are going to film it and do it again; you can only see if it you are in Los Angeles.
MC: This has been a truly surreal time for all of us, specifically artists like yourself. What lessons are you taking back into performing in front of fans once again from this time?
SV: I think that I for sure, had a very strong appreciation of being able to perform and do these things with not being on stage. I really don’t know if it will change my gratitude that much because I think I was already very grateful. It did make me realize that nothing makes me happier than being in front of a live audience; nothing. There is no person, boyfriend, nothing that will fulfill that part of me.
MC: During the downtime, was that when the idea to launch The Sherry Vine Variety Hour was finally able to come to fruition and see the light of day?
SV: it is something that we have been working on with PEG and is actually one of the main reasons why I jumped the gun and moved here. They said “you are never going to leave New York”. I would come out several times a year to do shows and had been working with PEG and one day we were working together on the phone and they said “it would be so much easier if you were here” and I was like “okay”! It was literally all that I needed to hear. I think it was a combination of being here and the last year, and OutTV needed content. They loved the idea, they started doing a lot of stuff with other queens at PEG like Bob The Drag Queen’s comedy special and they just loved the idea. We did at one point, talk about maybe waiting until COVID was over, and I said “no no”! Queens aren’t traveling, they’re home, and we followed all guidelines and had Covid officers, limiting people on the set and we really made it happen.
MC: Having a variety show that is a Carol Burnett style format is truly your dream realized is that fair to say?
SV: Oh My God, it is literally in my entire life, has been what I have waiting for. From when I was little, it was what I wanted to do, watching the Carol Burnett show, that is what I want to do. It just has all of the elements; comedy, physical comedy, playing different characters, gorgeous and funny costumes, everything. It literally is a dream come true, If someone said you are just going to do a variety show, I would say “okay beautiful”!
It ws also great because people got to see me do things that they’d never gotten to do before. All of my friends are good sports, obviously they’re they’re friends of mine. I remember being terrified to tell Candis Cayne that I push her in the pool (laughs). She’s gorgeous, she is not going to want to be filmed getting pushed into the pool and come out soaking wet. She was such a good sport though, I love her.
MC: You are getting back on the road and back to bringing your show to live audiences. Surreal must not begin to describe it.
SV: I did a show in Arizona recently, my first show back. I will be in New York on May 26th. I have not been in New York City since 2020, that is my longest time to have not been back in many years.I am opening for Bianca Del Rio in Tel Aviv in Pride, and I have a show in Salt Lake City that could happen, then I have a show in Rehoboth Beach at The Blue Moon in August, then Iceland Pride! So I am getting back out there…
MC: The pandemic hit everyone so directly, but losing New York City nightlife icon and your dear friend Mona Foot in the throes of the pandemic was truly gut-wrenching. What was it like losing someone who was part of your “tribe” and being so far away?
SV: That was devastating. Before that, we were still thinking the pandemic was going to “go away”. When I woke up and heard that news, it was a huge slap in the face-this is for real. I’ve lost people to COVID my own age, so this is fucking real. Losing Mona was certainly major…
MC: During this past year, what is the lesson that you as a person you will take with you as we go back into the world?
SV: I really feel like I always have a strong sense of gratitude. I think that is the same thing that I will take back out with me; not to take anything for granted, at any time. Anything can happen at any time. I wake up every day and am thankful for waking up and having another day. Any time I get another show I am always thankful; I don’t take anything for granted. There are queens doing many other things that are big, sometimes because of Drag Race and that’s great. I am getting to do this variety show with people like Bianca Del Rio, and Alaska, and Varla Jean Merman, and everyone actually said yes; I am so really grateful for it. I think it’s that sense of gratitude….We didnt know what would happen after Covid; so many bars and venues have closed. Its all about perseverance right now…
The ‘Sherry Vine Variety Show’ premieres May 25th on OutTv
For everything Sherry Vine, click here