Dream Gig: Jodie Mitchell

As they come to the Edinburgh Fringe with their debut hour, stand-up, Drag King and host of The LOL Word (a queer women, trans and non-binary comedy collective), Jodie Mitchell takes on August's Dream Gig

Article by Jodie Mitchell | 02 Aug 2023
  • Jodie Mitchell's Dream Gig

My best ever gig was over the coronation weekend. I hosted a night called Not My King as my macho alter-ego John Travulva with my Drag King family ‘Pecs’ at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club. It’s an iconic queer venue complete with carpets that no-one has or should ever use a UV light on. The bar staff asked us if we wanted to use a prop someone had left there – a 2/3rds actual size full working replica of the Diamond Jubilee State Coach. To this day no-one knows why it was there, how it got into the building or who left it. We, of course, decorated it with flames and put cardboard cut outs of our new overlords inside as we sensed it was what the coach wanted.

I’m a stand-up comic but on this particular evening I was convinced to dress up as the devil so that we could do a full drag homage to AC/DC’s Highway to Hell in honour of the terrifying madness that had gripped the nation. I imagine it’s what the Catholics of my family think I do every gig so it felt important to manifest it at least once. The venue was rammed and the audience was absolutely wild – someone threw a Meghan mask into the crowd and the person that caught it screamed “I think I’m pregnant now” repeatedly. My (and I think everyone’s) highlight of the night was a rare performance from Mama Hale, our legendary producer, who dragged up as Emily Maitlis and sprayed the audience with Andrew’s tears. The Drag line-up were 100% the only royalty I will ever acknowledge – Cyro, Beau Jangles, Sigi Moonlight… all true Kings. I love stand-up gigs but Drag King nights are something else.

My dream gig would of course be held in the giant Greggs in Birmingham’s Primark. A Greggs inside a Primark is honestly just high camp, making it the perfect location for a drag/stand-up fusion show. The night would naturally be hosted by Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan, a character that was one of the best Drag performances I’ve ever seen. The commitment to the emotion, the looks that were served, the raising of a demon child that looked like the Teletubbies sun baby had really gone through something – all incredible drag moments. Kristen would deliver monologues from the original film between acts.

The line-up would be my favourite Drag Kings and stand-ups, the audience would be anyone that’s ever bought a casual shacket from Uniqlo. This is a good way of manifesting an audience made up of mostly queer women and non-binary people. First on would be Loose Willis, my drag brother and hero, who’d perform his renowned ‘Bard-core’ routine. Dressed as an Elizabethan King, he serves up his phenomenal stand-up as per before a stunning strip to a bard-core remix of Get Low ft. some astonishing prancing. Maybe that should be ass-tonishing as he ends in nothing but a merkin and a smile. My pal (and icon) Kemah Bob would make a special appearance as her alter-ego Lil’ Test Ease and rap until everyone else is as obsessed as I am.

Everyone would then stop for a mandatory Sausage, Bean and Cheese Melt or Vegan Sausage Roll (know your audience). Comedy venues always have really crap food and someone needs to be the hero that puts a stop to this issue. 

Post-break, Shardeazy Afrodesiak would take to the stage – talent personified, Shardeazy is the King of every single person’s heart that has ever been lucky enough to see him. 

Then it’d be my friend (and essentially my life-coach) Sofie Hagen, who apart from being one of my favourite comics and the director of my debut hour at Fringe this year, always has the best reactions to drag so I’d also get to enjoy watching them watch the night. To finish, I’d run on to provide important scene support for Kristen – she’d force my face into a disco ball to symbolise a vampire caught in the sun, and then languish in the dappled light radiating from my entrapped head until everyone assumes they should go home.

Jodie Mitchell: Becoming John Travulva, 2-27 Aug (not 16), Pleasance Courtyard (Below), 9.50pm
Socials: Twitter: @jodiemitchell_ / Insta: @jodiemitchetc