In case you haven’t been on the internet much in the last decade, the character of Shirley Q. Liquor is an illiterate black woman who likes to drink and doesn’t remember how many times she’s been pregnant. It all began as a serial joke that comedian and alter-ego Charles Knipp did on his answering machine for friends. Now Shirley’s a regular fixture at Southern Decadance and at club dates around the country, and her greatest hits (like the song about her 19 chirrens’ baby dady, or her “12 Days of Kwanzaa“) have gotten her lots of mixed press from The LA Times to Rolling Stone. And, famously, Rupaul defended the bitch.
While Shirley Q’s humor is sharp, there’s no getting around that this is pretty much a minstrel show. But hey, TV gays and Saturday Night Live comedians do it all the time! Whether or not you’re offended probably depends on whether or not you believe in a “post-racist” moment, or whether you enjoy the song “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” from Avenue Q. Or, as Kathy Griffin told the Dallas Voice, “In comedy, anything is fair game. You can’t condemn comedians for making fun of stereotypes. Look at Chris Rock. His “Niggas vs. Black People” is one of his best routines. And I make fun of stereotypes all the time. No way. It’s just wrong to condemn a comedian’s jokes.”
So with that, we give you some pics and a video from Shirley’s most recent performance at the Triple R in Guerneville, c/o Daniel Filipkowski of dragslag.org.
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Liquored Up: Folks Get a Sip of Shirley Q. Liquor (Dragslag.org)
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