Jonny McGovern heads to the Parliament House to Werk Qween!

By : Felicia Roopchand
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Jonny McGovern makes no apologies for his sexualized, in-your-face alter-ego The Gay Pimp. Back before podcasts and YouTube, McGovern released a pop music video parody starring The Gay Pimp that went viral, making its way through the video clubs of New York City then eventually across the country in gay clubs and AOL inboxes.

“In the video The Gay Pimp was super gay AND in charge,” McGovern said in a 2015 interview with The Huffington Post. “He was in the power position turning the typically homophobic characters of frat boys and jocks into video hoes performing to please. We hadn’t really seen anything like that in a music video. It was a power flip that gay men found empowering and sexy.”

McGovern has gone on to have a successful career as a stand-up comedian, musician and podcaster. He was also an original member of the hit LGBTQ-themed sketch comedy show, The Big Gay Sketch Show, which ran for three seasons on Logo.

McGovern now hosts the hit web show Hey Qween! with Lady Red Couture, and the hilarious duo are coming to the world famous Parliament House’s Footlight Theatre in Orlando March 3 and 4. McGovern took a few moments to speak with us over the phone ahead of the big show.

Tell us a little about the event you’re hosting here in Orlando.

Me  and Lady Red Couture, who is my co-hostess on our hit web show Hey Qween!, we are coming to Parliament House, which is one of my most favorite places to perform and we’re going to be performing our cabaret show, Werk Qween! because on our talk show, we’re always talking. The show is called Hey Qween! because we’re talking to our guests, but when we hit the stage, we “Werk” and the show is going to be an evening of comedy, music, lip-sync and behind-the-scenes dish from all of our adventures, performing around the country and interviewing everyone’s favorite queens on Hey Qween!. We’ll be performing there two nights; we’ll be doing a Friday night and a Saturday night show, so it’s going to be a lot of fun. Lady Red is known as the largest drag queen in captivity and she is an expert lip-syncer as well, singing as high as a woman and as low as a man.

How long have you been hosting Hey Qween!?

The week after we perform in Orlando will be our Season 5 premiere with RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Alaska Thunderfuck as our premiere guest. So we have been doing this for about 4 years now. It’s so exciting, we’ve reached about 80,000 subscribers and 25 million views, so we’re very excited to get a whole new season started and to break all of our own records.

Your background is interesting. You lived in Egypt and Thailand when you were younger. How have those experiences influenced you and your comedy?

I certainly grew up in international circumstances. I was very open and aware of things around me as I was growing up, so I think it just made me a more open person. As you can see, the type of work I do is very colorful and bright and fun and does not really have a lot of rules set on it. I think that traveling around the world at such a young age certainly made me open to all the different strange and colorful characters who became the people that I chose to live my life and perform my shows with.

On your show, who has been your favorite or most memorable guest?

Well, there’s so many great ones. We love having Alaska Thunderfuck on; it’ll be her third time on our show on our season premiere. But I think my two personal favorites of the drag queens have been RuPaul, who was actually our first guest who really helped launch the show and has been a lifelong inspiration to me and so many other people. And then last season we had Jackée Harry, who is from the sitcom 227 or younger people know her as the mom from Sister, Sister. She came on and she was someone who I had loved as a child and having the chance to talk with her and she was so fun and she told so many great stories, so much behind-the-scenes gossip, it was incredible. She is so fun.

You were in Orlando, back in July, performing in a benefit concert for the Pulse victims. What is it like to be coming back in Orlando under much better circumstances?

Orlando is one of my favorite places to perform, so obviously the tragedy hit home so hard. I’ve been to Pulse before and I had many friends in Orlando so I was very concerned when that whole thing happened. Being able to come perform for the benefit was great. To be able to include a little levity and sort of give my part in helping to raise money for the benefit was really incredible. But to be able to come back now after things have settled down and to continue to love Orlando and love the Parliament House and all the people that come to the shows, it’s really one of my favorite places to perform, and it makes me feel great that everyone is still staying strong and loving entertainment and being as gay as they can possibly be.

Anything else to add?

When you look at Hey Qween! you get a little taste of what we do. I’ve been making music videos for years, so I’ll be performing some of my music video hits. Lady Red is an incredible live singer. We’ll be debuting some brand new songs together. This is a really fun hilarious show, and I really encourage everybody to come out and watch us WERK.

Photo from YouTube.

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