Cracking Up!: Miz Cracker Makes Provincetown Debut

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by Steve Desroches

Miz Cracker’s drag origin story is the stuff of New York City fairy tales. On one winter’s night in 2011, prior to finding the drag queen within, she was walking down the street during a wild blizzard and saw someone struggling to drag a bookcase down the sidewalk in Harlem. She offered to help the stranger, who like herself, was just trying to get home in a storm, albeit with a found piece of heavy furniture. Once safely inside, away from the snowy tempest, and the bookcase squeezed into the apartment, Miz Cracker looked around and saw wigs, splashes of sequins, and the wispy movements of marabou. There were piles of high heel shoes and bras hanging from a chandelier, perhaps also a found object like the bookcase. She was in a drag queen’s apartment. And it turned out to be Bob the Drag Queen, who just five years after this wintry introduction would go on to
win RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Photo: Gabriel Gastelum

While she didn’t realize it at the time, that actually was the night Miz Cracker was born. In the moment, she felt uncomfortable, not knowing where to look. Drag wasn’t her thing. In fact she was a little afraid of it. The conversation was brief, yet Bob was persistent saying, “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it,” as the young Miz walked out the door. Living in the same neighborhood, Bob soon found Miz Cracker’s address, and for six months left notes encouraging her to do drag. Perhaps she was wearing the scent of uncertainty and curiosity, thus Bob’s relentless messages. And indeed, Miz Cracker was looking for a direction in life, a passion. She relented and showed up at Bob’s doorstep ready to dabble in the drag arts. When Bob spun her around in the chair and she saw her face painted, well, it was a ‘hello, gorgeous’ moment. She was hooked. And she knew she had found what she was looking for, even if she got off on the wrong foot. Or feet.

“The first time I went out in drag I had the heels on the wrong feet,” says Miz Cracker, from the Cincinnati suburb of Newport, Kentucky, where she’s performing with the War on the Catwalk drag revue. “I didn’t realize it because I just thought it was supposed to hurt.”

A little over ten years later, and with heels firmly on the correct feet, Miz Cracker is now every bit the drag superstar her mentor is. Calling that day a “blessing,” Miz Cracker says the experience is an example of why not to worry if you don’t know what your life’s calling is. Relax, because one day a stranger on the street just might walk up and tell you, if you’re only open enough to hear. Or that stranger might be unrelenting enough that you just give in.

Miz Cracker jokes that if a book was written about her life it would be titled Nag Me to Stardom. And indeed her life is memoir-worthy as, by anyone’s account, the rapid trajectory of the comedy queen’s career has been meteoric. It wasn’t just stand-out performances on season ten of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and then again on season five of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, that made her a national sensation, but also her bust-a-gut-funny stage shows and Internet series like Spillin’ the Tea, Cosmo Queens, and Review with a Jew (a playful nod to her heritage). She’s accomplished a lot in a decade. But this week she’s going to achieve something that’s been a goal of hers for a long time when she makes her Provincetown debut hitting the stage at the Art House with a new show specifically written for the occasion.

“So many seasoned drag queens, so many talented drag queens, and even Raja, look to Provincetown as a place that feels like home and that feels grand, in a way,” says Miz Cracker, with a touch of comedic shade. “Jinkx Monsoon told me that I absolutely had to get to Provincetown. It’s not just a good opportunity to perform for a wider audience, [it’s] one that changes, so it’s like going on tour without leaving town. It’s also being able to say you’ve had a Provincetown residency. Every queen I know wants that. This means a lot to me.”

Miz Cracker’s shows are known for dance numbers, political diatribes, and stand-up comedy. But for Provincetown Miz Cracker is melding all three, with five dance numbers, three wig and four costume changes, and three reveals. And she’s staying in the moment, ready to change the show midstream as she reads the mood and energy of the audience, making each performance fresh and crisp. Ever since she landed her first joke she’s been hooked on getting laughs. After a dance number she was walking off stage and the microphone squealed with feedback, to which she quipped, “I forgot to tell you my shock collar doesn’t allow me to leave the stage.” It was then she learned the power of laughter to connect with people and the revolutionary influence comedy can have on culture.

“We are living in a time and in a situation where things are dire; the world is in a dire situation,” says Miz Cracker. “We all need to pay attention, but we all need to breathe. We all need to laugh. We all need that so we can change the world.”

Miz Cracker performs Wednesday through Saturday now through August 11 at 9 p.m. at the Art House, 214 Commercial St. Tickets ($40-$75) are available at the box office and online at ptownarthouse.com. For more information call 508.487.9222.