The guest lineup for the first week of “RuPaul,” the talk show, should just about guarantee a big splash.
The cultural icon and Emmy-winning host of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” will share the chat-show stage with “Drag Race” colleagues Michelle Visage and Ross Mathews.
This test run, which started Monday at 8 p.m. on Fox 9+ (WFTC, Ch. 9.2), kicked off with “The Late Late Show” host James Corden and HGTV stars Jonathan and Drew Scott. Other guests on the test shows include Paula Abdul, Adam Rippon, Kaliegh Garris, Cheslie Kryst, Nia Franklin, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and HGTV’s Tarek El Moussa.
When I talked by phone with RuPaul last week, I read him part of what I wrote in 2000 when I had the chance to observe him before he went onstage for an event at St. Paul’s X: “RuPaul, his statuesque glory even more glorious in person. …”
“That’s very kind,” he said in a low-key tone. I thought I might not hear any vintage RuPaul attitude during the interview. But he came alive, sounding less enervated by his interview schedule. This is Part 1 of 2.
Q: I’ve seen the set for your new show in TV promos, and it’s breathtakingly colorful, just like you.
A: Well, thank you. The set looks just like my living room. Honestly. My house has all of those colors. I’m not afraid of color; in fact, I believe color is a huge part of why I look on the bright side of life.
Q: Talk shows are tough. You know that, right?
A: Are they? [Laughter]
Q: They look hard to me.
A: I was born to do it. In fact, shooting it, we finished on Saturday. It was, honestly, a breeze. It was like basically people coming over to my house and sitting on the couch talking.
Q: Are you going to dress as regular RuPaul or “Drag Race” style for the talk show?
A: Well, for the 15 shows of the test run, I’m not in drag at all. But, you know, if the show gets picked up, who knows? We’ll see.
Q: Did you personally call any of the celebrities you have lined up for the test shows?
A: There were a few people who I personally called. Actually, Michelle Visage called a few. It turned out really, really great for us. We got great guests.
Q: Do you talk football with Ross Matthews during “Drag Race” commercial breaks? I talk football with Ross on Twitter and during interviews with him.
A: He tries to sneak it in on the “Drag Race” panel. I’ll ask him a few questions about it. I know the basics of football.
Q: Carson Kressley is another person on your level with whom I’ve spent time. So what do you guys discuss?
A: He’s a great conversationalist. He can talk about everything. I’m always interested in him. I just love him so much. Both he and Ross are highly intelligent and super-sensitive. These are two men who understand who they are and how to adjust and adapt to every situation. In fact, both of them can change the pH balance of a room to adjust to them, and I think it’s brilliant.
Q: When did you stop caring about your clothes matching? I assume this started when you were a teenager or younger?
A: I never needed matchy-matchy. … I love patterns; I love texture and colors. Music. I love all of the things that make life exciting. I ain’t following no rules. I don’t stand on ceremony.
C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count.