Melissa McCarthy: I Used To Perform As A Drag Queen

"It was such a happy, good feeling, and it gave me such confidence."
Allen Berezovsky via Getty Images

On the heels of her now-legendary “Saturday Night Live” performance, a 2014 interview with Melissa McCarthy about the way her early comedy career intersected with the New York City drag and nightlife community is making waves on the internet again.

In an interview published in Rolling Stone in three years ago, McCarthy talks about her early 20s when she lived in Hell’s Kitchen and first started doing stand-up comedy after encouragement from her gay best friend, shoe designer Brian Atwood.

She tells Rolling Stone that she performed as a dragged-out, over the top character named Miss Y.

“It was me there with my lovely gay guy friends and I was dressed like a big old drag queen,” McCarthy said. “I went by Miss Y. I had a gold lamé swing coat on, a huge wig, big eyelashes. I talked about being incredibly wealthy and beautiful and living extravagantly, and the first night worked great. It was such a happy, good feeling, and it gave me such confidence.”

McCarthy then goes on to say that she also attend seminal drag festival Wigstock dressed as her drag character Miss Y.

“It was the time of Lady Miss Kier, RuPaul and Lady Bunny, and Miss Y was Missy’s great alter ego,” Atwood told Rolling Stone. “When we went to Wigstock at Tompkins Square Park, Miss Y was at her prime there. Full-on. That was her time. It was hilarious.”

McCarthy is one of many eventual stars who used to dabble in the New York City drag and nightlife community in the 1990s. Other significant people to navigate this scene include Grace Jones, Madonna and, of course, artists like Andy Warhol.

We can certainly see the drag influence in McCarthy’s characters, it is just makes us love her even more.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that McCarthy’s Rolling Stone interview was published in 2017. This has been corrected.

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