Drag celebrity impersonation as queer caricature in The Snatch Game

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Abstract

The Snatch Game episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race are hugely popular and highly anticipated. A test of their make-up and acting skills, the game requires competitors to impersonate celebrities and answer outrageous questions in-character. The hyperbolic nature of these impersonations, consistent with the culture and affective resonance of drag and camp, invites us to read them as performed caricatures. Caricature, like camp, can be critical and transgressive. It can also depend on gendered, classed, ableist or racialized stereotypes as part of its implied critique of its subject. This article will consider how Snatch Game caricatures manifest this play of subversion and conservatism in relation to the selection of celebrity subjects and the modes of performance applied to the impersonation of them. This article will analyse the relationship between drag, caricature and celebrity as it plays out in The Snatch Game, by considering how the celebrity impersonation draws on and subverts a celebrity’s persona. If camp can be defined as ‘queer parody’ (Meyer, 1994), drag impersonations may be looked at as queer caricature.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCelebrity Studies
Early online date20 May 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 May 2020

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Keywords

  • RuPaul's Drag Race
  • Drag
  • Caricature
  • Celebrity Impresonation

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