Trixie Mattel and Katya Zamolodchikova — first names only, usually — are surrealists. From their all-over-the-map fasion style, to their hyena laughs, and their absurdist comedy, everything about these two drag performers and former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants is pretty over the top. For their new weekly late night talk show on VICELAND, called The Trixie And Katya Show, they’ve taken the kooky spirit of their successful YouTube series, UNHhhh, and refined and relaxed it into something digestible for a casual viewer.
Every episode of the VICELAND show centers around one broad topic like death or hooking up, and lets the drag queen hosts investigate it through their banter and some interviews with everyday people. For one segment, the hosts hit the streets looking for answers to pressing questions — although not in drag for this, they are still essentially in character and very funny. The best moments tend to come when Trixie and Katya, both expert conversationalists, are allowed to just chat with each other, often heading down some illogical line of reasoning.
On a phone call with The FADER from separate hotel rooms in San Francisco — “We just broke up...just kidding” — Trixie and Katya gave a rundown of how they made their show, how the world has grown to appreciate them since their breakout roles on Drag Race, and why you should watch their nightly antics.
I feel like the VICELAND show is kind of a mellowed version of the web series, which I'm a huge fan of. I was wondering what went into that process.
Katya: Ativan, Xanax, and Valium. Just kidding. I'm sorry.
Trixie: No, well, we've been spinning the double dutch rope for me and all my little friends who are all nine-year-old girls with braids in their hair. We all know how to jump rope really fast, but this new audience hasn't been jump roping with us, so we wanted to slow the rope down a little bit so they can jump it.
Katya: That is such a fucking great metaphor. That is so good.
Trixie: It's true, because, otherwise, they're gonna get whipped in the eye and have to leave recess early, because so many of our favorite jokes from the YouTube series are kind of like deep jokes that kind of compound over time.
Katya: They're inside jokes, yeah. Yeah, they're really deep inside jokes, yeah. Yeah, the mellowing is really like a recalibration of wiping the slate clean, almost literally, it's black, white, and easing the audience into the neurosis. It's like tearing off a Band-Aid. You do it quick, there's nothing under there, you weren't even hurt in the first place, and then you move on.
What is the most important lesson that you've learned from each other?
Katya: From Trixie? That I need to quit smoking. That's it. Bottom line, cut and dry, point blank, easiest question. Go on to Trixie.
Trixie: Katya's actually, on a serious note, she's kind of the ultimate mindover-matter of everything. She can just quit smoking if she wants to. She could just quit hard drugs if she wanted to. She could tan as much as she wants to, if she wants to. She can do insane, crazy handstands just because she wills it. That's pretty amazing. And she's 35 and looks younger than me!
Katya: Mind over matter. That is a very nice compliment. A very rare one, you fucking bitch.
Trixie: She's so witty. She has a sense of humor that I just ... On a serious note, of my time and how long I'll live on Earth, she's probably one of the most cherished friendships I've ever had, but don't you fucking write that down.
Katya: Yeah, that's off the record, Bob. Listen, you know how the papers gonna spin this!
Trixie: Every night I take a PrEP and I put it under my pillow and I make a wish. That's how you take it, right?
I feel like the season of RuPaul’s Drag Race you both were on was criticized for being dull while it was on but you two in particular have gone on to be some of the most successful people from the entire series...
Katya: Do you think Albert Einstein was criticized while he was in the womb for being too stupid?
Trixie: I think it's just the timing. When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, Betsy Ross turned around and was like, "We got candles, you dumb bitch. What are you doing?" You know what I mean? Two years later, it turns out the light bulb was the tea. I just think we were maybe a light bulb before our time. Whatever traditionally good things happen to people on Drag Race, didn't really happen to us, you know?
Trixie: We made the least of a great situation while we were there.
Katya: Yes. The irony, of course, being that it would be the candles that would burn Betsy's flag in her house to smithereens.
Trixie, while you're doing this show, are there any musical segments that are gonna be worked in from your country-folk sort of sound?
Trixie: Oh, you never know. Well, Katya and I, as a yin and a yang, we pretty much represent the entire, full gambit of talent, you know? Together there's not really much we can't do. I don't wanna spoil too much, but maybe you can watch and maybe I'll play guitar, you never know. In L.A., we're actually doing an upcoming spoken word, acoustic guitar evening. That's another thing, we're just from the wrong time. Imagine how big Katya and I would've been in the '90s if she would've done slam poetry and I would've been the Lisa Loeb, you know?
Katya: We're bringing back those '90s. Bringing 'em back.
What do you think people would be surprised most about both of you on set?
Katya: That I don't have a hard-on the whole time. I'm actually never hard.
Trixie: How insatiable we are, yeah.
Katya: That we don't have sex at all. There's no sexual harassment between us. They probably assume I'm trying to fuck you the whole time, which is not actually true. I mean, I've had a boner in Trixie's presence on purpose ... not on purpose, but you know what I mean ... because of her maybe once or twice, but that's about it. I don't think you've ever been hard for me.
Trixie: To be honest, we act pretty much exactly the same on and off camera. Yeah, I feel like there's drag queens who are like, "Lights, camera, now we're on." We basically act the same all the time.
Katya: We don't do that at all. That's why we don't actually hang out a lot, that's why we're in separate rooms right now. Absence makes the show grow longer, you know what I mean?
Trixie: Also, I think Katya and I are both kind of loners. Our dream is to not spend a whole bunch of time together. That's not my dream with anybody. Also, we never get to see each other 'cause we're both skinny legends. We're both skinny legends who tour all the time. When we do get to see each other, it is on camera. It's sort of like, you know those viral videos of soldiers coming home from Afghanistan and then meeting their kid in first grade class? We get to do that on camera.
Katya: Yeah, that's hot. On camera, yeah. Except we don't then kill the kid or fuck him after that, because we're not rapers or murderers.
Trixie: We're men in Hollywood who haven't raped anybody yet. Can we get some credit? Jesus Christ.
Katya: Oh, yeah, Myles, it does bear repeating that I have never raped a person in my life. Also, there is a sort of a murky line within the drag world, which is a separate world, because it's a subculture of a subculture, by the way. The drag world is a subculture within the gay world, which is itself a growing subculture, but it's still very small, very small. The murkiness between all this stuff, in terms of what's going on in Hollywood right now, is interesting for us to think about, not generally applicable to the world at large, but we are not rapers. That's something, apparently, that men should feel proud of now. It's insane.
It's interesting that you described yourselves as loners, considering I feel like you both are really good collaborators with each other and other people.
Katya: Well, that's probably why. It probably has something to do with why. I don't know.
Trixie: I'm very committed to everything I do, and part of what makes me better at whatever I'm gonna do ... If I have a show at night, I like to spend the whole day alone in silence. I know that might be crazy. I don't know, part of what makes me and Katya's show ... and I do say me and Katya, 'cause my name's first, and make sure you write that down. Part of what makes it great is we don't jerk off, comedically, and then we get together and just nut. Just nut.
Katya: Just hot cum flying everywhere on the stage all over you. That was a great next topic coming fresh off the heels of rape, but, yeah. It is like that. Without being too melodramatic about it, it's literally just us being friends in stupid outfits, that aren't stupid, by the way. They're meticulously selected and carefully groomed and styled. I don't know. It's just fun.
I did wanna ask about the style on the show. It does seem to be elevated a bit, and I was wondering if that was —
Katya: Are you kidding, Myles? Are you joking, bitch? Half the battle is showing up and then three quarters of that battle is looking good and then 100% of the battle is just staying put.
Trixie: Yeah. To be honest, I was never snoozing on the YouTube series, which is what you're insinuating, Myles, but I —
That could not be further from the truth.
Katya: Trixie's work is iconic and just needs to be cleaned, to be honest. That's not a read at all. It's like all the parts are there, you just jiggle some around, but it's always a compelling silhouette.
Katya: Yeah. They are coming to get you, Barbara. No, so he just needed to show up and not be a mess. I had significant work to do, in terms of the elevation of my style profile. I diversified my wig portfolio. I dotted the Is and crossed the Ts and then also stopped doing meth.
Trixie: You really did.
Katya: I've got my hair game on point, because thanks to Wigs by Vanity and the begrudgingly, curmudgeonly, retaliatory efforts of my roommate, she helped me whoop that hair into a nice little shape. She complained the whole way, too.
I feel like this show will gain you kind of a new kind of demographic and fanbase. What would you want them to know about you before they watch?
Trixie: Well, to be honest, I just hope ... For many people, this might be their first time they've ever seen two men dressed like absolute idiots, so if people say like, "It's not my thing..." Do you like Mrs. Doubtfire? Do you like Madea? Guess what, bitch, it is your thing. You maybe just never thought about it before. Know what I mean?
Katya: Yeah. If the vision on the left is too confusing for your eyeballs and brain, just park it two steps to the right where the eye is.
Katya: Do you love Sarah Jessica Parker? Do you love Christine Baranski? Do you love Sarah Silverman as a blonde with a dick? Come on, come into my neighborhood.
Katya: I don't know. I just think there's something for everybody at the table, except food.
Trixie: I really feel like we belong. I feel like this audience, they don't think of it ... Basically, let me say this, you can go on record saying this: If you don't tune into The Trixie and Katya Show, you're essentially homophobic.
Katya: Yeah, and not only t/hat, you're so homophobic that you must and you will die.