If you can remember the pre-pandemic era, you might recall seeing or hearing about Drunk Herstory.
Some call it a show or event, but it’s perhaps best defined as an experience. Portland’s top drag performers take turns onstage, intoxicated as they guide the audience through true adventures of queer history via outlandish sketch comedy (a format akin to Funny or Die’s Drunk History).
Making its post-COVID return, Drunk Herstory is geared up to be better than ever—thanks to its co-creator, producer and co-host, Shandi Evans, who moved to Portland about five years ago from a tiny California town.
In a classic “queer escapes to big city” tale, Evans fell in love with the drag scene here. “I just really enjoy performing,” Evans says. “I really enjoy meeting people and making them happy. There’s a lot of awful things that happen every single day. If I can help people have a good time for a few hours, that’s awesome.”
Evans knew that Drunk Herstory would require a lot of work from the onset. Simply scheduling rehearsals with a group of people who all have other jobs is a challenge, and a certain level of commitment is required.
“I had only one criterion for everyone to follow,” Evans says. “It had to be queer history. It could be a person, place or event, but it had to be a part of our history.”
After gathering a killer cast of performers who each hand-picked their topic, it was time to practice. Each performer was filmed, while drunk, explaining their chosen part of history. From there, each recording was transcribed and turned into a script for sketch comedy.
By the time the audience is seated, hundreds of hours of research and preparation will have already gone into Drunk Herstory. According to Evans, who hosts with Dahlia Hearts, they’ve been working on this particular show since June—and for the first time, they’ll be performing in an actual theater (previously held at the Funhouse Lounge, Drunk Herstory will now be performed at the Alberta Rose Theatre).
“I wanted to go bigger and better this time because it was really popular,” Evans says. “Those first two shows pre-COVID became kind of like a cult hit. The audience can expect to learn a little more about queer history. I also just want people to be able to have a good time and forget about the outside world for a couple hours. Everyone needs that right now—some kind of release.”
The hope is for Drunk Herstory (which will feature Betty Poops, Bobby Lugosi, Carmen, Donna Stop Now, Ellie LeBlunt, Kisses Ash, Lala Benet, Lisa Limbaugh, Mona Chrome, Sue from Corporate and They Blade) to become a regular feature, take place every three months, and welcome everyone, including straight audiences.
“I hope that as many people as possible are able to come out and celebrate with us,” Evans says.
SEE IT: Drunk Herstory plays at the Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta St., 503-719-6055, albertarosetheatre.com. 7 pm Thursday, Oct. 6. $25-$30.