Katya Zamolodchikova has a new stage to slay: The Trixie & Katya Show, now airing on Viceland. The topic-based improv talk show is the drag sister spinoff of the hilarious YouTube series UNHhhh, where the hometown hero and RuPaul’s Drag Race fan-favorite riffed with bestie and co-host Trixie Mattel on everything from hookups gone wrong to existentialism. We chatted with the sometimes high-class Russian hooker about the new show.
You hosted one of your earlier YouTube shows from a dumpster behind a bar in Boston. How would you say Hollywood compares? It’s just a teeny bit roomier. [Laughs.] … I love it in LA. I love, love, love, it here. And I don’t miss Boston very much. The only things I miss are the townies, the junkies and accent.
How would you describe the tone of The Trixie & Katya Show? It’s sort of like Kathie Lee and Hoda or Michael and Kelly on acid.
Does the show have a mission? It’s basically unconventional advice from two people who are—for lack of a better term—bizarre outcasts and generous psychopaths. Well, not psychopaths. But it’s refreshing advice on familiar topics from a new perspective that can be illuminating and funny. I mean, the point of the show is entertainment, but I actually really love giving advice.
Do you have a dream guest for the show? I would love to have other comedians and actors on. I would love to have Maria Bamford. I would love to have Amy Sedaris. I would love to have a U.S. senator. … And I think especially now with politics and especially for kids or alternative people, there’s absolutely no trust or faith in the political process. And even more, you don’t even know what the hell would compel a person to go into that line of work, other than some sense of vague job security and a paycheck. It’s just so strange. I just want to ask them basic questions. I think that would be pretty illuminating.
Speaking of politics, would you say your drag persona, who is a Russian prostitute, had any contact with any members of the Trump campaign during the 2016 election? No. Thank god. [Laughs.] It’s so funny. The Russia angle [of my drag] was such a random thing when it started. Then this fucking stupid thing happened, and it’s so annoying. It’s so annoying. Like, I just like bristle at every connection between that dumbass piece of shit in the White House. It’s such a bummer, man.
How do you not go nuts during challenging political times like this? I think it’s three things. Number one is I have to take care of myself so I don’t go insane, so like food water sleep and all that crap, which I have to remind myself about. And two is I have to be selective about consumption of information. And there’s usually kind of an emotional meter that spikes at a certain time. And then it’s like, “oh yeah, maybe it’s time to put down Twitter and take some breaths and be where my feet are.” And the third one is I have to be aware that my function on this earth, at least now, is to make people laugh or make people smile or make people think about something. So, I’m not like Rachel Maddow and I’m not like Gandhi and I’m not like Princess Diana. … For me, it’s not that serious. I’m a fool. That’s my function, so I’m lucky
In your “Men on the Street” segment, you and Trixie hit Hollywood Boulevard out of drag to ask strangers questions about things like obscure sexual kinks. What’s that like? It’s very strange. It’s really weird, especially because we don’t have the drag, but it’s actually better. It’s nice to have a little bit of a contrast to show people that we’re actually not these gender nonconforming clown hookers from hell. But it’s weird. People are strange, especially on Hollywood Boulevard. You can’t ever count on them to be funny that’s for sure. And you have to ask a million people before you get one answer that’s kind of interesting. But it’s nice to kind of put ourselves out there out of drag to remind ourselves that we do still exist. [Laughs]. We can forget sometimes.
Have you had any weird experiences out on the street? Oh my god. Well I can talk your ear off just in general about Hollywood Boulevard. … One of the first days I was here on Hollywood Boulevard, there was a woman coming out of a restaurant who looked like a supermodel. An absolute supermodel. I think she was probably an actress. And then she almost bumped into this other woman who was wearing a bathrobe and nothing underneath it and was covered in what looked like dirt and human feces. They just crossed paths and didn’t even blink or anything. And I was just like, “Oh yeah. That’s it.”
What can you tell me about your solo show, Help Me I’m Dying? Basically it’s a show about anxiety and fear but it’s also a comedy show. And it’s also gonna be kind of a magic show because the only way that I’ve figured out how to deal with anxiety in any kind of explainable way is through magic tricks. [Laughs.] So what I’ve done is I created videos and that are parodies of iconic scenes in TV shows and movies that I love like Game of Thrones or Mulholland Drive by David Lynch and put myself in there in these little interstitial videos between the live action and the performance. It’s going to be great because people are not expecting me to do anything other than like lip-sync and jump into a split or something. So I can’t wait. People are probably going to be confused a lot, but it’ll be fun.
Any plans to bring the show home to Boston? I want to bring it to Boston soon because I have so many people still in Boston who supported me so much before Drag Race because I did a show at Jacques’ Cabaret for many, many years. I can’t wait for them to see the show because I’ve been talking about it with them for probably two years, so it’s really exciting that it’s finally happening.
What advice would you give to yourself five years ago? Oh, God. I would say don’t fuck your assistant. That is actually really good advice. If you ever want to dodge a really quick, hard fast bullet—completely dodge it and not have it go through any of your flesh and go to the hospital—I suggest try not fucking your assistant. Yeah.