“RuPaul’s Drag Race” Episode 1604: Sadder Gay Night Live

Live from New York it’s… me writing a recap of that awful episode of Drag Race. But there’s something kind of refreshing about an episode of Drag Race being bad because of the performances and outcomes and not because anything morally reprehensible occurred. Small blessings.

But first! In the aftermath of last week, Geneva is still convinced she shouldn’t have been in the bottom. She says if the other queens want to play the game, she can play the game too. By “the game” does she mean “doing good drag” because she really should’ve started that in episode one. I kid, I kid. But I do think it’s a bad sign for a queen’s ability to improve if they’re delusional about weeks they do poorly. The first step to getting better is being able to take critique!

It’s a new day in the workroom and the queens are doing a sketch comedy challenge called RDR Live that’s a riff on SNL. As a kid of read all 800 pages of Live from New York: The Complete Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live experience, I feel it is my right to say that even during its best years, SNL is a show that is not funny more frequently than it’s funny. But the Drag Race comedy challenges make The Californians look like Wayne’s World. Making a comedy challenge based on SNL? Let’s just say I’m having a good time… not.

There’s some drama as the queens cast their roles. Sapphira and Mirage both want to host. Sapphira lets Mirage take the part and Mirage quickly regrets it. And then Plasma and Dawn both want to do Weekend Update. Dawn, Amanda, and Q have formed a little clique and want to do that sketch together. Dawn, fairly, points out that the other available role is a Barbra Streisand impression. Clique or no clique, of course Plasma should do Streisand! Plasma is upset that she “can’t sit at the lunch table” and I am begging adult queers to understand we are not in high school anymore, we’re all faggots who were bullied, and you’re not always the victim.

Anyway, the roles are cast and Ru and Ross come around to talk to the queens. Xunami, Morphine, Geneva, and Mhi’ya admit they’ve never done sketch before. They talk to Mhi’ya about needing to open up, desperately trying to craft and arc that may or may not arrive.

As the queens get ready for the sketches and runway, Mirage talks about being Apache and performing at Indigenous Pride. Xunami and Geneva then bond over being Dreamers as they talk about DACA. On the other side of the workroom, Dawn is asking about OnlyFans and Amanda says that her day job is ghost writing messages for straight girl creators.

Sarah Michelle Gellar is the guest judge!! The writers — likely the same ones responsible for the sketches soon to come — have Sarah say, “I’ve been slaying bitches for years.” Um… “I’ve been slaying for years” was RIGHT THERE.

The first sketch is about the world ending and has Geneva playing Lindsay Graham even though she clearly did not know — and failed to ask — who he is. Mirage is hosting and stumbles over her words. Then Jane and Megami do a sketch about selling decks filled with dick jokes and it’s at least slightly less awful. Then Ru is the musical guest singing a song where she says “giddy up” a lot. Amanda and Dawn host weekend update with a series of painful “jokes” and Q on as “the brick from Stonewall” in a performance I would describe as… adequate. Finally, Nymphia, Sapphira, and Plasma are three members of a Barbra Shop Quartet which has no jokes other than that pun. Plasma, does in fact, shine — relatively — in this role.

The runway is Everything Every Cher All the Time and it is a RELIEF after those “comedy” performances. I am so horny for Morphine in Cher’s 1989 Academy Award look. Nymphia as Egyptian Goddess Cher and Sapphira as 2017 Vegas Residency Cher are both stunning as well.

The tops are Jane, Q, and Plasma. The bottoms are Mhi’ya, Geneva, and Mirage. They make Sarah Michelle Gellar lie and pretend like any of the performances were good. Mhi’ya does a bad Cher impression that makes Ru laugh and maybe factored into her being safe.

Plasma wins, because her performance was the best and because they’re trying to Jan Q. Mhi’ya is indeed safe which means Geneva and Mirage are lip-syncing to the Buffy theme. Mirage wishes. No, they’re lip syncing to “Dark Lady” by Cher which has a lot of words and Mirage knows none of them.

It sucks because Mirage is a good dancer and is still more fun to watch than Geneva even if there is no sync to her lips. But I understand they couldn’t let Mirage stay when she didn’t know any of the words. Personally, I think it should have been a double elimination.

Mirage is distraught and can’t even bring herself to say an exit line. All the other queens are crying too. It’s awful. Almost as awful as those comedy sketches.

Teleport Us to Mars!! Here Are Some Random Thoughts:

+ They may be friends, but I love that as Q was painting herself to look like a literal brick, she said she was painting herself to be Amanda.

+ I maintain that RuPaul Charles has earned the right to do her little musical numbers whenever she would like.

+ During Untucked, Mirage chugs a drink and then tells a bunch of people she doesn’t know the words to the song. I wonder if that’s why Ru and the producers had her perform. Because, sure, she wasn’t good, but nobody was… and her runway was way better than Mhi’ya’s.

+ Queen I’m rooting for: Morphine, Sapphira, Nymphia

+ Queen I’m horniest for: Morphine

+ Queen I want to go home: Geneva

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Drew Burnett Gregory

Drew is a Brooklyn-based writer, filmmaker, and theatremaker. She is a Senior Editor at Autostraddle with a focus in film and television, sex and dating, and politics. Her writing can also be found at Bright Wall/Dark Room, Cosmopolitan UK, Refinery29, Into, them, and Knock LA. She was a 2022 Outfest Screenwriting Lab Notable Writer and a 2023 Lambda Literary Screenwriting Fellow. She is currently working on a million film and TV projects mostly about queer trans women. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Drew Burnett has written 551 articles for us.


  1. Is it weird that I actually didn’t think the sketches were that bad? I mean, it wasn’t good! 🤣but I feel like Ru is always making us watch so many cringy things this wasn’t as uncomfortable.
    I am SO UPSET tho about Mirage being eliminated. I really liked her and something about her innocence reminded me of earlier seasons. A drag race injustice!
    Hopefully she will be back and do great in AllStars.

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