Linda Gold’s FunnyBoyz: Lancashire goes fabulous with new LGBT-friendly show featuring RuPaul’s Drag Race stars
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Defined by their raucousness, cheesy tunes, cheap drinks, and attractions such as comedy bingo and lip syncs, Linda Gold’s FunnyBoyz at Baker Street bar in the city is all about creating a safe space for performers and patrons alike to express themselves and indulge in the raucous fun of drag.
Also running shows across the UK and Europe, FunnyBoyz came hot off the back of the emergence of RuPaul’s Drag Race as a TV hit and a culture shift which saw more mainstream acceptance of drag acts. Launched in 2020 and having held their first event in 2021, FunnyBoyz is the culmination of Linda’s almost-two decade career as a drag queen.
“I almost had drag lumped on me accidentally whilst working at an LGBT venue in London,” says Linda, 47. “A drag queen didn’t turn up for work and I had to throw a dress on with a pair of sunglasses and a scruffy old wig and fill in. That was 16 years ago and it’s all evolved from there. FunnyBoyz is on a different level: it’s a 24-7 job, a business.
“Running everything isn’t as enjoyable as just performing as a drag queen and dressing up as characters on stage, telling jokes, and singing songs, but I’d never go back,” adds Linda, who runs FunnyBoyz alongside his partner Dys Alexia. “FunnyBoyz has created a massive community for new drag queens. We’ve got 28 venues with 70 drag queens working for us.
“When you see all these drag acts getting work and having the confidence to properly go out in drag - something which probably would’ve been impossible five years ago because you’d have been beaten to a pulp - it’s inspirational,” he says. “At our clubs in Liverpool and Manchester, we’d get all these people coming down from Preston, so we came up here.”
FunnyBoyz Preston is also attracting some of the biggest names in international drag, too. Earlier this month, they hosted Pandora Boxx, the all-star and season six icon from RuPaul’s Drag Race, and are set to welcome the likes of season eight star Cynthia Lee Fontaine, and season 14 new-age retro queen Orion Story in the coming months, too.
“There’s clearly an interest in Preston, it’s just never been catered for before - we’re in the right place at the right time,” Linda explains. “I also didn’t realise that there were no LGBT-dedicated venues in the city before we came here - how the hell do gay, lesbian, and trans people live in a city without an LGBT scene? I’m literally still in shock!
“When I first arrived, I was like ‘where are all the gay bars?’ and Michelle from Baker Street was like ‘there aren’t any’,” he adds. “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. So we’ve created a cracking little space for people to be themselves and not have to hide away. That’s what excites me: creating a safe space. I’m so proud of the positive impact we’re having.”