Drew Droege's drag comes to Bitch Salad
of all the recent viral video sensations – yes, even Rebecca Black’s Friday – few are more fabulous than Drew Droege’s Chloë Sevigny parodies.
These brief but brilliant vignettes feature Droege as Chloë discussing often banal topics (Halloween, spring, how to make toast) while dropping the names of the coolest of cool products (ironic coin skorts), labels (Proenza Schouler) and Hollywood and society figures (Shohreh Aghdashloo, Tinsley Mortimer), often mispronounced in a way that gives them more cachet than they really deserve.
“The importance we attach to labels is ridiculous,” says Droege from L.A., where he teaches improv at the legendary Groundlings comedy club.
“In a way, these videos comment on society’s obsession – not only in the fashion industry, but in the entertainment world. There’s this feeling that everything has to be the latest thing, that you have to be in the know.”
The videos come from a place of admiration and affection. Droege has been fascinated by the Big Love and Boys Don’t Cry actor for years, and played a version of her onstage before he began collaborating with videographer and wardrobe designer Jim Hansen on the YouTube videos.
“I was astounded by her presence, her style, her fashion,” says Droege in a charming North Carolina accent that he understandably suppresses as the ultra-chic Sevigny.
“I remember reading interviews where she referenced all these really avant-garde, ghetto-fabulous artists, and thinking, ‘What must it be like to be in her skin?’ I couldn’t believe at the time that no one else had picked up on her and made her a character.”
Droege, who does Chloë and some other characters as special guest at Andrew Johnston’s benefit Pride show, Bitch Salad Gives Back, says he and Hansen tape three segments every couple of months.
“I keep a running list of labels, people’s names that I find ridiculous, and we sit down, toss ideas around, Jim storyboards them, and we go shopping,” he explains. “He’s got a green screen in his house, so we shoot them and we’re usually done by late afternoon. The real hard part comes when he edits them.”
After taping the first videos, it took several months for them to go viral – which he traces to a mention by celebrity blogger Perez Hilton.
“One morning I woke up and my phone was crazy with messages. It was all over Facebook, and people were re-posting the videos.”
Now Droege’s Chloë has become so famous that the real thing has seen them. She even recognized him at a party last December.
“She was super-cool,” he says. “We didn’t talk about the videos, which I think was a really good thing. But she knew who I was, for sure. She said she was very flattered but didn’t see a similarity between the two of us, and I understand that.”
Droege has many friends who started off at Groundlings – Kristen Wiig is a good buddy – and who have gone on to success in sketch work and beyond.
“I’ve talked to a lot of my friends who have been on Saturday Night Live and Mad TV, and everyone always says it’s awkward meeting people after you’ve played them. I’m sure if an actor were playing me, it would be awkward meeting him.”
And does character comedy like this help you get laid?
“I wish,” he laughs. “If I’m hit on, it creeps me out, because I’m so not looking to get laid with a wig on. But let’s face it, all comedians want to be rock stars. We all want that status and attention, but there’s an insecurity and vulnerability that makes you funny that doesn’t make you a good rock star – or very sexy.
“As much as I’d like to get laid, I got into this to get laughs.”