Rob Beckett has hailed drag as an “under-appreciated art form” after giving it a go himself alongside Romesh Ranganathan.
The two friends are about to return to our screens for a new series of Rob & Romesh Vs and the third episode sees the pair given a crash course in all things drag culminating, of course, with their own transformations
Speaking to Yahoo Entertainment, Beckett revealed that he’s a “huge fan” of drag shows and was determined to devote a whole episode to them.
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“I’ve always wanted to do this episode since the beginning because I do think drag is an under-appreciated art form really,” he said. “It's the closest thing to stand up really because the whole point is to come out and look like it's so effortless but the reality is, it's very difficult and there are about a million things going on.
“I wanted to do it properly rather than have one part of a show where it's just 'Oh, look, there's a man with a beard in heels and a dress’, because drag is way more than that. It was nice to dedicate a full show to it. I think it deserves it.”
Beckett and Ranganathan’s drag journeys take place under the tutelage of three seasoned pros, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK judge Michelle Visage, series one winner The Vivienne and finalist Baga Chipz.
The comedian was seriously impressed with his own transformation. “When we get professionals into the final performances, you know… I'm quite a looker,” he said. “I'm a straight guy. That's the first time I've looked at myself and thought 'Yeah, I wouldn't mind. That's that's the kind of woman I'm after.’”
The latest episodes of Rob & Romesh Vs, which is now in its third season, were filmed during the pandemic and the duo just about managed to fit in the grand finale, taping it the day before London went into Tier Four in December.
“That was one of the last drag shows there was,” he laughs. “And it feels like two years ago. Literally, we filmed that just weeks ago, just before Christmas.”
After a stop-start year which saw comedians briefly return with socially-distanced gigs, before venues soon shut again, Beckett is understandably excited to get back on stage properly at some point in the (hopefully near) future.
“People will economically struggle after all this but I do think there's a real thirst for live performance,” he says. “When we were allowed to in the summer, the crowds were so up for it. No one's sat here now going, ‘Do you know what I don't think I want to go to a live gig anymore’. Everyone's going, ‘Get me out of this house, get me to a festival, get me to a live gig’, or wherever it is that you like.”
One small upside of all of this, Beckett adds, is that none of us will “take [our] tickets for granted anymore”.
“I think in a way it [the absence of gigs] will make people realise how incredible live performance is,” he says. “Because it's always been there, you sort of take it for granted a little bit [but] people will be desperate to watch shows again.”
Rob & Romesh Vs. airs at 9pm on Thursday 4 February on Sky One and Now TV
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