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The Best Drag Take on Madonna Is By a Woman

The Best Drag Take on Madonna Is By a Woman


Comedian Nadya Ginsburg skewers Madonna online and on stage, but she says it's all out of love.

Does Madonna wrap herself in plastic every night to stay taut and supple? Is the Queen of Pop reduced to hysteria upon discovering Khloe Kardashian has more Instagram followers than she does? Hopefully not, but those are a few of the scenarios invented by comedian Nadya Ginsburg for her web series Madonnalogues. Maybe they're not completely outside the realm of possibility, which is what makes the series so outrageously funny.

Let's say Ginsburg's take on Madonna is an exaggerated homage. Her jokes are often esoteric, referencing interests of Madonna that only her most ardent followers would get; take for instance, these things "Madonna" asks for forgiveness for in episode 5: "[Eating] some of Mercy's tofurkey during Yom Kippur"; "Making my forearms a living tapestry of my ruthlessness and control issues"; "Sometimes watching The Real Housewives of Orange County instead of decoupaging."

That's exactly why Ginsburg's videos, parody interviews on, and live shows -- the next happens Wednesday in San Francisco -- are loved by Madonna fans; only a Madge-lover could come up with this stuff.

"I think she's smart enough to see I'm a fan," Ginsburg says, admitting she thinks Madonna may be aware of Madonnalogues. "I think Madonna is able to laugh at herself because it's a survival mechanism, but [also] because her career has been spent fighting off such vile attacks and she's constantly told she's a joke."

Instead of lazy jokes about Madonna's age or sexuality, Ginsburg finds a wealth of material in the star's efforts to stave off irrelevance. After hiring hit-making producers (something parodied in the gut-busting second episode of Madonnalogues, which reenacts the making of MDNA [watch below]), Madonna tries her hand at stand-up comedy. She bombs after referencing her transcendental gestalt therapist and demanding the audience not make eye contact with her.


"Though lauded as 'brave' and 'fearless' and a 'rebel,' I think Madonna is terrified and neurotic and desperately in need of being loved," Ginsburg says. "She just acts in spite of these things, which makes her heroic."

Madonna's desire to be taken seriously is lampooned by Ginsburg through her enunciations, which stretch syllables over the star's favorite $10 words. Ginsburg took it a step further when she had God, disguised as Bea Arthur and played by drag legend Jackie Beat, lecture Madonna on chasing the youth market and told her to "stop davening at the altar of the attention span-challenged, Snapchat-poisoned, Google Glass-lensed POV of the artists that live on Rocco's iPod. Make the music you want to make."

Ginsburg admits her subject seemed a bit more relaxed during her recent press assault for Rebel Heart, her 13th studio album. Though if Madonna suddenly starts acting like a schoolmarm, Ginsburg's got a lot more tricks up her sleeve. Her takes on Cher, Winona Ryder, and even Gloria Steinem are spot-on, and her timing -- honed on the alternative New York comedy scene of the '90s and later in L.A., as a castmember on the short-lived WB network sketch show Hype -- is pretty darn masterful. But if you're thinking Katy Perry or Taylor Swift will be the next to get the Nadya treatment, think again.

"I've been itching to do Lea Michele," Ginsburg says. "Now, there's a sentence I bet has never been spoken in a locker room. In the end I'm like Madonna. I'll do anyone if the spirit moves me."

Watch a few episodes below:

Ginsburg will perform MadonnaloguesWednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Oasis in San Francisco. Click here for more info.

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