Christopher Caldwell was born in Columbus, Ga., where his mother owned a drag bar. Oddly, that isn't what inspired Caldwell to become Bob the Drag Queen (bobthedragqueen.com), who will make his debut Boise appearance on Wednesday, May 24, when he brings his Queen for the People Comedy Special to the Egyptian Theatre. BtDQ found his calling while watching the first season of reality competition show RuPaul's Drag Race on LogoTV. In an episode of web series Transformations, hosted by former Club Kid/author James St. James, BtDQ said he saw a reflection of himself in BeBe Zahara Benet, the first winner of Drag Race.
"I saw this beautiful black man who was a beautiful black woman," BtDQ told James. "I thought, 'This is something I can do.'" He certainly could—BtDQ won the eighth season of Drag Race.
BtDQ kicked off his career using the stage name Kittin Withawhip, a nod to the 1964 exploitation crime drama Kitten With a Whip starring Ann-Margret. While the original moniker was amusing, Bob the Drag Queen is so literal, so like titular children's show character Bob the Builder and so unlike a more conventional punny drag name (fabulous and clever as they are), it's as understated as BtDQ is bold—and it hints at how laugh-until-your-sides-hurt funny he really is.
With matching style and substance, BtDQ is more than a persona. Whether he's lip-syncing or performing stand-up comedy in full glam, or walking through an airport sans accessories, BtDQ is an authentic entertainer who doesn't shy away from issues, hitting them head on with humor. His upfront attitude may not appeal to everyone, but as BtDQ said (in a video) before performing his Britney Spears-Chris Rock "Slave 4 U" lip-sync mashup: "If you're easily offended, please stick around. It makes it more fun for me."