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RuPaul's Drag Race queens trade hilarious insults in reading challenge

Because reading is what? Fundamental!

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From Valentina opening up about her eating disorder to Peppermint coming out as a transgender woman, season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race has arguably brought its cast closer than any crop of queens to grace the work room. That all changes in EW’s exclusive sneak peek at this week’s episode, as Mama Ru sashays into the work room to — you guessed it — open the library for a little light reading.

The fan favorite challenge, which sees contestants (lovingly) mock each other’s physical appearance as they exercise the time-tested skill of improvisational belittling — a beloved tradition in the drag community dating back to the days of Dorian Corey, who defined the “fundamental” act of “reading” as the “real art form of insult” in the 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning.

On Friday’s episode of Drag Race, Sasha Velour is the first season 9 queen to carry the torch passed on by comedy queens like Bianca Del Rio and Jinkx Monsoon, landing stellar jokes about her fellow competitors Alexis Michelle and Shea Couleé.

“Alexis Michelle, Broadway is calling! In this case, it’s the one in Brooklyn where the whores work,” she says, jabbing at Michelle’s theatrical flair. She then sets her sights on Couleé, who’s emerged as a frontrunner in recent episodes. “You remind me of my favorite movies. Your fashion? Coming to America. And your smile? Jurassic Park.”

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Not to be outdone, Peppermint — who’s yet to win an individual challenge in the competition thus far — takes aim at Nina Bo’Nina Brown’s signature false derriére she often flaunts on the runway.

“Your pads are so big, you bend down to pick something up off the street and the garbage man says, ‘Who left this raggedy couch here?'” she spews. “Goodwill pickup is on Sunday!”

New episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race premiere Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on VH1. Watch an exclusive preview of the season 9 reading challenge above.

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