Dave reacts to Jinkx Monsoon's Judy Garland Snatch Game on RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7
Fortune favored Fortuna Monsoon — otherwise known as Navy veteran Dave Lara — during Friday's Snatch Game episode of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7, when his drag mother Jinkx Monsoon donned Judy Garland garb and hilariously absolved him of any wrongdoing in the death of the Wizard of Oz icon nearly nine years after the season 5 makeover subject told RuPaul that he played a role in the iconic entertainer's 1969 passing after reportedly supplying her with barbituates.
Following the release of the AS7 episode, EW exclusively spoke with Dave about Jinkx's tribute, which helped bring much-needed levity to a conflicted moment from the 77-year-old's storied past after he says he made a powerful connection with Garland at a Boston speakeasy in November 1968.
"I'd like to take a moment. You see, there's a veteran named Dave who's been on your show, and said he was worried that he killed me," Jinkx-as-Judy told RuPaul during the challenge. "And I want to say, Dave, if you're watching, you're not responsible, darling. It's alright. You're forgiven."
Read on for Dave's full reaction to Jinkx's Judy Garland Snatch Game — plus a hilarious admission that he was indeed the "heckler" in the audience of the Drag Race season 6 roast who received a verbal beatdown from Bianca Del Rio.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Were you aware that Jinkx was going to do this?
DAVE LARA: No, we haven't been in contact since the show. I met her once afterwards, and I love that she did this because it shows that she still loves me, and I appreciate that.
Are you going to try to hit her up after this?
Well, I went to DragCon here in L.A., and that bitch went to Portland! [Laughs] I didn't get a chance to see her. Will I reach out to her? Maybe, let's see what happens. This is getting crazy now, and I love it.
How did you feel when you heard Jinkx bring you up in Snatch Game?
I was seriously touched that she'd do that shout-out. It has gotten the 100 or so people who remember me to talk about me and, to this old man, that's trending, girl! I loved it. It was touching that she would do that, and I really loved the way the judges and everybody were cracking up about that, because I know they remember that I killed Judy Garland.
Were you ever formally investigated or questioned about playing a role in Judy's death?
No, in fact, that was the first time — can you believe this? What a fool or a genius I am — that was the first time I'd ever told anybody about that. Why I would blurt that out on TV, I don't know. But I did. I told a couple friends and boyfriends, but I'd never really told anybody that story. In fact, I had to adjust, because the real truth, well… we hung out for two nights. The first night we got drunk together and I was talking to her, this was in 1968, and she said, "Look, I'm moving to England, people are keeping drugs away from me," and she knew I was a hospital corpsman because we were talking about my time in the war. She said, "Can you get me some sleeping pills? I Know I'm going to be struggling when I get there," because she was talking about a comeback. So, I said sure, and she said, "If you could get me some Seconal, that would be great." It's a long story. So, I went to the naval hospital there in Boston and got some, I gave her a bottle [at dinner the next night], it was like seven or eight pills. Here's the scary part, and by the way [Dave's voice cracks] to this day, I wish I hadn't done that. Because when I gave that to her, it had the military label on it, no name, but, when she died — and I only saw this once — I was stationed in Washington, D.C., and the newspaper I saw had a piece that said that by the bedside was found a military-grade prescription of Seconal.
I know it's something that, in the context of the show, people make light of, but it has a real impact on you. Hopefully this whole experience has brought some levity to it for you?
I don't want to be judged by people. I don't want to be castigated or made out to be the villain. Ru and I had a conversation on the show where she said [Judy] did a lot to get to this place. Judy had a choice, and, like The Matrix, you can take the blue pill and go to sleep and wake up in the morning and never remember any of this, or you can take the red pill and go down the rabbit hole and never come out. She made that choice. Whether I allowed or contributed to that, she was so clever, she would've found the pills anyway. That made me feel a little better, but people don't know about that time. We were stupid, we were ignorant. Giving someone with an addiction pills? I've never given anyone pills or drugs or anything since.
I imagine that hearing Jinkx forgive you directly to the camera, even though it was a comical thing, that must've felt like some sort of public absolving in some way?
It's weird, I don't think drag queens impersonate, I actually think they channel some of these people they're portraying or being. As gay people, that pain that we all have in us, we all have pain, I think that's what the drag queens are doing. They're channeling that pain and bringing it to us so that we can understand that life is that way, and sometimes you just have to go with it. I don't want to get all maudlin, and I do think it's funny now how I [revealed] it, so, let me lighten the mood: We're making jokes about Lincoln, so why can't we make a joke about Judy Garland?
One more thing we have to clear up: People constantly speculate that you're the guy Bianca Del Rio woke up in the audience of the stand-up challenge on season 6. Can you confirm?
That was me! I didn't mean to yell at BenDeLaCreme, but she was bombing. I had to…. I put on that schtick. I knew she was better than that, so I said, "Tell us a joke!" and that just came out. I just delivered. As far as the thing that Bianca did, I put on these sunglasses and went to sleep, and she got me! I took it, girl. I took it.
You are a Drag Race icon.
[On season 5] I looked like I was doing great on the stage, the Judy-Liza thing [Jinkx and I] did, our walk…. That was my first time in drag. There are these stairs going up to the platform, so as we were going up, she was ahead of me, and she turned around, bent down, looked me in the face as I was beginning to take the first step, and said in a [deep] voice, "Wipe that fear off your face and smile!" and I was so shocked by the voice that I just turned it up, because I had to get on that stage and perform for her. She was [basically] saying, "Don't f--- this up, Dave!" And it worked.
RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7 continues Friday at 3 a.m. ET / 12 a.m. PT on Paramount+.
Subscribe to EW's BINGE podcast for full recaps of RuPaul's Drag Race, including weekly season 14 recaps with the cast.
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