Jinkx Monsoon (Jerick Hoffer) is forced by her best friend, DeLa (Benjamin Putnam), to put on a holiday special. However, due to the pandemic, the drag queens are forced to do the whole thing audience-less and in front of a camera. But, that’s not the only reason why Jinkx is against this. She did not have any pleasant Christmas celebrations growing up, so she does not care for the holiday. So, now, the two friends must try to reconcile their views on the holiday season. So goes the narrative of The Jinkx And DeLa Holiday Special, written and directed by Putnam.
Of course, being a holiday special, the whole affair is sprinkled with bawdy humor, songs, innuendo, and a talking glass of eggnog. The production is designed as a stage show. However, I don’t know whether it was actually one beforehand and is now being filmed due to the coronavirus or is only intentionally set up that way. What is known, though, is that Putnam makes very creative use of both the stage sets and the fact that this is a film. Several sequences, such as the rousing first number, are skillfully edited via split-screen, off-screen costume changes, and other elements that can only happen thanks to the magic of editing.
On top of that, the sound design is also pretty great. Naked Guy (Jordan Iosua Taylor) entices Jinkx away from a tap dance duet with DeLa to frolic in the sheets. When DeLa notices, she sashays up the stairs, where the noises of pleasure from behind the closed door can be heard vividly. It still works with the act’s music while providing an amusing counterpoint to the wholesome sheen DeLa desperately wants the special to be.
“…a holiday special…sprinkled with bawdy humor, songs, innuendo, and a talking glass of eggnog.”
Of course, The Jinkx And DeLa Holiday Special would not work if it weren’t for the cast. Putnam, aka Bendelacreme, is effortlessly charming, and the lengths she’ll go to for the “perfect” Christmas are played with the right amount of sincerity and absurdity. Hoffer plays Jinkx’s disdain for tradition not with malice but annoyance. This makes it easy to buy into why she’d want to help her friend, despite the misgivings. Jinkx and DeLa play off each other quite well. As the perpetually naked man, Taylor brings a lot of empathy to the role and proves to be wiser than expected.
The humor is, for the most, just as top-notch as everything else. While there’s a fart joke that lasts a bit too long, much of the comedy is fast, furious, and downright hilarious. The continuing gag about rewriting the script and those changes occurring in real-time never fail to entertain (though it is the source of the flatulence moment). The songs are all catchy, but the highlight is a song DeLa sings about Santa stuffing her stocking until it’s full, and she’s absolutely oblivious to how dirty that sounds.
The costumes are also grand and fantastic, with the quick changes being most impressive. The “candy cane” dresses are a standout, as is the full-body Santa face and his sack. The performers make the most of each one, and it is clear a lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into their creation. The same thing can be said for the simple but effectively charming production design of the sets.
The Jinkx And DeLa Holiday Special is a whole lot of fun and filled with a whole lot of heart. Jinkx and DeLa are charming, funny hosts, and the script and jokes are hysterical. Rest assured, this will be put on again and again for every holiday season from here on out.
"…a whole lot of fun and filled with a whole lot of heart."