Have you seen this new, decidedly non-legit version of People's Court that ABC is airing with Steve Harvey pretend-mediating real-life disagreements and handing people money? Well, a couple of local drag queens got themselves on the show to pretend-fight over some dresses, and it's a legit laugh riot.
Heklina (a.k.a. Steven Grygelko), the longtime impresario of drag clubs Mother (formerly Trannyshack), Oasis, and the ongoing monthly Daytime Realness — which should be coming back in March at El Rio — currently lives semi-full time in Palm Springs. Longtime friend Pippi Lovestocking (a.k.a. Scot Coker Free), who still performs in San Francisco, has also been spending time down in SoCal, and Heklina tells SFist, "Pippi is tied in to the casting networks down here. Since I have been here I've been on Let's Make A Deal, Get A Clue, Chrissy's Court, and now Steve Harvey."
And why did Heklina "take Pippi to court" as it were? Well, given that this newish genre is called "comedic arbitration-style court shows," and it's an offshoot of the similar but seemingly more legit genre of court shows like Judge Judy which are also just dealing with arbitration matters for entertainment, we don't have to think too hard about this. And the "case" that comes just before Heklina's on the same episode that aired Tuesday night involves two parents "suing" their teenage son for $10,000 in damage he did to their kitchen while recklessly shooting his YouTube cooking videos.
Heklina isn't contractually allowed to say that this was all for show, but as she tells SFist, "the cases are very coached and theatrical."
And her supposed beef with Pippi is about as wink-wink as the previous case: She's demanding Pippi pay her for five dresses that she loaned to her drag queen friend, which Pippi assumed were hand-me-downs she could keep. They get to show photos of themselves in drag, and a historic photo from their friendship — "when we were much younger and thinner," Heklina quips. And Heklina drags Pippi about constantly wearing the same cheap turquoise necklace with every outfit.
You can watch the whole episode here on Hulu, and note how audibly delighted this Atlanta TV audience when a real-life drag queen in drag, Palm Springs performer Lady Sham, walks in to serve as Pippi's "witness." Ms. Sham claims that Heklina screwed Pippi out of a gig recently and slandered her, and Steve seems to believe her — awarding some money to Pippi for her counter-claim, and telling her to give $1,500 of it back to Heklina to cover the cost of the dresses. (Heklina says they did receive the settlement.)
Amusingly, as Steve Harvey hears all about the "backstabbing" that Heklina is allegedly responsible for in the drag world from Lady Sham, he exclaims, "It's the drag queen mafia!" to which Lady Sham replies, pointing to Heklina, "And she's the godfather!"
In addition to these recent TV appearances, Heklina and Pippi Lovestocking also infamously appeared on The Jerry Springer Show together back in the 90s, portraying (apparently) bisexual men in drag caught in a love triangle with the same woman — who was, at the time, the coatcheck girl at The Stud.