Sharon Needles Responds To That Whole Hitler Incident In Austria


I will always use off-putting humor in my work. What Life Ball did was try to censor me from the media, cut me out of the show, and make it seem like I wasn’t there, which is media manipulation and creating propaganda.

The only regret I have is not being able to perform in front of my Austrian fans, which are some of the best in the world. Let’s face it, Sharon Needles is more suited at a Death Ball. After speaking to several Austrian locals, young and old, gay and straight, I realized there was nothing done wrong on my part—Life Ball was just trying to protect their sponsors. I was raised on such great transgressive artists as Divine, Lady Bunny, Shirley Q. Liquor, and the queen herself RuPaul, who taught me that boundaries have to be pushed, and history should not be forgotten.

As for the speculation of my behavior on a plane full of Club Kids, that’s merely hearsay, speculation and exaggeration, and I would not expect anything less from New York’s finest. Andy Warhol once said your worst day is your best tape. Man was that plane a great tape.”

Sharon Needles addressing her unceremonious exit from Austria via NewNowNext

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  • MartinNYID

    I wonder if anyone told any of these people on this tour that glorifying Hitler in any way is, in fact, a crime in Germany and Austria; or advised them of the recent need to remove Hitler’s mother’s grave because it had become a place of pilgrimage for fascists? Or that both countries, and Greece have a very real problem tackling young Neo-Nazi groups and that hate crimes are on the rise in Europe? I’m no fan of tacky gala balls or anything, but Good parody, satire should be well informed imho.

  • dkmagby

    @MartinNYID: I doubt censorship is the answer to these problems.

  • MartinNYID

    @dkmagby: That is not up to guests of a foreign country to decide. Agree, or not.

  • PTBoat

    I love Sharon Needles, but he should remember that there are certain levels of appropriateness, even with risque humor. RuPaul sidelined his own rocketing career by, however deservedly, insulting Uncle Milty on stage. There’s a time and a place for everything if you want to be a super star in any business.

  • PTBoat

    Oh, and for every ones’ sake, please get the history right if you’re going to be off color.

  • unidlehands

    Shirley Q. Liquor as a transgressive artist?! Is that what offensive blackface minstrels were, too, Sharon? There’s a huge difference between performance art and racist demonstrations. I really enjoyed Sharon on Drag Race and I get that she wants to push the envelope, but she’s been in hot water a few too many times for crossing the line, especially when it comes to racially charged language.

  • Snapper59

    Oh, get over yourself.

    So now Hitler jokes were FOR THEIR OWN GOOD. Oh, yes, biatch, you school those Europeans!

  • Phillip

    I find her lack of education a lack of class. Comments like the one Sharon made are tasteless and unworthy of the people that were hosting her. I don’t expect her to be educated in international affairs but if she behaves like an idiot and says stupid things that offend people she deserves being banned from the show. After all this was the LIFE BALL a celebration of life.

  • BiL

    Really Sharon? This isn’t about rights or artistic expression. She made an off color joke that bombed.

  • 2eo

    @MartinNYID: This. So much this.

    It’s very hard for a lot of the younger Americans and baby boomers who have never faced an actual threat to their country too come to terms with the notion that the Nazi’s were a real, vicious evil that permeated most of our continent, in an event that actually happened, and is still remembered by many people.

    Wounds we are still fighting today, here in the UK we have fascists like the EDL, BNP and UKIP vying for power, France is having massive problems with Nazi supporting Vichy catholics who are attacking institutions and gay people all over the country. The list goes on.

    It’s a sad, not only lack of tact but also willful ignorance, she purposely tried to be “controversial” and her whole act was a failure.

  • MartinNYID

    @2eo: I don;t want ot witch hunt Sharon, I LOVE watch she’s brought to the label, but you’ve just reminded me of the travels I’ve made to Mauthausen, the concentration camp in the movie ‘Bent’, where they sent the political prisoners and homosexuals, and where life expectancy was approx 2 weeks.

    If people were actually being taught History, instead of gotdam ‘Social Studies’ … not to get too highbrow, but all of this was outlined by Allan Bloom in 1985: The Closing of the American Mind

    and it didn’t just happen in America…

  • wrinklyoldlady

    Man, there are a lot of granny gays that visit/comment on this site. Loosen up grandma(s)!

  • Polaro

    Seriously, they really blew her joke out of proportion. Hitler was Austrian, if not from Vienna. Big deal. It’s not like she endorsed Hitler. It was a joke from a character who built an entire persona on shock value. Seroiusly.

  • Allen D.

    @BiL: I laughed.

    Pretending that history didn’t happen is ridiculous. What about the whole ignored “history repeats itself” thing?

    Good for Sharon. I like my humor dry, off-putting, and tad risqué.

  • MartinNYID

    @Allen D.: Sure you do if you’re an American, safely tucked away from any ramifications of it. Feel free to go walk the walk – at a BNP rally in the UK…or Golden Dawn in Greece…or the Skinheads in Austria. Make sure you flap your arms around real nelly and shriek about how funny Hitler was and about American freedom of speech. #ignunt

  • Teleny

    Sharon’s one of my home girls. I saw her at the Blue Moon before she was on Rue. She was shocking then and shocking now. It’s not like she praised Hitler. She told a joke they didn’t like: isn’t that what comedians have done since Lenny Bruce & Red Foxx? They should have rolled their eyes and kept it moving!

  • BrianZ

    Meh. I’m all for pushing the envelope of good taste and doing your own damned thing. However, you don’t walk into someone’s house, at their invitation, and start pissing all over the place (literally or figuratively). And if you DO decide to take that approach, don’t start whining and crying about being “censored” when your hosts show you the door. One should not expect more from a goth drag queen from Pittsburgh, I suppose. Protecting their sponsors, showing their disgust at Sharon’s disrespect, who cares what their reasons were? End of the day, the joke just wasn’t f’ing funny we all know it. If that was the best Sharon had getting off the plane, they likely didn’t miss a damned thing anyway.

  • 2eo

    @Allen D.: That’s funny, as I am actually clever, witty and actually have an acid tongue.

    This was none of those things, it was boorish, moronic, absolutely PC in every way and not risque in the slightest.

  • Will L

    MartinNYID, you are correct. There’s nothing wrong with risque humor. But they do not find Hitler to be a laughing matter. Period. She should be grateful that they shut her up when they did.

    Ms. Needles needs to educate herself before she goes overseas again.

  • viveutvivas

    @MartinNYID and @Will, she didn’t glorify Hitler. Rather, the opposite. In contrast with Germany, Austria has distanced itself from its Nazi past and I think it is a good thing that someone rubbed their face in it. Austria need more of that, not less.

  • viveutvivas

    ..and by “distanced itself from its Nazi past” I mean to say Austria is pretending it didn’t happen, as opposed to facing up to it and making amends.

  • Snapper59

    You have got to be kidding me – Sharon Needles got off that plane drunk and had this grande formulation to confront “Austria and it’s Nazi past” ? Silly me, I just thought it was a bad joke that bombed. You know, like when PhiPhi did “the HELP” line on the RuPaul series.

    Who knew she was another Hilary Clinton. Well……. I think a Nobel is in order.

  • streeteditions

    Does anyone on this site remember the play, THE PRODUCERS, with that lovely musical number: “IT’S SPRINGTIME FOR HITLER IN GERMANY?” There’s even been a revival and a movie here in the colonies,. And CABARET? Ms. Needles may not have been aware of the present tense socio-political currents moving through Europe and the Middle East, or even of the current ones in Amerika where politicans call our President a liar during state occasions and bullets have winged the balcony he sits on. And young men in hoodies are shot on the street. Welcome to Marshall McLuhan’s archetypal ” fifteen minutes of fame(notoriety).” as developed by Andy Warhol, John Waters, and others. Sometimes we’re tasteless to be tasteless, and other times, we’re just tasteless.

  • Allen D.

    @2eo: No, it just sounds like you’re one of those queens that likes to bitch and complain about everything, pretending it’s witty. Anyone purporting to have “an acid tongue”, in my experience, is just a dick to people and they pretend that it’s because they’re so sharp witted. The joke in question is still funny to me, and no matter how many different adjectives you assign to it, it will continue to be.

    Apparently there aren’t many people commenting on the whole “trying to pretend it didn’t happen” being ridiculous. It is.

    In regards to MartinNYID — Would I go to Austria and say “Hitler was HILARIOUS!!!!” ? No. Would I see a problem with myself, or someone else, stating a fact (incorrect city aside)? Of course not. It’s like it’s their way of saying “no, no… um… Hitler wasn’t from Austria… no, no, no! You can’t say it because it’s not true!”. Umm… yes it is. He was from Austria. Confront it, deal with it, and don’t get all pissed off when someone states a FACT.

    I also love the mental image of me being “nelly” and “shrieking”. THAT is hilarious. I further enjoy how people in other countries are so quick to talk badly about America being so behind everyone else (in regards to civil rights, marriage, etc) — but at least we can state facts without fear. And thank God for that.

  • ait10101

    There still in Austria. In Kirchberg, where the Wittgenstein conferences are held, the book most widely on sale is Mein Kampf, and the Austrian Nazi headquarters are just down the road. In Altenberg, where I worked at the Konrad Lorenz Institute, we never went to the nearest pub because it was frequented by Nazis. I think the statement was dumb, but I would let it go. There are far worse things around.

  • Gusteau

    You totally can say what you want there, he was not sent home by the authorities but by Keszler himself probably due some contract clause. Sharon could have stayed and said whatever he wanted, but on his own cost, so please stop acting like he was banned from that country, that’s just not true.
    Yes there is a slight denial, but mostly with the older generation, same as in other countries. It’s like with the Vietnam War, did anyone who was part of the My Lai Massacre really get punished? No, one of them got 3 years and that was it. Does anyone care in the US? I find it exceptionally appaling that nothing more happened, and it was in the 60’s for crying out loud, not that long ago! Why is no one caring? Why is everyone still crying over WW2 atrocities but not over more recent ones? I Really don’t get it… Medina is even a member of Rotary International, how can you even sit next to him without spitting in his face?

  • Greg Garavani

    Is anyone really surprised? It’s Sharon Needles, bitch obviously is trying to ‘shock’ her audience once again, but starting your first joke off about Hitler? Come on girl, we all can do better than that.

  • Caleb in SC

    Twenty-seven comments on a slightly tacky drag queen, but crickets when it comes to anything political on this site. Pathetic.

  • PTBoat

    Caleb, I think that’s because this site is has not been known for its great political posts. There are other sites that do that very well and the comments are full at them.

  • ScaryRussianHeather

    Oh she’s so ~transgressive and edgy. Get some new material Sharon – you’re no Lenny Bruce. Maybe you need to sober up. “Giving them a history lesson”? LOL ok.

    According to Willam on NNN’s site with this story:
    “The joke that she told “you hear the one about the baby with AIDS? It never gets old” wasn’t mentioned in this and appalled a lot of people we were traveling with. Love her but ****. Know your crowd.”

    She had the opportunity to do something REALLY relevant during her season when Ru asked about her Tammy Faye tattoo and she punked out with some dumb crap about only knowing she had great mascara instead of addressing Tammy’s support of the LGBT community disregarding her Christian side…which Ru, as her good friend has done since, like forever. Sharon has nothing to offer let alone be significant to culture or history like she thinks she is.

  • fabulous wonder twins

    What????… A plane full of Club Kids????
    All we ever got to ride was a bus full of club kids, and this was way back in the 90’s.
    Enjoy your success, Fierce One!… Let others eat cake.

  • hyhybt

    As a joke, it fails the “know your audience” test spectacularly. The education excuse is insulting; Austrians *know* about Hitler as much as anybody. At best, the remark qualifies as rubbing salt in a wound, and who really thinks that shouldn’t get a negative reaction?

  • MartinNYID

    @hyhybt: VERY good point. ‘Know your audience’ and I find this puzzling, because her performance art, “Yo ucan love TV, but it will not love you” is genius!

  • ashum

    @viveutvivas: You think it’s a GOOD thing?! Do you know how much they’ve already been through? It is really close to home still.Example: My 30 year old gf who is dutch, her great uncle was killed by the nazis, there is a plaque to honour him near a play park she used to play in as a little girl. There are people in Germany and Austria with similar experiences. In Germany and Austria, there were supporters but the way I hear some non-Europeans and such Britons talk they seem to think everyone was a nazi and that people didn’t suffer under the dictatorship and occupation of Hitler. They did! My GCSE was spent studying Weimar and Nazi Germany, it also got touched on by A level Psychology. And some were so helpless that they simply just went along with life because dissent meant execution. Even in the UK there is a bit of a distance that jokes can still be made but then the majority of the UK was unoccupied and that appears to make the distance. I love Sharon Needles but when I hear her response to this along the lnes of ‘free speech in my country blah blah blah’ and american exceptionalism invoked I just hate it. She is better than that. I odn’t want her to be just another ignorant American spouting how great her country is. Europeans have been left with guilt undeserved because it was nothing to do with the individuals. Look up ‘Hitler’s Children’ 2011 film. It will open your eyes to see the guilt carried by those who do not even share the views of the nazis and I hope you feel ashamed because Rainer stands out as his health has suffered – two heart attacks in his 30s! They try to forget it because it hurts and it has been carried and an image that sticks decades after. The last thing they need is ANOTHER reminder. Strnsgely enough many Europeans seem a lot more humble about wars than many in the USA, the image I see from many is they are proud but don’t mention the failure that was Vietnam…because that hurts. Failure, not losing your family to ideology or to a nasty totalitarian who decided they weren’t good enough to be alive or were only suitable as a lab rat. America needs to get a few more Douglas MacArthurs. She was not being edgy, in Europe the invocation of the image of Hitler when talking about Austria and Germany? One of the most common associations I hear made.

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