Purple Angel Wing Heart

man up 2022: heat four

man up 2022: heat four

cw: are they for you? are content warnings really for you? if so, proceed with caution, if at all.

Hi ya! I’ve just been in “heavily procrastinating trying to get my life together” mode thanks to a recent job rejection, so I’m gonna try to write as much as possible over the next two months (at least)! Plus I also need to launch my perfume review blog AND start learning motion graphics more…


Heat 4 was more remarkable than I previously thought. It’s a bit like most SNL episodes in a way: as a cohesive episode, they can seem either good, average or dogshit. But then, once you go through it sketch by sketch, most of the sketches seem to be, at the very least, enjoyable. This heat is no different.

Setup was nothing too remarkable. Chiyo was just as pumped to see me as they were last time.

Part One

Host Chiyo kicked things off with a transmasc ode to Gaston, where he got to show a little bit of softness at the beginning (it’s Chiyo, so he can only show a little).

Starting off the main bit of the competition was Ishmael Gaze, who did the same act as last time, mostly because he forgot to take his headpiece home with him the first time round. He performed the act with a touch more oomph than Heat 2. As you may be aware, outside of drag he’s part of Degenerate Fox, the London Neo-Futurists (I almost called them Neo-Naturists…) that Desiree Burch founded. When I went home, I told him that my friend met Des at the BAFTAs, but I actually fumbled and it turned out he met her at the Comedy Awards. Oh well…

Next up was Bi Curious George, the animal-aping (no pun intended) king. This time round, he was a snail, complete with shell that glowed rainbow on the left and white on the right. He fed an unsuspecting audience member lettuce as a mating ritual, then gave the member a knitted snail that he crocheted himself. Ever since I almost decapitated someone with a Happy Feet DVD during a performance, I’ve been a bit suspicious of audience participation without prior consent first. However, all examples of audience participation I’ve seen during this competition have either been enthusiastic, a guideline or something that turned out well in the end.

Then was our second and final returnee of the night, Clay Taurus. Set to the tune of ‘I’ve No More Fucks To Give’ by Thomas Benjamin Wild Esq, they stripped off from stately to showboat. It was very “BBC sitcom from the 70s that wouldn’t fly today but still airs on Gold”. IMO a way better take on gender fluidity than their Heat 2 act – it had more levity.

After giving the audience a content warning, to which Chiyo explained the circumstances in which they’re needed, not finishing off this half was Titus Androgynous. Technical problems meant that he had to start off Part 2…

No one twerks like Gaston…
Ishmael Gaze
Bi Curious George
Clay Taurus

Part Two

… where he did a monologue about toxic masculinity, violence and being seen. It was heavy, it was heartfelt, it was a bit overwhelming. On a lighter note, his armour had white chocolate coins on, which had melted from nipple heat I guess. I had one and it still tasted nice x

Then came Fighter Phil, who became a permanent fixture on the Man Up! iceberg, thanks to accidentally using an instrumental version of Eye of the Tiger to shadowbox to. Prior to the main bulk of the act, he told us that he fights for those impacted by every “ism-ism-ism”. Chiyo hit the nail on the head by saying that it was either “genius or WTF”, comparing it to Taylor Trash playing dead to ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’.

Next up was Mr. Whippy, the BDSM king. Looking every inch the sex-club goer, he did a scene on an inflatable ice cream cone (true to his name). Very high energy, very fun.

Closing things was Paul Bollywood. They gave me “heat winner” energy from backstage and, boy, was I proven right! They subverted what White people know of the Indian diaspora (e.g. “Pooja what is this behaviour”, ‘Jai Ho’), then sexed things up a bit (with a money gun!) because they want to do what they want to do. I felt complicit in a way, but only because I was going full “YER DYIN’ FOR IH-! Get off, my back.” to Gia.

The second half of Paul’s act was to ‘Pony’ by Ginuwine. Ishmael also had ‘Pony’ in his act, as well as Papa Parmigiano (and Mack Chismo way back when – how has it been four years since that particular Man Up?). Therefore, ‘Pony’ is to drag kings how ‘Sweet Transvestite’ is to alt queens. It’s all Channing Tatum’s fault. I feel like Prince of Persia tore the rulebook apart here.

Titus Androgynous
Fighter Phil
“Ice cream is a feeling”
Paul Bollywood

Judging/celebrating this week was Prinx Silver, whose picture I managed to find on Reface a few months ago when I wanted to feel my Harley Quinn/Leeloo Dallas/Jennifer Check fantasies. So I showed him the incriminating faceswap and he was absolutely shocked that his photo was on the app! I was a bit apprehensive about showing him the faceswap/app because of consent and all that, but he was more than happy. His friends were even happier – they literally got butterflies when I was scrolling through the Rehair Salon.

(Honestly, I could write an entire post about Reface. I need to start writing fluff.)

Prinx Silver and “Prinx Silver”
Heat 4’s cohort

Paul got through, of course, but not without Clay joining him! I mean, Clay is an industry veteran and now a two-time finalist, but I’d have put my money on Mr Whippy or Titus Androgynous to get through. Mr Whippy is definitely this heat’s robbery.

When I pressed Clay about which act they’re doing in the final, they said that they’re going to do the Heat 4 act because it’s the one the audience preferred, even though their first choice act was Heat 2’s. Again, I think it’s the best call.

Heat 5 writeup tomorrow then I’m officially up-to-date!

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