RuPaul’s Drag Race is an entertainment juggernaut. After ten seasons of the show, a lot of talent has sashayed their way down the mainstage. From Drag Race’s humble beginnings on Logo to the bright lights of VH1, hundreds of celebrity guests and judges joined RuPaul for a shot on the runway. While some celebrity appearances like Henry Rollins or Nancy Pelosi might have left viewers scratching their heads, comedians and Drag Race have always paired nicely together.
Every season of Drag Race and Drag Race All Stars has featured at least one “comedy challenge” and comedians have always been there to read the girls to filth. This list is only guests. So no: we are not including Ross Matthews, Todrick Hall, Bob the Drag Queen, or Bianca Del Rio or any other comedy queens that competed. With the finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 4 airing tonight at 8:00 p.m. EST on VH1, Laughspin is here to let you know every comedian and comedic actor to grace the queens with their presence (or slay them with shade).
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 1
Everyone who watched the first season of Drag Race (before all memory of it was wiped from the internet) remembers it is was rough. Season 1 was funny for all the wrong reasons except for their inclusion of Debra Wilson. The longtime MADtv actress started a long tradition of comedians on the show.
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 2
Kathy Griffin is a gay icon who found her way onto the show multiple times. The first fabulous occasion was on Season 2, but she would come back as one of the only comedians to appear on Season 7.
Known for her roles on In Living Color and Living Single, Kim Coles is also a stand-up comedian. At the time of her Drag Race appearance, she hosted the short-lived game show Pay It Off on truTV.
The second Kathy of the season, Kathy Najimy might be best known for playing Peggy Hill on King of the Hill. Season 2 of Drag Race came the same year as the final season of King of the Hill.
The same year Niecy Nash appeared on the show, she won an Emmy for Clean House. While she hosted Clean House for seven years, she might be better known for her role on Reno 911!—for which she received two Emmys.
Cloris Leachman is a comedy icon. With a career that spans eight decades, she barely needs an introduction. She judged the episode where the queens dressed up elders in drag, which she got a kick out of sitting next to co-judge Debbie Reynolds.
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 3
Early on, all of the comedians on Drag Race were women. Bruce Vilanch is the first male comedian to appear on the show. The comedy writer would come back to judge again on the fifth season.
Lily Tomlin is another icon to flaunt it on Drag Race. The episode she came on for, Queens in Space, is now iconic for a fight between Mimi Imfust and Shangela backstage. The so-called “sugar daddy rant” has over one million views on YouTube. RuPaul has since appeared on Tomlin’s Netflix show Grace and Frankie.
Aisha Tyler was an amazing judge for Season 3’s Snatch Game because of what seemed to be a genuine love of the show. In the episode, she seems to absolutely enjoy what she is doing!
Rita Rudner established herself as one of the top female comedians of the 1980s through her appearances on The Tonight Show and HBO specials. With Drag Race’s record of booking top female comics, she seemed like a natural fit as a judge.
Arden Myrin appeared on the same episode as Rudner. Fittingly, they both judged a stand-up comedy challenge where the queens had to write and perform jokes. As a stand-up and improviser before she became a comedic actor, the MADtv star gave the girls specific critiques to help them kill not just a runway, but a crowd.
Wayne Brady strangely judged a hair challenge on the show and not one of the many improv challenges that happened over the ten seasons (Brady is bald). Four years after this episode, Brady dressed in drag to play Lola in the Broadway version of Kinky Boots.
Margaret Cho appeared in the third season of Drag Race as a judge, but many remember her cameo playing Kim Jong-Un in a pre-recorded video message played for Kim Chi during the Season 8 finale.
— RuPaul’s Drag Race (@RuPaulsDragRace) May 17, 2016
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 4
Season 4 was light on comedians, but Drag Race loves bringing MADtv alumni on the show. Nicole Sullivan judged a comedy challenge alongside co-creator of Will and Grace, Max Mutchnick.
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5
Not to be confused with Downtown Julie Brown, who was also a judge on the same episode, the comedian Julie Brown got her big start when Lily Tomlin saw her at a comedy club in the early ’80s. She came on Drag Race to judge the fan favorite Snatch Game challenge.
Another judge on the Roast of RuPaul was Nadya Ginsburg, who was a longtime writer for Fashion Police with Joan Rivers.
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6
Heather McDonald and Jacobs were a perfect pair for Snatch Game. They had issues holding in their laughs especially when it came to Bianca Del Rio and BenDeLaCreme’s impressions.
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 7
While Kathy Griffin came back for this season, Rachael Harris was the only new comedian to grace the mainstage. Harris might be best known for her role on Reno 911! but she started in the famed Groundlings troupe.
— Rachael Harris (@RachaelEHarris) May 3, 2015
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 8
The Drag Race season that gave us Bob the Drag Queen pulled the show out of its comedian guest dip of the previous two seasons. The first funny person of the season, Tasha Smith, judged a comedy acting challenge where the girls had to play roles in a parody version of Empire.
Every season ends with a ball episode where the queens have to serve looks including one that was handmade. This season’s ball theme was “books” which made comedy authors and siblings Amy Sedaris and David Sedaris natural choices to judge. Of course, Amy brought out her own DIY book for reference.
The late Carol Channing sent a pre-recorded video to Bob for the season finale after he played her on the Snatch Game earlier in the season.
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9
Fortune Feimster made her big break on Last Comic Standing, and since then she has appeared in a slew of popular TV comedies. Feimster judged the Roast of Michelle Visage. At the time, she posted on Facebook, “Being a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race was one of my favorite things I’ve gotten to do! “
RuPaul loves Lisa Kudrow for her work on The Comeback, from which he took one of his catchphrases “Hello Hello Hello.” Kudrow came into the workroom to say “hello hello hello” to the girls herself.
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 10
Season 10 marked Drag Race’s transition from Logo to VH1, which brought with it some more mainstream talent. Kumail Nanjiani might be a fan of the show, but as a judge, he was extremely awkward like he was confused to be there. Luckily, his wife Emily V. Gordon co-judged with Nanjiani to pick up the slack. Gordon had obviously been watching the show for years and knew all the T. In a now-deleted tweet, she called the experience, “My actual biggest career goal in life.” And she’d been nominated for an Academy Award just months earlier!
Billy Eichner judged an unauthorized musical challenge based on the life of Cher. It’s surprising it took Eichner until Season 10 to be on Drag Race, but we’re happy he got there all the same.
Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer
Broad City stars Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer judged a Westworld parody challenge. Parody artist Randy Rainbow also appeared briefly in this episode. Jacobson said of the experience, in an interview with the AV Club, “What an incredible world to enter into…. Just full of such positivity and creativity.”
— RuPaul’s Drag Race (@RuPaulsDragRace) May 16, 2018
Stephen Colbert also appeared briefly in the Westworld parody in the form of a pre-recorded clip. He both introduced the challenge and served as the narrator. RuPaul has been a guest multiple times on The Late Show and the two also did a bit for the Emmys when Colbert hosted the awards show in 2017.
Lena Dunham judged an episode where the queens had to play a version of themselves as a good twin and an evil one. Vice called her “easily the most entertaining thing about this week’s episode.” We call shade.
Ahem! Attention please @rupaulsdragrace is ON rn east coast and I’m judging you… turn on @vh1 plz and west coast you can do what I just said at 8PM your time. Kbye #DragRace – OMG @ashanti!!!!! 😍 pic.twitter.com/LS0EnmDWgQ
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) June 8, 2018
RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 1
Vicki Lawrence was well-suited to judge a 1960’s era-style variety show Drag Race called Gaff-In, a parody of the classic hit show Laugh-In. The Carol Burnett Show star even resurrected her Thelma Harper character for the episode.
Rachel Dratch is a friend of drag. Other than appearing in Bianca Del Rio’s Hurricane Bianca films, she also judged on All Stars one of the more awkward episodes in what most fans believe was one of the worst seasons of Drag Race. In this episode, the queens had to perform pranks in a rare occurrence that they filmed outside the sound stage.
Known for her work on The Goldbergs and Reno 911!, Wendi McLendon-Covey came to judge a challenge where the queens had to come up with their own superhero origin stories.
Cheri Oteri judged the season finale of the first Drag Race All Stars. The comic might be best known for her time on Saturday Night Live. Oteri used her comedy chops to give the girls advice on how to incorporate stand-up into a challenge where they had to be a brand ambassador for Hamburger Mary’s (a frequent sponsor of the show.)
RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 2
Drag Race All Stars Season 1 was rough, but Season 2 went a lot smoother (even smoother than All Stars Season 3). Parks and Recreation star Aubrey Plaza usually pops up all over the place: Criminal Minds, Father John Misty music videos, the voice of Grumpy Cat. However, the Funny People star loved being a judge on Drag Race, maybe more than everything else. She even said on the show, “This is the best day of my life. I am killing myself tomorrow.”
— RuPaul (@RuPaul) November 2, 2016
Chelsea Peretti wasn’t a judge on the show but came on as a stand-up coach to help the queens in a comedy challenge. The All Stars Drag Queens Of Comedy challenge isn’t the funniest, but Peretti really tried her best to help. Plus, she now uses gifs from her appearance on the show for tweets.
i dont get military time like o 24 hundred hours blah di blah 1500 o’clock im like what is this math class pic.twitter.com/078EfqtryH
— Chelsea Peretti (@chelseaperetti) June 4, 2018
RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 3
Nailed It! host Nicole Byer is a Drag Race superfan. She co-hosts the RuPaul recap podcast What the Tuck? with Joel Kim Booster. Byer posted to Facebook about the experience, “I’m on RuPaul’s Drag Race tonight!!! This was a dream come true!!!”
I’m so excited for tonight y’all. pic.twitter.com/Ec6XXvkv0X
— nicole byer (@nicolebyer) February 15, 2018
RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 4
Everything Jenifer Lewis does is iconic. Shangela even did an impression of her for All Stars Season 3. She judged the All Star Super Queen Variety Show which even featured a stand-up performance from Jasmine Masters.
— Jenifer Lewis (@JeniferLewis) December 24, 2018
Erica Ash is another MADtv actress to make her way onto Drag Race. Ash also got her start on Logo on the network’s answer to SNL, The Big Gay Sketch Show. Former Miss Congeniality, Valentina, trashed the actress after Ash gave her outfit a bad review.
Yvette Nicole Brown
Most recognized for her role on the cult-hit, Community, Yvette Nicole Brown not only judged but went on RuPaul’s podcast What’s the Tee? to talk about acting, improv, and Cleveland along with Cecily Strong.
Cecily Strong came on the show not only to be a guest judge but also to help the girls as a comedy coach. The SNL star helped them on their sets for the Roast of Lady Bunny, which was funeral-themed. While nobody died, the usually funny Trinity The Tuck Taylor certainly bombed.