{ICMYI} Jinkx Monsoon and Major Scales : How the Ginger Snapped

by Mary Belkle

For the past several years, the Seattle comedy powerhouse duo of Jinkx Monsoon (Jerick Hoffer) and Major Scales (Richard Andriessen) have captivated audiences all over the globe. Since their cabaret days in The Vaudevillians, they have continued to entertain with their quirky and unique style. I recently had the honor of interviewing them both about their past and present.

Mary Belkle: How and when did you first meet?

Jinkx Monsoon: Major and I met in college. We were two of only three queer boys in our class, so naturally we had to size each other up right away. Romance wasn’t in the cards for us, but we learned quickly that we shared a similar sense of humor and a very similar taste in music.

Major Scales: We bonded over a fondness for nice hats, and the rest is history

MB: What was it like the first time you worked together?

JM: We had lived together as roommates for about a year, when there was a cabaret show at our school {Cornish}. We decided to do an act based on characters we would entertain ourselves with at home. The first song we ever worked on was Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart,” which we set to a ragtime, 1920s motif. That further influenced the characters, and after a few months of playing around with this setup, we developed our first duo show, The Vaudevillians.

MS: I was the only one to give up the drag, but we both enjoyed our repartee, and it seemed I played a good “straight man” to her chaotic energy.

MB: How has your personal friendship evolved over the years?

JM: Our friendship has evolved to the point where we are part of each other’s chosen families. We call ourselves “common-law married” based on how many years we’ve lived together (almost nine) and the fact that our careers are intertwined like a traveling-show couple. We have telepathic moments onstage because we each know each other inside out. We’ve rarely ever fought, although we are in many ways opposite. He’s the Bert, I’m the Ernie. He’s the Ricky, I’m the Lucy. He’s the Saffy, I’m the Eddie.

MS: We’re certainly closer than ever, even though we’re no longer roomies. We’ve known and worked together for so long now that I can’t imagine life without Jinkx; we’re two peas in a pod.

MB: How has your partnership from The Vaudvillians changed from the past to today, and what do you see happening in the future?

JM: In The Vaudevillians, our characters are constantly trying to dominate each other and fight for top billing. But in life, he and I are true partners. We share equal responsibilities in our shows: he focuses on the music, I focus on the script, and together, we help the other with their focus. I always write better when he’s in the room, and I often put a final touch on his song arrangements that make it work for the show. In the past, we were just two friends sharing a hobby. Today, we are business partners sharing a friendship.

MS: The Vaudevillians was our baby, and we still love doing that show. It has opened the door for us to do many of the other shows we’ve created since then, and we still like to use it as our first show when we begin performing in a new town or venue

MB: What do you like most or least about working with each other?

JM: I think what we like most about working together is the fact that we get to work so often. We’ve found a formula and a recipe that works for us. The thing I’d guess we like the least is our different sleep schedules, ha ha… Major likes to sleep at a reasonable hour, where as I’m essentially nocturnal.

MS: I like that Jinkx and I know each other so well onstage, and I think the audience can feel that connection. We’re so close that it’s easy and second nature to play off of each other, trading barbs or adding onto the other’s jokes. I don’t know anyone else who I can play off of so easily onstage.

Jinkx and Major’s The Ginger Snapped is on tour in the UK through April 2019.

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