Drag queen-cum-ex-con-Tupperware lady Dixie Longate: Bringing comedy freshness to North Texas burp by burp
I think the most popular [misconception] about Tupperware is that it’s something that went away,” says Dixie Longate, the fiery-spirited alter ego of drag comedian Kris Andersson.
Dixie is talking about the iconic kitchenware brand perhaps known best for its sealable “burping” bowls sold with lifetime warranties. Longate — an “ex-con from the Deep South” — is one of Tupperware’s top consultants. She is also colorful evidence that the pioneering direct sales company continues to prosper.
This week, Longate kicked off the return engagement of Dixie’s Tupperware Party, her one-woman audience participation show, and she’s as honored as a prom queen to be back by popular demand.
“Oh, lord, it’s so nice,” Longate coos. “It’s like, you know, when someone calls you and they say, ‘Hey, that sex was so good. Come on, let’s do it again.’ It’s the same thing, but it’s like having sex for a month.”
Longate promises, despite what images a Tupperware party may evoke, that her fun-filled shows appeal to a demographic far broader than a few blue-haired food storage aficionados.
“A lot of people think it’s gonna be little old ladies sitting around talking about bowls,” she says. “But I have so many great people coming. And then all these men friends come. Men are smart sometimes. They say, ‘I want to go and be where a bunch of ladies are.’ And I say, ‘Hey, while you’re here you might as well look at my legs because Jesus made ’em and they’re long.’”
Dixie also gleefully acknowledges that her shows attract a fair share of gay fans — or, as she calls them, “homosectionals.”
“Of course, all the homosectionals come,” Longate says. “Homosectionals love being in the theater — I don’t know why. I think they get free glitter or something. They are such nice people, and they smell pretty. So it’s great.”
Longate has hosted her sassy style of Tupperware parties for more than a decade now, and her tireless antics have paid off handsomely. At Tupperware’s annual convention — an event known as Jubilee — she has been recognized year after year as one of its top selling consultants. In fact, Longate’s enormous success makes it difficult to believe that her introduction to hostessing was pure happenstance.
“I had gotten out of prison and my parole officer said, ‘You need some sort of a job to get your kids back,” Longate recalls. “And I said, ‘I don’t want ’em back, because they are sticky and they are gross. They talk to you and you got to feed ’em.’ You know, when you have sex with somebody, you don’t necessarily have to feed ’em later. But kids you have to feed.”
Reluctantly accepting her P.O.’s unwanted advice, Longate attended her first Tupperware party. She found the event surprisingly engaging.
“I had so much fun,” she says. “And the drinks were free! That really roped me in. And I said, ‘OK, I’m gonna do it!’ Within a year I was the top seller in the entire United States and Canadia [another word she charmingly mispronounces].”
Perhaps equally surprising to Longate was her transition from home party hostess to off-Broadway star. “A friend of mine said, ‘You should take this and put it up on the stage,’ and I said, ‘You’re stupid!’ So I did, and it became this whole thing. Then people all around the country said, ‘Why don’t you put it on my stage?’ It has just gotten bigger and bigger. I never even thought. That was 13-and-a-half years ago, and I’m still going strong. Isn’t that crazy?”
Though her show’s longevity may have been unexpected, it hardly seems improbable — especially given Longate’s uncanny knack for turning life’s lemons into lemon-drop martinis.
“You know, there’s always things in everybody’s past,” Longate says. “Even the things that I did bad, I was able to turn them into gold. Listen, I met some of my best friends in prison. Who doesn’t need a couple of lesbians in their back pocket to help you out when times are tough and you need to build something? I’m real lucky.”
Longate believes the opportunity to meet so many people has been the most rewarding aspect of her flourishing career. Indeed, one of her fondest memories is the chance meeting with a soap opera idol who attended one of her shows.
“This past summer, I was at a theater in Los Angeles and Miss Deidre Hall came to my party. She still looks as good as she did when she was hatched out of the womb. She’s so damn pretty. I can’t stand it. She came right up to me and said, ‘Hi, I’m Deidre Hall.’ I’ve been watching her on Days of Our Lives forever!”
If she hadn’t found her calling with Tupperware, Longate suspects the glamorous life she enjoys might have been far more ordinary. “My aspirations were never that big,” she admits. “I always just thought I’d be in the grocery store saying, ‘Hey, the melons are two for one ‘cause they’ve got a little bruise on them. But that’s all right. They still taste good in your mouth.’”
Longate is astonished to think there may be some among us who have yet to attend a Tupperware party. She fears those lives must have giant voids in them.
“Well listen, I can fill that hole,” Longate promises cheekily. “Come to the Tupperware party!”
McDavid Studio, 301 E. Fifth St. Through May 3. BassHall.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 10, 2015.