RuPaul's love for 1970s variety television is seen in this All Stars recreation of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In with Vicki Lawrence as Mama from The Carol Burnett Show. "Gaff-In" takes a show about and for the sexual tastes of old straight white men and removes them from the space. Instead, we are graced with queens impersonating stars such as Shakira and Charo doing the joke wall, party scene, and pie-in-the-face bits. While the episode breathes life into an old form, it still depends on othering Brown performers to generate laughter, a practice that was rampant in much of the history of variety television. When looking at Charo on The Dean Martin Show (a close compatriot of Rowan and Martin), it is clear that while Yara Sofia's Charo is spot-on, both programs frame a Spanish accent as a source of ridicule. This aligns with critques of the show poorly editing Puerto Rican queens and framing their accents as both part of their (unintentional) charm as well as the source of their ultimate failure on the show. This bind that Puerto Rican queens are put in can also be felt by queens who feel forced into performing other racial stereotypes on the show. However, Yara's Charo also reveals the problematics of television memory and historiography.
In both institutional (university) and popular archives (nostalgia TV channels), television is often delimited by the borders of the nation-state. Since the US produces and distributes a large amount of television content, we rarely see TV from other places. This was even more so the case during the 1970s when television was mainly broadcast over three major networks. Despite this lack of exposure, US variety television was invested in bringing the best performers in the world to the viewer at home. However, because of its immediate topicality, this genre was not always preserved and rarely rebroadcast. RuPaul's Drag Race, with its love of the '70s, thankfully offers one of the few popular archives of the variety show, canonizing the form alongside Paris Is Burning as serving queer pedagogy. Yet, "Gaff-In" clearly demonstrates the inability of even the most camp remediations of US television to ever fully reflect back upon the construction and power of the nation-state, especially as this omits colonies and territories. While we can remove old white men from the party, many may never feel invited to join in on the fun.